2011 NFL Draft: Top Drafted Quarterbacks by Round Since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger

Larry MagroganContributor IIApril 14, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Top Drafted Quarterbacks by Round Since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger

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    As the 2011 NFL Draft grows closer, each team in the league is always looking for the most important part of an NFL team, the Franchise Quarterback. Some teams already have the guy they want but could be looking to take a gamble on his replacement down the road in the later rounds. Other teams will be looking feverishly in this draft for their franchise guy that will take over in September. Those teams will use a first or second round pick on their quarterback of the future. The third category is the team that has a good, solid quarterback but not the guy you can build a franchise around. Teams in that situation usually try to strike gold in the middle rounds of the draft. It is the dawn of a new day for teams throughout the league when they draft their potential franchise quarterback.

    When you sit down to watch the draft this year, carefully watch what teams are taking quarterbacks and when they take them. You should be able to tell what the teams mindset is at the most crucial position on the roster. There is always a great risk with taking a quarterback early but the reward is also immense. You will be able to find the occasional diamond in the rough later in the draft but those guys are like perfect diamonds, rare!

    I thought it would be fun to take a look at the drafted quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. At that time, the draft was much longer than the seven round version we have today. I examined the quality of quarterback that has been chosen by round since the merger. I compiled what I feel are the best per round and included a bonus section with supplemental picks and players drafted after the seventh round.This list will stir much debate but it will also give you a little extra something to think about while watching the 2011 NFL Draft. 

Round 1, 1998 Draft, 1st Overall: Peyton Manning, Tennessee, Indianapolis Colts

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    Round 1, 1998 Draft, 1st Overall: Peyton Manning, Tennessee, Indianapolis Colts

    Total Passing Yards: 54,828

    Touchdown Passes: 399

    Interceptions: 198

    Super Bowl Appearances: 2

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 11

    This is by far the toughest decision I had to make in this article. My first thought was to go with the guy I thought was the best thrower I had ever seen, Dan Marino. I looked at the numbers and he does fall short without a Super Bowl win. It would have been nice to see if a great running back for a few seasons could have gotten him that ring like it did for John Elway. Taking that into account and looking at the total picture I went with Peyton Manning. He plays the game like no other. He is a coach on the field, a true field general. He had the most prolific touchdown passing season in the history of the game until that Brady guy decided to one up him. He is a team leader, a source of pride for the Colts and the league and a class act that plays the game the way it should be played. If he finds a way to win one or two more titles he could go down as the best ever.

    Runner Up:

    Round 1, 1983 Draft, 27th Overall: Dan Marino, Pittsburgh, Miami Dolphins

Round 2, 1991 Draft, 33rd Overall: Brett Favre, Southern Miss., Atlanta Falcons

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    Round 2, 1991 Draft, 33rd Overall: Brett Favre, Southern Miss., Atlanta Falcons

    Total Passing Yards: 71,838

    Touchdown Passes: 508

    Interceptions: 336

    Super Bowl Appearances: 2

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 11

    On a personal note, this is my favorite quarterback of all time. Brett Favre played the game like a 12 year old kid until he was a 40 year old kid. He threw passes that made your jaw drop, then made passes that would leave you scratching your head. That is what made him so much fun. This is still a game the last time I checked. His numbers blow away the competition. Over 70,00 passing yards and 500 touchdown passes. Those are not typos, they are Favre numbers. I don't know that we will ever see another Brett Favre. For those of us that were lucky enough to watch him we can only hope for future football fans that there is another Brett Favre down the road.

    Runner Up:

    Round 2, 2001 Draft, 32nd Overall: Drew Brees, Purdue, San Diego Chargers

     

Round 3, 1979 Draft, 82nd Overall: Joe Montana, Notre Dame, San Francisco 49ers

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    Round 3, 1979 Draft, 82nd Overall: Joe Montana, Notre Dame, San Francisco 49ers

    Total Passing Yards: 40,551

    Touchdown Passes: 273

    Interceptions: 139

    Super Bowl Appearances: 4

    Super Bowl Titles: 4

    Pro Bowls: 8

    Joe Cool is at this time the greatest quarterback to ever play the game in my opinion. He wasn't the biggest or the fastest. He didn't have the strongest arm and the deep ball was not his specialty. What he did have was a great knowledge of the game. He was a thinking mans quarterback. He outsmarted his opponents and did what he knew could do well. He was a master at bringing teams from behind and did the most important thing of all consistently...HE WON BIG GAMES. Montana won four Super Bowl titles with the 49ers. He also won a record three MVP awards at the big game. He holds most of the Super Bowl passing records. Joe Montana is simply the best.

