Ranking every NFL quarterback drafted in first round since 2000
The 2017 NFL Draft is drawing closer, and that means a few NFL franchises are about to bring in a quarterback with a first-round pick. Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Pat Mahomes and DeShone Kizer are among the quarterbacks who could be first-round picks.
What does that mean? Well, it could mean anything.
MORE: 2017 NFL Mock Draft
A total of 45 quarterbacks have been selected in the first round since 2000, and the results have varied. A team might wind up with a bust like JaMarcus Russell (first overall) or a two-time MVP like Aaron Rodgers (No. 24 overall).
The rest is a mix of good, bad and ugly. Here’s a look at all 45 first-round quarterbacks since 2000, ranked from first to worst.
1 Aaron Rodgers (2005-present)
Drafted: Green Bay (No. 24)
Stats: 36,827 yards, 297 TDs, 72 INTs
MORE: All-time greatest Packers
Why he’s here: Rodgers sat for a few years behind Brett Favre, but he has developed into one of the most efficient quarterbacks in NFL history. He has two MVPs and a Super Bowl ring. Rodgers led Green Bay to the NFC championship game two of the last three seasons, too. Rodgers is in the conversation of all-time greats.
2 Ben Roethlisberger (2004-present)
Drafted: Pittsburgh (No. 11)
Stats: 46,814 yards, 301 TDs, 160 INTs
Why he’s here: Roethlisberger has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s ultimate tough guys, and he has been a perfect fit for the Steelers since Day 1. He has led Pittsburgh to three Super Bowl appearances and two championships and is 13-7 in the playoffs. Is that enough for Pro Football Hall of Fame? It should be.
3 Eli Manning (2004-present)
Drafted: San Diego (No. 1)
Stats: 48,214 yards, 320 TDs, 215 INTs
Why he’s here: Yes, the Chargers drafted Manning before one of the biggest draft-day trades in NFL history. Manning has the most passing yards and TDs of any quarterback on this list, and he took out the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. He’s the ultimate hot-and-cold quarterback.
4 Matt Ryan (2008-present)
Drafted: Atlanta (No. 3)
Stats: 37,701 yards, 240 TDs, 114 INTs
Why he’s here: Ryan is coming off a MVP season in which he led the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl 52. Ryan passed for 4,944 yards with 38 TDs and seven interceptions.
5 Cam Newton (2011-present)
Drafted: Carolina (No. 1)
Stats: 21,772 yards, 136 TDs, 78 INTs
MORE: 2017 NFL Draft info
Why he’s here: Newton is ranked ahead of a few Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, but that’s OK. He won the 2015 NFL MVP, and he’s a combination of never-before-seen-talent that should continue to keep the Panthers in the hunt for years to come. He’s also the top No. 1 pick on this list.
6 Joe Flacco (2008-present)
Drafted: Baltimore (No. 18)
Stats: 32,639 yards, 182 TDs, 117 INTs
Why he’s here: Is he elite? That’s the tagline that continues to follow Flacco, who led the Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XLVII. Flacco never has put up big numbers, but he’s 10-5 in the playoffs and, with the exception of the last two seasons, always has Baltimore in the playoff picture.
7 Philip Rivers (2004-present)
Drafted: NY Giants (No. 4)
Stats: 45,883 yards, 314 TDs, 156 INTs
Why he’s here: Rivers will always be linked with Eli Manning based on the 2004 NFL Draft and the trade that followed, and the numbers are comparable. Manning, however, has the rings. Rivers has eight seasons with 4,000-plus yards, but that has come with a 4-5 record in the playoffs. He’s a franchise quarterback, but will he ever get the Chargers to the next level?
8 Carson Palmer (2003-present)
Drafted: Cincinnati (No. 1)
Stats: 44,269 yards, 285 TDs, 180 INTs
Why he’s here: Palmer revived his career in Arizona, where he picked up his first playoff win and led the Cardinals to the NFC championship game last season. It’s been an up-and-down career, but he had a career-high 4,671 yards and 35 TDs in 2015.
9 Michael Vick (2001-present)
Drafted: Atlanta (No. 1)
Stats: 22,464 yards, 133 TDs, 88 INTs
Why he’s here: Vick might be the most exciting quarterback of all time, and the high point came when he led the Falcons to the NFC championship game. After missing two seasons while serving a 21-month federal prison sentence, Vick revived his career by leading the Eagles to the playoffs in 2010. He retired after the 2016 season.
10 Andrew Luck (2012-present)
Drafted: Indianapolis (No. 1)
Stats: 19,078 yards, 132 TDs, 68 INTs
Why he’s here: Luck likely will move up this list, but he’ll have to get back to the form he displayed in 2014, when he tossed 40 TDs and led the Colts to the AFC championship game. Luck continues to handle the pressure of being a former No. 1 pick well, however, but he needs some help in Indy to take that next step.
