Why is Finding Your Franchise Quarterback so Important?
As the NFL season is almost upon us, we should take into consideration that 10 teams in the NFL have quarterbacks that will be starting this week with less then two years of experience, and five of them are rookies. Is this a youth movement or are these teams so desperate for a franchise quarterback that they will “reach” in the draft to get that “franchise” player?
Last year we saw Cam Newton (number one selection in 2011 NFL draft) come out, and have a great rookie campaign, also we saw Andy Dalton who was the 35th pick lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the 2011 playoffs. Yet, we saw both Minnesota Vikings, and Jacksonville Jaguars run out rookie quarterbacks that looked lost, and confused out there with Christian Ponder (Vikings) and Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars).
We have seen quarterbacks taken early in the NFL draft that have become busts like Ryan Leaf, David Carr, and Tim Couch, and there are so many more.
This past NFL draft we saw three quarterbacks go in the first round, with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Brandon Weeden, and all three will be starting this week. Quarterbacks are the most pivotal position on a NFL team. If you look at the past 10 Super Bowl winners, they all have had “franchise” quarterbacks. Being a franchise quarterback does not always mean your a lock at winning a Super Bowl, just look at Dan Marino.
Teams sometimes reach for quarterbacks early in the draft, and if the quarterback becomes a bust, it sets a team back for years, but also there are good quarterbacks that are available later in the draft like Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson who went in the third round of this past NFL draft, and will be the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback this weekend.
Finding your quarterback for the next decade is not easy, it takes a lot of scouting, and some luck. Just take a look at some of these players. Brett Favre was drafted in the second round, Joe Montana went in the third round, and Kurt Warner went undrafted. If you look at all 32 NFL teams, there are only five teams that have a franchise quarterback (New England Patriots-Tom Brady, Denver Broncos-Payton Manning, New York Giants-Eli Manning, Green Bay Packers-Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans Saints-Drew Brees). Of these five players only two (Eli, and Payton Manning) went number one, Brady round six, Brees second round, and Rodgers went late in first round.
It seems like every season we hear about these “second” string quarterbacks that are going to be the next Tom Brady, and once they hit free agency they make mega millions, and have barley even played a snap in the NFL. This is another sign that teams are so desperate to find their quarterback that they will unload millions for a player who is a backup. Kansas City Chiefs gave Matt Cassel $62 million deal. Also Arizona Cardinals did it last year by handing out millions for Kevin Kolb, and Seattle Seahawks did it this off season by dishing out almost 20 million for Matt Flynn who only had one start in the NFL. Though there has been two back up quarterbacks who have become stars, like Steve Young, and Tom Brady who were back ups.
Of the four major American sports, the quarterback is the hardest position to fill. Having a great starting quarterback will either make your team legendary or if you have one that sucks, will make your General Manager a punch line during every NFL draft when a team reaches for a quarterback. It does not matter where you find him, either by picking him first overall or by finding him in the sixth round. Just make sure he is the real deal, or be prepared to be run out of town by your fans.