Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are proving NFL history wrong

When quarterbacks go No. 1 and No. 2 in the draft, one is almost always a bust.

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Which quarterback would you rather have?

Quarterback No. 1 has a 62.2 percent completion rate this season, throwing for 3,184 yards and 20 touchdowns, with one rushing score, six interceptions and one lost fumble.

Quarterback No. 2 has a 60.7 percent completion rate this year, throwing for 3,005 yards and 29 touchdowns, with six interceptions and three lost fumbles.

Quarterback 1 has a 64.4 percent completion rate on third down, throwing for 7 touchdowns and two interceptions, while passing for 51 first downs on 118 attempts.

Quarterback 2 has a 66.4 percent rate on third down, throwing for 12 scores and two picks, while passing for 55 first downs on 111 attempts.

QB1 has a passer rating of 105.3 in the red zone, throwing 16 touchdowns on 60 attempts with zero interceptions, while QB2 has a passer rating of 118.9 in the red zone, tossing 20 touchdowns with zero interceptions on 49 attempts.

QB1 leads a team that through 11 games has scored 361 points, tied for the most in the NFL. QB2 leads the other team with the same number of points. QB1’s team is fourth in the NFL in total yards, seventh in passing yards. QB2’s team is third in total yards, 14th in passing yards.

QB1 was the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. QB2 was taken one pick later. And they play each other this Sunday.

So who would you rather have, Jared Goff or Carson Wentz?

Wentz, Goff and the battle of not becoming a bust

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
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Last year, with Wentz in the running for NFL Rookie of the Year — Dak Prescott won the award over Wentz and Ezekiel Elliott — Goff was being labeled as a bust. And it was hard to find any evidence to prove those who called him that wrong. While Wentz got the starting gig in Philly after the trade of Sam Bradford, Goff sat the bench for the Rams, who rolled with Case Keenum for the first nine games of the season. Keenum, ironically, is leading the Minnesota Vikings to the top spot in the NFC this season, currently just ahead of Philadelphia and Los Angeles, while Bradford is on injured reserve.

When Goff did get a chance to play last year, he was bad, completing just 54.5 percent of his passes, throwing five touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven games. The Rams were 4-5 when Goff took over last season, and finished the season 4-12. Jeff Fisher got fired, Sean McVay took the helm and this year the Rams are a completely different team.

To consider Goff a bust at this point would be insane. He’s not only a perfect fit for McVay’s offense, he’s on the fringes of the conversation for NFL MVP. Right now the leading candidates for MVP are Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Wentz, but it’s hard to look at what Goff has done and not consider him a potential candidate if he performs well the next two weeks against Philly and Seattle.

And so this is weird, because historically when two quarterbacks are taken first and second overall in the same draft, one of them is almost always a bust.

A recent history of NFL Draft busts at 1 or 2

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles

RGIII played one season for the Browns after losing his job in Washington.

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According to NFL records, there have been 33 quarterbacks taken first overall in NFL history, with 17 QBs taken second overall. Just seven times since the draft began in 1936 a quarterback was taken both No. 1 and No. 2 in the same draft. Almost every time, one ended up being a bust. In some cases, both were busts.

In 2015 Jameis Winston went No. 1 overall, with Marcus Mariota going No. 2. Neither are busts yet, and it’d be unfair to suggest either might be. Mariota is on his way to taking Tennessee to the playoffs while Winston has been good, not great, in his first two seasons before struggling through injury this year. That said, Tampa has yet to reap the benefits of taking him with the top pick.

In 2012 Andrew Luck was taken firts overall and, when healthy — he’s missing this season because of what might be a career-threatening shoulder injury — he’s been one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Robert Griffin III was taken second overall that season and won offensive rookie of the year in 2012, named to the Pro Bowl. And then he became a total bust.

RGIII started 13 games for Washington in 2013, winning just three. He then won two games in 2014, struggling through injury the entire season. In 2015 he was hurt again in preseason, then lost his job to Kirk Cousins, relegated to the practice squad. Whether it was his fault or not, his tenure in Washington was awful. Given new life, he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2016. That went terribly, as he was hurt again and played in just give games. He was then released.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf

San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf

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From 2001 through 2011, nine quarterbacks were taken No. 1 overall, while none were taken second. But back in 1999 Tim Couch was taken first and Donovan McNabb was taken second. You can decide which of them was a bust 🙂

In 1998, Peyton Manning was taken first and Ryan Leaf was taken second. Leaf is one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

In 1993, Drew Bledsoe was taken first and Rick Mirer was taken second. The Notre Dame signal caller played in eight seasons over 10 years and never completed more than 56.4 percent of his passes, which he did for Seattle his rookie year.

NFL (and AFL) history of busts

New England Patriots quarterback Jim Plunkett

New England Patriots quarterback Jim Plunkett

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1971 was an interesting draft for quarterbacks going No. 1 and No. 2. Jim Plunkett was taken first by New England, and while he wasn’t a bust — he was the Super Bowl MVP in 1980 for the Raiders, winning comeback player of the year that season — he was 23-38 in New England before going to San Francisco for two years in advance of his eight-year tenure with the Raiders. Statistically, Plunkett was terrible for the Patriots, completing under 50 percent of his passes and throwing 87 interceptions to just 62 touchdowns.

For the team that drafted him, he was a total bust. Archie Manning was taken second and while he wasn’t as good as either of his sons, he did make two Pro Bowls while playing for a terrible Saints team. 

The 1964 AFL draft saw quarterbacks taken first and second overall. Jack Concannon was taken No. 1 by the Boston Patriots, but he was also taken 16th overall in the NFL Draft by the Eagles, and opted to play for Philly, starting just three games in three seasons before going to Chicago. He wasn’t great there either.

Pete Beathard was taken second in the AFL by Kansas City and fifth in the NFL by Detroit. He opted for the Chiefs, playing 52 games but starting just two at quarterback before bouncing around to the Oilers and the Rams.

NFL: International Series-Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
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Wentz and Goff are already better that most of the quarterbacks taken with the top two picks in the same year. For Wentz, this season has been a validation of the potential he showed as a rookie. For Goff, it’s validation of his selection at the top of the draft.

Both quarterbacks are great for their respective teams. And that doesn’t happen a lot. Neither looks like they’ll be a bust, and that almost never happens.

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