There have been 13 quarterbacks taken in the bottom half of the first round of the last 24 NFL drafts. The best of the bunch was Jim Harbaugh, who was taken 26th in the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears and made the 1995 Pro Bowl with Indianapolis.
The jury remains out on four of those quarterbacks: Brady Quinn (No. 22, Cleveland, 2007), Rodgers (No. 24, Green Bay, 2005), Jason Campbell (No. 25, Washington, 2005) and J.P. Losman (No. 22, Buffalo, 2004), though it's not looking good for Campbell and Losman.
The others have ranged from OK (Chad Pennington, No. 18, New York Jets, 2000) to various degrees of horrible: Kyle Boller (No. 19, Baltimore, 2003), Rex Grossman (No. 22, Chicago, 2003), Patrick Ramsey (No. 32, Washington, 2002), Jim Druckenmiller (No. 26, San Francisco, 1997), Tommy Maddox (No. 25, Denver, 1992), Dan McGwire (No. 16, Seattle, 1991), Todd Marinovich (No. 24, Oakland, 1991).
One player, however, bucked that trend: Dan Marino, who was taken No. 27 overall by Miami in 1983. Also, to a lesser extent, Ken O'Brien (No. 24, New York Jets, 1983) had a fine career.
There's reason to hope Rodgers bucks the odds. In many cases, quarterbacks are drafted earlier than they should because it's such an important position, and if you don't have a decent quarterback, you have practically no chance to win big. Thus, quarterback-starved teams tend to reach to fill a need.
Rodgers, however, slipped to the Packers in the first round in 2005. He ran neck and neck with San Francisco's Alex Smith to be the No. 1 overall pick. When Rodgers slid past about pick No. 8, the teams that were drafting either had a quarterback in place or felt good about a prospect.
Former NFL scout Frank Coyle, who runs DraftInsiders.com, is one of the few draft gurus who stuck with Rodgers ahead of Smith as his No. 1 prospect in 2005. He thinks the Packers' need for a starting-caliber quarterback is overblown.
"Obviously, Rodgers hasn't played much, but he looked good against the Cowboys," Coyle said.
Dean Dalton, a former NFL assistant coach, also thinks the Packers will be fine in the post-Brett Favre era.
"They've got to get some depth there, and Mike (McCarthy) is a pretty good talent evaluator (of quarterbacks) in that capacity," Dalton said. "I still think, even without Brett Favre, they're still the team to beat in the NFC North. The scary part is the triggerman, but when you look at the whole NFC North, there's not one quarterback that makes you nervous."
Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com