If you’re going to take a QB high, he better not bust

This is a huge draft for the Rams, and quite big for General Manager Billy Devaney, if indeed Sam Bradford is the top pick in the draft.

Since the great quarterback draft of 1983, nineteen quarterbacks that I’m willing to judge have been taken in the top five picks in the draft. For me, it’s too early to judge Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. Of the nineteen I’ve judged, nearly 50% (nine) have been busts. Of the GM’s that have chosen those players, just one (Matt Millen) that wasn’t the owner or related to the owner lasted more than five years after the choice.

QB bust General Manager

1990 Colts-Jeff George #1 Jim Irsay-owners son, GM

1993 Seahawks-Rick Mirer #2 Tom Flores fired after ‘96

1994 Redskins-Heath Shuler #3 Charley Casserly fired by new owner Dan Snyder after ‘98

1998 Chargers-Ryan Leaf #2 Bobby Beathard retired in ‘02

1999 Browns-Tim Couch #1 Dwight Clark fired after ‘01

1999 Bengals-Akili Smith #3 Owner is GM

2002 Texans-David Carr #1 Casserly fired after ‘05

2002 Lions-Joey Harrington #3 Matt Millen fired after ’08 season, coaches Marty Mohrningweg and Steve Mariucci fired

2005 49ers-Alex Smith #1 Mike Nolan fired during ’08 season

Non busts include-John Elway (Drafted by Colts owner Robert Irsay), ‘87-Vinnie Testaverde (Ray Perkins fired in 1990), ’89-Troy Aikman (owner Jerry Jones), ’94-Drew Bledsoe (Charley Armey left after 1997), ’98 Peyton Manning (Bill Polian still there 12 years later), ’99- Donovan McNabb (Andy Reid still there 11 years later), ’01-Michael Vick (Rich McKay was GM, now president), ’03-Carson Palmer, ’04 Chargers-Eli Manning (Ernie Accorsi retired after Super Bowl), ’04 Giants-Phillip Rivers (A.J. Smith still there). Elway was traded to Denver before he ever played a game. Eli Manning and Rivers were traded for each other.

So of the ten non-busts drafted by non-owners, five of seven have survived more than three years.

If Sam’s the man, he’d better be good, for Devaney’s sake.