College Career: After redshirting as a true freshman, Andrew Luck was named the starting quarterback in 2009. He emerged as one of the best players in the country over his next two years as he was named the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year in both seasons. In his three seasons as a starter, he amassed 9,430 passing yards and 82 touchdowns while leading Stanford to the most accomplished three year period in their history.
Drafted: 1st overall by the Indianapolis Colts
Pro Career: Luck started every game as a rookie and won 11 games, an NFL record for a quarterback taken first overall, he helped the Colts to the playoffs after going 2-14 the year before. His 4,374 passing yards is an NFL record for a rookie quarterback. The following year, he led the second largest comeback in playoff history by coming back from 28 points down against Kansas City with five total touchdowns. In 2014, he led the NFL in touchdown passes and took Indianapolis to the AFC Championship Game. After missing all of 2017, Luck returned the following year to finish second in the league in touchdown passes and setting career highs in completion percentage and passer rating, as well as leading the Colts to 10 wins and their first playoff appearance since 2014 while being named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. In his seven seasons, he was a four time Pro Bowler and holds nine Colts franchise records.
Bottom line: Luck was considered the most NFL ready quarterback coming into the league since John Elway and from day one he really lived up to that billing. In his first three seasons, he led the Colts to three playoff appearances and two AFC South division titles. Unfortunately, he will forever be viewed as a player we'll all wonder "What might have been?" Luck announced his retirement during the 2019 preseason at age 29. He cited his recurrent cycle of injuries and rehabilitation as the primary reason why. Seeing how he's dealt with injuries like a busted throwing shoulder, lacerated kidney, and torn abdominal muscle, it's hard to blame him. He spent most of his tenure in Indianapolis behind a mediocre offensive line and never had a solid line, running game or defense until 2018. He stated in his retirement press conference that the injuries took away the joy he got from the game and hasn't been able to live the life he wants to live. He could easily finished his career among the top quarterbacks of all time, but due to the injuries we will never know for sure.
Where Is He Now?: Andrew Luck enjoys a happy, laid-back life with his wife and daughter. He will be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2022.
Robert Griffin III
College Career: A three sport start who initially committed to Houston, Robert Griffin III switched his commitment to Baylor after Art Briles became the Bears head coach. As a true freshman, he was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. After a modest 2010 campaign, Griffin exploded the following year completing 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns while adding 10 more touchdowns on the ground. He was named the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner as the top player in the nation.
Drafted: 2nd overall by the Washington Redskins
Pro Career: Griffin had a highly successful rookie season, setting records for the highest passer rating and touchdown-interception ratio by a first year quarterback, while leading Washington to their first division title since 1999 and winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, he also injured his knee twice during the season, ultimately tearing his ACL and LCL in Washington's playoff loss to Seattle. He wasn't able to match the success of his rookie years and injuries eventually cost him his job to fourth round pick Kirk Cousins in 2015. He spent the next four years primarily as a backup with Cleveland and Baltimore.
Bottom line: "RGIII" had the skillset to have the same level of dual threat impact of a Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick but due to never bring able to shake the injury bug at the pro level, he will always be seen as a bit of a one year wonder. Some of his failures to bounce back can be attributed to Washington's reliance on utilizing his legs and once those to a beating, he was never the same player.
Where Is He Now?:
After being unsigned in the 2021 offseason, ESPN announced the signing of Griffin as an analyst on a multi-year deal in August 2021. He has publicly stated his desire to continue playing and that his contract with ESPN would allow him to sign with a team if the opportunity presents itself.
College: Texas A&M
College Career: After spending his first two year at Texas A&M at wide receiver, Ryan Tannehill saw extensive action at quarterback and set a school record with 449 passing yards in a game. He was named the fulltime starter as a senior and threw for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Drafted: 8th overall by the Miami Dolphins
Pro Career: Tannehill was the day one starter as a rookie and went on to set franchise rookie records for passing yards, attempts, and completions. By 2015 he became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 3,000 yards in each of his first four seasons in the league and had Miami in the playoffs the following year only to get injured in the season finale. He was traded to Tennessee in 2019 and went on to lead the league passer rating while winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. In his 10 seasons, he's thrown for 30,729 yards and 223 total touchdowns.
Bottom line: Tannehill had a lot to live up to in Miami being the first quarterback drafted in the first round by the Dolphins since Dan Marino. While statistically he played pretty well, that didn't equate to wins. Some of that can be attributed to the mess of the Miami franchise since Mario's retirement. Since arriving in Tennessee, he's led the Titans to three straight playoff seasons. Even though these Tennessee teams have been built around Derrick Henry's running ability, Tannehill has shown he can complement the ground game with efficient passing and solid scrambling ability. He has come up short in the postseason, especially in 2021, but he is still a solid game manager and the Titans remain a strong contender in the AFC South.
