CLASS ACTS

In some draft years the quarterback pool is weak; in others it's a bonanza of future Hall of Famers and franchise passers. How will 2010 measure up to these five great quarterback hauls?
April 25, 2010

Names in bold are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

1948

ALABAMA'S Harry Gilmer, a single-wing back, went first overall in '48, but it was the two Southern gunslingers taken after him who distinguished this draft.

BOBBY LAYNE

Texas (Round 1, 3rd overall, Bears)

With a pick originally belonging to the Steelers, Chicago got a Canton-bound legend

Y.A. TITTLE(Right)

LSU (R1, 6, Lions)

Spent three seasons with Baltimore (two in the AAFC) before moving to the Niners and then the Giants in a 17-year Hall of Fame career

1957

A DRAFT THAT produced nine Hall of Fame players (second-most behind the 10 in 1964) including Paul Hornung, Jim Brown and Don Maynard, also was one of the richest in passing—and in one case political—talent.

JOHN BRODIE(far left)

Stanford (R1, 3, 49ers)

Only Niner with more attempts, yards, completions: Montana

LEN DAWSON

Purdue (R1, 5, Steelers)

Unwanted in Pittsburgh, found stardom and a Super Bowl title with Chiefs

MILT PLUMPenn State (R2, 17, Browns)

Three-time NFL accuracy leader; 110.4 passer rating in '60 is best pre-1989

SONNY JURGENSEN(left)

Duke (R4, 43, Eagles)

Classic passer led NFL in yards five times over 18-year career

JACK KEMP

Occidental (R17, 203, Lions)

Future cabinet member and V.P. nominee was cut from five pro teams before latching on with Buffalo, whom he led to two AFL titles

1961

THE EXPANSION Vikings waited until the third round to tap their quarterback of the future, who turned out to be the best of a top-notch trio of long-lasting passers.

NORM SNEAD

Wake Forest (R1, 2, Redskins)

Four Pro Bowl selections during a 16-year career with five teams

BILLY KILMER

UCLA (R1, 11, 49ers)

Master of the wounded duck won 68% of his starts for the Skins from '71 to '78

FRAN TARKENTON(right)

Georgia (R3, 29, Vikings)

In second stint with the Vikes in the '70s, took them to three Super Bowls; fourth alltime in TD passes, sixth in yards

1971

NO, THERE isn't a Hall of Famer among this bunch, but the class of '71 produced six QBs who became solid pros and some of the decade's most memorable names.

JIM PLUNKETT(right)

Stanford (R1, 1, Patriots)

Heisman winner floundered until a late-career rebirth in Oakland

ARCHIE MANNING

Mississippi (R1, 2, Saints)

Never could gets Saints unstuck but remains beloved in the Big Easy

DAN PASTORINI

Santa Clara (R1, 3, Oilers)

Piloted Houston in memorable shootouts with division-rival Steelers

LYNN DICKEY

Kansas State (R3, 56, Oilers)

Ranks third behind Favre and Starr in most Packers' passing categories

KEN ANDERSON

Augustana (R3, 67, Bengals)

Mentored by Bill Walsh, steal of '71 led NFL four times in passer rating

JOE THEISMANN(below)

Notre Dame (R4, 99, Dolphins)

Spent three seasons in the CFL before joining the Skins in '74; won Super Bowl XVII and was NFL MVP in '83

1983

GREATEST QB CLASS ever? Hard to argue with three Hall of Famers, though how the Chiefs, Pats and Jets passed on Marino remains one of the NFL's great mysteries. Note, too, that future Saints stalwart Bobby Hebert came out in '83 but went to the USFL and (unlike Kelly) was not part of this stellar draft.

JOHN ELWAY(above)

Stanford (R1, 1, Colts)

Refused to sign with Colts; became greatest-ever Bronco

TODD BLACKLEDGE

Penn State (R1, 7, Chiefs)

1982 Davey O'Brien winner failed to pan out as a pro

JIM KELLY

Miami (R1, 14, Bills)

After two seasons in the USFL, joined Bills and led them to four Super Bowls

TONY EASON

Illinois (R1, 15, Patriots)

Started Super Bowl XX for the Pats

KEN O'BRIEN

UC Davis (R1, 24, Jets)

Two Pro Bowls; led NFL in passer rating in '85

DAN MARINO(left)

Pitt (R1, 27, Dolphins)

Upon retirement, held NFL career marks for attempts, completions, yards and TDs

PHOTOUPI/CORBIS (TITTLE) PHOTOAP (BRODIE) PHOTODUKE SPORTS INFORMATION (JURGENSEN) PHOTOGEORGIA/COLLEGIATE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES (TARKENTON) PHOTOLONG PHOTOGRAPHY INC. (PLUNKETT) PHOTOLONG PHOTOGRAPHY INC. (THEISMANN) PHOTORICHARD MACKSON (ELWAY) PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (MARINO)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)