Assuming Kyler Murray is indeed the first quarterback drafted on Thursday, what are the odds he'll be the best quarterback to come out of the draft? How about if he's No. 1 overall? I took a look at the last 20 years to find out the answer.
Just before that time period is one of the all-time examples of the possible difference between the first quarterback drafted (Peyton Manning) and the others (Ryan Leaf). Typically, things aren't so clear-cut.
From the last 20 years, I count only seven times where the first quarterback drafted is clearly the best. If you want to add Mayfield to the list, that's eight.
At least nine times, and possibly 10 if we want to say Carson Wentz is better than Jared Goff, some other quarterback from the draft turned out better. I don't think I'd get much argument on McNabb, Brady, Brees or Cutler, and I think most would agree that Roethlisberger/Rivers, Derek Carr/Garoppolo, and Mahomes/Watson are better than the guy selected first in those years.
Two times they were all terrible.
Fourteen times in those 20 years, quarterbacks were selected No. 1 overall. I've got those guys listed in bold. By my count, including Mayfield but not Goff, that quarterback was the best in the draft only seven times (50 percent).
|1ST AND OTHER QUARTERBACKS DRAFTED, 1999-2018|
|Year||1st QB||Other notables||Best|
|2018||Baker Mayfield||Darnold, Allen, Rosen, Jackson||Too soon, but promising for Mayfield|
|2017||Mitchell Trubisky||Mahomes, Watson||Others look better|
|2016||Jared Goff||Wentz, Prescott||Too soon; Wentz probably best|
|2014||Blake Bortles||Bridgewater, Carr, Garoppolo||Not Bortles|
|2013||EJ Manuel||Smith, Glennon, Barkley||Yikes|
|2012||Andrew Luck||Griffin, Tannehill, Wilson, Foles, Cousins||Luck, but Wilson is close. Strong QB draft.|
|2011||Cam Newton||Dalton, Kaepernick||Newton|
|2010||Sam Bradford||Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy||Bradford by default|
|2009||Matthew Stafford||Sanchez, Freeman||Stafford|
|2007||JaMarcus Russell||Quinn, Kolb, Beck||Double yikes|
|2006||Vince Young||Leinart, Cutler||Cutler|
|2005||Alex Smith||Rodgers, Orton, Fitzpatrick||Rodgers|
|2004||Eli Manning||Rivers, Roethlisberger||? Roethlisberger or Rivers probably|
|2003||Carson Palmer||Leftwich, Boller, Grossman||Palmer|
|2002||David Carr||Harrington, McCown, Garrard||McCown or Garrard|
|2000||Chad Pennington||Bulger, Brady||Brady|
|1999||Tim Couch||McNabb, Culpepper||McNabb|
Some subjectivity here, but seems (to me) to be about a 50-50 chance that Murray winds up as the best quarterback drafted this year.
On his behalf, it can be said that at least some of the quarterbacks who didn't turn out the best were still pretty good. Michael Vick, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Jared Goff. Add those guys to the eight who turned out the best and that's 12 of 20 who were pretty good NFL players -- and 11 of the 14 drafted No. 1 overall.
Looked at in that way, you start to feel a little better about Murray's prospects of being successful NFL quarterback. Only three absolute bust quarterbacks at No. 1, and all drafted more than 10 years ago (Couch, Carr and Russell). Promising.