Where Is He Now?: Tannehill is under contract with Tennessee through 2025. If his supporting cast on offense can remain healthy and the defense continues to play like they did against Cincinnati in the playoffs, the Titans have a shot to make big runs in the postseason for the foreseeable future.
College: Oklahoma State
College Career: After spending five years playing professional baseball, Brandon Weeden enrolled at Oklahoma State in 2007. By 2010 he was named the starter and the following season, he broke school single season records in total attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns.
Drafted: 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns
Pro Career: Weeden was the opening day starter and had a rocky season. The next year he was part of a quarterback carousel with Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer and started just five games. He spent the next fives seasons primarily as a backup with Dallas, Houston, and Tennessee before retiring after 2018.
Bottom line: Weeden was the oldest quarterback ever drafted in the first round at age 28. And even if he would've been somewhat successful, he wouldn't have the longevity of other quarterbacks. It also didn't help that he came from an Air Raid scheme at Oklahoma State and drafted by a Cleveland team that has had a horrible history of not being able to develop quarterbacks. With a near even touchdown to interception ratio, poor accuracy, and not offering much as a runner, its a wonder why he was viewed as a first round quarterback.
Where Is He Now?: Weeden lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife and two sons. He’s invested in a number of businesses and gets out onto the golf course a few times a week. He also calls several Big 12 football games for ESPN+.
College: Arizona State
College Career: The Montana Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, Brock Osweiler chose to attend Arizona State. After starting sparingly his first two seasons, he was the fulltime starter in 2011 and finished the season with 4,036 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Drafted: 57th overall by the Denver Broncos
Pro Career: Osweiler spent the majority of his first three seasons as Peyton Manning's backup. In 2015 he replaced an injured Manning and went 5-2 as a starter, throwing for just under 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.. He went back to the sidelines once Manning was healthy for the playoffs as the Broncos would win Super Bowl 50. In 2016, Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans on a four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed but lasted just one year with the team. he spent his final year back in Denver and with Miami before retiring midway through 2019.
Bottom line: Many viewed Osweiler as an intriguing prospect coming out of college with elite size and arm strength and after finally getting playing time with the Broncos, he flashed some ability that he could be a franchise quarterback. Unfortunatley reality struck when he became the fulltime starter in Houston. All he seemed to do was disappoint the Texans fan base. Osweiler threw 16 interceptions to just 15 touchdowns in 15 starts. Late in the season, he was benched for Tom Savage after throwing back-to-back first half interceptions. He only got his starting job back after Savage suffered a concussion. After beating an Oakland team in the wildcard round, who were playing without their starting quarterback Derek Carr, Houston was blown out by New England 34-16 in a game were Osweiler threw three interceptions. Had he chose to stay in Denver things may have been different, but he took the money and all his flaws were exposed.
Where Is He Now?: Osweiler lives in Arizona with his wife and two daughters. He hopes to return to the game in some way, either in coaching or in the front office at some level.
Other Notable Quarterbacks
- Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: Drafted 75th overall by the Seattle Seahawks. Nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, future Hall of Famer and easily the quarterback steal of this draft.
- Nick Foles, Arizona: Drafted 88th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. Has has some impressive tenures in Philadelphia and won Super Bowl LII, but hasn't been able to replicate that level of play for other teams.
- Kirk Cousins, Michigan State: Drafted 102nd overall by the Washington Redskins. Three-time Pro Bowler with some impressive numbers, comes up short in bigger games.
- Ryan Lindley, San Diego State: Drafted 185th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Mainly a backup, three career touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
- BJ Coleman, Chattanooga: Drafted 243rd overall by the Green Bay Packers. Cut in his rookie preseason, later played in the AFL and CFL.
- Chandler Harnish, Northern Iowa: Drafted 253rd overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Mr. Irrelevant, career backup and third stringer.
- Kellen Moore, Boise State: Undrafted. Mainly a backup, now the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator.
- Case Keenum, Houston: Undrafted. Above average backup, took Minnesota to the NFC Championship in 2017.
- Alex Tanney, Monmouth: Undrafted. Career journeyman, now coaching with the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Matt Simms, Tennessee: Undrafted. Son of Phil Simms, career practice squad member.
- Austin Davis, Southern Miss: Undrafted. Started several games for the Rams, gutted out a seven-year career.