The Arizona Cardinals have the fifth pick in the draft, and it is a certainty that there will be a few quarterbacks available when they pick. With a need for a signal caller, the choice would be easy – except for the fact that picking players, and especially quarterbacks, is hardly an exact science. Below is a list of every QB taken in the first round of the draft since 2000. Judge for yourself: is it worth the risk?
Chad Pennington, 18th pick, New York Jets
Pennington was drafted by the Jets in 2000, but didn’t start until almost halfway through the 2002 season and managed to lead the team to a division championship and a first round playoff victory. Pennington was rewarded with a seven-year, $64.2 million contract, but his time with the Jets was marred by injuries. His right rotator cuff suffered a substantial tear in 2004 and again in 2005.
Michael Vick, 1st pick, Atlanta Falcons
Vick declared for the draft after his redshirt sophomore season at Virginia Tech and was selected first overall in the 2001 Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He led the Falcons to the playoffs twice through the 2003-2006 seasons and was widely popular due to his unique style as quarterback.
David Carr, 1st pick, Houston Texans
He was selected as the first overall pick in the 2002 Draft by the expansion Texans out of Fresno State and started all but four games for the team in its first five years. He set records for most sacks and fumble recoveries in a single season, but led the Texans to respectable records (excluding their 2-14 debacle in 2005).
Joey Harrington, 3rd pick, Detroit Lions
Harrington was selected third overall out of Oregon by the Detroit Lions and was given the starting job after Week 1. While he never truly had a successful season playing for the Lions, he started 55 games with a record of 18-27 before being benched in 2005 in favor of Jeff Garcia.
Patrick Ramsey, 32nd pick, Washington Redskins
Patrick Ramsey attended Tulane University and set 20 passing records throughout his three seasons. He was drafted 32nd overall by the Washington Redskins in the 2002 Draft and split time with other quarterbacks throughout his first season.
Carson Palmer, 1st pick, Cincinnati Bengals
Palmer’s skills peaked during his senior year at USC under head coach Pete Carroll and he won the Heisman Trophy in 2002, becoming the first Trojan quarterback to do so.
Palmer was drafted first overall in 2003 by the Bengals, but didn’t play at all during his rookie season as he learned the position behind Jon Kitna. He was given the starting job in 2004 and the Bengals finished 8-8.
Byron Leftwich, 7th pick, Jacksonville Jaguars
Leftwich was selected seventh overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars and started 13 games as a rookie with 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Kyle Boller, 19th pick, Baltimore Ravens
Boller started three seasons at Cal, but his draft stock rose after he allegedly threw a football 50-yards through a goal post from his knees.
He was selected 19th overall in 2003 and started nine games as a rookie with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Rex Grossman, 22nd pick, Chicago Bears
Grossman was selected with the 22nd pick in 2003 by the Chicago Bears but was benched in favor of Chris Chandler and Kordell Stewart. He started three games later in the season after the Bears had been eliminated from playoff contention, throwing two touchdowns and one interception.
Eli Manning, 1st pick, San Diego Chargers
Manning was selected first overall in the 2004 draft by the Chargers but refused to play for them and was traded to the New York Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers and other draft picks.
He started only seven games as a rookie, throwing for six touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Philip Rivers, 4th pick, New York Giants
Rivers was a part of the trade that sent several picks to San Diego in exchange for Eli Manning to the Giants after the Ole Miss quarterback refused to play for the Chargers.
A Pro-Bowler, Rivers has led the Chargers to a 3-4 record in the post season without a Super Bowl appearance despite regular appearances in the top half of the league’s passing statistics.
Ben Roethlisberger, 11th pick, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger attended Miami of Ohio University and started three seasons from 2001 to 2003 before declaring for the 2004 draft. In his junior season, he was voted as the MAC offensive player of the year and finished ninth in the Heisman voting.
He was selected 11th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers and won all 13 of the games he started as a rookie while throwing 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He led the Steelers to the AFC Championship and won the NFL rookie of the year award.
