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NFL Draft Prep: Draft and Develop QBs are Usually Wasted Picks

Matt Hasselbeck

All signs point to the Green Bay Packers strongly considering a quarterback somewhere in this year’s NFL Draft. They’ve had a number of guys in for pre-draft visits and coach Mike McCarthy has said he wants to add a fourth signal caller to the group of Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien.

Of course, it’s highly doubtful the Packers are going to take a quarterback in the first few rounds. If they pick a guy, he’ll be of the old draft-and-develop variety.

That’s a guy selected in rounds four through seven. Guys selected in the first are now expected to start from day one. Guys selected in rounds two or three are, at worst, considered future starters.

The Packers have had some luck with these draft-and-develop guys in the past. Most notably Mark Brunell (fifth round), Matt Hasselbeck (sixth) and Aaron Brooks (fourth). Ron Wolf picked all three of those guys.

Wolf would end up trading each of them for higher draft picks than the rounds he selected them in and they all had some pretty good years starting for other teams.

Ted Thompson, on the other hand, hasn’t had the same kind of success. You could argue that Flynn (seventh round) was a hit as a developmental guy, but he also failed as a starter in three other stops. It should also be pointed out that unlike Wolf, who traded his backups while their value was high, Thompson just let Flynn walk as a free agent.

So that kind of defeats the purpose of drafting and developing a guy to begin with.

That makes it pretty clear that Thompson doesn’t value quarterbacks like Wolf did.

At any rate, the question here is what becomes of these draft-and-develop guys? Let’s take a look.


4: Matt Barkley, Philadelphia; Ryan Nassib, Giants; Tyler Wilson, Oakland; Landry Jones, Pittsburgh
7: Brad Sorensen, San Diego; Zac Dysert, Denver; B.J. Daniels, San Francisco; Sean Renfree, Atlanta

The only one of these guys to actually play in a game was Barkley. Two of them — Wilson and Daniels — were released by the teams that drafted them.

It’s a little too soon to write the book on these guys as a whole, but it looks like we’re looking at a collection of career backups and some guys who will soon be out of the league, at this point. The exceptions might be Barkley and Nassib, if they get a chance to start somewhere.


4: Kirk Cousins, Washington
6: Ryan Lindley, Arizona
7: B.J. Coleman, Green Bay; Chandler Harnish, Indianapolis

Kirk Cousins has played in eight games in two seasons for the Redskins and thrown for 1,320 yards, 8 TDs and 10 INTs. He at least looks like he could be a starter for another team. Lindley played in six games for the Cardinals in 2012, throwing for 752 yards, 0 TDs and 7 INTs. Yeah…

Coleman is out of football and Harnish has been a practice squad guy during his two seasons in the league.


5: Ricky Stanzi, Kansas City; T.J. Yates, Houston; Nathan Enderle, Chicago
6: Tyrod Taylor, Baltimore
7: Greg McElroy, Jets

Yates has played in 13 games for the Texans, throwing for 1,100 yards, 3 TDs and 6 INTs. Taylor has played in 13 for Baltimore, throwing for 199 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs.

Stanzi is now a member of the Jaguars. Enderle and McElroy are out of football. It’s fair to say these guys are probably not going to amount to anything in the NFL.


4: Mike Kafka, Philadelphia
5: John Skelton, Arizona; Jonathan Crompton, San Diego
6: Rusty Smith, Tennessee; Dan LeFevour, Chicago; Joe Webb, Minnesota; Tony Pike, Carolina
7: Levi Brown, Buffalo; Sean Canfield, New Orleans; Zac Robinson, New England

The only guys in this group who are currently on an NFL team are Kafka, Smith and Webb. None of them have made any significant contributions.


4: Stephen McGee, Dallas
5: Rhett Bomar, Giants; Nate Davis, San Francisco
6: Tom Brandstater, Denver; Mike Teel, Seattle; Keith Null, St. Louis; Curtis Painter, Indianapolis

Painter, now with the Giants, is the only guy still in the league. Career stats: 1,681 yards, 6 TDs, 13 INTs.


5: John David Booty, Minnesota; Dennis Dixon, Pittsburgh; Josh Johnson, Tampa Bay; Erik Ainge, Jets
6: Colt Brennan, Washington; Andre Woodson, Giants
7: Matt Flynn, Green Bay; Alex Brink, Houston

Dixon, Johnson and Flynn are the only guys still in the NFL. Obviously, they’re career backups at this point and for how much longer? We wouldn’t be surprised if Dixon joins the unemployment line this year.


4: Isaiah Stanback, Dallas
5: Jeff Rowe, Cincinnati; Troy Smith, Baltimore
6: Jordan Palmer, Washington
7: Tyler Thigpen, Minnesota

All of these guys are out of the NFL except Palmer, who’s Jay Cutler’s backup, and Thigpen, who was just signed by Cleveland (and will probably be released as soon as they draft a quarterback in the first round).

We could keep going, but you’re going to get more of the same. A lot of guys who are out of the league and a few career backups, most of whom you wouldn’t trust to win a game for your team.

You have to go back to 2005 to find anyone who’s had a decent (and we’re probably being generous) NFL season as a starter. That class yielded Derek Anderson in the sixth and Matt Cassell and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the seventh.

You have to go all the way back to 2000 to find anything of note. There, the Rams landed two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Mark Bulger and the Patriots landed future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

In other words, if you’re drafting a quarterback after the third round, chances are he’ll be out of the league in a few years. At best, he’s probably a career backup.

We doubt that will deter the Packers though. They’ll be looking for the next Matt Hasselbeck and probably end up with the next Graham Harrell.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Charlie Martin May 6, 2014

    this would be more convincing if you included statistics for other positions as a reference. Most guys in the draft (in any round) don’t make it.

  2. BZ in BA May 6, 2014

    What about Brian Brohm (D2)? He turned out to be a far worse pick the Flynn….BB now plays in Canada, by the way, which is not exactly what you expect when you take a guy in the second round.