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Friday, April 27, 2012
Class of 2012 QBs benefit from draft trend

By Hank Gargiulo


Photo by Al Bello/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck (L) and Robert Griffin III hold up their jerseys after being chosen with the first two picks of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Nine straight Super Bowls have been won by franchise quarterbacks, which means the demand for an elite signal-caller has never been higher.

For proof of this, simply look at the top of the NFL Draft, where Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III continued a decade-long trend of quarterbacks being chosen earlier than ever.

A quarterback has been selected first overall 20 times in the 46 drafts during the common era (since 1967). But in the past 12 drafts, 10 quarterbacks have been chosen first.

The exponential rise has been particularly pronounced over the last 25 years. From 1988 to 1994, the first quarterback was chosen with the 15th pick on average. There wasn’t much difference in the next seven drafts, before the tide turned with the new millennium.

Quarterbacks were taken first overall in five of seven drafts from 2002 to 2008, for an average pick of 1.6. And Andrew Luck’s selection makes it four straight quarterbacks chosen first since 2009.

The mindset is emphasized by when the next quarterback has been picked over the last quarter-century. From 1988 to 2001, the second quarterback typically went in the second round. Over the last 11 years, the second quarterback has jumped into the top half of the first round.

Still not convinced? How about the third quarterback, which has leaped from an average slot in the third round to a late first-round selection over the last 25 years.

Because of this new emphasis on franchise field generals, three quarterbacks were taken with the first eight picks this year, for the third time in the common draft era. You’re welcome, Ryan Tannehill.

Paul Carr contributed to this post.