    Runner Up:

    Round 3, 1973 Draft, 64th Overall: Dan Fouts, Oregon, San Diego Chargers

     

Round 4, 1971 Draft, 99th Overall: Joe Theismann, Notre Dame, Miami Dolphins

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    Round 4, 1971 Draft, 99th Overall: Joe Theismann, Notre Dame, Miami Dolphins

    Total Passing Yards: 25,206

    Touchdown Passes: 160

    Interceptions: 138

    Super Bowl Appearances: 2

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 2

    The flamboyant Theismann was drafted by the Dolphins following a great career with the Fighting Irish. He had a stint in the Canadian Football League before landing in Washington under Head Coach George Allen. Theismann did anything he could to get on the field including holding for kicks and even returning punts and kickoffs. When Jack Pardee took over for Allen the career of Joey T. took off. He began to play well and the team found moderate success. In 1981 the Redskins hired Coach Joe Gibbs and he made Theismann a superstar. They went to two Super Bowls together and won Super Bowl XVII over the Dolphins giving the franchise its first of three Super Bowl rings. Theismann remains a favorite amongst Skins fans and league fans with his television work. A great career for the talkative one from Notre Dame.

    Runner Up:

    Round 4, 1987 Draft, 98th Overall: Rich Gannon, Delaware, New England Patriots

     

Round 5, 1993 Draft, 118th Overall: Mark Brunell, Washington, Green Bay Packers

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    Round 5, 1993 Draft, 118th Overall: Mark Brunell, Washington, Green Bay Packers

    Total Passing Yards: 32,045

    Touchdown Passes: 184

    Interceptions: 108

    Super Bowl Appearances: 1

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 3

    Mark Brunell came into the league with little chance of starting as he was buried behind the iron man Brett Favre on the Packers depth chart. He got a lucky break when the Jacksonville Jaguars acquired him. He proceeded to lead the expansion club to two AFC Championship Games and established himself as one of the best in the league. The athletic lefty was replaced in Jacksonville when they drafted their future quarterback in Byron Leftwich. New Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs liked having a veteran qb and upon his return to football he traded for Brunell. He led the Redskins to two playoff appearances during the Gibbs tenure. After leaving Washington, he went to New Orleans where he finally won a Super Bowl Ring.

    Runner Up:

    Round 5, 1975 Draft, 116th Overall: Steve Grogan, Kansas State, New England Patriots

Round 6, 2000 Draft, 199th Overall: Tom Brady, Michigan, New England Patriots

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    Round 6, 2000 Draft, 199th Overall: Tom Brady, Michigan, New England Patriots

    Total Passing Yards: 34,744

    Touchdown Passes: 261

    Interceptions: 103

    Super Bowl Appearances: 4

    Super Bowl Titles: 3

    Pro Bowls: 6

    Tom Brady has become arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play. He has kept the chip on his shoulder from the pain of not being drafted earlier and used it as motivation against every team that passed him up. He has won three Super Bowl titles and came up one game short of his fourth title and the first perfect 19-0 season in NFL history in 2007. Brady is still performing at the top of his game as he looks to win more Super Bowl titles that will cement his place amongst the games elite. Brady set the single season record for touchdown passes in 2007. That performance by Brady will go down as one of the best passing seasons in the history of the game. Brady appears poised to continue adding to his legacy for at least three to five more seasons barring injury. One more title and he could topple Montana as the best to ever play the position.

