Today, I want to quantify those numbers. At the top of every page at Football Perspective is a link to the Draft Pick Value Calculator, based on the values derived here and shown here. If we assign each draft pick its proper value, and then sum the values used to select quarterbacks by each team over the last 15 years, we can see which teams have devoted the most draft capital on quarterbacks.
Here’s how to read the chart below. Detroit leads the way in draft capital spent. The Lions have only selected five quarterbacks, but spent 78.4 points of Draft Value on passers. That averages out to 15.68 points of draft value spent on each quarterback, the second highest (to Jacksonville) among the 32 teams. The far right column displays each quarterback selected in the draft since 2000.
- Detroit spent top-three picks on Stafford and Harrington, along with a mid-second round pick on Stanton. The Lions have experienced many years of horrible quarterback play, which makes Stafford’s pretty good/sometimes great/sometimes terrible quarterbacking look downright fantastic.
- As Mike Tanier noted, the Jaguars go big or go home at quarterback: since 2003, the Jaguars have used just three draft picks on quarterbacks, but each one was a top ten selection.
- On the other end of the spectrum you have the Saints and the Chiefs. Since 2000, Drew Brees (acquired via free agency) or Aaron Brooks (traded for an ’01 third round pick, which turned out to be Heath Evans) has led the team in passing yards every season. The last time New Orleans used a top-150 pick on a quarterback was Danny Wuerffel (#99) in ’97; the only other top-150 pick used since 1981 on a quarterback was the 116th pick on Doug Nussmeier in 1994. In ’81, New Orleans used a first round pick in the supplemental draft on Dave Wilson, which brings us to the following startling conclusion. In the 48-year history of the organization, New Orleans has used just one top-98 pick in the regular draft on a quarterback: the 2nd overall pick on Archie Manning in 1971.
- Since 1988, the Saints have just two wins by quarterbacks drafted by the team; on the other hand, the Chiefs are still stuck on zero! Kansas City has spent almost no draft capital in recent years on a quarterback, other than a third round pick on Croyle in ’06. The former Alabama quarterback started 10 games for the Chiefs, but lost them all. Kansas City seems to enjoy cycling through other team’s quarterbacks (Trent Green, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith), so who knows when that streak will end.
- The Cardinals are a team that seems to never quite have their quarterback of the future in tow, but with one notable exception, Arizona hasn’t spent much draft capital on the position, either. Just over half of the 240 starts since 2000 have come from Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, or Jake Plummer; the first two were acquired veterans, and Plummer was drafted outside this study. On the other hand, that means nearly half of the 240 starts came from either Matt Leinart or a less-highly touted below-average quarterback like Josh McCown, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Jeff Blake, Derek Anderson, Drew Stanton, or Ryan Lindley.