Just one year ago, Howie Roseman spoke of the benefits of stockpiling draft picks at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Said Roseman, “The more chances you get, the more tickets to the lottery you get, the better you should be doing.”
And yet, here Philadelphia is, one week removed from Roseman’s decision to trade a collection of draft picks in order to acquire the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Based on multiple reports, Philadelphia’s intentions are to pick Carson Wentz, a highly-touted 23-year-old quarterback from North Dakota State. As the man under center for the Bison, Wentz threw 42 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his two years as a starter.
Despite his impressive numbers, however, there is widespread skepticism surrounding his potential as an NFL quarterback. While Wentz has reached the top of the draft due to his mobility and arm strength, there are legitimate concerns about whether the low level of competition he faced in college will make him worth five draft picks.
That concern is legitimate -- especially because trading up for quarterbacks has rarely been worth the cost.
According to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, there have been 14 instances, since 2000, of a team trading up to draft a quarterback, and the results are lackluster.
In 2004, the New York Giants traded up for Eli Manning, and in 2008 the Baltimore Ravens were able to move up and select Joe Flacco. While those two teams were able to win Super Bowl trophies, the others have had to deal with the repercussions of mortgaging their future to draft busts.
The best cases (aside from Manning and Flacco) saw Michael Vick (Falcons, 2001), Jay Cutler (Broncos, 2006), and Mark Sanchez (Jets, 2009) develop into solid NFL quarterbacks. However, none of them have won a Super Bowl.
The rest of the list looks as such: Kyle Boller (Ravens, 2003), J.P. Losman (Bills, 2004,) Jason Campbell (Washington, 2005), Brady Quinn, (Browns 2007), Josh Freeman (Buccaneers, 2009), Tim Tebow (Broncos, 2010), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars, 2011), Robert Griffin III (Washington, 2012) and Johnny Manziel (Browns, 2014).
None of those quarterbacks has won a championship, four of them are out of the league and of the few who remain in the league, not one is starting.
Wentz may very well end up as another statistic on that list of mediocrity, but the list is, in itself, indicative of why these trades happen. Quarterback is arguably the most important position in any sport, and it is difficult for teams to find one they believe in. So while Eagles fans may have preferred Laremy Tunsil or Ezekiel Elliot, if Howie Roseman believes he has found his franchise quarterback, he must take the chance that Wentz is an exception, not the rule.