Rookie Quarterbacks
By Jeff Tefertiller
August 24th, 2010

Fantasy owners are always eyeballing the incoming rookie class to see which players might make an immediate impact ... or any impact at all. This series is examining every draft pick since 1990 for the four skill positions and is looking for trends that may develop. Half of the article will look back at the historical data and the other half will use that data to predict the success of the 2010 NFL rookie draft class. This particular article is focused on the running back position.

Historical Success

The methodology for determining a successful draft pick will be based on the following metrics:

  • The number of seasons in the NFL. The longer the career span, the better chance the player was an asset to fantasy owners.
  • The number of seasons the player finished as a fantasy starter (using 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE as the starting lineup) in a 12-team league.
  • The number of seasons as an elite fantasy starter (finishing in top six quarterback or tight end, or top twelve running back or wide receiver).
  • In addition, a ratio was used for the two metrics above. The ratio divides the number of seasons finishing at the metric level by the number of seasons in the NFL. It was included to help distinguish players of varying career lengths.

The above metrics will be a constant for all of the skill positions. The picks are broken down by the following picks: Top 5 Pick, Picks 6-10 Overall, 1st Round picks outside of Top 10, 2nd Round, 3rd Round, 4th Round, 5th Round, 6th Round, and 7th Round and later. As most would guess, the success rate is highest for the early picks and lowest for the low picks. But, where are the major dropoffs in rates of success? Well, it will be different depending on the position.

Now, on to the quarterbacks drafted since 1990. The Top 5 overall picks at the quarterback position have yielded a mixed bag of results. There are many high picks that have paid off well like Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, and Carson Palmer. But, there have also been some major flops with those high picks. Names like Joey Harrington, David Carr, Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith are not easily forgotten by fans. With such a diverse range of possibilities, what are the averages for the top picks? The chart below may surprise many:

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01

What do these numbers mean? One average surprised me. I fully expected the average career length for a passer taken in the Top 5 picks to be more than seven years. The average quarterback taken as a Top 5 pick averages seven seasons in the league, with two years as a fantasy starter and only 1.38 seasons as an elite fantasy passer. These numbers would be much, much worse if not for Peyton Manning. He has played eleven seasons, finishing as a fantasy starter every year and an elite fantasy player in all but one season. One interesting tidbit is that no quarterback selected this high, since Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were drafted in 2004, has finished as a Top 12 fantasy quarterback. While these averages are not great, what are the chances of hitting on a pick in the six through ten range? The next chart will offer another surprise. It only includes a six-player sample, but is still quite interesting.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Picks 6-10
5.50
0
0
0
0

Yes, that is right. No quarterback taken in picks six through ten has finished a season as a fantasy starter. This group of players includes Joe Flacco, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich, Trent Dilfer, David Klingler, and Andre Ware. These quarterbacks were taken with high expectations but fell far short. While there is still a chance that Flacco or Leinart can put together a season to finish as a fantasy starter, the overall numbers are not good. It is interesting that all of the quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 picks have such a short career span. So, how do the quarterbacks taken later in the first round compare?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03

The likelihood of getting one season as a fantasy starter or elite starter drops dramatically from the Top 5 picks. These are the passers usually taken by good NFL teams. There are many successes like Daunte Culpepper, Chad Pennington, and Ben Roethlisberger and many dismal failures like Todd Marinovich, Jim Drunkenmiller, and Cade McNown. I expect these percentages to actually grow with the likes Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, and Roethlisberger in the early stages of their careers. Will the numbers dropoff in the second round passers?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05

This is one of those times where a small sample size is exploited with one or two outliers. Guess which flip-flopping passer was taken in 1991 by the Atlanta Falcons? His 18 seasons in the NFL, 15 as a fantasy starter, and eight as an elite starter certainly skew the numbers. He is just one of twenty passers drafted in the second round since 1990. Quarterbacks are getting riskier as the rounds go by. One fact of note, no thrower drafted in the second since Drew Brees in 2001 has enjoyed a fantasy starter season. Will the numbers continue to decline?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0

