The Complete List of Current NFL Starting Quarterbacks Drafted in Rounds Three or Later

The Complete List of Current NFL Starting Quarterbacks Drafted in Rounds Three or Later

As we prepare for Foles Fever to descend on Washington this
Sunday, it would be wise to consider the somewhat long odds Nick Foles faces if
he is to become a fulltime starting quarterback in the NFL. After all, there
are not many chosen in the third round of the draft or beyond who go on to
have successful careers.

For your consideration, Eagles’ third-string QB Trent
Edwards is a former third-round pick once handed the keys to a franchise.
Three-and-a-half years and 32 starts later, the Stanford grad was traded to
Jacksonville, then spent the 2011 season out of football altogether after he failed to make the Raiders. I repeat, the Raiders.

Okay, so Edwards was handed the keys in Buffalo, which is
not so much the Cadillac of franchises as it is the 15-year-old Corolla with the dent in the
fender. Then again, the Eagles are likely headed for a trip to the body shop
themselves.

The point is, third rounders are long shots to become
productive signal callers who lead long careers. However, it can be done
though. There are currently six starting quarterbacks in the league who were
selected after the 64th pick, but we’ve gotta tell you, the list is
a bit of a mixed bag.

Russell Wilson: 3rd
Round, 75th Overall – 2012

Chosen 13 picks ahead of Foles, Wilson beat out free agent
Matt Flynn for the job in training camp, and has the Seahawks out to a 6-4 record. Much of
the credit for that goes to the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense, but the undersized
Wilson (5-11) has been smart with the football, completing 62% of his passes
while limiting his interceptions to 8. Wilson is mobile, which adds another
dimension to his game, and were it not for his small stature, might have gone
higher in the draft. The jury is out on how high the ceiling is, but so far, so
good in Seattle.

Matt Schaub: 3rd
Round, 90th Overall – 2004

The Falcons selected Schaub the season after Vick missed
most of the year with a broken leg, recognizing even then that freewheeling
style would get any quarterback hurt. Schaub wound up starting two games in
three seasons for Atlanta, but those 161 pass attempts were enough to convince
the Texans to trade a pair of second round picks to acquire the backup. Now in
his sixth season with Houston, Schaub has a pair of 4,000-yard campaigns under
his belt, but those are the only two full seasons he’s played thanks to
injuries. At 31 years old, and with a dominant rushing attack and defense to
fall back on, the Virginia product has fallen more into a game manager role,
but is still more than capable of leading the attack.

Tom Brady: 6th
Round, 199th Overall – 2000

A man who needs no introduction, Brady is a seven-time Pro
Bowler, two-time league MVP, and three-time Super Bowl champion with the New
England Patriots. He’s led the NFL in passing yards twice, touchdown passes
three times, and is still going strong at 35. Obviously, nobody saw any of it
coming when he left Michigan, and none of it may have ever happened at all were
it not for an injury to Drew Bledsoe in 2001. Comparing just about anybody in
any situation to Brady would be foolish.

Matt Cassel: 7th
Round, 230th Overall – 2005

Cassel famously never started a game at USC, which is enough
to make anybody wonder why the Patriots took him in the first place. Apparently
it was so they could fleece the Chiefs a few years down the road. Cassel earned
himself a trip to the Pro Bowl when Brady was knocked out for a year, throwing for
3,600 yards and 21 touchdowns, which of course was back when Randy Moss was
still a beast. Kansas City then sent the 34th overall pick to New
England the following offseason to acquire Cassel, and it’s been all downhill
since. Cassel has become just as turnover-prone as Vick, producing 21 so far in
2012, and he would have lost his job by now to Brady Quinn of all people were
it not for a concussion. Can be hidden in an offense loaded with playmakers,
but is no substitute for a franchise quarterback.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 7th
Round, 250th Overall – 2005

A bit of an incredible story, Fitzpatrick is a Harvard grad
playing in the NFL. Originally taken by the St. Louis Rams, Fitz saw some
playing time in his rookie season as the organization was beginning to crumble.
He handled himself well all things considered, but didn’t get another opportunity
until he went to Cincinnati. Wound up starting 12 games for the Bengals in ’08,
showing signs of improvement. Fitzpatrick left for Buffalo as a free agent in the offseason, where he’s made the best use of his education yet: convincing somebody to
make him a franchise quarterback. Fitzpatrick threw for over 3,800 yards last
season, but also led the league with 23 picks. He’s having another up-and-down
season for the Bills, and has a 20-37-1 record all-time. Granted Fitz has only
played for bad teams, but we’ve more than likely witnessed his ceiling.

