The regular season in the NFL has ended and for 20 of the 32 teams in the NFL its draft time. Next year the 12 teams that made the playoffs will be looking to improve to push them to the next level, while the 10 teams with top draft picks are looking for the rebuild. While it is popular to think that bringing a franchise quarterback to Jacksonville will take the Jaguars to the promise land, the fact is this is the farthest thing from the truth. Year after year we have to hear about how this one player will solve the problem. This is not the NBA. Football is the ultimate team sport and one player is not the be all end all.
Teams are looking for the next Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck and to be honest why would’t you be? Players of this caliber are hard to come by and if you have the chance you draft them. The problem is though this is a dream situation and too many NFL GMs get drawn into drafting a player that was never the same caliber. For every Cam Newton there is a JaMarcus Russell out there. But why do teams fall into these horrible decisions? Many AFC East fans would like to think that Bill Belicheck has perfected the art of inception in order to win the division every year but the answer is founded more in reality. The reality is Walmart used this problem to become the most successful retail company in the world.
Impulse buying may work for Doritoes but shouldn’t be used when purchasing a multimillion dollar asset. Yes selling jerseys is great but what does it do to the overall quality of the franchise. All 10 of the teams that won the first 10 draft picks this year have drafted a “franchise” QB in the last 15 years (Ryan, Stafford, Ponder, Manuel, Griffin 3, Gabbert, Carr, Russell, Locker, Freeman) while half of the teams going to the playoffs have a QB that was selected after the first round. On top of that, there have been 12 QBs selected as the first pick in recent years, 4 of which were on teams that failed to make the playoffs and 4 of which were drummed out of the NFL all together. 33% may sound like a good percentage until you learn that only 2 of the 12 have won a Superbowl. Any economist or portfolio manager will tell you a less then 20% success rate on a multimillion dollar deal is not worth the risk. To make matters worse only 5 of the last 38 QBs drafted in the first round have won a Super Bowl and 17 no longer start in the NFL.
The otherside of the coin is that out of the 7 quarterbacks who have won the last 10 Super Bowls, all have been first round picks except for Brady and Brees. However Rodgers, Eli Manning and Big Ben all entered situations where they just simply improved on a perennial powerhouse, and Flacco won one with a huge help from his Ray Lewis led defense. This leaves Peyton Manning as the only QB that really came in and changed the fate of his franchise.
Lets face it, Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland and their bottom dwelling compatriots have a lot of issues. You don’t win only 4 games in a season and hope one player solves all your problems the next. The Texans are in a great position in that they have proved in the past they have a capable team on both sides of the ball. Their biggest issue is at QB and with a talent like Teddy Bridgewater entering the draft it makes since to take him first. History shows though that the teams with that need below them should be wary. Don’t waste a pick on another Carr (metaphorically and literally) hoping that he is the right answer especially with a lot of talent still on the board.
The top franchises in the NFL have realized one thing. If you have a high pick, and there is no player that can immediately fit your needs, trade down. The best franchises realize that teams win championships, not just a QB. As a fan of one of these bottom dwellers that has drafted a franchise quarterback, I can tell you it is frustrating to see a talent with no help around him. While the QB is the most important player on any team, the NFL requires 54 solid players through all three facets of the game. The likes of Brady, Foles and Wilson have proved that if you build this good team and wait to find that player, the dividends are massive.