Warren Sharp on drafting a QB in R1

"There have been 38 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2011, the year the NFL changed the collective bargaining agreement to set a wage scale for rookie deals, making it extremely affordable to draft a quarterback.

These 38 first round quarterbacks have made a total of 1,909 starts. Their record? 1034-1035-7.

Together, these 38 quarterbacks have played in a total of 214 seasons since being drafted. 41 of those 214 seasons (19.2%) saw the team that drafted the quarterback make the playoffs.

For most of that time, 37.5% of all teams made the playoffs. That has since increased to 43.8% with 14 of 32 teams qualifying annually. Yet these teams made it only 19% of the time."

There’s more to it but that part really caught my eye. It’s a bit of a myth that having a QB on a rookie deal gives a significant advantage.


IMO you took one piece of information and applied it over a wider spectrum as the conclusion. Let’s just take things down one notch and look at the other QB in the Super Bowl.

Mahomes was the shining trophy of drafting a QB in the 1st round and winning the Super Bowl. He did that in 2022 on a 2nd contract. The other teams QB was on a rookie contract.

In 2021 Matt Stafford won the Super Bowl. He was obviously a 1st round pick but he wasn’t on a rookie contract. The other teams QB was on a rookie contract.

In 2020 Tom Brady won the Super Bowl. He’s the GOAT of winning rings. The other teams QB wasn’t on his rookie contract but his recently signed deal had a cap hit of less than $6M.

In 2019 the guy with the rookie contract won the Super Bowl. Nuff said.

In 2018 Tom Brady won the Super Bowl. The other teams QB was on a rookie contract.

In 2017 the team with the QB on the rookie contract won the Super Bowl. The quirk here is that the relatively cheap backup was actually the one that went in and played at a high level to win the game.

In 2016 Tom Brady won the Super Bowl, again. HIs opponent was definitely not a rookie.

In 2015 Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl. The other QBs recently signed 2nd contract only had a $13M cap hit.

In 2014 Tom Brady won the Super Bowl. The other QB was on a rookie contract.

In 2013 the guy on the rookie contract won the Super Bowl.

In 2012 both QBs were on rookie contracts. So obviously one of them won the Super Bowl.

In 2011 neither QB was on a rookie contract.

continue tv land GIF by #Impastor


To me this is the core of his argument:

"The truth of winning in the NFL is to get performance from your quarterback in excess of what he is being paid compared to the rest of the NFL.

Often, that can happen on a rookie deal.

Sometimes, however, it happens on veteran deals."

One of the reasons the Pats won so much was because Brady took contracts that weren’t commensurate with his actual value.


I’m not seeing how this argument makes Lamar’s case for him versus drafting a 1st round QB.

The whole premise seems to be rooted on the bad success rate of these 1st round QBs.

What exactly is Lamar’s success rate in the playoff? 1-3
What exactly is Lamar’s success rate in the super bowl? Never been there.

So it seems taking a QB in the first on rookie pay will bring you the same success as bringing in Lamar on a $200,000,000 gauranteed contract.

I don’t think Sharp’s argument makes the case for Lamar Jackson at all.


These guys need to stop simply comparing Lamar’s talent and record with the first round picks as an argument. The situation becomes:

Question 1. Is Lamar better than the first round picks? If yes, proceed to question 2. If no, draft a QB.

Question 2. Is Lamar’s superior talent established under question 1 worth an additional first round pick over the QBs available in the draft. If yes, proceed to question 3. If no, draft a QB.

Question 3. Given Lamar’s superior talent under question 1, and the additional first round pick given up under question 2, is that talent worth at minimum an additional $100M to the franchise—keeping in mind his injury history. If the answer is yes, trade for Lamar. If the answer is no…draft a QB.

My point is that I love how all these journalists simply want to compare Lamar’s talent against those upcoming QBs (and Jared Goff) without considering draft picks and money.


And you’re misrepresenting a lot in your reply.

Hurts was a second round pick.

Mahomes in 2020 had a $450m contract.

Foles won it in 2017. Wentz was on a rookie deal but missed the last 6 games.

Newton had a top 5 QB contract.

Russell Wilson was a 3rd round pick.

Flacco wasn’t on a cheap rookie deal based on the post 2011 rookie scale. Kaepernick was a 2nd round pick.

In those 12 Super Bowls, three of the 24 starting QBs were 1st round picks playing on their rookie deals.

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How about in 4 years as a starter Lamar couldn’t get to a SB with tons of 1-3 capital spent on weapons, a top 3-5 rated OL, and a top 5 defense.

Very…very few QB needy teams could even offer comparable supporting casts, let alone better ones….

Goff has turned 2 shitty teams into good teams within 1 year of arriving.

I wouldn’t trade Goff straight up for Lamar. Nor would I trade Goff straight up for any QB in this draft

Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Lawrence- maybe Hurts. That’s it.

Imagine swapping AJ Brown and Chark last year……


To me you get a QB on a rookie deal develop him and try to keep him, while building a team around him. You don’t cycle through round 1 QB’s on rookie deals. Its not surprising that cycling through rookie QB’s on rookie deals is not a succesful strategy. The rookie QB contract DOES allow you to build a team around a rookie QB, who you hopefully keep.

