Three or four quarterbacks could go in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft with Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, and Davis Webb all options.
A few months ago, the notion that three quarterbacks would be drafted in the first round, let alone four, was ridiculous as many draft analysts pegged this quarterback class to be one of the worst since 2013. The 2013 quarterback class had players such as E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith.
With that being said, we're revisiting the past five quarterback draft classes to see how each panned out. While the 2013 quarterback class was considered one of the worst, the 2012 and 2014 quarterback classes were quite impressive.
To begin this five part series, let’s start off with the 2012 class which had the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who went first and second overall respectively.
1. Andrew Luck (Rd.1, Pick 1) - Luck was drafted with the first overall pick to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning, who the Colts released earlier that offseason. Since stepping on the field as a rookie, Luck has done a good job of keeping the Colts relevant and competitive.
In 2014, Luck and the Colts defeated Manning and Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round to advance the AFC Championship. Despite losing 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots, Luck has accomplished more in his short career than his counterpart who was drafted after him.
2. Robert Griffin III (Rd. 1, Pick 2) - Griffin III was drafted with the second overall pick by Washington, after they traded a boatload of draft picks to the then St. Louis Rams. While the gamble to trade up for Griffin paid off in his rookie season as he led Washington to the playoffs. Griffin III’s mystique from his rookie season quickly wore off as he succumbed to multiple injuries, which limited his mobility and made him just another quarterback.
Washington eventually moved on from Griffin after the 2015 season, thanks to Kirk Cousins showing he could be a starting caliber quarterback. Last season, Griffin spent time with the Cleveland Browns before suffering an injury in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Just like Washington, Cleveland moved on from Griffin this offseason.
3. Ryan Tannehill (Rd. 1, Pick. 8) - When the Dolphins drafted Tannehill out of Texas A&M, there was a lot of skepticism about the selection as he only spent one season at quarterback. He spent the previous two plus years at wide receiver for the Aggies.
Tannehill, just like Luck and Griffin, started his rookie season and led the Dolphins to a record 7-9. Tannehill’s numbers that season were not horrible as he threw for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and completed 58.3 percent of his passes.
Over time, Tannehill started to improve, but the Dolphins were still missing out on the playoffs. Fans were beginning to place blame on Tannehill questioning if he was the franchise quarterback.
Tannehill proved those doubters wrong last season, reaching the playoffs for the first time in years. However, Tannehill did not play in Miami’s playoff game as he suffered a knee injury in Week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Despite not playing in the AFC Wildcard game against the Steelers, Tannehill had another productive season. He completed a career-high 67.1 percent of his passes for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
If he is 100 percent healthy, there's no reason why Tannehill cannot get Miami back into the playoffs this season.
4. Brandon Weeden (Rd.1, Pick 22) - There is not much to say about this selection as this was just the Cleveland Browns being the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were able to make this selection thanks to a blockbuster trade in 2011, where the Falcons moved up to sixth overall to take Julio Jones.
The Browns were taking a risk by drafting a 28-year-old quarterback, who had an impressive final two seasons at Oklahoma State.
Nevertheless, Weeden was not impressive in his two seasons with the Browns as he continued the trend of bad quarterback play. After being released by Cleveland, Weeden spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and is currently still on the Houston Texans’ roster.
5. Brock Osweiler (Rd. 2, Pick 57) - Osweiler was supposed to become the guy to take over for Peyton Manning when he retired. That did not happen as Osweiler signed with the Texans in the 2016 offseason on a four-year, $72 million deal.
After starting seven games for the Broncos in 2015, completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,967 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions, Osweiler did not live up to those expectations in Houston last season.
Despite Houston making the playoffs, the Texans were finished with the Osweiler era as he was a turnover machine (16 interceptions) and did not get along with head coach Bill O’Brien.
The Texans moved Osweiler in a Sam Hinkie-esque trade with the Browns that saw Houston get rid of his ridiculous contract. However, it does not look like Osweiler will be in Cleveland for long either as they are expected to draft a quarterback.
6. Russell Wilson (Rd. 3, Pick 75) - Despite Andrew Luck’s success and being the number one overall pick, Wilson has been the best quarterback of this class. Wilson started as a rookie and led the Seahawks to the playoffs, where he defeated fellow counterpart Griffin in the NFC Wildcard game.
After getting bounced in the NFC Divisional game to the Atlanta Falcons, Wilson and the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl in 2013 and defeated the Broncos 43-8. Wilson, who had his share of doubters, continued to prove them wrong. In 2014, he led the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl for a second-straight appearance, losing 28-24 to the New England Patriots.
Wilson has had the best career thus far of his classmates. He should continue to get better over time and could win at least one or two more Super Bowls.
7. Nick Foles (Rd. 3, Pick 88) - Foles is best known for his amazing 2013 season, where he had 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His performance that season helped catapult the Eagles to the playoffs before losing to the Saints.
Outside of that 27/2 statistical season, Foles has since been a journeyman quarterback. After spending three seasons with the Eagles, Philadelphia traded him to the Rams for Sam Bradford. In Foles’ only season with the Rams; he struggled only completing 56.4 percent of his passes for 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Last offseason, the Rams released Foles and he was eventually signed by the Kansas City Chiefs to be Alex Smith’s backup. After spending last season with Kansas City, Foles came back home to the Eagles as they signed him to a two-year deal to back up Carson Wentz.
8. Kirk Cousins (Rd. 4, Pick 102) - The quarterback who coined the phrase “You Like It” has become Washington's new franchise quarterback, despite not yet signing a long-term deal. On draft weekend 2012, many people were surprised to see Washington draft two quarterbacks.
On Washington’s part, it was a good idea to draft Cousins because RG3 eventually hit the wall.
With Griffin declining, Cousins began to rise and cemented his position as the team’s starting quarterback.
In 2015, Cousins led Washington back to the playoffs and won the NFC East division crown. Cousins had a career-year completing 69.8 percent of his passes for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
After leading Washington to the playoffs in 2015, there was a thought that Cousins would get a long-term deal. That did not happen as Cousins was signed to the franchise tag.
Cousins signing the franchise tag would be the same story in 2016 as he almost led Washington back to the playoffs for a second-straight season. However, Washington did not make the playoffs and the rumors began to swirl about Cousins, possibly wanting to rejoin his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco.
Once again, those trade rumors never came to fruition as Cousins signed another franchise tag this offseason. Sometime this year, Washington has to make a decision on Cousins. They cannot continue to sign him to the franchise tag as that eats up a lot of their cap space on a year by year basis. They need to either commit long-term to him or move on.