What History Of First-Round QBs Could Mean For Patriots Draft

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The NFL draft is a time for optimism, and it can highlight just how little anyone knows about the top prospects.

New England Patriots supporters are seeing that firsthand when it comes to the discourse around the No. 3 pick. Are Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye franchise quarterbacks? Well, it depends on who you ask. Is J.J. McCarthy a legit top-five pick? That depends on what traits you value and think translate to the next level.

Everyone has all the answers before the draft, but until these guys actually play in the NFL, it’s truly anyone’s guess. That’s why historical analysis could help give insight on whether or not the Patriots should trade back or not. We’ll take a look back at the quarterbacks selected in the first round of the last 10 drafts and see what the success rate has been. Let’s first take a look at the pool we’re analyzing.

2014: Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater

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2015: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota

2016: Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch

2017: Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson

2018: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson

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2019: Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins

2020: Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love

2021: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones

2022: Kenny Pickett

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2023: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson

Remember when the Denver Broncos drafted Lynch in the first round? If John Elway wasn’t a Hall of Famer, he would’ve gotten fired straight away for that pick. But it is indicative of how much of a crap shoot the NFL draft is.

So how are we defining success? We’ll simply use a combination of earning a second contract with the team you were drafted by, winning a playoff game and winning an NFL award or being named to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team.

By those metrics, we’re saying Goff, Mahomes, Watson, Mayfield, Allen, Jackson, Murray, Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert, Love, Lawrence and Stroud are hits. Young and Richardson didn’t hit it off in their rookie seasons, but they still have a chance to be hits, and Fields does, too.

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So 13 out of 34 picks gives us a 38% hit rate on first-round quarterbacks. That’s nothing to boast about, but it’s not something to scoff at either. Teams over the past 10 years essentially have a better than one-in-three chance to land a franchise quarterback. You could view that as the Patriots probabilistically could whiff at the No. 3 pick if quarterbacks are selected with the first two picks.

But New England could hope for a draft class like 2020 where all the quarterbacks end up being a franchise guy to some degree.

Director of scouting Eliot Wolf pointed out in his news conference at the NFL Scouting Combine that most franchise quarterbacks tend to be selected in the first round, and the last 10 drafts largely prove the de facto general manager correct. There is risk of failure, but selecting a signal-caller at No. 3 could be worth it to help build a solid foundation for the franchise.

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