It was a horrible year for quarterbacks.
The first quarterback chosen from the 2000 crop of college talent was taken by the New York Jets, they selected Chad Pennington with the 18th pick in the first round. It was two rounds and 47 selections later before the next quarterback was chosen that year. Giovanni Carmazzi was the 49ers third round choice, and the Ravens picked later in the third round to add Chris Redman to their roster.
Tee Martin was the Pittsburgh Steelers fifth round pick, and five quarterbacks were taken in the sixth round. Marc Bulger was chosen by the New Orleans Saints with the 168th pick and Spergon Wynn went to the Browns 15 picks later. The Final three sixth round picks included Todd Husak and Ja’Juan Seider who were picked by the Redskins and Cardinals respectively. Before those two selections, the New England Patriots utilized their second sixth round choice for a quarterback after taking Antwan Harris with the 187th pick. New England used the 199th pick in the 2000 draft to select Michigan Quarterback Tom Brady.
It has to be considered, without serious objection, to be the best draft pick ever. How could it not be? It acquired the best quarterback ever, maybe the best player ever, and the winningest of all time. And it came in the sixth round … with a team using their second pick in that round to select the GOAT.
Should we acknowledge the brilliance of the Patriots in picking Brady, or should we more cast doubt on the football world knowing what the heck they are doing when it comes to picking a man to lead their team from the all-important quarterback position? John Madden considered the offensive line to be the most important on the field, and Al Davis debated good-heartedly his contention that the corner was the most important position to fill on the roster.
Both agreed nothing mattered unless you had a quarterback capable of winning the Super Bowl.
In contrast to the slim pickings that generated the best quarterback ever, the 1983 draft was considered the most well stocked for topflight quarterbacks. Six would be selected in the first round, and three would go on to Hall of Fame careers. John Elway was the first player chosen, not by the Denver Broncos but the Baltimore Colts. Prior to the draft, Elway had announced he would not play football for Robert Irsay, the owner of the Colts, and if drafted by Baltimore he would opt for a baseball career with the New York Yankees. His bargaining chip had validity, Elway was a great athlete and also excelled at baseball and had already been offered a contract by the Yankees.
The Colts still opted to draft him given his immense talent while hoping he would play in Baltimore, but before the following season began, Elway was on the Broncos after the Colts blinked and traded him to Denver for Chris Hinton, Mark Herrmann and a first round draft choice. It was a deal less advantageous to the Colts than had they traded the first pick before the draft.
The Colts have by a strange string of fortune owned the first pick in the draft when the three best quarterback prospects of the last 50 years have been in the college crop. In addition to the first pick when Elway was available, the Colts also had the first pick in 1998 when Peyton Manning was on the board and, because Manning missed the 2011 season, the championship caliber Colts dropped to the worst record in the league which provided them the first pick in the 2012 draft. That was the year Andrew Luck graduated from Stanford and was the first pick in the draft … by the Colts.
Manning is in the Hall of Fame and led the Colts to the best record and a Super Bowl win in the decade he started at quarterback for the Colts, who were now headquartered in Indianapolis. Luck was on his way to a Hall of Fame career when injuries cut his success short. Still, by most accounts, the trio of Elway, Manning and Luck represent the three most certain prospects entering the pro ranks. The scouts got those right, all three were the first player taken in the draft.
Never-the-less, as evidenced by Brady being passed over multiple times by every team in the league, and guys like JaMarcus Russell and Tim Couch being taken first overall, throws shade on NFL teams ability to know what translates from a quarterback having a solid college tenure to a successful pro career. Two of the names on everyone's top ten quarterbacks of all time were third round choices, Joe Montana and Russell Wilson. Johnny Unitas was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers before leading the Baltimore Colts to championship seasons.
Even the year Elway went first in the draft, the next five first round selections were clearly not in the order they performed at as a pro. Todd Blackledge was the second QB taken in the 1983 draft, while the player picked next in that first round, Jim Kelly, led the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls and has a bust in Canton. The next two quarterbacks taken in 1983 went to the New England Patriots and New York Jets, they chose Tony Eason and Ken O'Brien respectively.
Headed into the draft that year one of the top prospects was suspected of being involved in drugs while playing his final year at the University of Pittsburgh. That likely affected a willingness for any team other than the Miami Dolphins to make Dan Marino a first-round choice. They chose Marino with the last pick in the first round of 1983 draft.
Shortly after the draft, the rumors about negative drug experiences were cleared, and it was later revealed that the rumor was started by the Dolphins.
Don Shula used every path to success, and while the Dolphins later denied the charges concerning Marino, the circumstances handed the Dolphins the third Hall of Fame member from the 1983 class.
So, as the 2022 draft draws near, keep your ear to the ground to find out what rumors are affecting some players in the draft. You might find the source of those negative reports originate with the team looking to draft the charged.