NFL Draft: Ranking The QB Classes Of The Past 25 Years
NFL, NFL Draft

We All Know About The Epic Class Of '83, But What Was The Best QB Draft Class Of The Past 25 Years?

4/16/09 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

The 1983 NFL Draft has gone down in history as arguably the greatest QB draft class in the history of the NFL. Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino lead the way, and a couple other serviceable quarterbacks like Tony Eason and Ken O'Brien also heard their names called in '83. There have been 25 drafts since then, and each draft has featured a distinctly different group of QB's. Some have been good, others have been downright awful. So how do the QB classes of the past 25 years rank when stacked up against each other? Let's take a look, starting with #25.

#25: 1996
The only good thing about the 1996 QB class was that no one really expected it to be that great, so no one was really let down. There were no QB's selected in the 1st round, and only 8 selected at all. Half of them were picked in the 6th and 7th rounds, and none of those particular players ever saw action in an NFL game. The best QB from that class was Tony Banks (2nd round, #42 overall), and he was also the only one to play more than 43 games in the NFL. Other names that you would have heard in that draft were Bobby Hoying (3rd round, #85), Jeff Lewis (4TH, #100) and Danny Kanell (4th, #130). There weren't really any huge busts in this one, but that's only because no one expected anything of them. 1996 was definitely the worst draft class in the past 25 years.

#24: 1997
1996 and 1997 were a bad time for teams who needed a good young QB, because for the second year in a row, there simply weren't any to be had via the draft. 11 QB's were selected in 1997. None of them finished their career with more TD's than INT's. Jake Plummer (2nd, #42) was the closest, with 161 of each when he retired after the 2006 season, but when Jake Plummer is as good as it gets, you know something is wrong. Jim Druckenmiller (1st, #26) was the only first round QB that year, and he miserably failed in the NFL, only playing in 6 career games, and finishing with a 40% completion rating, 1 TD, 4 INT, -10 rushing yards, and a 29.2 career QB rating. Quite the bust, there. Some of the other names you might remember from 1997: Koy Detmer, Danny Wuerffel, Tony Graziani, Bueller... Bueller... Bueller?

#23: 2003
Carson Palmer was the #1 overall pick in 2003. Call me crazy, but I still believe that when healthy, he has the potential to be a top-tier NFL QB. The problem is, he hasn't been consistently healthy ever since Kimo Von Oelhoffen destroyed his knee back in 2006. After Palmer, however, it really starts to get ugly. Byron Leftwich (#7), Kyle Boller (#19) and Rex Grossman (#22) were all first round picks in this one, and they have all had very disappointing careers. Chris Simms, Seneca Wallace, Drew Henson, Brooks Bollinger and Ken Dorsey are some more guys who were drafted in '03 and are actually still in the league somehow, despite the fact that they are all terrible quarterbacks.

#22: 2002
It's crazy how these awful drafts seem to come in pairs, but the 2002-03 years were almost as bad as 1996-97. The first few picks in 2002 featured some of the biggest busts in recent history, with #1 overall pick David Carr, and #3 Joey Harrington. The only QB drafted in 2002 who has had any measure of success has been David Garrard, and he's a game manager, at best.

#21 1992
This year featured super-bust David Klingler, who was selected 6th overall, ended up playing in only 33 career games, and finished his career with 16 TD's and 22 INT's. Former XFL star Tommy Maddox was another first round bust in this one, although he made a solid attempt at redemption late in his career, and won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award in 2002. 20 QB's were drafted in 1992, and Brad Johnson and Jeff Blake were easily the best of the entire bunch. Ouch.
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4/23/09   |   elevenbravo138again   |   1163 respect

(Edited by elevenbravo138again)

This was a really well written piece and now I am thinking about RB.CB, OT and DE drafts since 1983.

4/20/09   |   joshsanchez   |   57 respect

great work Pat! I love that you didn't elevate the class of '91 solely because of Fave, honestly, I wouldn't have been opposed to you putting them even lower. All around excellent job though and as much as I hate it, ShEli and the 2004 class is a runaway pick for the top spot. ShEli has a ring and is a very servicable QB, Phillip RIvers should soon get over that hump, and Big Ben is well on his way to a HOF career if he keeps it up.

4/16/09   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

My question is what's with Millen's open collar, no undershirt look on the homepage.

4/16/09   |   Beaneaters   |   17743 respect

Great job...

4/16/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Excellent article good sir.

4/16/09   |   Derrich

Love the 2008 class. Great value in 2000. But hard to argue against 2004. Great post!

4/16/09   |   Keeter   |   92 respect

Love the "Buddy Funck" reference there !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Classic..............great job !

4/16/09   |   kwheels

rolmao..jim drunkenmiller. that was bill walsh's guy,he thought he was tha next great thing in san fran..didnt he end up in tha xfl?

4/16/09   |   Davethepanther

I gotta go wtih 87.  The Magic man, Rich Gannon out of Delaware, Vinnie, Jim Harbaugh, Chris Miller.  None of these guys will have a bust but They had some good years between them.

4/16/09   |   blondie45044   |   5873 respect

Great job as always nice to see someone who has talent in the writing field!

4/16/09   |   drn0iswatr   |   731 respect

 great article!! That had to have been tough b/c some of those groups are so stinking good. Well done. As for this year's class - I just don't see them being as good as everyone thinks but hell...I'm the guy who thought Q-Car was going to take the Cowboys far.....maybe I was the one smoking....