Bill Walsh was criticized for selecting Joe Montana with 82nd pick in the 1979 draft.
Montana was selected at the very bottom of the third round, but some thought he was taken far too soon. Worthy of a fifth-rounder, tops.
Also, the 49ers had pretty bad quarterback problems that year. If the 49ers had not been so stupid as to trade their first round pick to Buffalo, they could have gotten a real quarterback, like Jack Thompson.
This is when Walsh dropped his famous quote: "Few men are qualified to evaluate the quarterback position. Fewer still are qualified to coach the position."
That was his polite way of saying "you critics don't know what you are talking about." This line is frequently quoted by Michael Lombardi—one of Walsh's protégés—on the NFL Network.
Hindsight is 20/20, and the history is pretty clear. Walsh was laughing like hell at those same critics long before he died. Anybody who knows anything about NFL football ought to be laughing right along with him.
Truth be told, the scouts don't know who the good quarterback candidates are, period. They don't know this year. They didn't know last year. They won't know next year. They didn't know 31 years ago.
They can't tell the winners from the losers, period. Gambling on the scout's advice is a crapshoot at best, so shake up 'dem bones and roll'em, if you will.
How do I know this? How can I be so condemning of the NFL scout? It's pretty easy to do. All you need to do is study a little history. Perform this research project, if you like, and see what you find.
Collect all the names of all the quarterbacks selected in the first round between 1979 and 2007. Go over your list a few times and consider whether the pick in question turned out to be a success story, a bust story, or fair-to-middlin' journeyman story.
Count the number of picks in each of those categories. Divide the number of names in each category by the total number of picks, and there you have your percentages. These percentages define your actuarial table. The actuarial table tells you your odds of success when selecting a quarterback in the first round.
Being the nice guy that I am, I decided to do the research for you. The results are as follows:
67 quarterbacks were selected in the first round between 1979 and 2007
20 were ultimately successful (29.85 percent)
39 were all-out busts (58.21 percent)
Eight were middlin' journeymen quarterbacks (11.94 percent)
Want some proof? How about the entire table of first-round quarterbacks between 1979 and 2007? Would that be good enough for you?
|1||Jack Thompson||Washington State||1979||Bengals||3||Bust|
|2||Phil Simms||Morehead State||1979||Giants||7||Success|
|5||Mark Malone||Arizona State||1980||Steelers||28||Bust|
|8||Art Schlichter||Ohio State||1982||Colts||4||Bust|
|11||Todd Blackledge||Penn State||1983||Chiefs||7||Bust|
|14||Ken O'Brien||UC Davis||1983||Jets||24||Success|
|20||Kelly Stouffer||Colorado State||1987||Cardinals||6||Bust|
|25||Timm Rosenbach||Washington State||1989||Cardinals||Supplemental||Bust|
|28||Dan McGwire||San Diego State||1991||Seahawks||16||Bust|
|33||Drew Bledsoe||Washington State||1993||Patriots||1||Success|
|34||Rick Mirer||Notre Dame||1993||Seahawks||2||Bust|
|36||Trent Dilfer||Fresno State||1994||Buccaneers||6||Middle|
|37||Steve McNair||Alcorn State||1995||Oilers||3||Success|
|38||Kerry Colins||Penn State||1995||Panthers||5||Middle|
|39||Jim Druckenmiller||Virgina Tech||1997||49ers||26||Bust|
|41||Ryan Leaf||Washington State||1998||Chargers||2||Bust|
|45||Daunte Culpepper||Central Florida||1999||Vikings||11||Bust|
|48||Michael Vick||Virgina Tech||2001||Falcons||1||Middle|
|49||David Carr||Fresno State||2002||Texans||1||Bust|
|56||Eli Manning||Ole Miss||2004||Chargers||1||Success|
|57||Philip Rivers||North Carolina State||2004||Giants||4||Success|
|58||Ben Roethlisberger||Miami of Ohio||2004||Steelers||11||Success|
|67||Brady Quinn||Notre Dame||2007||Browns||22||Bust|
In conclusion, you have a 29.85 percent chance of drafting a good quarterback if you select one in the first round. Do you like the idea of drafting a QB in the first round when the odds are put to you so bluntly?