The history of quarterbacks picked one-two in the draft

Daniel Juchima Roar Rookie

By Daniel Juchima, Daniel Juchima is a Roar Rookie

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    Peyton Manning might go down as the best quarterback in history. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

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    The rivalry between quarterbacks selected in picks one-two in the NFL Draft dates back to 1971 when the Boston Patriots selected Jim Plunkett over Archie Manning.

    As the years go by, the debate gets bigger. Which quarterback will be a success and which one will be a bust? This year’s draft marked the seventh time that quarterbacks would go in the first two picks.

    NFL executives and scouts can watch as much film as they like, but do they ever truly know if a quarterback out of college will be great? A lot of this comes down to luck as draft busts are becoming more common.

    Let’s explore some other one-two quarterback picks and see how it shaped the future of their respective franchises.

    1971 – Jim Plunkett v Archie Manning
    The original quarterbacks taken back-to-back were Jim Plunkett, the first pick selected by the Boston Patriots and Archi Manning, chosen by the New Orleans Saints. Manning was a better quarterback than Plunkett, however, Plunkett had more success.

    After four seasons at the Patriots, Plunkett was traded to the San Francisco 49ers and released after his first year. He landed at the Oakland Raiders were he started off as a back-up.

    When starting quarterback Dan Pastorini fractured his leg Plunkett got his opportunity to play. He won two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders and was named Super Bowl MVP in 1981.

    Archie Manning played his career in a poor team and could have been great if he was surrounded by the right people. He was sacked 340 times while playing at the Saints and his record as a starter was 35-101-3.

    He was selected to two Pro Bowls and was the NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1978.

    1993 – Drew Bledsoe v Rick Mirer
    Drew Bledsoe, the first pick in the 1993 Draft, resurrected a struggling New England Patriots and took them back to the Playoffs on multiple occasions. Bledsoe suffered a sheared blood vessel in the second game of the 2001 season and lost his starting job to back-up quarterback Tom Brady who went on to win the Super Bowl that year.

    The next season Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills where he spent two seasons before being traded to the Dallas Cowboys.

    Second pick Rick Mirer only lasted three seasons at the Seattle Seahawks before being traded to the Chicago Bears and ended up playing for seven NFL teams during his career. He was criticised for his lack of intelligence and widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

    1998 – Peyton Manning v Ryan Leaf
    The most famous one-two combination was the 1998 NFL Draft when the Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf. Ironically, the scouts couldn’t separate both players as they were incredible in their respective College careers.

    Lucky for the Colts, they went with their gut and selected Manning, who will go down as arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game and delivered them a Super Bowl.

    Leaf will be remembered for the biggest draft bust in NFL history – his is a very sad story. His career started poorly and he never recovered. After his rookie year he missed the 1999 season due to a shoulder injury and was later released by the San Diego Chargers. Post career Leaf became a drug addict, attempted suicide and is currently spending time in jail.

    In December 2012, Leaf pleaded guilty for burglary and drug possession in Montana and was sentenced to seven years in a state prison.

    1999 – Tim Couch v Donovan McNabb
    Tim Couch was drafted to the Cleveland Browns with the first overall pick in the 1999 Draft. He suffered many injuries including a broken thumb and a broken leg due to the inexperience of his offensive line.

    Couch was a draft bust and only lasted five seasons at the Browns before being traded to the Packers in 2004 where he failed to make the 53-man roster. Three years later he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the third string quarterback but was later released.

    Donovan McNabb, selected as the second pick by the Philadelphia Eagles led the team to the Playoffs over eight seasons, falling painstakingly short of achieving the ultimate success by losing Super Bowl XXXIX to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. McNabb made six Pro Bowls and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Year in the 2004 season having a successful career.

    2012 – Andrew Luck v Robert Griffin III
    Andrew Luck was selected with the first pick in the 2012 draft by the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III was selected as the second pick by the Washington Redskins. While RGIII was elite in his rookie season, he has failed to live up to expectations and had an injury prone career.

    He failed to gain the respect of his locker room and spent his last year’s as the third string quarterback. During the offseason the Redskins traded him to the Cleveland Browns. He now finds himself on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after suffering a ten week should injury in Week 1.

    Andrew Luck is widely regarded as the best quarterback in the NFL. If you were to build a prototype quarterback, then Luck would be it. He is extremely tough, has the ability to extend plays, is smart and a great teammate. Luck has taken his team to the Playoffs on three occasions.

    Providing the Colts can build an offensive line around him Luck may go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He will be a future Hall of Famer. Good call, Colts!

    2015 – Jameis Winston v Marcus Mariota
    Jameis Winston was drafted as the first pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Marcus Mariota was selected second by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft. They both have two very different styles.

    Winston is a pocket passer who has had a chequered past and was the subject of sexual assault claims during his time at College. His character has been questionable. However, he is a football nerd and has a work ethic that rivals the best.