Tony Romo: Undrafted Free
Agent, 2003

You don’t see many of these floating around. Romo came all
the way from being an undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois to becoming the
starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He entered training camp that year
as the third-string quarterback because at the time the organization was floundering
with Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson. Romo then spent some time behind Vinny
Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe before finally seizing the job in ’06. As we can
all attest, Romo has been able to put up some excellent numbers to his credit,
but hasn’t been able to win many big games, and the Cowboys always seem to be
in disarray.

Of course, while there are six of these mid-to-late-round
picks playing in the NFL today, there are innumerable more who never make it,
never even get their opportunity, names you might not even recognize. Aside from Brady, which simply wouldn’t be
fair, probably the best case scenario here for comparison’s sake would be
Schaub. But as you can see, even some of the guys that have managed to cling to
their jobs aren’t exactly the caliber of quarterback fans will be hoping for from Foles.

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Several reasons behind Brandon Graham's seemingly sudden emergence

Several reasons behind Brandon Graham's seemingly sudden emergence

With three sacks in three games, Brandon Graham is off to the fastest start of his career by far, already almost halfway to his career high of 6½. Naturally, the Eagles' defensive end is excited about the production, but not nearly as excited as he was with the defense as a whole after a 34-3 romp over the Steelers on Sunday.

"For us, I was just happy we stayed together, we played together and the outcome was good," Graham said postgame. "Hats off to Pittsburgh because we did a lot of planning for them. We respect them a lot.

"I am just happy to get this win and I am happy in the style we did it."

Graham was one of four Eagles players to bring down Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, marking the first time the seventh-year veteran has recorded at least one sack in three consecutive games. In fact, prior to this season, Graham had never posted a sack in Week 1.

For once, the numbers are taking care of themselves for Graham — although that's not what he's focused on.

"Since I've been here, I've never gotten a sack in the first game, and I've never been consistent," Graham said. "I'm just trying to be the leader, go out there, get W's and be relentless."

There are plenty of explanations for Graham's seemingly sudden emergence.

This is only his second season as a full-time player in the NFL after injuries, then depth conspired to keep the 2010 first-round pick on the bench early in his career. Perhaps all he needed was an opportunity. The switch back to a 4-3 defense and wide-nine front no doubt helped rejuvenate Graham's career as well, allowing him to move from outside linebacker back to his natural position at defensive end and focus on rushing the passer.

With Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith all rotating in at end, Graham is also being kept fresh. Last season, the Eagles lacked the quality reserves to provide many breathers for Barwin and Graham on the outside.

"It's a great feeling because there's no pressure to hurry up and get back out," Graham said. "I feel like everybody is just as good and there's no drop-off when we come out of there.

"It's definitely going to help us later on in the year. It's been helping now."

There are all sorts of schematic reasons why Graham could finally be on his way to a breakout season. This will be his first full season as a starter at D-end in a 4-3, it's the first time since 2012 he's in a wide-nine and the defense no longer has to be worried about being exhausted by Chip Kelly's offense's uptempo approach.

Graham was also blessed with a new addition to his family during the offseason — a baby girl. The 28-year-old admits that changed his perspective as well, making him want to work even harder toward achieving his goals.

"Just the preparation and then the work this offseason, I took it up to another level," Graham said. "I guess because I had a daughter this offseason, everything is kind of viewed a different way for me.

"I know we have a good defense — that helps out a lot, too. I couldn't ask for a better defense right now."

Clearly, those goals are not individually motivated. Graham wants to be part of something great, and with a dominant performance against the Steelers in Week 3, the Eagles and their defense passed a huge test.

"I feel like we improved," Graham said. "We got a lot better. We stopped a good team, a great team, a well-coached team. Our hats off to them because they made us work this week."

