Young NFL Quarterbacks: Rent, Don’t Buy

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Over the weekend, the Chicago Bears answered the question as to what they are going to do with the first pick in April’s NFL Draft. By trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago announced that they are going to draft a quarterback.

Illinois online sportsbooks believe that the pick will be used on 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams of USC. He is paying -3500 to be the No. 1 overall pick, with 2023 Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels paying +1100 to be the top pick.

There are a number of good quarterback options in this draft, and the over/under on quarterbacks selected in the first round is 4.5. The over is paying -140, meaning that bookmakers believe that we’re going to have at least five first round picks used on quarterbacks.

But just because you are picked high, success is far from given.

2021 Quarterback Draft Class

In 2021, there were five quarterbacks selected in the first round, and three of them went with the first three picks in the draft. And of those five, only one is still starting for the team that drafted him.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, and he has been starting in Jacksonville ever since. In the three years prior to Lawrence, the Jaguars got starts from Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles, Mike Glennon, and Jake Luton. Since Lawrence was drafted, he has made 50 of a possible 51 starts.

The rest of Lawrence’s draft class has not been nearly as stable.

Zach Wilson was picked second by the New York Jets. But with Aaron Rodgers and Tyrod Taylor now in New York, Wilson will be cut or traded. The third overall pick was Trey Lance, but he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys a year ago, and so far, he has yet to take a snap for the Cowboys.

Justin Fields was taken by the Bears with the 11th overall pick, and he is now in Pittsburgh with Russell Wilson, who also happens to be with his third team in three years. Mac Jones was picked 15th by the New England Patriots and even won Offensive Rookie of the Year. Two years later, he is the backup to Lawrence in Jacksonville.

It’s an upgrade for Jones, with NFL online sportsbooks paying +200 on the Jags to win the AFC South. His former team, the Patriots, are at the very bottom of the AFC East, with Massachusetts brick-and-mortar sportsbooks paying +2000 for a Pats division championship.

2022 Quarterback Draft Class

The collection of quarterbacks taken in 2022 will be defined by the final pick of the nine QBs taken, Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers. Mr. Irrelevant has made an NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl in his two seasons in the NFL. No one else in his class has come close to the same success.

The top QB taken was Kenny Pickett by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two years later, and he is now at the other end of the state as a backup for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Desmond Ridder was the second QB in the 2022 class. But after 17 starts in two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, where he will back up Kyler Murray. Taking his place in Atlanta is the biggest free agent addition of the off-season, Kirk Cousins. With the change at QB, Georgia retail sportsbooks have made the Falcons the heavy favorite to win the NFC South at -125. Atlanta is also up to +1000 to win the NFC.

Malik Willis was selected by the Tennessee Titans to be the successor to Ryan Tannehill. But one year later, the Titans drafted Will Levis to become that successor. Matt Corral was selected by the Carolina Panthers eight places behind Willis, and he is completely out of the league. Last month, he signed with the Birmingham Stallions of the United Football League.

Bailey Zappe was in that draft class, and he actually won a few games as a rookie. Since then, he’s been cut, re-signed, and assigned to the practice squad. Sam Howell was selected seven places behind Zappe, and last year he made all 17 starts for the Washington Commanders. He has since been traded to the Seattle Seahawks and will back up Geno Smith.

Washington online sportsbooks have the Seahawks at +700 to win the NFC West. The 49ers are the big favorite to win that division, paying -195.

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