Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are two quarterbacks who were taken in the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft's first round, and they serve as two recent examples that you don't have to have a pick at the top of that round to land a star passer.
Problem is, they're basically the only recent examples, too.
In the past decade, teams who've tried to find their franchise signal-caller in the first round outside of either the first or second pick have failed time and time again. Since 2009, those prized QBs have mostly been selected No. 1 or No. 2 overall or mined beyond the first round.
The following list, compiled by Redskins Talk co-host Mitch Tischler, shows how many mediocre to straight-up bad options franchises have found using picks 3-32:
- Mark Sanchez — 2009 pick No. 5 — 37-36 career record
- Josh Freeman — 2009 pick No. 17 — 25-36 career record
- Tim Tebow — 2010 pick No. 25 — 8-6 career record
- Jake Locker — 2011 pick No. 8 — 9-14 career record
- Blaine Gabbert — 2011 pick No. 10 — 13-35 career record
- Christian Ponder — 2011 pick No. 12 — 14-21-1 career record
- Ryan Tannehill — 2012 pick No. 8 —42-46 career record
- Brandon Weeden — 2012 pick No. 22 — 6-19 career record
- EJ Manuel — 2013 pick No. 16 — 6-12 career record
- Blake Bortles — 2014 pick No. 3 — 24-49 career record
- Johnny Manziel — 2014 pick No. 22 — 2-6 career record
- Paxton Lynch — 2016 pick No. 26 — 1-3 career record
- Patrick Mahomes — 2017 pick No. 10 — 13-4 career record
- Deshaun Watson — 2017 pick No. 12 — 14-8 career record
- Sam Darnold — 2018 pick No. 3 — 4-9 career record
- Josh Allen — 2018 pick No. 7 — 5-6 career record
- Josh Rosen — 2018 pick No. 10 — 3-10 career record
- Lamar Jackson — 2018 pick No. 32 — 6-1 career record
That list is one the Redskins — who own the 15th pick in the 2019 draft and who are beginning to be linked heavily to Kyler Murray — should pay close attention to.
The 2018 class is too young to judge, and as mentioned earlier, the 2017 class is providing quality returns. But none of the other names on that list have turned into anything useful, not to mention anything resembling special.
Of course, if you go back farther into the past, you'll find that QBs like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers were snagged during the meat of the first round, so it's not impossible. However, the last 10 years have shown it can be very difficult to nail a pick in that range.
The logic feels simple: The truly elite talents, such as Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, are snatched up immediately. The QBs who are found in the mid- to late rounds, meanwhile, are given more time to develop and/or find themselves on rosters that have been built up more.
Those non-elite first-rounders, on the other hand, are generally caught in between: not skilled enough to help turn around a team singlehandedly but, because they're high investments, they're forced into those tough situations and end up floundering.
There's no doubt that the 'Skins need a new hope under center. Where they should commit to that hope, though, is something that must be considered.
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