    Mariota is an athletic quarterback and is his most potent while scrambling outside the pocket. He has a quick release but has a lot to learn. He came from a simple College system and time will tell if he has the mental capacity to become an elite player.

    2016 – Jared Goff v Carson Wentz
    Jared Goff was selected as the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and although it is too early to determine if he will be a success or not, what is evident is the lack of maturity. He seems to be the joker of the team, not the leader. He is the third-string quarterback on the Rams roster which is a little concerning and proves how much work needs to be done if he is to be successful.

    Conversely, Carson Wentz is the opposite. He is disciplined and mature beyond his years. He has all the hallmarks of a great leader. He has so much presence in the pocket, is extremely tough and can make all the throws. He has the ability to be elite and a franchise quarterback.

    The success of a first round draft pick is the difference between a franchise winning a Super Bowl and becoming relevant again, or continuing to be the laughing stock of the NFL. The stakes are high and one incorrect decision can be disastrous.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • Roar Pro

      September 26th 2016 @ 7:08am
      Pete McAloney said | September 26th 2016 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Thanks Daniel, that was a fun and informative read. It really is hard to believe that scouts couldn’t pick between Leaf and Manning! I do like your comments about Luck. As a Colts fan I am forever hoping the back office can provide him with a solid O line.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 26th 2016 @ 11:45am
        Daniel Juchima said | September 26th 2016 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Hi Pete,

        Thanks for reading my article. Yes it is amazing how the Colts got it right with Manning. Imagine if they had of elected Leaf! We probably wouldn’t be a franchise. After all, the don’t call Lucas Oil Stadium ‘The House That Manning Built’ for nothing.

        The Luck pick was great, he will be a star for years to come. I am too am a Colts fan. I was very happy with the win this morning. I think our defense played really well today. our offensive line was suspect yet again due to some injuries. Hopefully we can get it right!

    • September 26th 2016 @ 8:01am
      Matthew H said | September 26th 2016 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Thanks Daniel, nice article. Interesting that you have Pey Pey at arguably the all time best… I would have thought Montana streets him. On Montana, he went in the 8th round! But then he did battle Steve Young who was a great player and round-a-bout 1st round pick and IMO saw him off comfortably. I wonder how much pressure there is being a No. 1 or No. 2 draft pick QB into the NFL? I guess it could be enough to wreck some guys who are none the less great players, just never show it. I see the Eagles are currently up 20-3.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 26th 2016 @ 11:50am
        Daniel Juchima said | September 26th 2016 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        Hi Matthew,

        Thanks for reading my article. I do agree with you that Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback of all-time.

        I think Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and John Elway are in the tier below Montana. The comeback victories that Montana completed in big games were money. He is 11 TD’s and 0 INT’s in Super Bowls. That speaks for itself doesn’t it?

        You bring up a great point regarding the pressure that gets placed on the shoulders of picks 1 & 2. Only some players can handle that type of pressure.

        I love Carson Wentz, he has all the tools to be a great player. I can’t wait to watch his career unfold in front of our eyes.

        • Columnist

          September 26th 2016 @ 9:21pm
          Greg Prichard said | September 26th 2016 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

          Hello Daniel,
          Very interesting article. I’ve followed Peyton forever, way more obsessively than would be considered healthy, I reckon, but that is sport for you. It can have that effect. I’m a Colts fan from the day Peyton began playing for them, but I discovered I was a Peyton fan above even being a Colts fan when he switched to the Broncos. I went to the Super Bowl when the Broncos were belted by the Seahawks – hugely disappointing result, but still a fantastic experience. I was worried I might struggle to follow the NFL like I used to with him no longer playing, but fortunately I’m getting into it as usual early this season and I’m sure that’s because it’s just such a great game. I’m not going crazy – whenever I’d watch Manning play it was dead-set edge-of-the-seat stuff all game – but I’m enjoying it and I’m trying to ease myself back into being a fair dinkum Colts fan again. They desperately needed that win today and having to go for it on fourth and seven to keep their chances alive showed how close they were to getting beaten. But they got the win and it’s an incredibly important one for them. Hopefully they can kick on from there. Let me finish by saying I’ve seen that Carson Wentz a couple of times now and, honestly, I think he is brilliant. I think he’s the future. Philadelphia are going to go places with him. That guy will likely become a superstar. Cheers.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 27th 2016 @ 12:41pm
            Daniel Juchima said | September 27th 2016 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

            Hi Greg,

            Thanks for reading my article. Yes the game of football is certainly different without Peyton playing. There won’t be another quarterback like him, the way he dominated the line of scrimmage was special.

            The Colts win was crucial and shows they have plenty of fight. I thought our defense was really good today. But the pressure on Luck was tough to watch. When he has time he makes it happen but we lost two offensive lineman early in the game which makes it tough.

