Bill Polian: 68 percent of all first-round QBs fail

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Jeff Risdon
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There is a lot of interest in the Detroit Lions selecting a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft, either in 2021 or the near future. It’s a very risky proposition, with the high risk highlighted by longtime NFL GM Bill Polian.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer summarizes it succinctly in a recent spot on “Late Hits” on Sirius XM NFL Radio,

“Why would you take a quarterback in the first round when 68 percent of the time, he fails?”

Polian noted that it was a rhetorical question and “some of it is tongue-in-cheek”, but he emphatically reiterated the point,

“The historical data is clear, 68 percent of first-round quarterbacks between 2009 and 2016 failed.”

Polian and co-host Alex Marvez then broke down the qualifications and stages of failure. The talk turned to “red flags” on the failures, which Polian broke down:

  • Arm strength

  • Play processing speed

  • Speed of delivery

  • Work ethic

  • Accuracy/ball placement

  • Pre-existing injury history

They were speaking in the context of Carson Wentz, who is not considered a failure. Nor was either QB involved in the pending Lions-Rams trade involving Matthew Stafford (No. 1 in 2009) and Jared Goff (No. 1 in 2016). Those year parameters were used because none of the 22 players selected in that frame are still with the teams that drafted them.