Where Are They Now?—2008 NFL Draft Quarterbacks
Today, I recap the careers of the top five quarterbacks of the 2008 NFL Draft and what they are doing today.
College: Boston College
College Career: After redshirting and playing sparingly his first two seasons, Matt Ryan was named the starter midway the 2005 season. In 2006, he was named first team All-ACC and led the ACC in total offense. As a redshirt senior in 2007, he was awarded the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award after throwing for 4,507 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Drafted: 3rd overall by Atlanta Falcons
Pro Career: In his first regular season game, Ryan completed his first NFL pass for a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins and was named the offensive rookie of the year. In 2012, he led the Falcons to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2005. By 2016, he helped Atlanta reach their second Super Bowl while being named the NFL MVP. In his 10 seasons with the team, he has already become the franchise's all time leader in passing yards. Ryan also holds Falcons single season records for completions, attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns. He's been a 4 time Pro Bowl, 2016 All-Pro, and the 2016 NFL MVP.
Bottom line: " Matty Ice" has shown he's capable of leading Atlanta to some big wins in the last decade, but its still yet to be determined that he can get the Falcons over the hump. Prior to Atlanta's Super Bowl run in 2016, Ryan was 1-4 in playoff games. And when they did reach the Super Bowl, the gave up the largest lead in Super Bowl history allowing New England to force overtime and ultimately win the game. As it stands now, he's not elite, but in that next tier below.
Where Is He Now?: Ryan is now under contract through the 2023 season. At age 34 he can still lead the Falcons to a lot of wins, but whether he has what it takes to get Atlanta over the hump has yet to be seen.
College Career: After starting his college career at Pittsburgh, Joe Flacco transferred to the University of Delaware. Forced to sit out sue to transfer rules, he got his first fulltime starter experience in 2006. By 2007, he led his team to an 8-3 regular season record while compiling 4,263 yards, 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Drafted: 18th overall by the Baltimore Ravens
Pro Career: Due to a season ending injury to incumbent starter Kyle Boller and an illness to Troy Smith, Flacco became the starting quarterback in the 2008 season opener. He helped the Ravens to and 11-5 record and an appearance in the AFC Championship. Over the next four seasons, he led Baltimore to the postseason each year and helped them to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII. In his 10 seasons, he has a Super Bowl championship, Super Bowl MVP, and holds almost every major Ravens passing record. He was traded to Denver during the 2019 offseason.
Bottom Line: In his first five seasons, Flacco was considered to be the next elite quarterback, but everything since Super Bowl XLVII has been very inconsistent. In 2013, he had his worst statistical season throwing 22 interceptions to just 19 touchdowns. He tore his ACL and MCL and missed half of the 2015 season. The last two seasons, the Ravens have struggled down the stretch and failed to reach the postseason. As it stands, he's an above average starter but not elite at this stage of his career.
Where Is He Now?: Flacco is currently a free agent.
College Career: In his first season, Brian Brohm was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Yea despite not starting a single game. In 2005, he was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year even though he missed the final regular season game with a knee injury. In his four seasons in Louisville, he passed for 10,775 yards and 81 touchdowns
Drafted: 56th overall by the Green Bay Packers
Pro Career: As a rookie, Brohm was third on the depth chart behind Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, who was drafted in the seventh round of the same draft. In 2009 he was claimed off the practice squad by Buffalo where he started two games over two seasons. He spent the next five years playing in the UFL and CFL before retiring in 2016.
Bottom Line: Hindsight being 20/20, Brohm should have forgone his senior year and enter the 2007 draft. He was drafted by a team that didn't need a quarterback and got beat out in training camp by a seventh round pick. In the two games he started, he didn't throw a single touchdown and threw five interceptions. Had he entered the 2007 draft, he might have been drafted into a better situation.
Where Is He Now?: Brohm moved to coaching post retirement and is currently serving as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Purdue University under his brother Jeff Brohm.
College Career: In his four seasons at Michigan, Chad Henne set school records for completions, attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns. He finished his Wolverine career with 9,715 yards and 87 touchdowns.
Drafted: 57th overall by the Miami Dolphins
Pro Career: After spending his rookie year as a backup, Henne started early in 2009 after Chad Pennington went down with an injury. He remained the starter until he separated his shoulder early in the 2011 season. In 2012, he signed with Jacksonville and saw extended playing time after starter Blaine Gabbert was first injured and then benched.
Bottom Line: Through out the coarse of Henne's career, he was expected to take the next step and make Miami a contender again. However, he never seemed to play consistently well enough to get the Dolphins over the hump. His career completion percentage is below 60% and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his 10 seasons. At this point, he's an above average backup and average starter.
Where Is He Now?: Henne just signed a two year deal with Kansas City in March. He will likely serve as a backup to Patrick Mahomes.
College: San Diego State
College Career: A four year team captain, Kevin O'Connell started 21 games for the Aztecs. He ranked first in school history in career rushing yards and second in career rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks. As a senior, he led the team in rushing.
Drafted: 94th overall by the New England Patriots
Pro Career: Playing mostly in the preseason, O'Connell only saw regular season action in relief of Tom Brady. He bounced around the league before retiring in 2012.
Bottom Line: While he was project quarterback, O'Connell had the tools to succeed. Had he gotten a chance to sit and learn for a few seasons, he might have developed into a capable starter. But thanks to poor play in his second preseason, and the emergence of Brian Hoyer, he was released and traveled from team to team before ultimately calling it quits.
Where Is He Now?: O'Connell transitioned into coaching and currently is serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins.
Other Notable Quarterbacks
John David Booty, USC: Drafted 137th overall by Minnesota Vikings
- Never saw action in regular season
Dennis Dixon, Oregon: Drafted 156th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Athletic, won two Super Bowls as a backup
Josh Johnson, San Diego: Drafted 160th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Has played for more teams than has career touchdowns
Erik Ainge, Tennessee: Drafted 162nd overall by the New York Jets
- Third string QB, struggled with substance abuse
Colt Brennan, Hawaii: Drafted 186th overall by the Washington Redskins
- Record setting college quarterback, couldn't stay healthy
Andre Woodson, Kentucky: Drafted 198th overall by the New York Giants
- Three seasons on three team's practice squads
Matt Flynn, LSU: Drafted 209th overall by the Green Bay Packers
- Holds Packers single game passing yards and touchdown records, signed a big contract with Seattle but was benched for Russell Wilson.