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History dictates teams must find QBs early

I shared with you recently that an NFL scout related to me his opinion that any team hoping for a good chance at finding a starting quarterback should think of accomplishing that goal early in the draft, certainly not much later than the first round.

Well, the folks at draftmetrics.com are putting statistical weight behind that opinion now.

In studying the NFL drafts of 1991-2010, draftmetrics has come up with the astonishing fact that over 48 percent of quarterbacks starts the past 20 years were made by players selected in the first round (selections 1-28), which is nearly twice as much as the average for all positions.

There have been 241 QBs selected by NFL clubs from 1991-2010 and a whopping 68.2 percent of the ones picked within the first 13 picks of the draft became five-year starters.

Let that marinate for a moment.

The NFL draft is, in my opinion, a 50-50 proposition. Bill Parcells famously said, "they don't sell insurance for this."

Yet nearly 7 of 10 QBs picked between No. 1-13 overall were good enough to be starting for their teams for a long time. That is impressive.

The draftmetrics folks also bust the myth that drafting a quarterback must necessarily be an exercise in patience because 30 QBs over the past 20 years of drafting have started at least eight games in their rookie seasons.

Why am I sharing this you?

Well, if you think the Dolphins can find a five-year starter with the No. 15 overall selection in the coming draft, this study suggests the chances are much better if Miami could trade up a couple of spots to get a higher rated player.

It tells you that if you are convinced the Dolphins cannot find a 2011 starting quarterback in this draft, you are not recognizing facts because 30 rookies did exactly that since 1991.

If you are advocating the Dolphins trade back -- rather than up -- to add a pick and take a lesser rated QB, history is saying you're making a bad deal. Consider that while 68.2 percent of QBs picked by the 13th overall pick become five-year starters, only 14.3 percent of QBs picked between selections 49 and 74 accomplished the feat and only 6.7 percent of QBs selected from 74-114 overall accomplished the feat.

Point is teams maximize their chances of success with QBs by getting them earlier. And the ones that come late are typically not going to solve your QB issues.

Yes, there are exceptions. Tom Brady was the 199th player selected. Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent.

But exceptions are rare.

The top quarterbacks, the quarterbacks that start right away and last for at least five years as starters go early in the first round, according to the 20-year study.

So what does this mean in today's real world?

Well, it means that Blaine Gabbert, likely the first quarterback off the board in 2010 and likely a Top 10 pick, has a very good chance of being a success according to the history.

It means that JaMarcus Russell's failure was the exception and not the rule.

It means that quarterbacks teams rate as later prospects are more likely to become Brady Quinn than Tom Brady.

All of this should give teams pause. And it does. I know for a fact teams conduct similar studies of past drafts to maximize their chances of success.

So say, for example, the Dolphins have Nevada's Colin Kaepernick on their board as the No. 49 rated player ... Well, the historical probability of him becoming a five-year starter for Miami?

14.3 percent.

Think about that.


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what about picks 13-48??

Nice I agree 100 %.. If we commit to drafting a Qb we need to do it early...How ever I just read this article from Sean McCormik...Miami Dolphins: Is Chad Henne getting a bad rap?

Back in August, a popular debate swirled around the Internet about the relative merits of the two young AFC East gunslingers, Mark Sanchez and Henne. Sanchez had the cachet, the high draft position and the playoff wins, but Henne had the sturdy frame and the big arm. A surprising number of scouts and analysts agreed that Henne was the true rising star. Fast-forward to this offseason, and Sanchez is coming off his second consecutive AFC Championship appearance, while Henne has apparently lost his starting job to some combination of Tyler Thigpen and a player to be named later.

There is no question that Henne's performance was disappointing for a player supposedly on the verge of a breakout -- he threw for 3,300 yards but managed only 15 touchdowns mixed with19 interceptions. However, Miami's pass offense was no worse than league average; in fact, it was the second-best in the division behind New England's. And Henne's advanced numbers are closely aligned with the other AFC East signal-callers not named Tom Brady.

Quarterback DYAR Rank DVOA Rank
C. Henne 593 17th 6.7 percent 22nd
R. Fitzpatrick 476 18th 5.0 percent 23rd
M. Sanchez 437 20th 1.6 percent 27th

Standard statistics -- and popular perception -- suggest that Sanchez took a solid step forward in his second season and Fitzpatrick was a revelation who made a lost season exciting for the downtrodden Buffalo fan base, while Henne was nothing short of a disaster. But perception doesn't account for context, and it doesn't account for luck, either.

