The NFL does funny things when it comes to revisionist history.
On Friday, the NFL’s official website, via Daniel Jeremiah, listed the top 10 prospects at quarterback at the time they were drafted over the past five seasons – regardless of their NFL performance since.
The 10 top QBs listed were, in order, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Jameis Winston, Bridgewater, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles.
Finding a quarterback that turns into draft gold is an elusive commodity. Drafting them is easy … and plentiful.
In 2011, Newton was the first pick of the draft, but was followed up by hits and misses – Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet, Ricky Stanzi, T.J. Yates, Nathan Enderle, Tyrod Taylor and Greg McElroy.
Of that group, Newton has made a solid career for himself, Dalton has earned a second contract and, despite taking five years to do it, Taylor has become a starter. The rest? Not enough hits and too many misses.
In 2012, Luck and RG3 were the first two picks, followed by Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Lindley, B.J. Coleman and Chandler Harnish.
A case can be made that this is one of the most impressive QB classes ever, despite Griffin being run out of Washington. Wilson has been to two Super Bowls, Luck is still viewed as the best young quarterbacks in the game, Tannehill got a second contract from the Dolphins, Osweiler got paid and who could have ever imagined that agents would demanding “Kirk Cousins money” for their clients?
In 2013, there wasn’t a quarterback off the board until the 16th pick – typically a death-knell for a QB class because most of the teams picking early have some sort of quarterback problem that needs fixing – with E.J. Manuel. He was followed by Geno Smith, Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Landry Jones, Brad Sorenson, Zac Dysert, B.J. Daniels and Sean Renfree.
This isn’t a who’s who? It’s a who’s that? Manuel, Smith and Glennon all lost starting jobs and the rest, at best, have been emergency subs.
Then 2014 brought us Bortles, Manziel, Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Thomas, Tom Savage, Aaron Murray, A.J. McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, David “Epic” Fales, Keith Wenning, Tajh Boyd and Garrett Gilbert.
To this point, you could made an easy case that Carr and Bortles have achieved more in the terms of numbers than Bridgewater, but only one of them has made the playoffs.
Last year, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota went 1-2 in the draft and were followed by Garrett Grayson, Sean Manion, Bryce Petty, Brett Hundley and Trevor Siemian.
It’s too early to give grades to those guys. Winston and Mariota have done good things with bad teams and it’s too early to dismiss the rest.
If the standard is what players have proved to date, it would be difficult to have Bridgewater in the top 10, much less the top five. But, considering the dice rolls that have been made at quarterback, the Vikings’ foray into the quarterback pool has been about as successful as anyone, especially given that their only attempt in that timeframe came with the 32nd pick in the draft.