Stop underestimating B1G quarterbacks, NFL
It’s crazy when you think about it. I almost couldn’t believe it.
Look at the first two rounds of the last seven NFL drafts, and you’ll notice there’s something missing.
Still searching for a B1G quarterback?
Go back another year, then you’ll find Chad Henne. He was selected 57th overall in the 2008 draft.
I know what you’re thinking. There probably just haven’t been that many quarterbacks selected in the early rounds during that stretch.
Well, there have been 27. Here’s the breakdown of the quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds in the last seven years, including Florida State:
Big 12: 8
Florida State: 3
Big East: 2
Mountain West: 2
So that would lead me to believe that there are just no good B1G quarterbacks in the NFL, right?
In case you haven’t been paying attention to the NFL as of late, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson are tearing it up. All four of those guys will likely wind up with 25-plus touchdown passes and 4,000 yards. Three of them will likely be in the playoffs. If and when Cousins gets re-signed by the Redskins this offseason, all four of them will be making eight figures per year as the faces of their respective franchises.
Then why were none of them selected in the first round? Why was Brees the only one selected in the second round?
You could pick apart each guy and find something that held them back. Brees, Cousins and Wilson were all considered too small to play in the NFL, even though all three were pocket passers that had no problems throwing over 6-7 linemen in the B1G. Brady was a relative unknown who didn’t blow anyone away at the combine.
RELATED: Why Kirk Cousins trolled so hard
But they weren’t viewed as franchise guys on draft day. Brees was traded by the team that drafted him following shoulder surgery and Cousins wasn’t even the first quarterback drafted by his own team.
This is indicative of a bigger bias, acknowledged or not.
No B1G quarterback has been selected in the first round since Kerry Collins was picked fifth overall in 1995. And at the time, Penn State was still the new kid on the block in the B1G.
But maybe there’s an origin to this cloud that hung over B1G quarterbacks on draft day the last 25 years. Jeff George was selected No. 1 overall out of Illinois in 1990, and he received a record-setting contract after the Indianapolis Colts traded to get him. George, though he hung around in the NFL for 16 years, was a bust.
Did that hurt the perception of B1G quarterbacks? It could’ve.
In a conference that’s known for its oversized offensive linemen, ground-and-pound offenses and smash-mouth defenses, George was the outlier. He certainly didn’t help the future generation of B1G quarterbacks.
It’s funny because this was the year that the B1G was supposed to end the 20-year first-round drought. Whether it was Cardale Jones, Connor Cook or even Christian Hackenberg, surely one of them was due for a first-round selection. Now there’s a good chance all of them will be skipped on the first day for various reasons.
There’s no margin for error for B1G quarterbacks, either. Brees, Cousins and Wilson lit B1G defenses up playing pro-style systems but were considered far too short to make it in the NFL. But guys like Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel had major character red flags posting similar numbers to Cousins and Wilson — go look them up — but they were still considered franchise guys. And Manziel, who is the same height as Wilson, wasn’t punished for being small, either.
Connor Cook is rumored to have off-field concerns and even though he finishes in the top 10 of the Heisman voting, he isn’t considered a first-round pick anymore.
There’s a bias. It’s there.
It’s not a coincidence when one B1G player in the last 20 years is selected in the first round. Clearly, there are elite B1G quarterbacks. Last year’s Super Bowl told you that much.
It’s about time the NFL started recognizing that B1G quarterbacks don’t have to be diamonds in the rough.
Lord knows they’re shining bright right now.