Yes, these numbers are correct. And, no, this is not a very small sample size like picks six through ten. This data includes 23 quarterbacks taken since 1990. As most would assume, the average career length continues to decline. Brian Griese and Neil O'Donnell bumped up the average career span or it would be much lower. Will the fourth round offer any more value?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01

Oddly, there has not been a passer drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft since Kyle Orton and Stephan LeFors were selected in 2005. Aaron Brooks and his four fantasy starter seasons help these numbers. There are many failures. Of the 31 players drafted, only Brooks, David Garrard, and Scott Mitchell had a viable fantasy season. Those are not good odds. How much do the chances drop looking at the fifth round?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0

This is where we see the dramatic decline in career length. It is difficult to think that a quarterback taken in the fifth round will only have a one-in-six chance to be a fantasy starter ONCE. Plus, this quarterback would only have a four percent shot at being an elite passer for one season. To illustrate how long the odds are against a fifth round rookie passer, Mark Brunell is the only quarterback taken since 1990 to be a fantasy starter. He finished as a starter four times. No other quarterback taken in the fifth round could be fantasy relevant. With the growing trend, the sixth round may surprise.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03

Why the jump in numbers? Well, there have been five sixth round passers to finish at least one season as a fantasy starter. But, four of them have enjoyed long and productive careers. Having players like Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, and Jeff Blake tend to skew the numbers. In fact, the sixth round in 2000 produced both Brady and Bulger. The last chart includes the players taken in the seventh round or later. Many may remember when the draft saw well over 300 players drafted.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

There have been some good fantasy sleepers from the seventh round, but the odds are stacked high against. Players like Trent Green, Matt Cassel, and Elvis Grbac needed opportunity to showcase their wares.

Looking back on these draft picks, it becomes apparent that the earlier the picks, the more opportunity the passers had early in their careers. But, that makes sense as the team has so much invested in those players. These numbers do show us that the earlier the pick, the better the chance for a longer, more productive career ... both as a fantasy player and as a NFL passer. One thing that is not talked about much in rookie fantasy drafts is that career length should be considered in determining values. This is especially true for quarterbacks and running backs. The rest of this article will examine the quarterbacks taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. We will look at the chances for each rookie passer drafted in April's draft. Below are the above charts all together for easier viewing:

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01
Picks 6-10
5.50
0
0
0
0
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

The 2010 Rookie Class

Now, we will look at the 2010 rookie quarterbacks broken down the same as those in the historical data set. The first chart will be the historical data and the second the rookies.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
1
Sam Bradford
StL
Oklahoma

The 2009 NFL Draft was an unique occurrence in that two quarterbacks were taken in the first five selections. The last time this happened was in 2004 with the Eli Manning and Philip Rivers draft and trade situation. In the last article, we saw several successful Top 5 picks and a handful of major disappointments. The averages support Bradford having a chance for a good career. His accuracy and strong arm should serve him well. The concern is mainly the shoulder injuries sustained while at Oklahoma. While the Rams do not offer the type of near-term upside to propel Bradford to immediate success, the team should be pretty good in 2011 and 2012.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
25
Tim Tebow
Den
Florida

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has tethered himself to Tebow with all that the team gave in order to move up for the former Florida Gator. Tebow has many of the tools needed in order to become a very good fantasy quarterback. He just needs to work on his passing delivery and footwork in the pocket. With Tebow's work ethic and his coach's tutelage, he can very well be a fantasy factor in 2011, if not before. Kyle Orton seems to be locked in as the starter as long as the team is winning. But, a prolonged losing streak and the team may want to see an extended look at the rookie. In dynasty leagues, he is a player to acquire.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
2
48
Jimmy Clausen
Car
Notre Dame

Clausen fell much further in the draft than anyone expected. There was talk of him being a Top 5 selection, but that did not happen. He was drafted behind another young quarterback (Matt Moore) in the last year of his contract. The Panthers will want to see what they have in him, after the strong finish last year, before offering a contract extension. There is a legitimate chance that Clausen will be stuck behind Moore for a few seasons. The odds are not strong that Clausen will ever be a viable fantasy option.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
3
85
Colt McCoy
Cle
Texas