At Football Outsiders, one of the statistics that our game charters compile is the number of times a quarterback threw an interception that the defender dropped. Although there are still a handful of games uncharted, our numbers currently have Sanchez leading the league with 15 dropped interceptions; no other quarterback has more than eight. So although Sanchez seemingly improved by cutting his interceptions down to 13, the reality is that he threw 15 other passes that easily could have been picked had defenders held on to the ball. The argument for Sanchez's improvement was largely based on the idea that he was playing smarter and limiting his turnovers, but the only thing that Sanchez really improved was his luck.

Who was the unluckiest quarterback this past season? Henne. He threw 19 interceptions on the season but had only one dropped interception. That won't happen again. Henne remains a talented player, and the odds of his experiencing a rebound next season are pretty good. Before GM Jeff Ireland decides to blow a first-round pick on Jake Locker or Cam Newton, he may want to consider investing in more linemen and receivers to help out the guy who is already on the roster. I say more year ...but this time put talent around him Like your beloved Jets have done for Sanchez

While this is good info to see, this also should tell us forget a QB this year in the draft we are not sitting high enough for a quality QB, the good ones will be gone by the time we draft. So next up would be RB we have no RB's on the roster while our QB may need to be upgraded it won't happen via the draft.

I really hope we are not looking at aging FA RB's and reaching at 15 on a guy like kaepernick or ponder just because we need an upgrade at the QB position. Let's just accept the fact we are not in a good draft position for a QB we should just try to find a VET as insurance for Henne until next year's draft where we would have some picks to trade to move UP in the draft for that QB we need.

I say more year ...but this time put talent around him Like your beloved Jets have done for Sanchez... I added that Line...Sean McCormick didnt say that..lol..Im saying 1 more year

What about Marino?

Lol. No matter what the stats are saying, our FO failed TWICE in drafting Quarterbacks in the last 3 years, and they will fail again this year if they try. And there will be no difference if they draft a QB in the 1st round or later - it will be a bust. Because our GM doesn't care about quality or development. He cares about whether the parents of a player are prostitutes or not.

That article is false...Henne had more than one INT dropped...i saw several! Heck, one hand they were jumping routes from the first snap and dropped a couple before they reeled in 3 or 4 INT's

marc,the idiot.

Deven...I know you were pasting an article.....so this is not an attack on you....

But in reality that is an unprovable stat with to many variables

What is and is not a catchable INT is totally in the eye of the beholder......

The only thing that matters is wins and losses....

Sounds to me like that article was either written by a jet hater or a Dolphins aplolgist (as if theres a difference)....

in either case buying into revionsionist history, or revionist stats in this case is the equivolent to an ostrich burying his head in the sand....

Gee, is this even news? Didn't we already know this?

New Flash - Since the inception of the NFL, the team with the most points at the end of the game won 100% of the time.

I hate to say it, but there are just as many first round busts as their are true stars. Ty Detmer, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn and that's just off the top of my head. Who are today's NFL star quarterbacks? Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aarron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and it looks like Michael Vick is on his way back. So out of that list you have 3 1st rounders in Peyton, Philip and Vick and I think it's still a little early to say if Vick is back yet. Henne is still going to be better than anyone they bring in from the draft, even if they traded up to the #1 spot.

Statistically, there are lot of holes in this methodology the teams that really NEED QBs will, of course draft QBs in round one. Teams that don't have urgent burning needs for QBs will make their picks in later rounds (thereby forestalling the need for the QB in question to start.)

In short -- late round QBs are far more likely to be drafted by better TEAMS than early round QBs...and this impacts playing time as much as talent does. Gotta be careful in casually slinging causality around in these methodologies.

I call this the 'Dan Marino' corollary. When it comes to Quarterbacks (in particular) the later you go, the better your team.

While Marino proved to be a once-in-a-generation talent -- he also had a huge situational edge in that...going into the 1983 season, the Dolphins had just come off a Super Bowl appearache and were, in fact, already pretty damn good. The fact that on this pretty good team, the QB was (David Woodley) was still a bit of a question mark -- made the situation damn near perfect for Marino to quickly take the reigns. The QBs picked ahead of MArino did not have this luxury.

It's also worth remembering another Dan Marino
corollary -- mechanics only count for so much. Marino's stock was hurt by a subpar senior season and a somewhat onorthadox throwing motion...a throwing motion that proved to be the quickest release in the history of hte league.

I say go with Kaepernick. He has the measureables. He has the on-field performance. He appears to have the intangibles. And he can be had in the second round wiht a smart trade down. Of all of the flags a QB can have -- mechanics are the easiest to correct.