11 Alex Smith (2005-present)
Drafted: San Francisco (No. 1)
Stats: 27,846 yards, 157 TDs, 91 INTs
Why he’s here: Smith looked like a bust through five seasons, but he re-emerged under Jim Harbaugh and led the 49ers to the NFC championship game in 2011. He has helped the Chiefs to three of playoff appearances and has done all that with a 61.7 percent completion percentage. He’s better than the credit for which he’s given.
12 Matthew Stafford (2009-present)
Drafted: Detroit (No. 1)
Stats: 30,303 yards, 187 TDs, 108 INTs
Why he’s here: To be fair, Stafford took over a franchise that went 0-16 in 2008. He has fired away to bring Detroit back — he led the NFL in passing attempts in 2011 and 2012 — and that led to three playoff appearances. Still, Stafford has yet to win a playoff game in eight seasons.
13 Jay Cutler (2006-present)
Drafted: Denver (No. 11)
Stats: 32,467 yards, 208 TDs, 146 INTs
Why he’s here: The below .500 record kind of says it all. Cutler is a live-armed quarterback who can make the big play (or the big mistake) at any time. He has just one playoff victory in 11 seasons. Cutler is a free agent as of now.
14 Chad Pennington (2000-10)
Drafted: NY Jets (No. 18)
Stats: 17,823 yards, 102 TDs, 64 INTs
Why he’s here: Pennington spent his first two seasons sitting behind Vinny Testaverde. Once the Jets gave him a shot, he did alright. Pennington didn’t put up eye-popping statistics, but he led four playoff runs between his time with the Jets and Dolphins. He finished his career with a 66.0 percent completion percentage.
15 Mark Sanchez (2009-present)
Drafted: NY Jets (No. 5)
Stats: 15,219 yards, 86 TDs, 86 INTs
Why he’s here: The Jets moved on from a year of Brett Favre with Sanchez, who took the starting job right away. Sanchez helped New York reach back-to-back AFC championship games in his first two seasons, but he threw too many interceptions. He played in Philadelphia through 2015, and has been a backup for Denver, Dallas and now Chicago heading into 2017.
16 Jameis Winston (2015-present)
Drafted: Tampa Bay (No. 1)
Stats: 8,132 yards, 50 TDs, 33 INTs
Why he’s here: Winston stepped in with Tampa Bay as a rookie and endured the typical up-and-downs the last two years. Still, the former Heisman Trophy winner threw for more than 4,000 yards in those two seasons and showed the promise that will make him a franchise quarterback. Winston nearly got the Bucs in the playoffs last year. There could a break-through in his third season.
17 Vince Young (2006-present)
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 3)
Stats: 8,964 yards, 46 TDs, 51 INTs
MORE: Young's greatest moment
Why he’s here: Young’s record isn’t bad, but he struggled with injuries and a rocky relationship with Titans coach Jeff Fisher throughout five seasons. Young started in one playoff game and lost. He played a year as a backup in Philadelphia but simply never reached the potential he showed as a superstar quarterback at Texas. Young, however, is attempting a comeback in the CFL.
18 Ryan Tannehill (2012-present)
Drafted: Miami (No. 8)
Stats: 18,455 yards, 106 TDs, 66 INTs
Why he’s here: Tannehill led the Dolphins to 8-8 records in 2013 and 2014, and he has put up good numbers throughout his career for the Dolphins. Tannehill took Miami to the postseason in the first season working with Adam Gase. That bodes well for the future here.
19 Marcus Mariota (2015-present)
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 2)
Stats: 6,244 yards, 45 TDs, 19 INTs
Why he’s here: Mariota’s first two seasons had the typical ups and downs, and it didn’t help that his rookie year also was cut short by a sprained MCL. Mariota bounced back with 26 TDs and just nine interceptions in his second season. The long-term potential is there, so expect the former Heisman Trophy winner to move up this list if he can stay healthy.
20 Rex Grossman (2003-13)
Drafted: Chicago (No. 22)
Stats: 10,232 yards, 56 TDs, 60 INTs
Why he’s here: Snicker all you want, but Grossman did help the Bears reach the Super Bowl with a 13-3 record in 2006. That was Grossman’s only full season as a starter, however. He played as a backup in Houston and Washington after leaving Chicago in 2008.
