Looking back on worst quarterback classes in NFL draft history
Four years ago, we asked the question: Which quarterback draft class will go down as the worst in NFL history? On the heels of a report out of Buffalo that the Bills could release EJ Manuel should he fail to outduel Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel this summer, it's time to wonder if the 2013 QBs belong in that discussion.
Patience is a virtue, sure, but also a luxury few NFL teams provide a quarterback after spending a high draft pick on him. The '13 class needs a breakout star, soon. Until then, it stays in the mix.
An updated look at the draft's most uninspiring quarterback classes.
• 2013: Granted, there is still time for those quarterbacks now headed into their third NFL seasons. Manuel and Geno Smith, the class's lone first- and second-round pick, respectively, may benefit from recent coaching changes. If not, perhaps a new team would toss them back on the right track. Mike Glennon now finds himself behind 2015 No. 1 pick Jameis Winston, so his future could be outside of Tampa Bay, but he currently leads the '13 QBs with 29 touchdown passes.
Ryan Nassib, Landry Jones, Brad Sorensen and Sean Renfree at the very least have maintained roster spots with the teams that drafted them. Nassib is entrenched as Eli Manning's Giants' backup. 49ers draft pick-turned-Seahawk B.J. Daniels could be in the mix for a similar position behind Russell Wilson. He was a member of Seattle's practice squad when the team won Super Bowl XLVIII.
Overall, though, the ceiling keeps lowering for the 2013 quarterbacks. Should Manuel and Smith fail to claim starting jobs, the class likely will not take a single snap in Week 1 of the regular season.
• 2007: One could make a case for 2006, which produced now eight-year starter Jay Cutler but also unleashed upon the NFL Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Kellen Clemens, Brodie Croyle and a handful of career backups (Tarvaris Jackson, Bruce Gradkowski, etc.).
But the '07 class definitely deserves a spot, if for no other reason than that JaMarcus Russell was the No. 1 pick. The Browns then took Brady Quinn 21 spots later—both he and Russell are out of the league. The group's most productive passers are Trent Edwards (6,033 career yards) and Kevin Kolb (5,206). Wide receiver Sidney Rice, selected No. 44 in '07, has more than doubled the career passing total of Washington's sixth-round QB pick, Jordan Palmer (174 to 66).
• 2002: Were it not for Russell's awful career, this would be the QB draft class most synonymous with the "bust" term. The No. 1 pick, David Carr, had both the honor and eventual misfortune of being the Houston Texans' first-ever selection after the team joined the league as an expansion squad. He finished with a 22-53 record under center there and never started a game again after the '07 season.
Joey Harrington (No. 3, Detroit) did not fare any better. He won 18 games combined from 2002-05 with the Lions, spent '06 in Miami, '07 in Atlanta and his career was over by '08. Washington wrapped Round 1 by taking Patrick Ramsey, who maxed out with 11 starts and four victories during the '03 campaign.
Third-rounder Josh McCown (Arizona) is the lone '02 drafted quarterback still playing—he could be Cleveland's starter this year. Fourth-rounder David Garrard (Jacksonville) helped restore some respectability, too.
• 1996: Remember all the talk this past draft seasons about how only two quarterbacks deserved Round 1 consideration? That's nothing compared to the '96 class. Forty-one names were called that year before a QB came off the
board: Tony Banks to St. Louis. There then was another 43-pick wait at the position—Philadelphia drafted Bobby Hoying at No. 85.
The draft's two fourth-rounders, Jeff Lewis and Danny Kanell, had one playoff start between them. (Lewis never even made a regular-season start.) None of the four quarterbacks selected behind Kanell attempted a regular-season pass.
• 1991: We have to divide this class into two separate groups: Brett Favre ... and everyone else. Favre was actually the third quarterback to come off the board, after Dan McGwire (five NFL starts) and Todd Marinovich (eight starts, out of the league by '93). The next most-productive quarterback outside of Favre from the '91 group was Craig Erickson (7,625 yards passing, 41 touchdowns), and he technically does not even count toward this year's stats—the University of Miami product was drafted for a second time the following year.
• 1988: The first quarterback taken in this class was Tom Tupa (Round 3, No. 68), who started 13 games between 1989-91, then went on to make the Pro Bowl as a punter in '99.
From a QB standpoint the best of the '88 bunch, statistically, was Chris Chandler. Indianapolis selected him shortly after the Patriots nabbed Tupa (No. 76), and he threw for nearly 30,000 yards over a lengthy NFL career. He's also one of very few quarterbacks in NFL history to achieve both a perfect single-game passer rating (he did so three times) and a 0.0 rating (Dec. 19, 2004 vs. Arizona).
Stan Humphries, taken 79 spots after Chandler, may be a more familiar name. Selected at No. 159 (Washington), Humphries helped the Chargers to the Super Bowl in the '94 season.
• 1976: The '76 class followed the footsteps of '72 and '74 (see below), producing one so-so talent—in this case, Richard Todd, the No. 6 pick by the Jets, who started through '84—and a host of also-rans. A tip of the cap here to Mike Kruczek, the second quarterback taken this year. He went 6-0 as a rookie in relief of an injured Terry Bradshaw ... then never won another game in the NFL.
• 1974: Dallas broke the QB ice when it selected Danny White with the 53rd pick. White then spent two seasons in the World Football League before becoming the Cowboys' punter—and Roger Staubach's backup—until 1980. He later started 91 games, spread over eight seasons. The rest of this year's QB class included relative unknowns such as David Jaynes, Kim McQuilken, Gary Marangi and Mike Boryla.
• 1972: The 1970 NFL draft produced Terry Bradshaw; '71 brought Jim Plunkett, Joe Theismann, Archie Manning, Ken Anderson and others into the league. The most successful QB to come from the '72 class? Brian Sipe, by a substantial margin.
Sipe won the NFL's MVP in '80 and wound up starting 111 games over a 10-year career, all in Cleveland. Just one of the other 18 QBs taken in the '72 draft started more than 10 career games (No. 14 pick John Reaves), and the top QB selected, Jerry Tagge, was out of the NFL by '74.