Yes but also 8 int against Henne was a direct fault of the Wr,Te, Or running back..so where do we draw the line.. Shrugs..There is no doubt we need a qb in here to push him.. I would Love Palmer... But what I have seen from this crop coming out...The only one I would draft is Mallett .. So lets put talent around Chad..By the way he Says in the article that there are a hand full of games un charted.. so it's not false as of yet

Statistically that means he will work for the fins ~1.5 in 10 will be a 5 year starter they have already picked:-


when added to the rest of the junk they have picked up one of these 2nd/3rd rounders have to stick

Just because they were 5 year starters doesn't mean they were any good. Because there are way more teams than decent qb's a team can't just give up on a qb. I think that fact skews the stat a little. But the fact that qb's picked later have little impact is a more important stat. Rule of thumb should be never draft a qb from Oregon, USC, or Michigan.

It doesn't take into account that some drafts are richer in QB's than others. This seems like a rather weak QB class. While I agree we badly need a franchise QB, I'm not sold on any from this lot.

someone looks dumb,lol

OK, so I've digested the article. All fine and dandy and good to know.

But are we really saying that this year is a good year to move up a couple of spots to grab a QB, just because these are what the stats say? I figure that would cost us at least a third round pick. So we're going to go QB in the first, no second round pick and no thord round pick? The QB sits out all team activites because of the lockout, joins the team two weeks before camp and VOILA!!!......nothing!! and no return from second round pick or third round pick. Coach and likely GM get first and Bill C is right, we are now probably the worst franchise in the league.

What this article shows further proof IMO, is that this is the WRONG year for us to be taking QB in the first round. There's red flags everywhere to be found on thse guys and we're supposed to be picking them in the first? I think this should put all the first round QB talk to bed once and for all for us.

I would still take a flyer on Kaepernick in the second or third. I'd be prepared to give up next year's second to take this guy in the second. He's an intriguing prospect. I see him as this year's Josh Freeman and a guy who is probably a couple of years away. There are exceptions to the above article of course. I would say that Brees and Rodgers have turned into stars being late first and early second round QBs and Freeman is on his way as being a late teen pick.

rosenfels is about as good as henne will ever get

Armando... to add to your stats....

Since 1990 62% of SB winning QB's have been 1ST RD QBs....

Not impressed.....

since 1990 All of the QBs to win mutiple SB's have been 1ST RD SELECTIONS...


The more I consider this early draft conundrum the more I am convinced of several things;

The Dolphins need to make signing/trading for Vince Young the #1 priority.


Picking at #15 and with no 2nd round pick the Dolphins will not be able to draft a QB that will challenge to start.

The Dolphins offensive line was not able to make a pocket last year. The Dolphins need es-capability at the QB position.

Ross needs to put fans in the seats and wants a more dynamic offense. VY will bring that.


In assertaining which qb's are the real deal some drafts are better than others in that stock. The Qb's in this draft are some of the biggest gamble and not so sure thing that have seen in recent memory.

When Andrew Luck decided to stay it tattered hell out of this qb class. Who the hell knew of Blaine Gabbert before Luck's withdrawal. Players coming out of seemingly nowhere just before draft scares hell out of me.

Then there's Cam Newton. He now seems to be a guy who's slowly walking himself right off of the plank. Even as the draft approaches.

Considering what's available I dont think this is an even pseudo safe year for trading up for a qb. Just because a guy is ranked top 10 in this class doesnt mean that if better talent were available he would still be that high.

IMO, if a better class of qb's were available, the best of this lot would be late 1st rd'ers at best. So you see Armando, that also needs to be highly considered too. Some qb's are special and some qb's are special when coming from a mediocre class.

If we are going to Get a Qb in the 2nd round I would rather trade down.. get the 2nd pick...and trade that 2nd pick for Carson Palmer...I dont think we are that far away..

What I hate most about the top of this qb class is that you have to search for everything possible to try and sell yourself on them. The great qb classes sell themselves.


well living in kc i do know alot about gabbert. hes big, basically thats it. never really did anything. we know they will trade dow, so thats where we should start. take bestolineman near end of first rd, then take rb in 2nd rd.

come on oregon, young is garbage.


Everything Bill Parcells says neither quote worthy, or even football savy.....

Especially when were talking QB's....save his quotes for OLB's....

Another thing I am convinced of is drafting Ingram at #15 is a mistake.


Drafting a RB in the 1st round is just poor value.

This is a passing league and largely a platoon RB league now. The answer is to focus on the line and sign Ronnie.

