NFL Starting QBs Typically Drafted in 1st Round; But Nearly Half Don’t Play for Their Original Team

By Chris Malumphy

The starting quarterbacks of NFL teams are primarily first round draft picks. Thirty-four quarterbacks threw enough passes in 2011 to qualify for the passing title. I've tossed T.J. Yates into this analysis too since he will be starting in the playoffs for the Houston Texans due to the injury to Matt Schaub. Of those 35 quarterbacks, 19 (54%) were selected in the first round. Four others were taken in the second round, including Drew Brees who was taken with the 32nd selection in the 2001 draft, which is the equivalent of the last pick in the first round in the 32 team NFL draft of today. Of the quarterbacks drafted after the second round, only Matt Schaub (3rd rounder in 2004), Matt Hasselbeck (6th round in 1998) and Tom Brady (6th round in 2000) have had noteworthy success. Tony Romo, who went undrafted, could also be added to that mix. Seventh rounders Matt Cassel and Ryan Fitzpatrick have been too inconsistent to rate more than average.

Interestingly, the Atlanta Falcons have drafted three of the top 35 quarterbacks: Michael Vick, Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan. Considering that they also selected Brett Favre, who was a starter as recently as a year ago, that's not too shabby drafting, although the Falcons have only been able to fully capitalize on the selection of Ryan.

It is also insightful to note that 15 of the top 35 quarterbacks do not play for the teams that drafted or originally signed them including: Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Rex Grossman, Drew Brees, Kevin Kolb, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Moore.

Of the 12 starting quarterbacks for 2011 playoff bound teams, only T.J. Yates and Tom Brady were drafted later than the 3rd pick in the second round.

When Starting Quarterbacks Were Drafted
(Blue = 2011 Playoff Teams)
Name Team Drafted Round Pick Player Drafted By College
Michael VickEagles2001111FalconsVirginia Tech
Carson PalmerRaiders2003111BengalsUSC
Eli ManningGiants2004111ChargersMississippi
Alex Smith49ers200511149ersUtah
Matthew StaffordLions2009111LionsGeorgia
Sam BradfordRams2010111RamsOklahoma
Cam NewtonPanthers2011111PanthersAuburn
Matt RyanFalcons2008133FalconsBoston College
Philip RiversChargers2004144GiantsNorth Carolina State
Mark SanchezJets2009155JetsUSC
Blaine GabbertJaguars201111010JaguarsMissouri
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers200411111SteelersMiami (OH)
Jay CutlerBears200611111BroncosVanderbilt
Christian PonderVikings201111212VikingsFlorida State
Josh FreemanBuccaneers200911717BuccaneersKansas State
Joe FlaccoRavens200811818RavensDelaware
Rex GrossmanRedskins200312222BearsFlorida
Aaron RodgersPackers200512424PackersCalifornia
Tim TebowBroncos201012525BroncosFlorida
Drew BreesSaints20012132ChargersPurdue
Andy DaltonBengals20112335BengalsTexas Christian
Kevin KolbCardinals20072436EaglesHouston
Tarvaris JacksonSeahawks200623264VikingsAlabama State
Colt McCoyBrowns201032185BrownsTexas
Matt SchaubTexans200432790FalconsVirginia
Kyle OrtonChiefs200545106BearsPurdue
T.J. YatesTexans2011521152TexansNorth Carolina
John SkeltonCardinals2010524155CardinalsFordham
Matt HasselbeckTitans1998634187PackersBoston College
Tom BradyPatriots2000633199PatriotsMichigan
Curtis PainterColts2009628201ColtsPurdue
Matt CasselChiefs2005716230PatriotsUSC
Ryan FitzpatrickBills2005736250RamsHarvard
Tony RomoCowboys           Eastern Illinois
Matt MooreDolphins           Oregon State

2011 Quarterback Statistics
Aaron RodgersPackers50234368.34,6439.25456122.5
Drew BreesSaints65746871.25,4768.344614110.6
Tom BradyPatriots61140165.65,2358.573912105.6
Tony RomoCowboys52234666.34,1848.023110102.5
Matthew StaffordLions66342163.55,0387.60411697.2
Matt SchaubTexans29217861.02,4798.4915696.8
Eli ManningGiants58935961.04,9338.38291692.9
Matt RyanFalcons56634761.34,1777.38291292.2
Alex Smith49ers44627461.43,1507.0617590.7
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers51332463.24,0777.95211490.1
Philip RiversChargers58236662.94,6247.95272088.7
Matt MooreDolphins34721060.52,4977.2016987.1
Jay CutlerBears31418258.02,3197.3913785.7
Michael VickEagles42325359.83,3037.81181484.9
Cam NewtonPanthers51731060.04,0517.84211784.5
Matt HasselbeckTitans51831961.63,5716.89181482.4
Kevin KolbCardinals25314657.71,9557.739881.1
Joe FlaccoRavens54231257.63,6106.66201280.9
Carson PalmerRaiders32819960.72,7538.39131680.5
Andy DaltonBengals51630058.13,3986.59201380.4
T.J. YatesTexans1348261.29497.083380.2
Tarvaris JacksonSeahawks45027160.23,0916.87141379.2
Ryan FitzpatrickBills56935362.03,8326.74242379.1
Mark SanchezJets54330856.73,4746.40261878.2
Kyle OrtonChiefs25215059.51,7586.989977.8
Matt CasselChiefs26916059.51,7136.3710976.6
Josh FreemanBuccaneers55134662.83,5926.52162274.6
Colt McCoyBrowns46326557.22,7335.90141174.6
Tim TebowBroncos27112646.51,7296.3812672.9
Rex GrossmanRedskins45826557.93,1516.88162072.4
Sam BradfordRams35719153.52,1646.066670.5
Christian PonderVikings29115854.31,8536.37131370.1
John SkeltonCardinals27515154.91,9136.96111468.9
Curtis PainterColts24313254.31,5416.346966.6
Blaine GabbertJaguars41321050.82,2145.36121165.4