    Runner Up:

    Round 6, 1998 Draft, 187th Overall: Matt Hasselbeck, Boston College, Seattle Seahawks

Round 7, 1994 Draft, 197th Overall: Gus Frerotte, Tulsa, Washington Redskins

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    Round 7, 1994 Draft, 197th Overall: Gus Frerotte, Tulsa, Washington Redskins

    Total Passing Yards: 21,291

    Touchdown Passes: 114

    Interceptions: 106

    Super Bowl Appearances: 0

    Super Bowl Titles: 0

    Pro Bowls: 1

    Gus Frerotte was not supposed to be the quarterback for the Washington Redskins when he was drafted in 1994. That job was reserved for first round pick Heath Shuler chosen six rounds earlier in the same draft. Shuler suffered through injuries and inconsistent play while with the Skins and was replaced by the long shot from Tulsa. Gus played well and even garnered a Pro Bowl invite. Frerotte became a fan favorite in D.C. until reality set in and he was beaten out for the job by Trent Green. He started his tour of many NFL cities as a backup and spot starter starting with the 1999 season. Frerotte had an impressive career for a seventh round draft pick.

    Runner Up:

    Round 7, 2005 Draft, 230th Overall: Matt Cassel, USC, New England Patriots

Round 8 and Later: Digging Deep to Find the Hidden Gem

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    Here are a few guys that had very productive careers and were drafted after the seventh round when the drafts were much longer.

    Round 8: 1993 Draft, 222nd Overall: Trent Green, Indiana, San Diego Chargers

    Total Passing Yards: 28,475

    Touchdown Passes: 162

    Interceptions: 114

    Super Bowl Appearances: 1

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 2

    Round 9: 1992 Draft, 227th Overall: Brad Johnson, Florida State, Minnesota Vikings

    Total Passing Yards: 29,054

    Touchdown Passes: 166

    Interceptions: 122

    Super Bowl Appearances: 1

    Super Bowl Titles: 1

    Pro Bowls: 2

    Round 10: 1977 Draft, 275th Overall: Steve DeBerg, San Jose State, Dallas Cowboys

    Total Passing Yards: 34,241

    Touchdown Passes: 196

    Interceptions: 204

Supplemental Draft Picks: Using Next Years Pick Wisely

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    Supplemental Draft Picks:

    Round 1, 1984 Draft, 1st Overall: Steve Young, BYU, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Years in League:

    Total Passing Yards: 33,124

    Touchdown Passes: 232

    Interceptions: 107

    Super Bowl Appearances: 3

    Super Bowl Titles: 3

    Steve Young became the only quarterback that was remotely thought of as a running quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He struggled early in his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but escaped that situation when he signed with the USFL's Los Angeles Express, He had great success there and soon found himself back in the NFL playing the role of backup to the legendary Joe Montana. He struggled escaping the shadow of Montana until he finally won his own Super Bowl in 1995 when he led the 49ers to a 49-26 triumph over the San Diego Chargers. He earned Super Bowl XXIX MVP honors throwing a Super Bowl record 6 touchdown passes.

    Runner Up:

    Round 1, 1985 Draft, 1st Overall: Bernie Kosar, Miami Florida, Cleveland Browns

     

Current Quaterbacks That Could Crack This List in the Future

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    Round 1, 2004 Draft, 1st Overall: Eli Manning, Ole Miss, San Diego Chargers

    Eli was traded to the New York Giants on draft day and has already led the Giants to one Super Bowl Championship. He doesn't have the passing totals and overall success of older brother Peyton but he has already gone past Dad Archie. Manning seems to have many more productive seasons ahead if he can survive the constant attacks from the New York media and fans.

    Round 1, 2004 Draft, 4th Overall: Philip Rivers, N.C.State, New York Giants

    Philip was traded on draft day to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for the already mentioned Eli Manning. Rivers has become one of the best passers in the league and has had great success in the regular season. He has not been able to capture a trip to the Super Bowl as of yet. If he can get a coach that doesn't have the choking trait, see Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner, he just may.

    Round 1, 2004 Draft, 11th Overall: Ben Roethlisberger, Miami Ohio, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Big Ben has had the most success of this group with three trips to the Super Bowl and two titles in his young career. He has continued the legacy of great Steelers teams and looks to be getting better with maturity. It is even more impressive that he has done this with direct competition in the AFC from  Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the prime of their careers

    Round 1, 2005 Draft, 24th Overall: Aaron Rodgers, California, Green Bay Packers

    Rodgers is the toast of the NFL following his Super Bowl MVP performance and victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rodgers has become the best young quarterback in the game and the future appears very bright. The rich keeper getting richer as Green Bay has struck gold again replacing the legend Brett Favre with another up and coming legend in Rodgers.