What Happened To Pac-10 Quarterbacks?

Sunday’s column was about Jake Locker and how, to this point, he hasn’t really done anything to warrant all the hype. No. 1 overall pick? First-round pick? I just don’t see it. Great player, but I can’t picture him as the top draft pick.

But that got me to thinking about Pac-10 quarterbacks in general, and what a sweaty mass of disappointment they have been in recent years. Name the biggest NFL busts over the past decade or so. Ryan Leaf? Akili Smith? Joey Harrington and Matt Leinart and Cade McNown? Each of them was a Pac-10 quarterback selected among the top 12 picks, and each of them was a huge disappointment.

Look at it this way: Joey Harrington had by far the best NFL career out of that group. That should tell you plenty about those other guys.

Over the past 20 NFL drafts, 11 Pac-10 QBs have been selected in the first round: Todd Marinovich, Tommy Maddox, Drew Bledsoe, Leaf, McNown, Smith, Harrington, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, and Leinart. Bledsoe had a good career, Palmer has been decent, and Rodgers might turn out to be the best of the bunch. But that’s it.

And it has been a heck of a long time since the Pac-10 produced a John Elway or a Troy Aikman or even a Chris Miller. Even the QBs who weren’t first-round picks haven’t produced a lot, unless you count Jake Plummer or want to go all the way back to Mark Brunell.

Here are some more stats: In the first 20 Super Bowls, Pac-10 quarterbacks made six starts at quarterback. From Super Bowl XXI through Super Bowl XXXIII — that’s XII years — Pac-10 products made 11 starts at quarterback. That stretch included five starts by Elway, three by Aikman, and one apiece by Mark Rypien, Drew Bledsoe and Chris Chandler. They won six of those Super Bowls.

Since then, in the past 11 years, not a single Pac-10 QB has started a Super Bowl. Don’t know whether that means anything, but it’s interesting.

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