McCoy is behind two average veterans on the depth chart. If he cannot make an impact over the likes of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, then there is not much hope for the athletic passer. McCoy is undersized but gritty. Many question his arm strength and his ability to take the pounding needed to be a professional passer. He does not look to have a good future in fantasyland. The odds are remote for third round quarterbacks as it is, and dynasty owners are best to let someone else roster this former Longhorn.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
4
122
Mike Kafka
Phi
Northwestern

After just a short time in Eagles camp, Kafka has impressed. He is currently buried on the depth chart behind Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. Kafka has great accuracy after running the wide-open Northwestern attack. He has a shot to be good. In the deeper leagues, Kafka is a player to stash for a couple of seasons. The West Coast Offense employed by Philadelphia is an ideal fit for his skill set.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
5
155
John Skelton
Ari
Fordham
5
168
Jonathan Crompton
SD
Tennessee

Quarterbacks taken in the fifth round are all long shots to make a difference for their NFL teams, but much less for fantasy owners. The average career span is approximately two years, meaning most will not make it through their rookie contract. Both of these passers should be inactive on game days unless the injury bug bites. Of the two, Crompton has a much better chance at "hitting" than does Skelton. While Skelton has potential, he lacks the accuracy and sharpness NFL passers must possess. Each of the fifth round prospects saw their respective draft stock rise with strong postseasons. Crompton showed the poise needed in order to become a NFL starter. He has a chance to start one day even though the odds for both of these youngsters are very remote. The good news is that both are in good situations to learn how to be a NFL passer.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
6
176
Rusty Smith
Ten
Florida Atlantic
6
181
Dan LeFevour
Chi
Central Michigan
6
199
Joe Webb
Min
UAB
6
204
Tony Pike
Car
Cincinnati

The averages for quarterbacks taken in the sixth round were aided mightily by the 1998 and 2000 NFL Drafts which included Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, and Marc Bulger. Can any of these four rookie passers make an impact? The odds are long. Pike and Webb have virtually no shot to contribute any time soon. It is best to avoid these two unless we see some encouraging news. The initial reports have not been positive in relation to making an impact. Smith is an intriguing prospect who could get a chance in 2011 or 2012, depending on how Vince Young plays this season. The Titans have very little behind Young. LeFevour will need a change of scenery in order to see the field. The Bears have too much invested in Jay Cutler.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
7
209
Levi Brown
Buf
Troy
7
239
Sean Canfield
NO
Oregon State
7
250
Zac Robinson
NE
Oklahoma State

These three passers are fighting an uphill battle just to make their respective teams. Of the group, Brown has the best chance to start a game under center. He is very athletic and the Bills have little ahead of him on the depth chart. The other two players (Canfield and Robinson) play behind All Pro passers and just hope to make the team or practice squad. Keep an eye on Brown and the Buffalo quarterback situation. He could make an impact this year.

Below are all of the quarterbacks in the 2010 NFL Draft rookie class:

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
1
Sam Bradford
StL
Oklahoma
1
25
Tim Tebow
Den
Florida
2
48
Jimmy Clausen
Car
Notre Dame
3
85
Colt McCoy
Cle
Texas
4
122
Mike Kafka
Phi
Northwestern
5
155
John Skelton
Ari
Fordham
5
168
Jonathan Crompton
SD
Tennessee
6
176
Rusty Smith
Ten
Florida Atlantic
6
181
Dan LeFevour
Chi
Central Michigan
6
199
Joe Webb
Min
UAB
6
204
Tony Pike
Car
Cincinnati
7
209
Levi Brown
Buf
Troy
7
239
Sean Canfield
NO
Oregon State
7
250
Zac Robinson
NE
Oklahoma State

The historical data tells us that Bradford has the best chance at both NFL and fantasy success. This should hold true. He and Tebow are the overwhelming favorites to make an impact for fantasy owners. Others to watch are Kafka, Crompton, Smith, and Brown. These possess the best talent and situation to be worth holding in fantasy leagues.

Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.

Fantasy owners are always eyeballing the incoming rookie class to see which players might make an immediate impact ... or any impact at all. This series is examining every draft pick since 1990 for the four skill positions and is looking for trends that may develop. Half of the article will look back at the historical data and the other half will use that data to predict the success of the 2010 NFL rookie draft class. This particular article is focused on the running back position.

