Statistical Breakdown Of The NFL Draft Shows Unlikely Odds Of First QB Selected Becoming The Best

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  • The quarterback position is the most highly-scrutinized in football.
  • As a result, it is always the most talked about position in the NFL Draft,
  • The odds of the first quarterback selected being the best long-term are low.
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As the 2022 NFL Draft quickly approaches, the loudest talk is once again about the quarterbacks. This year’s draft class has a lot of question marks at the position and it seems like every team, analyst and fan alike has a different opinion about what the order of talent looks like.

Some people believe Kenny Pickett should go ahead of Malik Willis, others think that Matt Corral or Desmond Ridder should be selected before them both and others believe that the real value is found with guys like Bailey Zappe or Carson Strong in the later rounds. Some people believe the exact opposite of all of that.

There is no consensus “top guy” at quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft and there is a chance that a quarterback may not be drafted in the top five. It’s a mystery and everyone feels differently.

No matter who ends up where, the odds that the first quarterback off of the board ends up being the best is unlikely.

The odds are not in their favor based on recent history. A recent Reddit post breaks down the statistical probability of the first quarterback being the best and although it is somewhat subjective, the math adds up.

Here is how the NFL’s official Reddit account broke down the last 40 years at the quarterback position:

Year Best QB QB Draft Position
2019 Kyler Murray 1
2018 Josh Allen 3
2017 Patrick Mahomes 2
2016 Dak Prescott 8
2015 Jameis Winston 1
2014 Derek Carr 4
2013 Geno Smith 2
2012 Russell Wilson 6
2011 Cam Newton 1
2010 Sam Bradford 1
2009 Matthew Stafford 1
2008 Matt Ryan 1
2007 Trent Edwards 6
2006 Jay Cutler 3
2005 Aaron Rodgers 2
2004 Ben Roethlisberger 3
2003 Carson Palmer 1
2002 David Garrard 5
2001 Drew Brees 2
2000 Tom Brady 7
1999 Donovan McNabb 2
1998 Peyton Manning 1
1997 Jake Plummer 2
1996 Tony Banks 1
1995 Steve McNair 1
1994 Trent Dilfer 2
1993 Drew Bledsoe 1
1992 Brad Johnson 14
1991 Brett Favre 3
1990 Jeff George 1

Going off of those selections, here is where the best quarterback in their respective drafts were selected:

  • First QB drafted — 12
  • Second QB drafted — 7
  • Third QB drafted — 4
  • Fourth to sixth QB drafted — 4
  • Seventh QB drafted or later — 3

Put another way:

  • First QB drafted — 12
  • Not the first QB drafted — 18

That means that only 40% of the best quarterbacks drafted in their respective draft were selected first.

Now, the Reddit user was the one deciding who was the best quarterback in each NFL Draft since 1999. There could be discrepancies in who people believe was the best quarterback in a specific draft. It is slightly subjective.

However, even when you move things around, the split between first and not first still shakes out to a 40:60 ratio. That means that there is a 60% chance that the best quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft does not end up being the best.