LA Rams trading QB Goff fits pattern of parting with 1st round signal caller

The LA Rams continue to forge ahead with their own path, taking all sorts of risks along the way.  They gamble with high-stakes wagers, aiming at even higher stakes rewards. But sometimes it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  And so it seems that way with the LA Rams, too.  The Rams chose quarterback Jared Goff in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and have just traded him to the Detroit Lions.

The Rams traded away the same quarterback and three draft picks that the team once traded a king’s ransom in picks to select in the 2016 NFL Draft. Shocked?

Well, what if we examined the track record of quarterbacks drafted in the first round between the years of 2009 through 2016? Actually, we don’t need to do that. ESPN’s NFL Insider Field Yates has already done the heavy lifting for us. His research reveals that there have been 22 such quarterbacks taken in the first round in the years from 2009 through 2016.  Of that number, how many remain with their original team?

None. Nada. Zippity-doo-dah.

Perhaps it’s not so shocking after all. In fact, in the ‘Not For Long’ culture of the NFL, it’s actually not so very surprising. Still, all 22 quarterbacks?  Hmmm.

Uncertainty of the NFL Draft is certain

So much for the certainty of that first round, eh?  If that player chosen to run your offense is not a Super Bowl winner, off he goes.  Even if that young quarterback gets you there, like Jared Goff? Or helps to get you there, like Carson Wentz?

I was chatting with a close friend about the NFL and the recent trends. We both mentioned simultaneously that NFL teams used to draft a quarterback and ride his career with the same team. Do you recall the quarterback class from 1999? In that year, five quarterbacks were chosen in the first round: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper, and Cade McNown.

Tim Couch played out his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns and was not resigned to a second deal. Donovan McNabb lasted 13 seasons, 11 with the Philadelphia Eagles. He struggled with his completion rate and never won a Super Bowl, but he put up a record of 92-49-1 with the Eagles.

Akili Smith, much like Tim Couch, played out his rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and did not sign a second contract. Daunte Culpepper played 11 seasons in the NFL, seven with the Minnesota Vikings, two with the Detroit Lions, one with the Oakland Raiders, and one with the Miami Dolphins. Finally, Cade McNown played for two seasons for the Chicago Bears, and then ran out the remainder of his NFL rookie contract from the bench.

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft.  Of that group, only one played for 11 seasons with his original team. Funny that.  I would have sworn that more than one quarterback from that class had a long career with his original team.

Perhaps the real shocker is not that no first-round quarterback since 2009 through 2016 remains to play with his original team.  It seems to be more shocking that we believed that playing an entire career with the original drafting team was anything even close to the norm.