Historical Success

The methodology for determining a successful draft pick will be based on the following metrics:

  • The number of seasons in the NFL. The longer the career span, the better chance the player was an asset to fantasy owners.
  • The number of seasons the player finished as a fantasy starter (using 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE as the starting lineup) in a 12-team league.
  • The number of seasons as an elite fantasy starter (finishing in top six quarterback or tight end, or top twelve running back or wide receiver).
  • In addition, a ratio was used for the two metrics above. The ratio divides the number of seasons finishing at the metric level by the number of seasons in the NFL. It was included to help distinguish players of varying career lengths.

The above metrics will be a constant for all of the skill positions. The picks are broken down by the following picks: Top 5 Pick, Picks 6-10 Overall, 1st Round picks outside of Top 10, 2nd Round, 3rd Round, 4th Round, 5th Round, 6th Round, and 7th Round and later. As most would guess, the success rate is highest for the early picks and lowest for the low picks. But, where are the major dropoffs in rates of success? Well, it will be different depending on the position.

Now, on to the quarterbacks drafted since 1990. The Top 5 overall picks at the quarterback position have yielded a mixed bag of results. There are many high picks that have paid off well like Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, and Carson Palmer. But, there have also been some major flops with those high picks. Names like Joey Harrington, David Carr, Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith are not easily forgotten by fans. With such a diverse range of possibilities, what are the averages for the top picks? The chart below may surprise many:

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01

What do these numbers mean? One average surprised me. I fully expected the average career length for a passer taken in the Top 5 picks to be more than seven years. The average quarterback taken as a Top 5 pick averages seven seasons in the league, with two years as a fantasy starter and only 1.38 seasons as an elite fantasy passer. These numbers would be much, much worse if not for Peyton Manning. He has played eleven seasons, finishing as a fantasy starter every year and an elite fantasy player in all but one season. One interesting tidbit is that no quarterback selected this high, since Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were drafted in 2004, has finished as a Top 12 fantasy quarterback. While these averages are not great, what are the chances of hitting on a pick in the six through ten range? The next chart will offer another surprise. It only includes a six-player sample, but is still quite interesting.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Picks 6-10
5.50
0
0
0
0

Yes, that is right. No quarterback taken in picks six through ten has finished a season as a fantasy starter. This group of players includes Joe Flacco, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich, Trent Dilfer, David Klingler, and Andre Ware. These quarterbacks were taken with high expectations but fell far short. While there is still a chance that Flacco or Leinart can put together a season to finish as a fantasy starter, the overall numbers are not good. It is interesting that all of the quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 picks have such a short career span. So, how do the quarterbacks taken later in the first round compare?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03

The likelihood of getting one season as a fantasy starter or elite starter drops dramatically from the Top 5 picks. These are the passers usually taken by good NFL teams. There are many successes like Daunte Culpepper, Chad Pennington, and Ben Roethlisberger and many dismal failures like Todd Marinovich, Jim Drunkenmiller, and Cade McNown. I expect these percentages to actually grow with the likes Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, and Roethlisberger in the early stages of their careers. Will the numbers dropoff in the second round passers?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05

This is one of those times where a small sample size is exploited with one or two outliers. Guess which flip-flopping passer was taken in 1991 by the Atlanta Falcons? His 18 seasons in the NFL, 15 as a fantasy starter, and eight as an elite starter certainly skew the numbers. He is just one of twenty passers drafted in the second round since 1990. Quarterbacks are getting riskier as the rounds go by. One fact of note, no thrower drafted in the second since Drew Brees in 2001 has enjoyed a fantasy starter season. Will the numbers continue to decline?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0

Yes, these numbers are correct. And, no, this is not a very small sample size like picks six through ten. This data includes 23 quarterbacks taken since 1990. As most would assume, the average career length continues to decline. Brian Griese and Neil O'Donnell bumped up the average career span or it would be much lower. Will the fourth round offer any more value?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01

Oddly, there has not been a passer drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft since Kyle Orton and Stephan LeFors were selected in 2005. Aaron Brooks and his four fantasy starter seasons help these numbers. There are many failures. Of the 31 players drafted, only Brooks, David Garrard, and Scott Mitchell had a viable fantasy season. Those are not good odds. How much do the chances drop looking at the fifth round?