J.P. Losman, 22nd pick, Buffalo Bills
Losman originally committed to UCLA but transferred to Tulane University and threw for 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his last year there.
He was selected 22nd overall by the Buffalo Bills but broke his leg in training camp and played in only four games. Losman had accuracy problems the next season and was benched in favor of Kelly Holcomb in the fifth game of the Bills’ season.
Alex Smith, 1st pick, San Francisco 49ers
Smith played at the University of Utah from 2002 to 2004 and was named the Mountain West Conference player of the year in 2004 after throwing 32 touchdowns and four interceptions while finishing fourth in the Heisman voting.
Smith was selected first overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 draft and went on to play nine games as a rookie throwing for only one touchdown and 11 interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers, 24th pick, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers started as both a sophomore and junior at Cal, throwing for 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2004 while finishing ninth in the Heisman voting.
He declared for the 2005 draft and had a well-documented fall to the Green Bay Packers at the 24th pick in the first round.
Jason Campbell, 25th pick, Washington Redskins
Campbell was selected as the 25th overall by the Washington Redskins in the 2005 NFL draft and didn’t play at all his rookie season. He was named the team’s starter in 2006 but played only 13 games with a 6-7 record and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
Vince Young, 3rd pick, Tennessee Titans
Young was drafted third overall by the Tennessee Titans and started 13 games as a rookie, scoring 23 total touchdowns and earning his first Pro Bowl appearance and the NFL offensive rookie of the year award.
Matt Leinart, 10th pick, Arizona Cardinals
Leinart was selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 draft and started 11 games as a rookie, throwing 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Jay Cutler, 11th pick, Denver Broncos
Cutler was the third quarterback taken in the 2006 draft, 11th by the Denver Broncos and started five games as a rookie, throwing nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
JaMarcus Russell, 1st pick, Oakland Raiders
Russell played three seasons at LSU and threw for 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his junior year before declaring for the 2007 draft.
He had tremendous size and arm strength and was selected first overall by the Oakland Raiders but started only one game as a rookie while throwing for two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Brady Quinn, 22nd pick, Cleveland Browns
Despite rumors that they were going to select him with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, the Browns allowed him to fall to the 22nd pick before drafting him there. After an initial contract holdout, Quinn was placed third on the Browns’ depth chart and made his official NFL debut in their final game of the season after Derek Anderson got injured.
Matt Ryan, 3rd pick, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 Draft and was made the 4th highest paid quarterback in the NFL despite never having played a game.
Joe Flacco, 18th pick, Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens drafted him 18th overall in 2008, making him the highest drafted player ever from the University of Delaware.
Matthew Stafford, 1st pick, Detroit Lions
Stafford was selected first overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft and signed a six-year contract containing $41.7 million guaranteed. Stafford beat out Daunte Culpepper for the starting job and was one of four rookie starters for the Lions during their season opener in 2009.
Mark Sanchez, 5th pick, New York Jets
Sanchez decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility after hearing that quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy were staying in school. The New York Jets moved up to the fifth pick from the 17th to select Sanchez in the 2009 Draft.
Josh Freeman, 17th pick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Josh Freeman seventeenth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, even with one year of college eligibility left. Freeman started his first professional game at home in November, beating the Green Bay Packers. He became the youngest quarterback in Bucs history to start and win his first game.
Sam Bradford, 1st pick, St. Louis Rams
Bradford was selected first overall by the St. Louis Rams. The pick marked the first time the Rams selected a quarterback in the first round of a draft since 1964. Bradford signed a six-year deal that guaranteed $50 million, making it the largest contract ever for an NFL rookie.
Tim Tebow, 25th pick, Denver Broncos
After declaring for the draft, Tebow went through a lot to reinvent his throwing motion in the hopes of being selected as a first round draft pick and starting for a team come September. The Denver Broncos selected Tebow 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.