Ronnie is a better and more complete RB than Ingram and will probably come at a cheaper price than signing the #15 pick.

If the line cannot make and hole and get to the second level drafting a 1st round RB is just a waste.

Now let the bashing from all the Ingram lovers begin in 3. 2. 1...

VY looks far more attractive than anything coming out of this year's top of the heap qb's. VY isnt a bust, still very young, and was a top of the heap qb coming out of college.

VY only needs a little more maturity and needs to develop greater self discipline and work discipline. He does these things and VY upside goes completely thru the roof!

Thanks Deven. And as far as Cam is concerned....Go Carolina!!!!!!!! Please take him off the board early, so we get the linemen we need.


What QB class doesn't have RED FLAGS.....

Your acting like this is brand new.....

Every class, and every player has a RED FLAG....PERIOD.....

What this article doesn't mention is a guy like Alex Smith, taken 1st overall in 2005, is a five year starter with that team and has next to no impact on the team. So he's grouped in with these guys and that's supposed to be a good thing.

We've had this argument MANY times but somewhere in those numbers are guys like?

David Carr (first overall)
Alex Smith (first)
Jemarcus Russell (first)
Joey Harrington (third)
Tim Couch (first)
Ryan Leaf (second)
the guy from the Cardinals/USC (10th)
Vince Young (3rd)
J P Losman (27th)
Brady Quinn (23rd)
Jay Cutler
Byron Leftwich (9th)

Not a lot of success stories here and these are just off the top of my head. I'm sure there's many more.

Agree get D. Williams in FA and draft a QB at 15 or better

It's qb r nothing in the first round I agree 100% I'm done with smoke and mirrors at the qb spot drafting qb's in the 2nd round trading for qb's first round baby I want netwon are mallet

who at 15 would u want. locker is the only guy parcells would take being that hes a sr

Craig m why is jay culter on your list?

If Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
slip to the Dolphins, I would snap them up.

Zero speed WR is a huge problem for the Dolphins.

Smith would be an excellent pick up for the Dolphins.

Everything starts with the line, Carey is aging and spending early draft picks on the o-line is just a good idea.

Smith slides into the RT position, Carey is asked to move to RG and the right side gets better.


I used to be the driver of the Newton bus...but now i'm a passenger on the Mallet bandwagon....

He looks like a "specila" player

Yes Craig m we are saying this year is a good year to move u and draft a qb now you get it! I'd sleep just fine at night if we had to trade up for a chance to draft a qb


Drew Brees was a second round pick. First pick in the second round but still a second round pick. Mark in Toronto likes to forget that too.

Are you also saying there aren't more red flags on the quarterbacks coming out this year than previous years? Tell me anybody last year of the QBs that can out that had the character concerns that Mallett or Newton have or the accuracy questions that Locker or Newton have or the fact that Gabbert or Newton didn't play in NFL ready systems. There are way more re flags on the guys this year than I can remember from any class.

Mallet could be Dan Marino all over again. Dan fell in the 83 draft because of drug rumors just like mallet is doing


My deal with Ingram at #15 is if we're forced to pick there, cant trade up or down. Then who the hell do we draft?

Ingram may not seem like a true #15 in a lot of eyes. But if we can move up or down and no one else is available what hell else can we do but take Ingram.

Of course, we can take a guy at a none need position. But even taking that guy at #15, most likely he wont be a high impact player. High impact players rarely ever fall to #15.

Remember, the Cowboys werent exactly doing cartwheels over Emmits availability at #17. But he was the best thing available to suit there needs. He was a pigeon hole pick. Seems we could be in the exact same position this year except the Cowboys had drafted Troy Aikman just the year before.

Locker is a Henne clone. I'd hate to see the Dolphins draft Locker.

Solving the QB position is just a hard problem.

A good GM takes a shot at QB with nearly every draft.

The real crazy idea is to bring in a young QB and think they are going to be successful with out talent around them.

That is what this staff did with Henne

It's not always about stats with qb's,henne does not perform in the red zone, has no leadership ability, no sense of game situations,checkdown pass while clock runs out

Craig M....I haven't forgotten about Brees...but he hasn't won that 2nd SB YET.....so he stays in that class...excellent QB tho....

Craig...about the RED FLAGS....name me a player from the past that went to the NFL...and I will get on my GOOGLE MACHINE and show you the past red flags...


What had Cutler done before this year? The city and team were ready to sit him. Mike Martz comes in and it's a whole new story. Talk to a Chicago fan and ask them how they feel about Cutler and they'll you they're not sold on him. Too many picks, questionable leadership, likes to sulk and tick off team mates. He's not well liked in the league and that's why guys jumped on him in that playoff game he came out of. Keep watching and see how it plays out.