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0

This is where we see the dramatic decline in career length. It is difficult to think that a quarterback taken in the fifth round will only have a one-in-six chance to be a fantasy starter ONCE. Plus, this quarterback would only have a four percent shot at being an elite passer for one season. To illustrate how long the odds are against a fifth round rookie passer, Mark Brunell is the only quarterback taken since 1990 to be a fantasy starter. He finished as a starter four times. No other quarterback taken in the fifth round could be fantasy relevant. With the growing trend, the sixth round may surprise.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03

Why the jump in numbers? Well, there have been five sixth round passers to finish at least one season as a fantasy starter. But, four of them have enjoyed long and productive careers. Having players like Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, and Jeff Blake tend to skew the numbers. In fact, the sixth round in 2000 produced both Brady and Bulger. The last chart includes the players taken in the seventh round or later. Many may remember when the draft saw well over 300 players drafted.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

There have been some good fantasy sleepers from the seventh round, but the odds are stacked high against. Players like Trent Green, Matt Cassel, and Elvis Grbac needed opportunity to showcase their wares.

Looking back on these draft picks, it becomes apparent that the earlier the picks, the more opportunity the passers had early in their careers. But, that makes sense as the team has so much invested in those players. These numbers do show us that the earlier the pick, the better the chance for a longer, more productive career ... both as a fantasy player and as a NFL passer. One thing that is not talked about much in rookie fantasy drafts is that career length should be considered in determining values. This is especially true for quarterbacks and running backs. The rest of this article will examine the quarterbacks taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. We will look at the chances for each rookie passer drafted in April's draft. Below are the above charts all together for easier viewing:

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01
Picks 6-10
5.50
0
0
0
0
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

The 2010 Rookie Class

Now, we will look at the 2010 rookie quarterbacks broken down the same as those in the historical data set. The first chart will be the historical data and the second the rookies.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Top Five
6.71
2.19
0.20
1.38
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
1
Sam Bradford
StL
Oklahoma

The 2009 NFL Draft was an unique occurrence in that two quarterbacks were taken in the first five selections. The last time this happened was in 2004 with the Eli Manning and Philip Rivers draft and trade situation. In the last article, we saw several successful Top 5 picks and a handful of major disappointments. The averages support Bradford having a chance for a good career. His accuracy and strong arm should serve him well. The concern is mainly the shoulder injuries sustained while at Oklahoma. While the Rams do not offer the type of near-term upside to propel Bradford to immediate success, the team should be pretty good in 2011 and 2012.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
Rest of 1st
5.38
0.62
0.08
0.38
0.03

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
25
Tim Tebow
Den
Florida

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has tethered himself to Tebow with all that the team gave in order to move up for the former Florida Gator. Tebow has many of the tools needed in order to become a very good fantasy quarterback. He just needs to work on his passing delivery and footwork in the pocket. With Tebow's work ethic and his coach's tutelage, he can very well be a fantasy factor in 2011, if not before. Kyle Orton seems to be locked in as the starter as long as the team is winning. But, a prolonged losing streak and the team may want to see an extended look at the rookie. In dynasty leagues, he is a player to acquire.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
2nd Round
5.60
1.30
0.10
0.65
0.05

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
2
48
Jimmy Clausen
Car
Notre Dame

Clausen fell much further in the draft than anyone expected. There was talk of him being a Top 5 selection, but that did not happen. He was drafted behind another young quarterback (Matt Moore) in the last year of his contract. The Panthers will want to see what they have in him, after the strong finish last year, before offering a contract extension. There is a legitimate chance that Clausen will be stuck behind Moore for a few seasons. The odds are not strong that Clausen will ever be a viable fantasy option.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
3rd Round
4.30
0
0
0
0

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
3
85
Colt McCoy
Cle
Texas

McCoy is behind two average veterans on the depth chart. If he cannot make an impact over the likes of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, then there is not much hope for the athletic passer. McCoy is undersized but gritty. Many question his arm strength and his ability to take the pounding needed to be a professional passer. He does not look to have a good future in fantasyland. The odds are remote for third round quarterbacks as it is, and dynasty owners are best to let someone else roster this former Longhorn.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
4th Round
3.94
0.23
0.03
0.10
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
4
122
Mike Kafka
Phi
Northwestern

