The 5 Best Teams in the NFL at Drafting Quarterbacks
No position is more important on the field or in the NFL draft than quarterback.
Good quarterbacks rarely hit free agency or get traded, so the draft is basically the only avenue to improve a team's quarterback situation. With the frequency of quarterback injuries, building quality depth can be just as important as landing a top-end starter.
The stakes of the game of drafting quarterbacks have gotten even higher, as scarcity causes teams to tolerate a much higher risk in quarterback prospects than they would at other positions.
What this all means is that being one of the best teams at drafting quarterbacks usually equals being one of the best teams.
Who are the five best teams in the NFL at drafting quarterbacks?
New England Patriots
The choice of Tom Brady in the sixth round will automatically get the New England Patriots on this list forever, but that shouldn't overshadow a similarly brilliant choice of Matt Cassel in the seventh round of the 2005 draft despite Cassel being a backup for his entire college career at USC.
Cassel not only salvaged a solid season out of the year Brady missed, but he fetched a second-round pick in a trade from the quarterback-needy Kansas City Chiefs.
Looking back over the Patriots' quarterback drafting since Brady, there are misses—Rohan Davey, fourth round, 2002; Kliff Kingsbury, sixth round, 2003; Kevin O'Connell, third round, 2008; Zac Robinson, seventh round, 2010—but the team's adherence to the philosophy of taking a development quarterback almost every year will continue to bear fruit as it did in the case of Cassel.
Getting Ryan Mallett, a first-round passing talent, in the third round of the 2011 draft is the possible success story for New England quarterback drafting.
The Eagles' drafting of quarterbacks demonstrates that it's not just about picking the right quarterback, it's also about knowing when to cash in what you have for chips to make more bets.
The Eagles picked Donovan McNabb, the only quarterback who went 1-2-3 in 1999 who wasn't a colossal bust, then they dealt him for a second-round pick before his play fell off a cliff.
They turned 2007 second-round pick Kevin Kolb into a second-round pick and a starting cornerback before the league could see how mediocre he was. Same with 2001 fifth-round pick A.J. Feeley, who served the team well as a spot starter before drawing a second-round pick from Miami in a trade.
2010 fourth-round pick Mike Kafka hasn't blossomed yet, but we shouldn't be surprised if the Eagles somehow get a better pick for him than they spent before his rookie contract is up.
Green Bay Packers
The great moves don't stop there, going as far back as taking Aaron Brooks in the fourth round of the 1999 draft and Matt Hasselbeck in the sixth round of the 1998 draft.
Both went on to fetch third-round picks (the Seahawks also gave the Packers a bump from the 17th pick to 10th pick of the first round) and have long stints as starters for their new teams.
In 2008, the Packers had a rare miss with Brian Brohm in the second round, but they landed Matt Flynn, another Green Bay backup quarterback success story, in the seventh round.
Watch out for quarterback B.J. Coleman, this year's seventh-round pick.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers successfully navigated the choppy waters of taking a quarterback first overall that didn't want to play for them back in 2004.
The Chargers also drafted Charlie Whitehurst in the third round back in 2006, let him sit in the incubator for four years and turned him into a third-round pick and 20 spots in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Oh, and there's also some guy named Drew Brees that they selected at the beginning of the second round in 2001.
2011 fifth-round pick Jonathan Crompton didn't work, out and the Chargers haven't tried to develop quarterbacks as much as they should, but they still belong on this list.
The bust rate of high-first-round quarterbacks means that the Atlanta Falcons should be commended for spending two top-three picks at the position since 2001 and having neither bust.
The Falcons also drafted Matt Schaub in the third round of the 2004 draft and proceeded to turn him into two second-round picks. The move seemed like a misstep after Vick went to prison for dog fighting, but the Ryan pick the following year cleaned up that mess very quickly.
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