JOSH RICHERT | Creating QBs can be risky and costly

Once April comes and March Madness is over, sports talk often turns to the NFL Draft.

My father-in-law probably had every draft book from each year, but my favorite will always be the 1998 draft. On the first page, Mel Kiper Jr. wrote a column about why Ryan Leaf would be a better NFL quarterback than Peyton Manning and why Leaf would have a longer and more illustrious career.

If you don’t know what happened to Ryan Leaf, you have to google it. The last time I heard was that he was arrested again or maybe he was training high school soccer.

I always think that drawing quarterbacks at the beginning of the design is a risky business.

The 2021 NFL Draft will be no different.

With a number of teams living in the QB position and some strong prospects, up to five quarterbacks could be picked in the top 10 picks of this year’s draft.

The last three No. 1 picks were signal callers: Joe Burrow in 2020, Kyler Murray in 2019, and Baker Mayfield in 2018. A total of 25 quarterbacks were selected as the No. 1 with the expectation of leading their team to the Super Bowl .

How many of those 25 have? Seven did. Two more started Super Bowls later in their careers – with other teams – and six have won a Super Bowl.

These included Peyton Manning (two-time Super Bowl champion), John Elway (2 SB titles), Terry Bradshaw (4 championships), Troy Aikman (3 titles), Eli Manning (2 SB wins) and Jim Plunkett. Plunkett was drafted from New England but won the Lombardi Trophy twice with Oakland.

Cam Newton led Carolina to the Super Bowl but lost in the 2015 championship game to Manning and the Broncos.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is almost a unanimous decision to become the 26th QB number 1 in the NFL draft. Lawrence has only lost three games since starting his high school team, and all of those losses came in the postseason: his final preseason game after winning two state titles, the 2019 NCAA National Championship against Burrow and LSU, and the 2020 Sugar Bowl to Ohio State, led by Justin Fields.

Fields is expected to be ranked 8th in a mock draft I saw recently. Two more were “picked” between Lawrence and Fields.

BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance are in the mix and mocked for being 2-3 behind Lawrence. Alabama’s Mac Jones is also named a top 10 prospect.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is listed at his position sixth on the depth map.

If the story turns out to be true and, in hindsight, of course, is 20/20, few in this year’s QB class will have long, stellar careers in the NFL. The future of the careers of these young men is often blurred.

In 2005, Alex Smith was voted # 1 overall, and Aaron Rodgers was made the 24th pick. In 2001, Michael Vick was QB’s top pick and Drew Brees was 32nd overall. In 1999, Tim became Couch No. 1 over second choice Donovan McNabb. But the worst number 1 quarterback in 2007 goes to JaMarcus Russell. Russell played just three years of his first 6-year contract for $ 68 million.

Of course there will be busts in every position, but quarterbacks seem to hold the torch for the riskiest prospects.

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