Is this thread about the returned value of taking a QB in round 1?


Is it about comparing the value of Lamar Jackson versus taking a QB in round 1 to replace him.

Because the title of the article posted in the OP seems to be about Jackson versus a round 1 QB, and not the historical value of taking a QB in round 1 all on its own.

Rookie QB

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Then why is the title of the posted article in the OP… Sharp: The success rate of first-round QBs makes Lamar Jackson’s case for him

Lamar must be a super nice dude because the way journalists other players and former players are shilling for him seems to be in stark contrast to his evident attraction to teams


Did you read the article, or are you deliberately being obtuse?

The first half of the article is about the success, or lack thereof, of 1st round QBs on their rookie deals. The second half makes the argument that given that lack of success, teams that will likely take a QB in the 1st should be more strongly considering making a move for Lamar.

Whether the conclusion is about Lamar or not, the facts from the article are relevant to anyone who has an opinion on whether we should take a QB at 6 or 18.

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Your “conclusion” dealt with QBs being on rookie contracts not being an advantage. And you were using a data point to prove that point. Hurts was a QB on a rookie contract. Therefore he fits the larger data set that you need to take into account to reach the conclusion.

You are coming from a different angle than your “conclusion” when you said “It’s a bit of a myth that having a QB on a rookie deal gives a significant advantage.”

Damn near every Super Bowl in the last 10+ years has included a QB on a rookie contract or a relatively cheap cap hit for the year.

Just an outside the box thought….

Let’s look at just 1st round draft picks at QB between 18’- and 21’…. Rookie deals….

  • THEY WERE 18 FIRST ROUND QBS PICKED- this on rookie deals…. Similar if you went 17’-20’ with 15…

  • There have been 22 QBs taken in rounds 1-3 currently on rookie deals….

  • As of the 22’ season there were 26…

So when you consider most the way the salary cap can be manipulated, and the rate it’s rising - it’s hard to say a rookie deal is an advantage-

Taking a top OT in round 1 like Sewell vs paying a lesser one in FA 25MM AAV isn’t much different than paying a Josh Allen and a rookie OT

Tua and Armstead make almost as much as Sewell and Goff?

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As soon as Stafford was traded I believed BH would daft a QB either this year or next for this exact reason. Goff had three 3/4 years left so continue building your foundation and then draft a QB in rd 1 this year and he sits for a year like Mahomes did and the next few seasons your qb cap hit is a fraction of what Goff would make.
The low cap number gives you 3-4 more years to build that roster.

Now, three drafts later and I’m not so sure this is the way BH goes. I was sure he would, today, not so much.

The Mahomes model sounds great but we always need to remember how perfectly things lined up for KC to make that move. For a team like the Lions its definitely a muddier situation. Alex Smith was given 4 seasons to prove that he wasn’t the guy to take them to the next level. By then he was 32 years old and his contract was expiring after the following season. In his final season as starter before taking Mahomes, Alex only threw 15 total TD passes and was bounced out of their 1st playoff game that year. It was a horrible performance where they barely moved the ball in a home playoff game. That was a KC team that had overcome QB play to secure the 2nd overall seed in the AFC.

There isn’t much precedent for drafting a replacement in the 1st round with a QB in his 20’s playing at the level that Goff is playing.


Why wouldn’t he be compared to Jared Goff? Look around, only a group of lions fans and Goff supporters actually believe that Goff is 1) elite and 2) better than Lamar. The consensus even amongst the biggest Lions supporters is that if they stick with Goff the premise is 1) You can win with Goff if you put enough superior talent around him 2) he will not be the reason you lose 3) but he also may not be the reason you win either. The lions are copying the niners in a very real sense. elite team…any qb can have success to an extent.

The issue with Lamar is very simple. The browns ■■■■■■ up. They gave a guy a fully guaranteed deal not named Mahomes. So the NFL doesn’t want to see the trend continue because if Lamar gets a fully guaranteed deal he wants then Daniel Jones is going to ask for one eventually, Tua will ask for one. Burrow will ask for one, Herbert will ask for one. Josh Allen will ask for one on his next deal. It will get out of hand and they don’t want that…


The thread title and the article are clearly referencing taking a QB in round 1. A lot of the debate on here is whether to use 6 or 18 on a QB. The stats show that doing that makes your team less likely to make the playoffs, less likely to make the conference championship, less likely to make the Super Bowl and less likely to win it.

The fact that several later round picks have made the Super Bowl on their rookie is a different point altogether and a very interesting one. The article overall talks about getting value from a QB, regardless of what their contract is. R1 QBs are clearly overvalued as the stats show. Spending a 2nd or a 3rd on a QB is not the same thing as spending a 1st, the opportunity cost and the expectation is much lower. By all means, if Holmes can find a Hurts or a Russel Wilson later in the draft then he should do it, but the point remains that taking a QB in round 1, just because we can, is not the smart play. That’s the whole thesis of the thread and the article. In my brief conclusion I missed the reference to round 1, but it’s there in the thread title and also repeatedly in the article.