Is the First-Round Quarterback Worth the Risk?

Gary G.Correspondent IMarch 6, 2009

Over recent years, some NFL fans become very weary of finding that franchise quarterback and selecting him in the first-round.

With recent busts such as Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Alex Smith, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, David Carr, Patrick Ramsey, and Joey Harrington, I would worry, too.

The jury is still out on the quarterbacks from this past year's draft and the 2007 draft. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both have done well and both led their team to the playoffs in their rookie season.

JaMarcus Russell has all the makings of being a good quarterback, but lacks the supporting cast around him right now. Brady Quinn looks as if he will finally get his shot as a starter this upcoming season with the Browns.

Clearly, it seems as if there is a 50-50 chance that the quarterback you choose in the first-round is going to be a solid quarterback in the NFL.

But wait, Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth-round! Marc Bulger was drafted in the sixth-round. Matt Cassel was a seventh-rounder!

So would you rather take your chances on a quarterback after the first-round?

Some NFL fans prefer taking a shot on a quarterback after the first-round because they think taking one that high is too risky. In a sense, they are right. Your first-round pick is a large commitment money wise.

If you select a quarterback in the first-round, there's a good chance that you are going to set him up to be your quarterback for the next several years at least.

If he falters, it could set your franchise back another couple years, whereas, if you take a mid-round quarterback, you can just get rid of him without taking much of a hit financially.

So, if your team is in need of a quarterback, and there is one on the board when your team is on the clock in the first-round, do you take him? Or do you wait for the second-tier of free agents in the following two rounds?

How many star quarterbacks come out of the second and third-rounds? Just to name a few, Jake Plummer (1997), Brian Griese (1998), Drew Brees (2001), Matt Schaub (2004).

But look at the names at quarterback that have also gone in the second- and third-rounds...Giovanni Carmazzi, Quincy Carter, Marques Tuiasosopo, Josh McCown, Dave Ragone, Charlie Frye, Andrew Walter. There are countless other ones. Definitely not the marquee names and definitely not a great success rate.

With that said, compare it to the names that have gone in the first round. Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Chad Pennington, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler, all of whom are currently starting for their respective teams.

Obviously for every Peyton Manning, there is one Ryan Leaf. And for every Donovan McNabb, there is one Akili Smith, but the numbers show that the you have a better chance of finding your franchise quarterback in the first round than anywhere else.

If my team is on the clock in the first round, and they are in a desperate need of a franchise quarterback, and there is one on the board, you really have to consider taking him. The success rate of a first round quarterback as opposed to a second-, third- or even late-round quarterback is far better.

Right now, it seems as if there are two sure-fire quarterbacks, and likely a third will follow somewhere later on in the first-round.

Both Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Mark Sanchez of USC appear to be guaranteed first-round picks at this point. Josh Freeman of Kansas State has a very good shot at going in the first round as well.

So, if your team is need of a quarterback, and one of these three quarterbacks are on the board when your team selects in the first-round, do you take him? I know I would.