Most Super Bowl teams don’t get their quarterbacks from the first round
The importance of picking the perfect first-round quarterback is overstated.
All that talk of Mac Jones vs. Justin Fields vs. Trey Lance could all be very loud for nothing (which would lead my colleague Jon helmkamp in a tree if he heard me say it.).
This ESPN Get Up statistic says it all.
Since 2010, Patrick Mahomes has been the only quarterback drafted in the first round to both start and win a Super Bowl. Mahomes won Super Bowl LIV with the Chiefs in 2020.
This harsh reality makes you re-evaluate what all the hype around the quarterback position is really for. QB is a very important part of team success, but does that mean you have to take a risk on any of the top ten if you don’t think they are? Or give up a chance to build talent depth with three to four picks in subsequent rounds just to get a QB in Round 1?
I do not think so.
While the quarterback can improve anything on the pitch, there is nothing without talent around them. We saw this in the past Super Bowl with Mahomes running for his life due to a deficient offensive line. We saw Carson Wentz go from an MVP contender to a scrub when the Eagles lost their talent. Same thing with Jared Goff in LA.
The point is, we’ve seen some very successful teams that have won the Super Bowls led by first-round picks that were not quarters. We’ve also seen teams succeed with guys behind the center who weren’t drafted in the top 32 picks.
Does anyone remember Denver’s Von Miller winning Super Bowl 50 MVP as a defensive player or maybe Seattle’s Malcolm Smith in Super Bowl XLVIII?
Russell Wilson has appeared in two Super Bowls and won one as a third overall in the 2012 Draft. His 2012 third-round mate Nick Foles defeated the greatest quarterback of all time in Super Bowl LII . The common denominator with these two teams is that they were stacked outside the QB position. The Boom Legion was dominant in both Super Bowl trips, and the Eagles were arguably the most talented team from top to bottom during the 2017 season.
Even if you look before 2010, the New England Patriots were winning pretty steadily with a sixth round pick that you may have heard of.
Maybe it’s time for teams to start focusing on the depth of the draft instead of grabbing a quarterback like a band-aid to cover up the team’s real issues.
According to ESPN’s selection evaluations, the teams traded for a first-round QB 25 times and the analyzes showed that the team that traded overpaid for the quarterback all 25 times. Just think about where those teams were if they had used those second and third round picks they gave up to pick good defensive players or stronger linemen. Their team could be much more stable when a QB falls in their turn later.
The fascination with first-round QBs has become unhealthy for so many NFL teams. Maybe it’s time to ditch the “franchise savior” plan and start building a football team.