Failure not the norm for first-round QBs

There have been first round-flops and late-round sleepers recently, but nothing suggests quarterbacks should be avoided early in the draft.

Originally Published: November 16, 2004
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
Think about first-round quarterbacks and for most people disappointments like Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Tim Couch and Cade McNown come to mind from recent years. Players who came out earlier like Andre Ware and Heath Shuler also are on that list.

Steve McNair
AP PhotoSteve McNair was a first-round pick out of Division I-AA Alcorn State.
But the fact of the matter is that plenty of other passers drafted in the first round in recent drafts have gone on to have outstanding careers, or are on their way. Kerry Collins, Trent Dilfer, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick and Chad Pennington are among those who have excelled.

And there are plenty of guys who still are developing and coming around, who can't be fairly judged yet because their careers have not been long enough: David Carr, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, Rex Grossman and Ben Roethlisberger.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.