As the Patriots and Seahawks prepare for a highly anticipated Super Bowl showdown, it’s pertinent to reflect on the luck both franchises have had in finding franchise quarterbacks late in the NFL Draft.
Brady was the 199th overall selection in the 2000 draft, selected with New England’s sixth-round choice. Wilson went in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 draft, dropping largely because of his 5’11’’ stature.
Most of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL are former first round picks. The position is so valuable that teams are willing to “reach’’ for a quarterback earlier than he is expected to go, which contributes to both the bloated trade market to move up for a quarterback and the high failure rate of first round quarterbacks in comparison to other positions.
The smart franchises reach for quarterbacks too. When the Patriots picked Jimmy Garappolo in the second round in the 2014 draft, Bill Belichick explained the reasoning behind the pick as “it’s better to be early than to be late at that position.’’
The last time neither Super Bowl starting quarterback was a first round pick was in 2004, when Brady and the Patriots faced undrafted Jake Delhomme and the Panthers.
So it’s fair to say the Brady and Wilson picks were just as much about luck as they were about identifying a great quarterback. If the Patriots or Seahawks knew how successful their respective quarterbacks would become, they would have drafted them in the first round for fear of losing them to another team.
Six quarterbacks were picked ahead of Brady in 2000, and they were so bad that they had a documentary named after them (embedded below for your viewing pleasure). Five quarterbacks were selected ahead of Wilson in 2012, and only Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill have earned the “QB of the future’’ label from their respective teams.
With that in mind, we’ve ranked the 5 worst quarterbacks that were picked ahead of either Brady or Wilson. Suffice to say there were a number of strong candidates.
Broncos 2012 second-round pick Brock Osweiler may end up just as bad as some of the players on this list, but until he inherits the reins in Denver or goes elsewhere, we won’t know for sure how good or bad he really is.
Of the ten quarterbacks who have actually played some real NFL snaps, these guys are the ones NFL executives are kicking themselves for picking over Brady and Wilson.
5. Chris Redman/Robert Griffin III (tie)
These quarterbacks were regrettable picks for different reasons. Redman simply wasn’t talented enough to be an NFL starter. The Redskins bet their future on RG3 by trading a bounty of picks to the Rams to move up and make Griffin the second overall pick in 2012.
Redman had a decent career as an NFL backup and threw 21 touchdown passes over a nine-season NFL career spent mostly in Baltimore and Atlanta.
Griffin was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, but injuries and rifts with his coaches have hindered him in the past two seasons. The Redskins’ franchise is in no better shape in 2015 than it was in 2012, when RG3 was tasked with being the savior. Griffin has thrown 20 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions over the past two seasons combined, and he was benched multiple times last season.
4. Spergon Wynn III
The city of Cleveland has been hardened by its sports struggles, but who knows what would have happened if the Browns had used the 183rd pick in the 2000 draft on Brady instead of Spergon Wynn?
Wynn actually started 3 NFL games in his two seasons (one in Cleveland, the other in Minnesota), but he threw 7 interceptions to just 1 touchdown and was promptly out of the NFL.
3. Tee Martin
Martin was a 5th round pick in 2000, and was out of the NFL within 4 seasons. He attempted 16 passes in his NFL career, completing just 6. He never threw a touchdown pass in the NFL.
How different would the AFC look if the Steelers had taken Brady instead?
2. Brandon Weeden
What do you know? The Browns are the team that passed on both Brady and Wilson in favor of worse choices amid their recent history of quarterback instability.
Weeden was 28 years old when the Browns made him a first round pick in 2012. Weeden was a former New York Yankees prospect who washed out of baseball before going back to school to play quarterback.
He wasn’t very good as a rookie, and he wasn’t young enough for the Browns to be optimistic he would develop and improve. He was released after two seasons, and spent 2014 backing up Tony Romo in Dallas.
Weeden wasn’t the worst QB in NFL history, but given his draft status he certainly qualifies as a bust. He has 23 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions thus far in his career.
1. Giovanni Carmazzi
The 49ers used their 3rd round pick in 2000 on the player they hoped would be the next Joe Montana, even though the world’s biggest Montana fan grew up in the Bay Area and would still be available three rounds later.
The great QB guru Bill Walsh passed on Tom Brady, and Carmazzi was out of the league without attempting a single regular-season pass in two seasons. He now lives a peaceful life as a self-described “yoga-practicing farmer.’’