Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Good Are Rookie Quarterbacks?

Fans loved Dan Snyder for making the bold move and trading four draft picks for star quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be challenging Colt McCoy for a starting job this year. 

Football fans all hope for a "Magic Quarterback" in the NFL draft who will make an enormous impact as a rookie.   Even GM's and owners get caught up.  For example, in 2012 the Redskins famously gave up three first round picks and a second round pick in order to nab Robert Griffin III. 

So how realistic is it to expect a rookie to perform at a high level?  To answer this question, I took a look at the rookie quarterbacks of the last 10 years, and evaluated their quarterback rankings among league qualifiers.  Note that many rookies (probably about half of the first round draft choices) didn't even qualify their first year.  For example, the Raiders blew a first round pick on Jamarcus Russell, who was so bad that he didn't get enough appearances to qualify on the leader board in 2007.  Similarly the Packers took Aaron Rodgers in 2005, but he had a guy named Favre ahead of him and had to sit.    

The results are rather depressing for the "Magic Quarterback" theory.  On the average, rookie quarterbacks were ranked about 22nd in the league, using the standard quarterback rating system as published on ESPN.  The high water mark was 2012, when Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson had outstanding years.  Three teams--the Redskins, Seahawks and Colts--had good years with their rookie quarterback.   However, since 2005, Griffin and Wilson were the only two rookies  to finish in the Top 10. Getting a top 10 performer happens only once every five years or so.  And there are a lot of 1st round draft picks that never make it at all. Not a pleasant prospect.

Last year, the best quarterback was Teddy Bridgewater, who ranked 22nd in the league.  Blake Bortles was the first quarterback taken, but ranked 33rd in the league.  
So is a rookie quarterback a quick fix for the Browns or any other team?  I don't think so.  Wait a year or two, and then you might have something.  

Teddy Bridgewater 22
Derek Carr 30
Blake Bortles 33

Mike Glennon 21
Geno Smith   37

Robert Griffin     3
Russell Wilson   4
Andrew Luck    26
Ryan Tannehill 27
Brandon Weeden 29

Cam Newton  15
Chistian Ponder 30
Blaine Gabbert 33

Sam Bradford  25
Jimmy Clausen 31

Mark Sanchez 28
Matthew Stafford 29
Josh Freeman   30

Matt Ryan 11
Joe Flacco  22

(no qualifiers)

Matt Leinart 23
Vince Young 30

Kyle Orton 34

No comments:

Post a Comment