21 Teddy Bridgewater (2014-present)
Drafted: Minnesota (No. 32)
Stats: 6,150 yards, 28 TDs, 21 INTs
Why he’s here: The Vikings took Bridgewater with the last pick in the first round, and the former Louisville star has proved them right so far. Bridgewater led Minnesota to a NFC North championship and a playoff berth in his second year. Bridgewater's career, however, is on hold after a horrific leg injury ended his 2016 season before it started.
22 Sam Bradford (2010-present)
Drafted: St. Louis (No. 1)
Stats: 18,667 yards, 98 TDs, 57 INTs
Why he’s here: Injuries have held Bradford back. He has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee twice, and that cost him the better part of two seasons. Bradford got another chance with Minnesota in 2016, and he played well with 20 TDs and just five interceptions in 15 starts.
23 Robert Griffin III (2012-present)
Drafted: Washington (No. 2)
Stats: 8,983 yards, 42 TDs, 26 INTs
Why he’s here: Griffin led the Redskins to the playoffs as a rookie, a season in which he passed for 3,200 yards and rushed for 815. RGIII, however, hasn’t been the same since a knee injury suffered in the wild-card loss to Seattle. He bickered with coach Jay Gruden and lost the starting job to Kirk Cousins. RG3 dealt with a shouler injury in Week 1 that limited him throughout his first season with the Browns.
24 Byron Leftwich (2003-12)
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 7)
Stats: 10,532 yards, 58 TDs, 42 INTs
Why he’s here: Leftwich struggled with injuries throughout his career with Jacksonville, but he compiled a 16-9 record as a starter from 2004-05 and helped the Jaguars reach the playoffs. Leftwich was more of a career backup, where had stints with Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay through 2012.
25 Blake Bortles (2014-present)
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 3)
Stats: 11,241 yards, 69 TDs, 51 INTs
Why he’s here: You could either focus on the record as a starter or the gaudy statistics. Bortles can play, but he’s stuck with a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007. Bortles throws a lot of TDs, but he also throws a lot of picks.
26 Jason Campbell (2006-14)
Drafted: Washington (No. 25)
Stats: 16,771 yards, 87 TDs, 60 INTs
Why he’s here: Campbell played four seasons in Washington as a starter, but his best showing was an 8-8 season in 2008. He did the backup tour in Oakland, Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati over the next five seasons.
27 Josh Freeman (2009-present)
Drafted: Tampa Bay (No. 17)
Stats: 13,873 yards, 81 TDs, 68 INTs
Why he’s here: Freeman looked promising in his second season when he passed for 25 TDs and six interceptions in leading the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record. That unraveled over the next two seasons, however, and he was released in 2013 after being benched. He’s played as a backup for the Vikings, Giants and Colts. Freeman remains a free agent after not signing with a team in 2016.
28 Joey Harrington (2002-07)
Drafted: Detroit (No. 3)
Stats: 14,693 yards, 79 TDs, 85 INTs
Why he’s here: Harrington took over a 2-14 franchise and didn’t have much around him, and he simply threw too many interceptions. He had 48 TDs and 50 interceptions through three seasons, and Detroit moved on after four. He played two seasons as a backup in Miami and Atlanta, respectively, before retiring.
29 David Carr (2002-2012)
Drafted: Houston (No. 1)
Stats: 14,452 yards, 65 TDs, 71 INTs
Why he’s here: Carr was given the impossible task of leading a new franchise, and he took an NFL-record 76 sacks as a rookie in 2002. Carr never had a winning record in five seasons as the Texans’ starter, and he spent the second half of his career as a backup.
30 Kyle Boller (2003-11)
Drafted: Baltimore (No. 19)
Stats: 8,931 yards, 48 TDs, 54 INTs
Why he’s here: Boller spent his first three seasons battling Anthony Wright for the starting job, and in his lone 16-game season in 2004 compiled a 9-7 record. When the Ravens brought in Steve McNair in 2006, Boller spent the rest of his career as a backup with later stints in St. Louis and Oakland.
31 Carson Wentz (2016-present)
Drafted: Philadelphia (No. 2)
Stats: 3,782 yards, 16 TDs, 14 INTs
Why he's here: Wentz showed franchise quarterback potential as a rookie, but there were downs in the second half of the season. Philadelphia gave him some fun new targets to work with in Year 2. Wentz should continue to move up this list.
32 Patrick Ramsey (2002-08)
Drafted: Washington (No. 32)
Stats: 5,930 yards, 35 TDs, 30 INTs
Why he’s here: It’s almost the same story as J.P. Losman. Ramsey was a late-riser out of Tulane, but he didn’t fit into Steve Spurrier’s offense or Joe Gibbs’ system over four seasons with the Redskins. He stuck as a backup with the Jets and Broncos over the next three seasons.