So mikeoliver is on record as saying we have to trade up and give up at least a third to move up. So no second round pick and no third round pick this year. Have I got all that right mike? Who is it you want the team to draft by the way?

Agree 1000% percent Mike Oliber....drug rumors and all....lol


Some qb classes are a little more definitive than others. There's usually better success from a more definitive class.

The best qb class in history was the Marino class. There were 2nd rd qb's that would have been the top of the heap of this class. That's what Im talking about.

Put the top qb in this class in that Marino class and the best of this lot is late 2nd rd at best! Now tell me thats a lie too. LOL.........

Craig, no offense but you are a borderline retard. To advocate not taking a 1st round qb because of the list you mentioned is pure stupidity. The guys you leave out in your analysis of guys that ARE 1st round qbs playing RIGHT NOW i what you shoudl be looking at:


even guys who are at the tail end of their careers:


All these guys either prmise to have, are having, or had great careers. These were all 1st picks or guys that were touted as 1st picks that dropped to the top of the 2nd round.

This is the type of QB we need - not another project - not another retread. We've had 15 years of retreads and projects and it's made us irrelevant to the point that our building is either empty or filled with opposing fans. And you advocate more of the same?!?!?!?!?

Not drafting a qb because of the guys you brought up is like saying to not draft a linebacker because of Aaron Maybin, Vernon Gholston, or Gaines Adams. Like the article says - 50% of all picks bust out anyway.

Yet taking a 1st round qb has the highest upside of any pick you can make. how did it work out when we passed Aaron Rodgers for Ronnie Brown or Matt Ryan for Jake Long or Jamar Fletcher for Drew Brees? All safe picks right?? So much it did for us.

You say that you are not high on this batch of qbs. Hmm, I remember a lot of people saying Joe Flacco or Josh Freeman wouldn;t be any good recently either and you knwo what? They look pretty good so far. Face it, you don;t know how these qbs will turn out, jsut like I don't. however I do know that the numbers say until we do take one, we will be irrelevant.

What is your big fascination with next year in isolation anyway? You think Henne will miraculously become a top tier qb and take us to the promised land? You think that OT or RB selected in the 1st round will make ALL the difference???



I missed the 'multiple' Super Bowl wins. Apologies.

Check out Peyton Manning for me kris and tell me any of his red flags compare to the guys this year. Thanks.

Ryan Mallett isnt even close to what Dan Marino was at Pitt. You gotta be kidding me! LOL..........

DB....I can't do anything but agree 1 million percent with your post at 12:36....lol

but in fairness we do have the benifit of history to look back on....

Wow, I always knew it. But, WOW!!!!

Thanks for the info Armando.

Mark in Toronto,

From one Candian to another.....it must take one borderline retard to know one.....no offence of course.

What's that all about? Mark if you want to talk sensibly great, otherwise go f*ck yourself!!

Tyron Smith, OT, USC


Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Or even Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

One of these 3 guys could slip to the Dolphins.

In the event of Aldon Smith, Misi is smart enough to move to inside LB. Trade Crowder.

But it is the 1st two guys who I would like to see drafted by the Dolphins.

And Mark in Toronto,

You KEEP putting Drew Brees on your list of first round QBs. Who the last f-ing time....he was a second round pick!!.....first pick in the second round but still the second round. Stop putting him in your argument every time!

And Craig, by the way, when Brees was draffted, there were fewer teams. If the draft was held with the same number of teams as today, he would've been a 1st pick.

He was BOTTOM LINE a 1st round rated talent that fell to the top of the 2nd. IN my book, that's still a 1st round consideration.

I think gm should take every qb of every draft and use the 1983 class as a measuring stick. How he would measure up in that class would give them better clue about how the guy will do on the nfl level.

It aint all about being best in your class. Some classes are a little more mediocre than others. The one constant though is: They all gotta play in the nfl. So your measuring stcik had better be as accurate as possible.

The 1983 Marino-Elway class may be the ebst measuring stick!

Of course he is Mark. But he was a SECOND round pick. Try getting it right next time instead of trying to skew your argument. You can twist it anyway you want....HE WENT in THE SECOND ROUND.

Got it?


Good post this morning on Emmitt Smith to Dallas article. I'd nevr read that one before. I think there's a lot of similarities to what we're facing with Ingram to Miami right now. Nobody is wowe by this guy but he may still turn out to be the best fit for this team.

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