The risk of taking the No. 1 QB after the No. 1 pick

The 49ers have the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft. With the No. 1 pick, most experts expect the Cleveland Browns to take the defensive end from Texas A&M, Myles Garrett, which would put the Niners in position to draft the quarterback of their choosing.

Should they take a QB with the No. 2 pick?

Here’s why I ask:  Quarterbacks worthy of the No. 1 pick have a much better success rate than quarterbacks who are the first selected at their position but not as the No. 1 pick. Check this out:

QBs who were the No. 1 pick (since 1977)

  • Jared Goff
  • Jameis Winston
  • Andrew Luck
  • Cam Newton
  • Sam Bradford
  • Matthew Stafford
  • JaMarcus Russell
  • Alex Smith
  • Eli Manning
  • Carson Palmer
  • David Carr
  • Michael Vick
  • Tim Couch
  • Peyton Manning
  • Drew Bledsoe
  • Jeff George
  • Troy Aikman
  • Vinny Testaverde
  • John Elway

QBs who were not the No. 1 pick, but were the first selected at their position (since 1977)

  • Blake Bortles
  • E.J. Manuel
  • Matt Ryan
  • Vince Young
  • Chad Pennington
  • Jim Druckenmiller
  • Tony Banks
  • Steve McNair
  • Heath Shuler
  • David Klinger
  • Dan McGwire
  • Tom Tupa
  • Jim Everett
  • Randall Cunningham
  • Boomer Esiason
  • Art Schlicter
  • Rich Campbell
  • Marc Wilson
  • Jack Thompson
  • Doug Williams
  • Steve Pisarkiewicz

It seems like if a quarterback clearly is the best choice, you take him No. 1. But after that, you’re usually reaching for a QB who doesn’t pay off.

What trend do you notice?

This article has 46 Comments

  1. After perusing those two lists I’d say you’re screwed either way.

    All works towards my plan of not taking a QB until after pick #60.

  2. Niners should use their number 2 pick and trade back to get more bodies.

    Then select a QB in the third round. That worked out well for them.

  3. Really what this says is that in years where there are no clear cut elite QB prospects there is a higher likelihood the QBs taken high won’t work out. Not exactly a surprise, but worthy of noting.

    However, its still also worth noting some good QBs can be found in that second list.

    Definitely buyer beware, but when you need a QB, you have to roll the dice. Unless the 49ers can trade for a good QB option, my recommendation for the 49ers would to roll the dice 3 times – once in FA and twice in the draft (one in first two rounds, one in mid rounds). And don’t be afraid to take a QB high in 2018 also if the game 2018 class looks a strong one.

    1. Agreed Scooter. There doesn’t seem to be any strategy that is fool proof which means the more selections you use, the better chances of landing one that works out.

    2. The odds of a QB succeeding if they go to a winning or solid team are also greater A large number of QB’s drafted high fail because they end up on teams picking first .How many QB’s taken first ( high in the round ) end up succeeding because they were drafte by fairly solid teams who either had a bad year or traded up for that pick? There are more variables that need to be factored in before making these blanket statistically backed statements. The 49ers are a team that has a lot of holes to fill. They are somewhat like Cleveland. How many QB’s have been drafted high by Cleveland. How many have been successful. The team around a QB is a major contributor to their success. It’s a chicken or the egg factor.

      1. Isn’t the fact that they were taken number 1 an indication that the dragging team was pretty bad the previous year? There’s the odd trade of course but usually it’s a an being taken by a team in our position.

    3. Scooter

      Good thought scooter… 1 FA QB and 2 draftees…I agree, but not before the 3rd round, and perhaps the 5th or 6th round. Now that TB isn’t with us any longer, we won’t be sending our draftee QB’s out in trades as we did this year. I think that the first and the 2nd round should be used for WR or ILB…

      1. I understand your thinking Oegon, but you take a QB in the 3rd and 5th round and what you have are 3rd and 5th round calibre QB prospects.

        Even though this isn’t a great year for QBs, if you wait and let everyone else grab the best ones, you aren’t really giving yourself a great chance of finding a good one.

        1. Scooter

          I agree, but I’d rather have a chance of landing a Dak Prescott or Joe Montana than Trubisky or Kizer when the shine of being one of the ‘good ones’ wears off. Honestly, I don’t believe that there’s a nickel’s difference between any of the top 6 QB’s in this draft class. Can they run…can they pass… can they lead…are they durable…can they run their huddle and be a presence in the locker room…good size…and good arm. It’ll take two years to find out anyway, so let’s not waste our high draft choices on a QB until a REAL one shows up.

          In reality, I believe that we’re both on the same page….Now, let’s find that FA who can school our two draftees…Kellen Clemmons ?

  4. Jim Everett while conjuring up memories of beating him twice a year, I also hearken back to this endearing memory:

    While those are interesting grocery lists, I think the cook(s) has a responsibility in the final product. So if you’ve got coaches that have a proven track record of developing quarterbacks, taking the best overall prospect makes a lot of sense….

  5. Yep…any QB taken that early is a huge risk. For me, the smarter move is to hire a GM like Riddick who has a keen eye for talent, not only players, but coaches, too. I think his or whomever becomes the new GM’s best move is to trade down. Another move to make is a deal w/NE for Garrapolo. I think that’s in the team’s best interest, particularly if McDaniels takes the HC job. It not only gives the Niners a starting QB, it takes the pressure off to draft one early. Many needs on our team, so getting as many higher picks as possible gives potentially a lot more bang for the buck.