33 Blaine Gabbert (2011-present)
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 10)
Stats: 7,351 yards, 38 TDs, 31=7 INTs
Why he’s here: Gabbert went 5-19 in his first two seasons in Jacksonville before being relegated to backup duties and later traded to San Francisco, where he started eight games in 2015 and five games in 2016. Gabbert remains a free agent heading into 2017.
34 Christian Ponder (2011-present)
Drafted: Minnesota (No. 12)
Stats: 6,658 yards, 38 TDs, 36 INTs
Why he’s here: Ponder led Minnesota to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2012, but an injury prevented him from starting the wild-card game against Green Bay. He hasn’t been the same since. Ponder was signed by San Francisco last season and is a free agent entering 2017.
35 J.P. Losman (2004-11)
Drafted: Buffalo (No. 22)
Stats: 6,271 yards, 33 TDs, 34 INTs
Why he’s here: Losman was a late riser in the 2004 NFL Draft, and he sat behind Drew Bledsoe as a rookie before splitting starts with Kelly Holcomb in his second year. Losman started 16 games in 2006, and the Bills finished 7-9. He never held down a full-time starting job again.
36 Matt Leinart (2006-12)
Drafted: Arizona (No. 10)
Stats: 4,065 yards, 15 TDs, 21 INTs
Why he’s here: Leinart had a 37-2 record as a starter at USC, but that didn’t carry over in the NFL, where he spent four seasons operating in Kurt Warner’s shadow in Arizona before stints as a backup in Houston and Oakland.
37 Tim Tebow (2010-12)
Drafted: Denver (No. 25)
Stats: 2,422 yards, 17 TDs, 9 INTs
MORE: Tebow's 10 greatest moments
Why he’s here: He’s arguably the greatest quarterback in college football history, but he had to wait until his second NFL season to get a start. He took the Broncos on a wild, memorable playoff run capped with a walk-off win against the Steelers in the 2012 AFC wild-card game, but he became more of a gimmick player with the Jets before brief stints with New England and most-recently Philadelphia. Tebow now is a minor-league baseball player in the New York Mets organization.
38 Brandon Weeden (2012-present)
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 6,463 yards, 31 TDs, 30 INTs
Why he’s here: Like Brady Quinn and later Johnny Manziel, the Browns drafted Weeden with the No. 22 pick in the first round. Like Quinn and Manziel, it didn’t work. Weeden started his rookie year before losing the job in Year 2, and he’s served as a backup at Dallas and Houston since leaving Cleveland. Weeden could fight for the starting job for the Texans in 2017.
39 EJ Manuel (2013-present)
Drafted: Buffalo (No. 16)
Stats: 3,502 yards, 19 TDs, 15 INTs
Why he's here: Manuel started in one game last season, and he was signed by Oakland in the offseason. He's trending toward a career backup role in the NFL heading into his fifth season.
40 Jake Locker (2011-14)
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 8)
Stats: 4,967 yards, 27 TDs, 22 INTs
Why he’s here: Locker played four seasons, but injuries derailed his career every time it got started. He showed a knack for scrambling and had some talent, but he unexpectedly decided to retire in 2014.
41 Jared Goff (2016-present)
Drafted: L.A. Rams (No. 1)
Stats: 1,089 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs
Why he's here: Goff took over at midseason as a rookie and had a brutal trial by baptism, but his second season should be better under new coach Sean McVay. At least it better be. There's time for Goff to move up this list, but he has to earn it.
42 Johnny Manziel (2014-present)
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 1,675 yards, 7 TDs, 7 INTs
Why he's here: This has been a disaster from the start. Manziel’s off-field issues have trumped anything he’s done on the field, and the Browns let him go after two seasons. It remains to be seen where the former Heisman Trophy winner winds up next.
43 Brady Quinn (2007-13)
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 3,043 yards, 12 TDs, 17 INTs
Why he's here: Cleveland rescued Quinn from the Green Room but never really gave him a chance over three seasons. Quinn never seized the starting job, then bounced around as a backup for four other teams before retiring in 2013.
44 Paxton Lynch (2016-present)
Drafted: Denver (No. 26)
Stats: 497 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Why he's here: Lynch saw some time with two spot starts as a rookie, but the goal will be to take over as the Broncos' starter in 2017. This is to be determined.
45 JaMarcus Russell (2007-09)
Drafted: Oakland (No. 1)
Stats: 4,083 yards, 18 TDs, 23 INTs
Why he's here: He’s arguably the biggest bust in NFL Draft history, and he only lasted through half of his ridiculous six-year, $68 million deal. Russell had only one full season under center in 2008. The fact that Oakland spent a No. 1 pick here clinches it.