Lack of consensus is the trademark of the 2011 Quarterback class (part 1)

Mike Mayock has Cam Newton 21st on his big board. And yet Newton has a very real shot to go 1st overall.

Posted by Kip Earlywine

While the 2011 class may not be a repeat of 1983 or even 2004, you could easily say that this is a quarterback’s draft.  Its been talked about that as many as seven quarterbacks could go in the first two rounds, and its likely we’ll see four or even five quarterbacks selected in the first round alone.  To put into perspective just how truly astonishing those numbers are, consider the number of QBs taken in the first two rounds in the last 5 drafts:

2010: (1st round) 2;  (2nd round) 1;  Total of first two rounds:  3.

2009: (1st round) 3;  (2nd round) 1;  Total of first two rounds:  4.

2008: (1st round) 2;  (2nd round) 2; Total of first two rounds:  4.

2007: (1st round) 2;  (2nd round) 3;  Total of first two rounds:  5.

2006: (1st round) 3;  (2nd round) 2;  Total of first two rounds:  5.

5 year average: (1st round) 2.4;  (2nd round) 1.8;  Total of first two rounds:  4.2.

So as you can see, if five quarterbacks come off the board in the first round, it would be double the 5 year average!

So why is this happening?  Well there are several factors in play here.  The first is that a lack of a collective bargaining agreement has banned franchises from signing quarterbacks in free agency or making trades for them.  If it seems odd to you that only 4 or so quarterbacks go in the first two rounds each year despite there being a perennial list of QB needy teams about four times bigger than that, its because many teams prefer to address their QB dilemma’s before the draft by signing or trading for a veteran.  Normally the draft acts as a safety net- whatever position you fail to address in free agency can be addressed in the draft.  This year, the roles have reversed, and its free agency that will act as the secondary source of filling out a roster.

This is not an optimal situation for front offices, because if they failed to sign/trade for a QB in the usual first phase of an offseason, at the very least they wouldn’t have to worry about “leverage” issues  from a draft pick.  But this year, if a team decides not to draft a QB, they face the possibility of being put over a barrel when discussing Kevin Kolb from the Eagles or Carson Palmer from the Bengals- because those teams will know you won’t have very many other options to fall back on.

The 2nd reason that such a high number of quarterbacks are getting 2nd round consideration is because this isn’t a top heavy class.  No QB in this class would be a lock for #1 in a typical offseason.  There isn’t a Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers level prospect to be had.  That means that QBs like Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton, who are probably mid-1st round QBs, get pulled into the #1 overall discussion.  This in turn has a “rises all boats” effect on the rest of the class, because if both Gabbert and Newton are gone by the 5th pick, that means Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett become your “best QB available” starting at pick #6.  And if the “big 4” are gone by #25, that means that Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, and even Andy Dalton begin to get fringe 1st round consideration by needy teams looking to trade up into the end of the 1st.

The 3rd reason for such a high number of top 2 round consideration quarterbacks is an unusual lack of consensus when it comes to ordering these 7 prospects.  I’ll discuss this more in part 2.


  1. Chinatown

    History is usually the best indication of what will happen and I think it’ll be 4 or 5 in the first 2 rounds. All of the love for Dalton and some other latecomers seems like it’s all a mirage.

    • Matt

      Amen to that. Still cannot figure out the Dalton love. Dink and dunk passer with an extremely low ceiling because of his low level physical tools.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I felt the same way myself until pretty recently. Dalton may potentially not go in the 1st two rounds, but it would be shocking at this point if Kaepernick and Ponder lasted until the 3rd.

  2. Dude

    The closer we get to the draft, the more sure I am that Ponder will go in the first. If teams like Buffalo or Washington panic and move back into the first; look for five QBs going in round one.

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