            I still believe we can get the Wild Card and you never know what could happen from there.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 26th 2016 @ 9:24am
      George said | September 26th 2016 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      Good article.

      Funny you mention Rick Mirer; IMO Jared Goff reminds me of Rick in a way
      I see Carson as a future MVP candidate

      • Roar Rookie

        September 26th 2016 @ 11:54am
        Daniel Juchima said | September 26th 2016 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Hi George,

        I am happy that you enjoyed my article, thanks for reading.

        I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the similarities between Jared Goff & Rick Mirer. Although it may be too early to tell, there is something about Goff that smells of a bust. Maybe Rick Mirer might have a job available for him at the winery he owns in the Napa Valley?

        Carson Wentz appears to be money. He reminds me of a young Andrew Luck and is extremely well coached. I think the Eagles hit the jackpot with Wentz.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 27th 2016 @ 9:39am
          George said | September 27th 2016 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          Yea true.

          I also think of Goff like Jake Locker in a way; Both played in the same conference in college, similar height, similar weight, 2016 Rams are kind of like 2011 Titans, etc.

          I think Wentz will be better than Luck; Luck is playing behind a bottom 5 offensive line.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 27th 2016 @ 12:43pm
            Daniel Juchima said | September 27th 2016 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            Interesting points you make. If Wentz becomes better than Luck than they have struck gold. I can’t wait to watch their careers unfold.

    • Roar Guru

      September 26th 2016 @ 10:05am
      Riley Pettigrew said | September 26th 2016 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Brilliant read Daniel.

      Will certainly be interesting to see who trumps in the Winston vs Mariota and Goff vs Wentz battles.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 26th 2016 @ 11:59am
      Daniel Juchima said | September 26th 2016 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Hi Riley,

      Thank you for your kind words. The Winston v Mariota battle will be very interesting. In my opinion I believe both these quarterbacks will probably end up being busts. I just don’t see enough great play out of them. Winston might have a serviceable career but I can’t see him dominating the league like the greats of the game do.

      The Goff v Wentz battle will be intriguing for years to come. I can’t wait to see it play out.

      • September 26th 2016 @ 4:56pm
        mushi said | September 26th 2016 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

        Define bust? If he sticks as a starter he’ll outperform the vast majority of first round drafted QBs.

        If the pass/fail is greatness then i don’t think the issue is Winston’s.

        Also saying guys lack intelligence is reasonably crude (given the notre dame background) it was a recurring cheap shot you didn’t need to make to deliver the points.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 27th 2016 @ 12:52pm
          Daniel Juchima said | September 27th 2016 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          Hi Mushi,

          Thanks for reading another one of my articles. I have always defined a bust as a player who does not play up to the level expected from where he was drafted.

          The pass/fail mark is not greatness. For example, Donovan McNabb was a success, although he did not reach greatness status.

          I apologize if your sensitive towards labelling Rick Mirer lacking intelligence. I was just telling you what one of his biggest criticism is. I was also stating the fact that one of his biggest weaknesses was his football IQ which was backed up by him playing for seven football teams.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 27th 2016 @ 9:40am
        George said | September 27th 2016 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Winston reminds me of Donovan McNabb…
        I think Jameis is a 2-4 time Pro Bowler at best.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 27th 2016 @ 12:58pm
          Daniel Juchima said | September 27th 2016 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          I think you are correct. He does remind me of a Donovan McNabb type player.

    • September 26th 2016 @ 1:37pm
      no one in particular said | September 26th 2016 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

      Goff will have a longer and more successful career then Wentz. He being 3rd string at present has zero to do with attitude, temperament or ability, it’s the long plan they have. I’ve seen Goff make throws most QBs in the league cannot

      • Roar Rookie

        September 26th 2016 @ 3:28pm
        Daniel Juchima said | September 26th 2016 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

        Hi there,

        Thanks for reading my article. My opinion’s on Goff have been made from numerous hours watching his preseason games, how he interacts in the huddle, how he carries himself in the locker room around teammates (as seen on Hard Knocks) and how dedicated he is to the film room.

        I do agree it is too early to say he will be a bust, he hasn’t even taken a snap yet! I totally respect your opinion that you think he will be better than Wentz.

        I believe Wentz is such a special player.

        I look forward to seeing how their careers play out.

      • September 26th 2016 @ 4:52pm
        mushi said | September 26th 2016 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        Yep the third string comment is a bit odd. Many great QBs served apprenticeships. It actually is the better way to acclimate olayers but bad for the GM.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 27th 2016 @ 1:01pm
          Daniel Juchima said | September 27th 2016 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          I agree that it is crucial to serve an apprenticeship behind a good quarterback. Steve Young & Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers & Brett Farve, Tom Brady & Drew Bledsoe etc.

          But my issue is that he isn’t even the back-up quarterback.

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