It was height measurement day at the NFL combine, and the position where height is scrutinized most in the league is QB. Here are the heights of the three first round QB candidates:
The key here: First Round. If you take a QB in the first round: a) you think he could be a franchise QB, b) you’re committing multiple years and money to said QB, c) it’s expected that within 2-3 years, he’s going to have a shot to win the starting job.
Yes, of course there’s an outlier. Aaron Rodgers sat behind a Hall of Famer and only got his chance in Year 4.
But looking back at the last 20 years of drafts, QBs drafted in the first round have followed a pattern: They’ve been tall. As in, 6-foot-3 and taller. There were 58 quarterbacks drafted in the first round dating back to 1996. Here is the list of quarterbacks under 6-foot-3 selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft since 1996:
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota, 2014, 6-foot-2
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland, 2014, 5-foot-11 3/4
Robert Griffin III, Washington, 2012, 6-foot-2 3/8
Jake Locker, Tennessee, 2011, 6-foot-2 1/2
Christian Ponder, Minnesota, 2011, 6-foot-2
Matt Stafford, Detroit, 2009, 6-foot-2 1/4
Mark Sanchez, NY Jets, 2009, 6-foot-2
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 2005, 6-foot-1
JP Losman, Buffalo, 2004, 6-foot-2
Rex Grossman, Chicago, 2003, 6-foot-1
David Carr, Houston, 2002, 6-foot-2 3/8
Michael Vick, Atlanta, 2001, 6-foot
Donovan McNabb, Philly, 1999, 6-foot-2
Akili Smith, Cincinnati, 1999, 6-foot-2 3/4
Cade McNown, Chicago, 1999, 6-foot-1
From that list, here are quarterbacks under 6-foot-3 selected in the Top 10 since 1996:
Griffin, 2nd overall
Locker, 8th overall
Sanchez, 5th overall
Stafford, 1st overall
McNabb, 2nd overall
Carr, 1st overall
Vick, 1st overall
Smith, 3rd overall
For fun: 0 Super Bowl wins, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 0 MVP awards.
I’m well aware plenty of shorter QBs in recent years have had tons of success – Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have won Super Bowls, and are Hall of Fame-bound – but neither was taken in the Top 10. Or the 1st round (3rd and 2nd, respectively).
One final point on Trubisky: He dropped back over 500 times last season at UNC. He took two snaps under center. This has the faint whiff of Jared Goff all over again – just a shorter version.
Yes, yes, obviously the change in contract structure for first round picks was a game-changer. The days of JaMarcus Russell and Sam Bradford monster contracts are long gone (thankfully). So you can take more of a chance on a QB in hopes that he develops, and not feel weighted down as if he were an anchor.
We’re still seven weeks from the draft, and my thoughts have changed a bit since the last mock draft: I believe Kizer will soar up the charts and go in the Top 5, and I think Watson will be the 2nd QB off the board at 12.