Drafting a Quarterback With the First Overall Pick Doesn’t Guarantee a Super Bowl


Many fans of the New York Jets expect the team to be so bad they will end up with the number one overall pick. That means the Jets will land one of the prized quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and the presumptive number one overall pick, Sam Darnold.

In the Super Bowl era, drafting a quarterback number one hasn’t been kind to the franchises that have done it. In fact, it hasn’t been kind to the quarterbacks themselves.

Drafting a Quarterback With the First Overall Pick Doesn’t Guarantee a Super Bowl

Even when you look at NFL history as a whole, it’s not pretty. Prior to the Super Bowl, none of the quarterbacks selected number one overall started in and won an NFL Championship Game. Since the inception of the Super Bowl, 22 quarterbacks have had the honor of being selected first. Approximately 27% of them have started and won the big game.

Draft Year Player
1970 Terry Bradshaw
1971 Jim Plunkett
1983 John Elway
1989 Troy Aikman
1998 Peyton Manning
2004 Eli Manning

Not Worth the Risk

Getting the number one overall pick at that position isn’t even worth the risk. It sets the organization back for a long time.¬†The Colts were set back for at least nine years when they drafted Jeff George. It wasn’t until they drafted Peyton Manning that they became relevant.

The Browns always whiff on quarterbacks. However, they still haven’t recovered from drafting Tim Couch in 1999. It also took the Houston Texans a long time to climb out of the David Carr mess, but that was partially due to them not having an adequate offensive line.

If a team is drafting number¬†one overall, they’re probably not a quarterback away from winning a championship. That’s why the risk isn’t worth it.

Recent History

Since the turn of the century, the draft has shown us the quarterback doesn’t even have to be selected in the top ten to be a leader on a Super Bowl winner. Only three of the 11 quarterbacks to have won the Super Bowl since the beginning of the 2000 regular season were top ten picks. They are Trent Dilfer (No. 6 overall), Eli Manning (No. 1 overall), and Peyton Manning (No. 1 overall).

Super Bowl(s) won Winning Quarterback Draft Selection
XLI, 50 Peyton Manning 1
XLII, XLVI Eli Manning 1
Trent Dilfer 6
XL, XLIII Ben Roethlisberger 11
XLVII Joe Flacco 18
XLV Aaron Rodgers 24
XLIV Drew Brees 32
XLVIII Russell Wilson 75
XXXVII Brad Johnson* 227
*-Johnson is the lowest pick to ever win the Super Bowl

In the most recent draft that produced a new Super Bowl winning quarterback (2012), Wilson went in the third round. Here are four of the five quarterbacks that were selected ahead of him: Robert Griffin III (now a free agent), Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden (backup), and Brock Osweiler.

If the history of the draft shows us, caveat emptor (buyer beware). It’s a risk, but it just may not be worth taking at the most important position on the team.


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