If Winston, Mariota go 1-2 in draft, history says one will struggle

A pair of quarterbacks in this year's draft could be selected with the first two picks for the sixth time in the Super Bowl era, and if history is a guide, one will struggle, if not be an outright bust.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem likely to make Florida State's Jameis Winston the No. 1 overall pick, and the Tennessee Titans could go with Oregon's Marcus Mariota at No. 2. Only once has the QB picked No. 2 overall outshone the No. 1 guy.

Here is a look at the five quarterback duos who have gone 1-2 in the draft in the Super Bowl era (since 1967).


The skinny: Many believed one quarterback was the clear-cut No. 1 guy, and he has lived up to billing.
No. 1 pick:Andrew Luck, by the Indianapolis Colts out of Stanford. He was considered the most NFL-ready quarterback to enter the league since Peyton Manning in 1998. And he went to the same franchise, too. Luck has started every game of his three-year career (he's 33-15 as a starter) and has taken the Colts to the playoffs in each season. Luck appears well on his way to an extremely celebrated career.
No. 2 pick:Robert Griffin III, by the Washington Redskins out of Baylor. The Redskins gave up a king's ransom to move up to grab Griffin in the draft. It looked like a brilliant move in 2012, when he -- and not Luck -- was the offensive rookie of the year and the Redskins surprisingly made the playoffs. But a late-season injury in 2012 and Griffin's performance since returning from that injury now have folks wondering if Griffin might have peaked as a rookie. The 2015 season is a key one for RG3, who is 14-21 as a starter.


The skinny: This was the second time in history that quarterbacks went first, second and third. The No. 3 guy, Akili Smith, was an out-and-out bust.
No. 1 pick: Tim Couch, by the Cleveland Browns out of Kentucky. He threw the heck out of the ball for pass-happy coach Hal Mumme at Kentucky, but he arrived in the NFL far from a prototype dropback passer and predictably struggled. He wasn't horrible, but he wasn't good, either. He lasted five seasons and was 22-37 as a starter. Couch did lead the Browns to the playoffs in 2002, and for that, he deserves to be celebrated, not scorned.
No. 2 pick: Donovan McNabb, by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Syracuse. Eagles fans weren't exactly happy with the pick (Eagles fans ticked off? Shocking), but the front office knew what it was doing. McNabb was 98-62-1 in his 13-year career as a starter. He also was a six-time Pro Bowler who led the Eagles to seven playoff appearances. McNabb is 15th in NFL history with 3,170 pass completions.


The skinny: Just think -- there was some actual discussion about who should go first and who should go second.
No. 1 pick:Peyton Manning, by the Indianapolis Colts out of Tennessee. He has lived up to the hype -- and actually probably exceeded it. Yes, he might have only one Super Bowl ring, but he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who is going to finish his career in the top three of every important passing statistic. He is a seven-time All-Pro and a 14-time Pro Bowler. Manning has started 25 playoff games, fifth-most in NFL history among players at any position.
No. 2 pick: Ryan Leaf, by the San Diego Chargers out of Washington State. Some thought he was the second coming of Drew Bledsoe, who also was a Washington State alum. And Leaf actually had the better college career. But as a pro? Horrible. Awful. Putrid. (Feel free to add your own adjective -- we'll wait). He lasted just three NFL seasons and was 4-17 as a starter, with 14 TDs, 36 picks and a 46.4 completion percentage.


The skinny: Seattle had taken a quarterback (Dan McGwire) in the first round in 1991, but was in position to have to take another. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they had the No. 2 pick -- and they missed again (though not as badly as they did with McGwire).
No. 1 pick: Drew Bledsoe, taken by the New England Patriots out of Washington State. He went to four Pro Bowls in a 14-year career and threw for 44,611 yards (10th in NFL history) and 251 TDs (17th in NFL history). He was 98-95 as an NFL starter and played in four postseasons.
No. 2 pick: Rick Mirer, taken by the Seattle Seahawks out of Notre Dame. He played eight NFL seasons, with five teams. Couple that with his 24-44 record as an NFL starter, and the word "journeyman" comes to mind. He threw 26 more picks (76) than TDs (50) in his career.


The skinny: The choice at No. 1 was the Heisman winner or a quarterback celebrated for his exciting level of play. The Heisman winner went first, and while it took about a decade, he panned out. A quarterback also went third overall (Dan Pastorini).
No. 1 pick: Jim Plunkett, taken by the New England Patriots out of Stanford. He was seen as a wasted No. 1 pick of sorts until late in his career, when he went to the Oakland Raiders, his third team (he also played for the San Francisco 49ers). Once he arrived in Oakland, he led them to the playoffs four times and to two Super Bowl titles. He finished his career with a 72-72 won-loss record -- but he also has those two rings
No. 2 pick: Archie Manning, taken by the New Orleans Saints out of Mississippi. Manning actually was a solid NFL quarterback who played on an inept team for the bulk of his career. He was 35-101-3 as a starter and seemingly was knocked down about 50 times in each of those outings. Hey, at least he has been able to live vicariously through his sons. Eli and Peyton, both of whom were No. 1 overall picks, have three Super Bowl rings between them.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content