It's time to comb through a number of topics in this week's Two-Minute Drill, which starts off by reflecting on some intensive stats that studied the recent history of spending high draft picks on quarterbacks. It's a risky business decision, and teams have actually failed more often than succeeded in the last two decades.
From there, we'll sort through this week's top-10 list and some other league matters, so it's time to get your read on.
1. We all know how much it hurts a team to swing and miss on a quarterback in the top 10 of the draft, but I spent some time poring over the numbers from the last two decades of top-10 quarterbacks and found some staggering results.
2. For starters, considering the importance of the position, it's pretty amazing that Trent Dilfer, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning are the only quarterbacks who were taken in the top 10 and won a Super Bowl as a starter. And Dilfer didn't even do it with the Buccaneers, who drafted him.
3. So, only three of the 29 quarterbacks taken in the top 10 won a Super Bowl as a starter (Drew Bledsoe was the backup when the Patriots won in 2001), which is 10.3 percent. It's possible that Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers or Mark Sanchez could add to that list, but at best, that would mean 24.1 percent of those quarterbacks won the Super Bowl. Those are some long odds for a hefty investment.
4. The killer stat is 15 of those 29 quarterbacks never made a playoff appearance with the team that drafted them, and those 15 quarterbacks had a 157-331 record (.322 winning percentage) with their original team.
5. If you look closer at the initial post, I've highlighted a series of points that determine the eight biggest busts in the group, and those quarterbacks caused their original teams to miss the playoffs an average of 8.1 consecutive seasons after they used that top-10 pick. That includes streaks by the Texans (David Carr in 2002), Lions (Joey Harrington in 2002) and Browns (Tim Couch in 1999), whose playoff droughts are still active.
6. Andre Ware has been considered one of the greatest busts in draft history, but it's simply crazy that the Lions were able to completely withstand that poor pick, especially when thinking about how poorly they've been run in the last decade. Detroit made the playoffs in six of the 10 seasons after taking Ware with the seventh pick in the 1990 draft, and Ware only made six starts in Motown.
7. It wasn't addressed much in the original post, but here are the 14 quarterbacks who did make the playoffs with the team that drafted them: Drew Bledsoe, Dilfer, Kerry Collins, Steve McNair, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Byron Leftwich, Carson Palmer, Rivers, Eli Manning, Vince Young, Ryan and Sanchez.
8. Looking at that list, Peyton Manning is a certain Hall of Famer, and Bledsoe and McNabb should eventually get inducted. After that, Rivers and Ryan are set up for great careers, but where do you go from there? It's impossible to know how Sanchez and Eli Manning play out their careers, and it might be too late for Vick and Palmer to make a Hall of Fame type of run.
9. Moving on, one criticism I've seen about defensive lineman Marcus Stroud is probably unfair. It's that if he wasn't good enough for the Bills, how could he be good enough for the Patriots? Well, Stroud was also owed $10 million over the final two years of his contract, and it wouldn't make sense for a rebuilding team to carry that type of financial responsibility on a soon-to-be 33-year-old who has declining skills.
10. For the record, I think Stroud could be a useful addition as a rotational player for the Patriots, but I think they still need to retain defensive lineman Gerard Warren.
11. Also, just because Stroud signed a two-year deal does not mean he's virtually guaranteed to make the team. A lot of players sign two-year deals nowadays.
12. I went through a top-10 list of non-quarterbacks I'd use to start a franchise, and it was a tough group to put together. I'll say this: I never once came anywhere close to considering a wide receiver, which shouldn't surprise anyone who has read my anti-wideout rants.
13. Some have asked me why I didn't include any nose tackles, and that's a really fair gripe. It was actually extremely difficult to leave Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and New England's Vince Wilfork off the list because they free up so much space for everyone else in the front seven, particularly inside linebackers. What it came down to, though, was there just weren't enough spots there, and I couldn't take off Nnamdi Asomugha or Troy Polamalu.
14. Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is one of the most dynamic defensive players in the NFL, but he turns 33 in May, which made him too old for that list.
15. It was also really difficult leaving Titans running back Chris Johnson off the list, but I decided against him for one main reason: During his best season — 2,509 yards from scrimmage, 16 touchdowns — the Titans only won eight games.
16. And finally, Redskins defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was another tough scratch. Orakpo, who turns 25 in July, has 19.5 sacks in two seasons, which are the 10th-most in the NFL in that span.
17. It was a great sign Tuesday when Giants owner John Mara joined the mediation sessions between the NFL and NFLPA. It was discouraging that no owners showed up during the initial seven-day session, but Mara's presence indicates the significance of this week.
18. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward isn't very well-liked around the league because of his ruthless play, and many of his opponents claim he's dirty because he hits them low when they aren't looking. So Ward's detractors have to love the fact that he's going to be on Dancing With The Stars. I'm not sure how many NFL folks actually watch that show, but they'll have plenty of trash-talk material lined up for next season if Ward doesn't retire. And if Ward does retire, they'll have more ammo for calling him a coward.
19. Vince Young might benefit from learning under Vick in Philly, but the notion that the Eagles would be interested in exchanging backup quarterback Kevin Kolb for Young is downright crazy. The Eagles should be able to get, at worst, a second-round pick for Kolb once the trading market opens. It would be shocking if the Titans got more than a sixth-rounder for Young because his attitude is questionable and the whole league knows the Titans are going to trade him or release him anyway.
20. For what it's worth, I think Young would fit best in San Francisco. (Well, let's clear that up first. I'm not sure Young is a great fit anywhere at this point, but if he's ready to commit his life to football, he could work for the Niners.) New head coach Jim Harbaugh has proven he can develop quarterbacks, and Young could grow in Harbaugh's system. What's worse, trying out Young for one year or sticking with Alex Smith for six?
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