Quarterbacks selected in the top five of the NFL Draft since 2002

This past weekend saw the 83rd NFL Draft take place, which saw a record number of quarterbacks be taken in the first-round. Two of these quarterbacks were taken with the top five picks in the draft. The Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield with the first pick and the New York Jets selected Sam Darnold with the third pick.

This makes it a great time to look back and see how quarterbacks selected in the top five (starting with the 2002 NFL Draft) have fared. During this period there have been 21 quarterbacks taken in the top five not counting the 2018 draft.

Stats

Let’s start with looking at each quarterbacks stats compared to each other in terms of quarterback rating, completion, attempts, completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and interceptions.

Bolded quarterbacks are retired

QB Draft (pick) GP/GS QB Rate Comp Att Comp % Yards TD Int
D.Carr 2002 (1) 94/79 74.9 1353 2267 59.70% 14,452 65 71
J.Harrington 2002 (3) 81/76 69.4 1424 2538 56.10% 14,693 79 85
C.Palmer 2003 (1) 182/181 87.9 3941 6307 62.50% 46,247 294 187
E.Manning 2004 (1) 216/214 83.5 4424 7369 59.80% 51,682 339 228
P.Rivers 2004 (4) 196/192 94.8 4171 6492 64.20% 50,348 342 166
A.Smith 2005 (1) 156/151 87.4 2877 4613 62.40% 31,888 183 96
V.Young 2006 (3) 60/50 74.4 755 1304 57.90% 8,964 46 51
J.Russell 2007 (1) 31/25 65.2 354 680 52.10% 4,083 18 23
M.Ryan 2008 (3) 158/158 93.4 3630 5593 64.90% 41,769 260 126
M.Stafford 2009 (1) 125/125 88.3 3005 4850 62.00% 34,479 216 118
M.Sanchez 2009 (5) 77/72 73.9 1295 2285 56.70% 15,219 86 86
S.Bradford 2010 (1) 80/80 85.1 1805 2887 62.50% 19,049 101 57
C.Newton 2011 (1) 109/108 85.3 2001 3420 58.50% 25,074 158 94
A.Luck 2012 (1) 70/70 87.3 1570 2651 59.20% 19,078 132 87
RG III 2012 (2) 42/40 88.4 766 1210 63.30% 8.983 42 26
B.Bortles 2014 (3) 62/61 80.8 1318 2229 59.10% 14,928 90 64
J.Winston 2015 (1) 45/45 87.2 939 1544 60.80% 11,636 69 44
M.Mariota 2015 (2) 42/42 88.6 787 1274 61.80% 9,476 58 34
J.Goff 2016 (1) 22/22 89.4 408 682 59.80% 4,893 33 14
C.Wentz 2016 (2) 29/29 88.8 644 1047 61.50% 7,078 49 21
M.Trubisky 2017 (2) 12/12 77.5 186 330 59.40% 2,193 7 7

Eli Manning has started and played the most games. He also has the most completions, attempts, passing yards and interceptions. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has the highest quarterback rating and most passing touchdowns. Matt Ryan has the highest compleition percentage.

Jared Goff has the highest TD to Int ratio (2.35), followed by Carson Wentz (2.33). However, both of them have only played two seasons so it is unlikely either will stay that high. Rivers and Ryan are after them, with a TD/Int ratio of 2.06.

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QB Record, comebacks, and game-winning drives

Quarterbacks, more so then arguably any other position in professional team sports, are judged based on the performance of their team. They are also looked towards to lead their team in crunch time at the end of games.