After just a short time in Eagles camp, Kafka has impressed. He is currently buried on the depth chart behind Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. Kafka has great accuracy after running the wide-open Northwestern attack. He has a shot to be good. In the deeper leagues, Kafka is a player to stash for a couple of seasons. The West Coast Offense employed by Philadelphia is an ideal fit for his skill set.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
5th Round
1.96
0.17
0.01
0.04
0

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
5
155
John Skelton
Ari
Fordham
5
168
Jonathan Crompton
SD
Tennessee

Quarterbacks taken in the fifth round are all long shots to make a difference for their NFL teams, but much less for fantasy owners. The average career span is approximately two years, meaning most will not make it through their rookie contract. Both of these passers should be inactive on game days unless the injury bug bites. Of the two, Crompton has a much better chance at "hitting" than does Skelton. While Skelton has potential, he lacks the accuracy and sharpness NFL passers must possess. Each of the fifth round prospects saw their respective draft stock rise with strong postseasons. Crompton showed the poise needed in order to become a NFL starter. He has a chance to start one day even though the odds for both of these youngsters are very remote. The good news is that both are in good situations to learn how to be a NFL passer.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
6th Round
3.04
0.59
0.07
0.30
0.03

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
6
176
Rusty Smith
Ten
Florida Atlantic
6
181
Dan LeFevour
Chi
Central Michigan
6
199
Joe Webb
Min
UAB
6
204
Tony Pike
Car
Cincinnati

The averages for quarterbacks taken in the sixth round were aided mightily by the 1998 and 2000 NFL Drafts which included Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, and Marc Bulger. Can any of these four rookie passers make an impact? The odds are long. Pike and Webb have virtually no shot to contribute any time soon. It is best to avoid these two unless we see some encouraging news. The initial reports have not been positive in relation to making an impact. Smith is an intriguing prospect who could get a chance in 2011 or 2012, depending on how Vince Young plays this season. The Titans have very little behind Young. LeFevour will need a change of scenery in order to see the field. The Bears have too much invested in Jay Cutler.

Draft Area
# Seasons
Viable Seasons
Viability Ratio
Elite Seasons
Elite Ratio
7th Round
3.14
0.27
0.04
0.10
0.01

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
7
209
Levi Brown
Buf
Troy
7
239
Sean Canfield
NO
Oregon State
7
250
Zac Robinson
NE
Oklahoma State

These three passers are fighting an uphill battle just to make their respective teams. Of the group, Brown has the best chance to start a game under center. He is very athletic and the Bills have little ahead of him on the depth chart. The other two players (Canfield and Robinson) play behind All Pro passers and just hope to make the team or practice squad. Keep an eye on Brown and the Buffalo quarterback situation. He could make an impact this year.

Below are all of the quarterbacks in the 2010 NFL Draft rookie class:

Rnd
2010 Pick
Player
Team
College
1
1
Sam Bradford
StL
Oklahoma
1
25
Tim Tebow
Den
Florida
2
48
Jimmy Clausen
Car
Notre Dame
3
85
Colt McCoy
Cle
Texas
4
122
Mike Kafka
Phi
Northwestern
5
155
John Skelton
Ari
Fordham
5
168
Jonathan Crompton
SD
Tennessee
6
176
Rusty Smith
Ten
Florida Atlantic
6
181
Dan LeFevour
Chi
Central Michigan
6
199
Joe Webb
Min
UAB
6
204
Tony Pike
Car
Cincinnati
7
209
Levi Brown
Buf
Troy
7
239
Sean Canfield
NO
Oregon State
7
250
Zac Robinson
NE
Oklahoma State

The historical data tells us that Bradford has the best chance at both NFL and fantasy success. This should hold true. He and Tebow are the overwhelming favorites to make an impact for fantasy owners. Others to watch are Kafka, Crompton, Smith, and Brown. These possess the best talent and situation to be worth holding in fantasy leagues.

Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.

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