    1. I agree- I think the 49ers should either go after Garrapolo or go after a “bridge” veteran and a high risk rookie (no sure thing this year). I think they could likely trade down to…#10 (?) and send a first and fourth to the Patriots.

      1. This Is my thinking. If there’s no qb in the draft looking like a franchise man then don’t force it. There’s always next year and let’s be honest, no matter what draft and fa moves we make, it’s going to be a few years anyway

  6. Will be interesting to see what trade offers come forward for the 2d overall pick, depending of course on what develops during and after the combine, and the roll-up to the draft. Trading down could be a good thing. Let’s see what develops.

  7. At some point like it or not the 49ers have to start taking a chance on a Quarterback to get any better.

    You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

  8. Wow. Good analysis Grant. I think your exactly right in the conclusion. Teams are reaching due to the premium put on the position. Seems like in years where there’s no clear cut #1, QB there’s usually a guy who was good for maybe 1 year in college, like Trubisky, where people fall in love with the physical attributes without considering if he can read defenses or throw accurately. With the advent of spread offenses in college where they are throwing pre-defined quick short throws, then it’s next to impossible to tell what you’re getting in terms of a pro style QB. I only saw Trubisky play in the bowl game and I liked what I saw but not enough to spend the #2 pick on the kid. I would LOVE to see the 9ers trade down and get a quality WR and/or additional help for the o-line. I know it’s year one for him but I was thoroughly unimpressed with Garnett this year.

  9. I post this every so often, but it’s worth repeating: in the last 20 years, of the Super Bowl WINNING QB’s, 12 of them were drafted in the first round, and most were high in the first round. Brady is the anomaly that skews the numbers. Go back five more years and it’s 17 out of 25.

    For every Brady or Wilson or Montana or Warner, there are dozens who don’t even make the roster.

  10. Its simple if “your guy” is in the draft go get him. If hes not then build the team around the position.

  11. You can’t draft what isn’t there. Please no quarterback at 2.

    – If Myles Garrett falls to 2 run the ticket to the podium.
    – Garrett will probably be gone. Pick Jonathan Allen. We already have two first rounders at his position, but he’s a rare disruptor. Too good to pass up.
    – Trade back a few spaces. Choose Derek Barnett, BPA or execute another trade back.
    – Trade back 8-15 spots. Best of WR, Edge, ILB etc.

    Its way to early, but this draft doesn’t seem quite as deep as 2016. Plenty of ammo to trade 34 into the 20s for targeted player.

      1. wilson73 – Thanks. Drives me crazy when fans say “they better draft a great (position name) or else…”

    1. There are 53 underclassmen declaring for the draft, so they could take up the whole first round. I think there is starter quality into the third round.

  12. Grant, that’s a stark difference from 1 overall to merely first chosen. Thanks for compiling the lists. Makes me more adamant we skip quarterback with pick 2.

  13. Trade back, back, back, back (and up from later rounds) …. get ten number two picks … and in the second round … draft best two QBs available, best two WRs available, best two DBs available, best two pass rushers available and best two OLs available …

    Yes, I am available for the GM job, and yes, I will hire either Garcia or Holmgren but with only a two year contract (maybe hire them both for Jeff to take over when Holmgren retires)

    *think outside the box, baby, outside the box …or think INSIDE the box, but have different and original thoughts ..

    1. He is, but how good of an NFL prospect is he? He gets a lot of favourable matchups, is kept fresh, and isn’t exposed against the run game much. I think he’s good, and can be a real nightmare as a speed rusher, but is he as good as guys like Barnett and Lawson who put up better sack totals while also being tasked with stopping the run and having opponents know they are the best DL on their team?

      1. Barnett doesn’t seem explosive or strong against the run, but maybe I’m missing something. Williams seems much stronger and more explosive. Maybe I’m watching the wrong games?

        1. You’re right about the explosiveness. Whenever I watch Barnett I am amazed he was so productive, as I don’t see anything special about him. Yet he was the DL everyone feared on that DL and he was highly productive. Not sure what to make of him, but I think he is somewhat similar to Shaq Lawson last year.

          1. From the little I’ve watched of Barnett, he seems to play high against the run and get washed out of the play. Williams seems more stout and powerful despite his weight.

            1. Alabama players make me nervous. Alabama produces a lot of decent players, but not a lot of superstars. When I watched ‘Bama this year Allen and Foster were the ones that really stood out. Williams and Anderson flash and will probably make good NFL players, but not convinced they are budding superstars. Williams reminds me of Irvin.

              1. Harold Landry looked unstoppable in the Bowl game. He might be a sleeper in Round 2….

              2. That’s a good comparison, but Williams seems better than Irvin. I could be wrong. Williams seems like the most explosive player on Alabama’s defense.

              3. Williams is definitely the most explosive player at ‘Bama. He’s “twitched up” as they like to say.

  14. Williams benefit from the talent around him. I think you are incorrect about Barnett and he played with some on Defense but was the standout on that side of the ball

  15. York is just stupid enough to order the G.M to take a Q.B with their first pick.Build the Line an listen to what all the scouts say. It’s supposed to be at least 4 Q.B that are coming out next year, that are rated higher then the Q.B s this year!

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