QB Record (Win %) Comebacks GW Drives Playoff Rec P CB P GWD
D.Carr 23-56 (.291%) 7 11 0-0 0 0
J.Harrington 26-50 (.342%) 6 7 0-0 0 0
C.Palmer 92-88-1 (.511%) 22 35 1-3 (.250%) 1 1
E.Manning 111-103 (.519%) 26 35 8-4 (.667%) 4 5
P.Rivers 106-86 (.552%) 23 27 4-5 (.444%) 1 1
A.Smith 88-62-1 (.586%) 18 22 2-5 (.286%) 1 1
V.Young 31-19 (.620%) 7 13 0-1 (.000%) 0 0
J.Russell 7-18 (.280%) 3 4 0-0 0 0
M.Ryan 95-63 (.601%) 26 35 4-6 (.400%) 1 1
M.Stafford 60-65 (.480%) 26 32 0-3 (.000%) 0 0
M.Sanchez 37-35 (.514%) 8 10 4-2 (.667%) 2 2
S.Bradford 34-45-1 (.431%) 7 8 0-0 0 0
C.Newton 62-45-1 (.579%) 13 15 3-4 (.429%) 0 0
A.Luck 43-27 (.614%) 13 17 3-3 (.500%) 1 1
RG III 15-25 (.375%) 4 5 0-1 (.000%) 0 0
B.Bortles 21-40 (.344%) 6 7 2-1 (.667%) 0 0
J.Winston 18-27 (.400%) 5 8 0-0 0 0
M.Mariota 20-22 (.476%) 7 8 1-1 (.500%) 1 1
J.Goff 11-11 (.500%) 1 1 0-1 (.000%) 0 0
C.Wentz 18-11 (.621%) 2 2 0-0 0 0
M.Trubisky 4-8 (.333%) 0 1 0-0 0 0

Out of the all the quarterbacks taken in the top five since 2002, only Carson Wentz (.621%), Vince Young (,620%), Andrew Luck (.614%) and Matt Ryan (.601%) have won over 60% of their games. However, a quarterback alone doesn’t make a winning team as 11 of these 21 quarterbacks have losing records.

Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford have the most comebacks (26). Manning, Ryan and Carson Palmer all have the most game-winning drives (35).

32 (53%) of Stafford’s 60 wins have involved a game-winning drive. 26 (43%) have been due to comebacks that he has helped orchestrate.

Only four quarterbacks (Manning, Sanchez, Bortles, and Luck) have non-losing records in the playoffs. In the playoffs, Manning has 8 playoff wins, 4 comebacks, and 5 game-winning drives. The other 20 quarterbacks have a combined 24 wins, 8 comebacks and 7 game-winning drives.

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Awards and Honors

Finally, how do quarterbacks who have been taken in the top five spots of the draft since 2002 stack up in terms of the honors they have been awarded?

POW: Player of the Week

OROY: Offensive Rookie of the Year

All-Rook: NFL All-Rookie Team

CPOY: Comeback Player of the Year

OPOY: Offensive Player of the Year.

QB POW OROY All-Rook CPOY OPOY Pro Bowl AP All-Pro MVP SB SB MVP
D.Carr 0 No Yes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J.Harrington 1 No No 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C.Palmer 3 No No 0 0 3 1 0 0 0
E.Manning 4 No No 0 0 4 0 0 2 2
P.Rivers 9 No No 0 0 7 0 0 0 0
A.Smith 2 No No 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
V.Young 2 Yes Yes 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
J.Russell 0 No No 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M.Ryan 8 Yes Yes 0 1 4 1 1 0 0
M.Stafford 1 No No 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
M.Sanchez 1 No Yes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S.Bradford 1 Yes Yes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C.Newton 9 Yes Yes 0 1 3 1 1 0 0
A.Luck 4 No No 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
RG III 2 Yes Yes 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
B.Bortles 0 No No 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J.Winston 1 No Yes 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
M.Mariota 3 No No 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J.Goff 1 No No 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
C.Wentz 2 No No 0 0 1 1 0 1 0
M.Trubisky 0 No No 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Vince Young, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III are the only top five quarterbacks to make the NFL’s All-Rookie Team and be named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Newton and Ryan are the only MVP winners in this group, while Matthew Stafford is the only one to win Comeback Player of the Year. Eli Manning has more Super Bowls (2 to 1) and Super Bowl MVPs (2 to 0) then the other 20 quarterbacks combined.

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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “Eli Manning” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/draft-finder.cgi (use to see which quarterbacks were drafted in the top five since 2002 and see their profiles)

https://www.footballdb.com/leaders/career-passing-tdintratio (used to find TD-to-Int ratio for QBs)

https://www.footballdb.com/stats/qb-records.html?type=reg&alltime=1 (Use to find winning percentage for QBs)

Charts make using Google Spreadsheets

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