For the rest of the week I’m going to take a look at the NFL playoffs, in my own uselessly different way, with a different question each day. Today’s: “How rare is it for a rookie quarterback, drafted #1 overall, to take his team to the playoffs?”
In the Super Bowl era, Andrew Luck is the first quarterback selected with the top pick in the draft to take his team to the playoffs the following year. San Diego picked a quarterback first and made the playoffs the next year, in 2004 – but they did it without the QB they picked (Eli Manning, traded for Philip Rivers) and instead had Drew Brees.
That said, most of the 20 #1 QBs at least helped their teams to improved records their rookie years. Interestingly, the three that didn’t went on to have pretty good careers – Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, and Jeff George. Likewise, there are plenty of busts in the “instant improvement” column: JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, and David Carr stick out.
Thursday: What seed do you want to be in the playoffs?