For What it’s Worth: Quarterbacks, past and present

Slow down folks

I’m always intrigued by fans who are looking for the ‘next big thing.’

Chad Kelly seems to have become the latest flavor of the moment amongst restless Broncos fans, who aren’t quite sold on their team’s quarterback. I know that Tom Brady is the poster child for what can be successfully mined from the depths of the draft (6th round/2000), but that’s extremely rare.

Sure, Bart Starr went in the 17th round (there are only seven rounds in the current draft) and Roger Staubach went in the 10th, but that’s because the Heisman trophy winner was obligated to four years of military service. (Keep in mind that you have to go back over 60 years to find these two diamonds in the rough. More recent finds have been far less impressive.)

Joe Theisman was a fourth rounder out of Notre Dame in 1971, but had to spend three years in the Canadian League before getting his chance.

Mark Rypien came out of Washington St. in the 6th round in ’86 and helped the Redskins to a Super Bowl title, but two years later was released.

Brad Johnson was a ninth rounder, his career with Washington and Tampa Bay followed a similar arc as Rypien’s.

When you get right down to it, only three players in the last 30 years that were picked in the fourth round or later have had sustained NFL careers:

  • Taken in the fourth round out of Delaware as a defensive back in 1987, Rich Gannon played 17 years in the NFL, reaching a Super Bowl and being named league MVP.
  • Mark Brunell came out of Washington in the fifth round in 1993, originally taken by the Packers-he was traded to Jacksonville where he led the Jaguars to four playoffs.
  • Matt Hasselbeck was a 6th round pick  out of Boston College in 1998,  in ten seasons with Seattle he would take the Seahawks to 11 playoff games.

Truth be told, recent free agents have had as much an impact as late round quarterback picks—both Tony Romo and Kurt Warner fit that bill.

In other words, history tells us that the chances Kelly will make an impact in Denver, or anywhere else, are slim.  Now, if you believe, as Vance Joseph seems to, that Kelly was the best quarterback in the recent draft… keep reading.

Speaking of QB’s

The ‘open’ quarterback competition for the Broncos starts on the field Tuesday.

That’s the first of three days of OTA’s for the Broncos—the first three days to see Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch side by side.

Considering the way that last year went and taking into account the disparity between the two—it’s hard to imagine that Siemian doesn’t have a nice edge to start with.  There seems to be tremendous respect in the locker room for the former 7th round pick, especially after playing so much of last season in pain.  That’s a real badge of courage in the NFL, Siemian may not be the most talented signal caller-but his guys know that he has their backs.

Yes, Lynch should be helped by the system of new Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy, but it’s not like Siemian will be hurt by it.  As a first round pick, especially one they felt strongly enough to move up for, Lynch will get every opportunity to shine—but have we really taken into account the possibility that Siemian is simply better than Lynch?

I don’t care where a player was picked in the draft, or from what blue blood program he came from in college.  All I want to know is—does this guy give us the best chance to win a football game?  Fortunately, for Lynch, the season doesn’t start this week… or does it?