Ranking the worst NFL quarterback draft classes of all time – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Ranking the Worst NFL Quarterback Draft Classes Ever Originally Appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks.

The position that rules the NFL – and for good reason. They are the most paid, they sell the most jerseys and they often make the difference between winning and losing.

With the 2022 NFL Draft set to take place Thursday through Saturday, much of the spotlight is on the young quarterback prospects who will enter the league. Led by Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett, the Class of 2022 is widely seen as weaker than usual. Even though it’s a smaller group, teams don’t like to wait around for quarterbacks in the draft — often overdrafted players who could be booming or busting.

With this year’s group in mind, which draft classes produced the worst group of quarterbacks? Here are the five worst quarterback classes of the 21st century:

5. 2010

Round 1: Sam Bradford (#1), Tim Tebow (#25)

2nd round: Jimmy Clausen (#48)

Round 3: Colt McCoy (#85)

Round 4: Mike Kafka (#122)

Round 5: John Skelton (#155), Jonathan Crompton (#168)

Round 6: Rusty Smith (#176), Dan LeFevour (#181), Joe Webb (#199), Tony Pike (#204)

Round 7: Levi Brown (#209), Sean Canfield (#239), Zac Robinson (#250)

That’s a dark way to start this list. Are you telling me there are five classes worse than this? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you. Bradford is the headliner of this group after the Rams selected him first overall. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year and made $130 million during his nine-year career, but he never played in a postseason game.

The rest of the class was full of saves and extinctions. Tebow had his moment of glory winning a playoff game with the Broncos in 2011 before playing his final NFL game in 2012. Clausen, Kafka, Skelton, Webb and Robinson bounced back as backups for a few years. McCoy is the only active player in that class, serving as a backup for the Cardinals, but he has just 33 touchdowns in 33 starts over his 12-year career.

4. 2015

Round 1: Jameis Winston (#1), Marcus Mariota (#2)

Round 3: Garrett Grayson (#75), Sean Mannion (#89)

Round 4: Bryce Petty (#103)

Round 5: Brett Hundley (#147)

Round 7: Trevor Siemian (#250)

When the quarterbacks are drafted first and second overall, you expect more than Winston and Mariota have shown thus far. Winston racked up huge yardage numbers and huge turnover numbers with the Buccaneers before signing with the Saints. Mariota was benched for Ryan Tannehill with the Titans after four up and down seasons. Now he has a chance to revitalize his career with the Falcons in 2022.

Beyond those two, this class didn’t deliver much juice. Siemian has started 29 games and is now the backup for the Bears, which is a solid career for a seventh-round pick. Mannion has been a substitute throughout his career, and he still fills that role with the Vikings. Grayson, Petty and Hundley are out of the league after brief backup stints.

3. 2002

Round 1: David Carr (#1), Joey Harrington (#3), Patrick Ramsey (#32)

Round 3: Josh McCown (#81)

Round 4: David Garrard (#108), Rohan Davey (#117)

Round 5: Randy Fasani (#137), Kurt Kittner (#158), Brandon Doman (#163), Craig Nall (#164)

Round 6: JT O’Sullivan (#186), Steve Bellisari (#205)

Round 7: Seth Burford (#216), Jeff Kelly (#232), Ronald Curry (#235), Wes Pate (#236)

Not drafted: Shaun Hill

It’s getting ugly here. The crown jewel of this class was… Garrard? Or McCown? Garrard was a decent starter for the Jaguars, winning a playoff game in 2007 and making the Pro Bowl in 2009. McCown was the prototypical backup from 2002-2019, making 76 starts while playing for 12 teams.

At the top of the draft, Carr was a total bust for the expansion Texans. Harrington couldn’t save the Lions after four years as a starter, and Ramsey didn’t work in Washington (or anywhere else, for that matter). Hill, an undrafted QB from Maryland, has been a backup for 15 seasons, which is a great job if you can get him.

2. 2013

Round 1: EJ Manual (No. 16)

2nd round: Geno Smith (#39)

Round 3: Mike Glennon (#73)

Round 4: Matt Barkley (#98), Ryan Nassib (#110), Tyler Wilson (#112), Landry Jones (#115)

Round 7: Brad Sorensen (#221), Zac Dysert (#234), BJ Daniels (#237), Sean Renfree (#249)

The only year with a quarterback or less since 2002? It would be 2013. And even one turned out to be too much for this class. Manuel seemed to have the tools, he just never developed the way the Bills needed him. The former Florida State QB retired in 2019.

Smith, Glennon, Barkley are still bouncing back as substitutes, but none of them have ever managed to start beyond short stints. Smith was the most productive in the class, making 34 starts with the Jets, Giants and Seahawks. This draft class was bad, but at least everyone predicted it ahead of time and there wasn’t much scope outside of Manuel.

1. 2007

Round 1: JaMarcus Russell (#1), Brady Quinn (#22)

2nd round: Kevin Kolb (#36), John Beck (#40), Drew Stanton (#43)

Round 3: Trent Edwards (#92)

Round 4: Isaiah Stanback (#103)

Round 5: Jeff Rowe (#151), Troy Smith (#174)

Round 6: Jordan Palmer (#205)

Round 7: Tyler Thigpen (#2017)

Not drafted: Matt Moore

The best quarterback in this class was an undrafted free agent. Enough said.

Russell was excited after flashing all of LSU’s physical tools. With the Raiders, he became one of the worst picks of all time. Russell started 25 games in three years before being released and never signing with another team. Quinn was also a disappointment after a stellar career at Notre Dame, throwing just 12 touchdowns in 20 starts from 2007 to 2012.

Outside of the first round, Kolb and Stanton spent a few years as substitutes. Edwards had a run with the Bills, starting 32 games for Buffalo with limited success. Moore was the best of the bunch, as he was considered one of the best substitutes in the league before retiring after the 2020 season.

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