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Where Every Starting NFC Quarterback was Drafted

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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. We’ll take a look at all of the NFC quarterbacks in this once, then we’ll tackle the AFC later this week.

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NFC North

Packers–Aaron Rodgers

Drafted: 2005 Draft, Round 1, Pick 24 (Packers)

Oh baby, that mustache is fierce! The Packers drafted Rodgers and initially had him watching and learning from Brett Favre. Once he got his shot, Rodgers took control. And that is the main thing I can say about Aaron Rodgers: he is always in control. He’s the most talented passer in the league, somehow the most elusive in and out of the pocket, and he has a glorious mustache. He has been the league MVP twice, Super Bowl MVP once, and he is preparing to take his team on a deep playoff run yet again.

Lions–Matthew Stafford

Drafted: 2009 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Lions)

At the time of writing, Stafford has the largest contract in NFL history. His resume doesn’t look that great outside of one Pro Bowl and being named the Comeback Player of the Year in 2011. He certainly misses throwing to one of the most dominant receivers in NFL history, Calvin Johnson. Though, the offense finally seems to have the weapons needed to succeed. Stafford has a lot to prove now that he has that $135M contract, but he may be able to do it this season.

Vikings–Sam Bradford

Drafted: 2010 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Rams)

The former top pick was Rookie of the Year with the Rams, but then kept getting injured. He went to Philadelphia for a season, played decent, but was then surprisingly traded to the Vikings last season. He went on to have the highest completion percentage in NFL history (71.6). This would be more impressive if he threw the ball past five yards more often. Bradford has been decent when he’s on the field, but injuries have plagued his entire career. Behind a bad offensive line this season, I don’t know how Bradford will last the year.

Bears–Mike Glennon (Probably)

Drafted: 2013 Draft, Round 3, Pick 73 (Buccaneers)

Glennon looked impressive as a rookie, when he started 13 games for the Buccaneers. Unfortunately, Tampa went ahead and drafted Jameis Winston. Now on the Bears, Glennon is ready to take his new contract and lead this team to…what…Mitch Trubisky? It looks like Glennon is about to lose his starting job again.

Average NFC North QB Draft Position: Pick 25

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NFC South

Falcons–Matt Ryan

Drafted: 2008 Draft, Round 1, Pick 3 (Falcons)

The reigning MVP enjoyed his best year as a pro, until the Super Bowl at least. Ryan was also the Rookie of the Year and has been voted to four Pro Bowls. In my opinion, “Matty Ice” melts under pressure. I said this long before the Super Bowl, but I was happy to see the Falcons’ self destruction confirm my beliefs. Ryan has enjoyed a pretty successful career throwing to Julio Jones, but after not getting a ring last season, I don’t think he’ll live up to expectations until he’s a champion.

Panthers–Cam Newton

Drafted: 2011 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Panthers)

The former MVP is no stranger to criticism, but I do think he brings a lot of it onto himself. Cam looks to bounce back after a down season and a shoulder injury. He is one of the best athletes in the league, but not a great passer. Now that the team will limit his running in hopes to keep him healthy, it raises questions of just how good he can be.

Buccaneers–Jameis Winston

Drafted: 2015 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Buccaneers)

No more stealing crab legs for Mr. Winston! He is expected to show a lot of growth this season and have his best year in the league. Throwing to guys like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard helps, and  Winston has shown plenty of potential. If he can improve his decision-making and limit the interceptions, he should have a top-10 season.

Saints–Drew Brees

Drafted: 2001 Draft, Round 2, Pick 32 (Chargers)

One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Drew Brees continues to embarrass secondaries. Brees is a Super Bowl MVP and has been voted to ten Pro Bowls. On top of that, he has led the league in passing seven different seasons. It seems like Brees is starting to slow down a little bit, but he is still undoubtedly one of the league’s best.

Average NFC South QB Draft Position: Pick 9

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NFC West

Seahawks–Russell Wilson

Drafted: 2012 Draft, Round 3, Pick 75 (Seahawks)

The former Badger came into the league and immediately made an impact. He was the Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl champion the following season, returned to the Super Bowl the year after, then broke franchise records the next year. He is both a skilled quarterback and a highly intelligent one. Unfortunately, he has a really bad offensive line attempting to protect him. This has caused him to be a bit banged up recently, and the line isn’t any better this year. He’ll have another great year if he can find a way to stay healthy, but I wouldn’t bet much on that happening.

Cardinals–Carson Palmer

Drafted: 2003 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1

There have been a lot of ups and downs in Palmer’s career. He was the touchdown leader in 2005 and has been to three Pro Bowls, but he just doesn’t seem to play well in big games. He has only one playoff win in his career, which came against Green Bay in 2015. To be fair, Larry Fitzgerald won that game, not Palmer. This season may be his last chance at glory.

Rams–Jared Goff

Drafted: 2016 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Rams)

Goff is only one season into his career and many are already labeling him as a bust. I never thought he should’ve been taken above Wentz, but it’s a little early to say he’s a bust. I mean seriously, he had to learn how to play NFL football from Jeff Fisher. That alone is a recipe for disaster! With a new head coach and more weapons at his disposal this year, we’ll see how he does.

49ers–Brian Hoyer

Drafted: Undrafted (Patriots)

Hoyer came out of Michigan State and was undrafted, but the Patriots picked him up almost immediately. Since then, he has played for seven different NFL teams, including the 49ers. While this is kind of funny and could be seen as negative, I actually think the opposite. Hoyer is not good enough to build a team around, but he is clearly good enough for teams around the league to be interested in bringing him in. Not only has he played for seven different franchises, but after week one, he will have started a game for five of them (Patriots and Steelers the only teams he didn’t). Wherever Hoyer has gone, he has performed pretty well. I expect him to shock many this season and even pull off a couple upsets.

Average NFC West QB Draft Position: Pick 83-ish


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NFC East

Cowboys–Dak Prescott

Drafted: 2016 Draft, Round 4, Pick 135 (Cowboys)

Hey, have you heard of Dak Prescott? No? Well, how’s that rock you’re living under? He and Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm last season. He is set up to be even more successful this year, even though the team should take a step back. It will be interesting to see if he can perform as well now that teams can game plan properly for him. Prescott definitely overachieved last season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be great going forward.

Giants–Eli Manning

Drafted: 2004 Draft, Round 1, Pick 1 (Chargers, draft trade)

Eli Manning is known for three things:

  1. Peyton’s less talented brother
  2. Being traded on draft day because he refused to sign with the Chargers
  3. The New England Patriots’ Kryptonite

Eagles–Carson Wentz

Drafted: 2016 Draft, Round 1, Pick 2 (Eagles)

Wentz started last season on fire, but quickly cooled off and looked like a rookie. The Eagles made this offseason about bringing in pieces to make Carson Wentz better. They want to establish the run with LeGarrette Blount, and now he has Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to throw to. Quarterbacks usually make their biggest leaps from year one to year two. If the beginning of last season was any indication of what is to come, Wentz has a very bright future.

Redskins–Kirk Cousins

Drafted: 2012 Draft, Round 4, Pick 102 (Redskins)

Cousins was selected in the same draft as the Redskins picked RGIII, to the surprise of many. Well, Cousins is certainly making Washington fans “like that” decision now. However, they may not like that he turned down a contract offer and is instead betting on himself to outperform that deal this season. If he does, he will receive a big contract from someone. If he struggles, it will be interesting to see what kind of offer the Redskins decide to give him.

Average NFC East QB Draft Position: Pick 60

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