The simple answer is this: drafting a quarterback in the top five picks of the NFL draft is like playing roulette; you can lose just as easily as you can win. Actually, you are much more likely to lose. Only 8 out of 17 quarterbacks drafted in the top of the first round from 1998-2012 are still starting for their teams. And of those, only two would be considered “elite” quarterbacks. (Eli Manning, and Peyton Manning)
Look at it another way: The elite quarterbacks in our league today (excluding rookies) would be Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Schaub, E. Manning, and P. Manning. Of these seven quarterbacks only two were drafted in the first five picks – the as mentioned above Manning brothers. That means that 5 of the top 7 quarterbacks in the league were drafted mid-to-late 1st round, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th round.
A much tougher way to be objective is to look at the 1st round busts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the major busts like Ryan Leaf, Kyle Boller, David Carr, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Couch, and Matt Leinart. But the truth is that the list doesn’t stop there. Rick Mirer, Byron Leftwich, Cade McNown, and Joey Harrington are a few more. The list seems endless of quarterbacks that had high expectations, but did not succeed.
Since 1998, teams have selected an elite quarterback only 11.7% of the time. Why would anyone use a top 5 pick on a quarterback with those odds? If the Kansas City Chiefs want a quarterback from the first round, we have one who was 22nd in Brady Quinn and we all know how that has worked out. Drafting a Quarterback in the top of the first round has a greater than 88% chance of failure by these “Elite” standards. The Chiefs are likely going to have the first pick in the NFL draft, let’s use it on something with a much greater chance of being an “Elite” decision!