A good quarterback is hard to come by in the NFL. Packers fans laugh at this notion since they have enjoyed Favre or Rodgers under center for almost three decades. For Browns fans, this may be a more sensitive subject. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and see where exactly they were drafted. It makes sense that most of these players were drafted early, but the best stories come from those undrafted players who have fought for every ounce of success from day one. Click here to see where all 16 NFC quarterbacks were picked.
Drafted: 2004 Draft, Round 1, Pick 11 (Steelers)
The 35-year-old certainly lived up to the expectations the Steelers had for him. He started out as the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and now has been voted to five Pro Bowls. Now at the end of his career, Roethlisberger hopes to get his third Super Bowl ring before he hangs it up.
Drafted: 2008 Draft, Round 1, Pick 18 (Ravens)
Flacco was the Rookie of the Year, then the Super Bowl MVP a few years later. He was rewarded with a big contract, but has been sub-par ever since. Much of this is due to injury, but he still hasn’t lived up to his contract when he is on the field.
Drafted: 2011 Draft, Round 2, Pick 35 (Bengals)
It’s pretty easy to make fun of Andy Dalton and the Bengals since they are unable to win the big games, but Dalton has actually been decent when he has weapons to throw to. After adding a few more receiving options and a lot more speed on offense, Cincinnati hopes this is the season Dalton and his team can get over the hump.
Drafted: 2017 Draft, Round 2, Pick 52 (Browns)
The rookie hasn’t proved anything yet, but he does look like he has a bright future in this league. To the surprise of some, he was named the starter for week one. He will look to silence his critics, but faces an uphill battle against the Steelers in his first official NFL game.
Average AFC North QB Draft Position: Pick 29
Drafted: 2012 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Colts)
Luck has been sharp from the first day he stepped foot in Indy, but he hasn’t been so lucky. The Colts were excited to draft their quarterback and leader for years to come as the transitioned away from the Manning era. Unfortunately, they didn’t have an offensive line in place to protect him. The only knock on Luck has been health, and it’s not even because he’s injury-prone. He’s unable to get protection, and he jogs on the field every series just to get killed. There are already question marks regarding his status for week one as he fights back from a shoulder injury. Honestly, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Colts to just put him on IR and prepare for next offseason to bring in more offensive line help.
Drafted: 2014 Draft, Round 4, Pick 135 (Texans)
Savage goes into 2017 as the starter of the Texans, even though he’s only thrown 92 passes, which resulted in one interception and no touchdowns. He seems to be the temporary option until rookie Deshaun Watson is ready.
Drafted: 2015 Draft, Round 1, Pick 2 (Titans)
Mariota has had his share of ups and downs in the league so far. He looks the part and has the potential to be elite, but consistency has not been his strength. The goal for the Titans this offseason was to make Mariota better. They did this by bringing in Eric Decker and using two of their top three draft picks on receivers. This should be a good season for the Titans and Mariota.
Drafted: 2014 Draft, Round 1, Pick 3 (Jaguars)
BUST. It’s sad because Bortles has the talent to play in this league, but his confidence is shot. He fails to make the simple throws when they matter, and he only shows his potential when his team is trailing by 20. This season will be Bortles’ last chance. Let’s see what he can do.
Average NFC North QB Draft Position: Pick 35
Drafted: 2014 Draft, Round 2, Pick 36 (Raiders)
Carr is developing into a really solid quarterback, and this was reflected by the Raiders overpaying him this summer. I can’t blame them though. It looks like they have their quarterback for a long time, and they really REALLY do not want another JaMarcus Russell situation. Carr has been voted to the past two Pro Bowls, and he looks to have another successful season as one of the favorites in the AFC.
Drafted: 2015 Draft, Round 7, Pick 250 (Broncos)
Siemian has won the starting job after competing with Paxton Lynch in camp. Siemian has shown to be inconsistent at times, but that should improve with experience. The Broncos were smart this offseason and made it a point to improve their offensive line, which was terrible a season ago. Due to this weakness, the Broncos has no running game and Siemian had no pocket. He will have to prove that Elway and the Broncos are making the right decision to start him, and I expect him to do so.
Drafted: 2005 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (49ers)
Alex Smith is not going to “wow” you on Sundays, but he gets the job done. He has been labeled as a “game manager,” but he has actually started to pass the ball downfield a bit in his time in Kansas City. Smith was voted to his second Pro Bowl last season, and he hopes 2017 will bring a third. He certainly faces an uphill battle with the receiving corps of Hill, Conley, Thomas, and Kelce. He will certainly lean on his tight end Travis Kelce as much as possible.
Drafted: 2004 Draft, Round 1, Pick 4 (Giants, draft trade)
You either love or hate Philip Rivers and his fiery personality, but you can’t deny his passion. He has played this way for a long time, and it has helped him be named to six Pro Bowls. He is a skilled quarterback that tries to make tough plays a little bit too often. This is partially because of him having a depleted offense as of late, but it has not limited his passing production. If he can get back to throwing a few more touchdowns and a few less interceptions, he’ll have a great year.
Average NFC North QB Draft Position: Pick 73
Drafted: 2006 Draft, Round 1, Pick 11 (Broncos)
Smokin’ Jay is back! Cutler gets a lot of criticism around the country by players and fans alike, and much of it is deserved. His personality, attitude, and admittedly punchable face make him an easy target for a joke. However, I do believe the joke has gone too far. I feel like he has turned his attitude around, and I think he has always been one of the more skilled passers in the league. He won’t be asked to do anything too crazy in the Dolphins offense, so if he can be sharp mentally, I expect this to be a relatively successful season.
Drafted: 2011 Draft, Round 6, Pick 180 (Ravens)
I’ll admit it, I didn’t see Tyrod ever coming close to the player he has shown to be in Buffalo. His deep ball is deadly and his legs are even more dangerous. If the Bills can actually build a team around him instead of taking away everything that plays into his strengths, he could be a successful quarterback. It won’t happen this year though.
Drafted: 2002 Draft, Round 3, Pick 81 (Cardinals)
The only guy who has played on more teams than Hoyer is Josh McCown. The Jets will be the 10th NFL team he has put a jersey on for, and after week one, he will have started for six of them. Same as Hoyer, he is not talented enough to build around, but skilled enough for teams to show this much interest in him. He continues to be decent everywhere he goes, but being successful for the Jets is a completely different animal.
Drafted: 2000 Draft, Round 6, Pick 199 (Patriots)
Look at the three names above in this division, now think about how Brady selected later in the draft than all of them, even Tyrod. We all know Tom Brady’s story. He was a late round draft pick, won five Super Bowls, and now has one of the greatest legacies in sports. He was very lucky to end up where he did.
Average NFC North QB Draft Position: Pick 118
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