Few people were expecting the Eagles to handle a trendy Super Bowl pick the way they did, and Graham actually prefers it that way.

"I hope we still get overlooked because it feels so good when people are talking the way they did," Graham said. "It added a little fuel. We watched a little bit of the TV (Sunday) morning, and they were just saying how [the Steelers] were going to dog us.

"I'm just happy that we came out and did what we were supposed to do, and I hope we stay the underdog because, for us, nobody gave us a chance and we stayed together. If we stay together in here, that's all that matters."

Through three games, the Eagles lead the NFL in fewest points surrendered with a paltry 27 and rank fourth in yards allowed. They're also tied for third with 10 sacks and tied for seventh with six takeaways.

If the defense stays together the way Graham says they have, how far does he think the Eagles go this season?

"I don't know," Graham said. "If we keep playing like that, there is no ceiling."

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Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

The most impressive thing about the Flyers' 4-0 preseason win over the Islanders on Tuesday night was the play of the their young defense and the outstanding work by the penalty kill.

Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers each gave a strong accounting of themselves while veteran Andrew MacDonald proved why experience helps with some terrific PK work during an extended five-on-three Islanders power play in the third period.

“Overall, they did a good job,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I look at some of the opportunities we gave up, especially in the second period, we gave up three or four Grade A opportunities that Mase (goalie Steve Mason) was great on, but I put those on our forwards.

“We’re still not into regular-season form on our play without the puck. I thought as a whole, the group of defensemen did a good job and the young guys in there were good tonight.”

Sanheim had strong plays the entire game from the point and picked up two assists (see highlights). He gets the puck quickly on net and joins the play up front.

“It took me a little bit, even in this game,” Sanheim said. “As I play more, I started to jump up more and you start to see my game more. It’s something I want to bring to this next level.”

Provorov logged 21:43 of ice time following nearly 29 minutes at New Jersey. He had 5:17 on the PK. Some of his clears weren’t deep or hard enough, at times, possibly because of fatigue.

He also took a bad boarding hit on Joshua Ho-Sang in the third period that set up an Isles five-on-three power play. It became extended because of a trip call to Myers but MacDonald did yeoman’s work on the extended PK.

Provorov quarterbacks the first-unit man advantage for now until Shayne Gostisbehere joins the crowd. He had some very skillful passes. The Russian can find the seam up the ice on the breakout quickly and had a no-look, hard pass to Nick Cousins in the second period for a quality one-timer on net.

Expect Provorov to handle the second-unit power play during the season, should he make the roster.

The goals
Although the Flyers, using a better NHL lineup, were lacking for offensive chances early against the Isles' "B" squad, they found their way in the final four minutes of the opening period.

First, Dale Weise had one of those pinball goals as a bouncing puck hit a couple of players in the slot, including goalie Chris Gibson, to make it 1-0 during four-on-four play.

That was the Flyers' first goal of preseason in three games. A little more than a minute later, Wayne Simmonds scored off a rebound just as a Flyers power play ended. Simmonds had two goals in the game, including a wrister from the left circle to open the final period.

Smallish (5-foot-7) — but bullish — centerman Andy Miele, a former Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s top player (Miami-Ohio), made it 3-0, out-battling Thomas Hickey for the rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.

The shield
Simmonds is wearing a visor for the first time. It’s an experiment for now.

“Everyone is all over me about it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. It wasn’t too bad tonight. The only thing is trying to track pucks in the sky when you are getting the glare from the lights. A little bit of an adjustment."

He said neither his mother nor girlfriend had pushed him as hard to wear the shield as someone else: “Ron Hextall,” he said flatly. “He gave me a call.”

Because of his tenacious play in the slot where sticks are high and pucks are deflected, a shield makes sense.

“Yeah, I think so, being that front guy and doing work on the PK,” he said. “Getting sticks in lanes like that, the game is really fast and pucks get deflected.

“Sometime you don’t know where they’re going and can’t react to that. Obviously, the shield is good for that."

He added he would wear the shield in a fight, too.

“Every time I fight and someone has a shield on, I’m at a disadvantage so I guess this evens it up,” he said.

Loose pucks
Weise did a nice job sticking up for teammates late during a melee after a Ben Holmstrom crosscheck to linemate Nick Cousins. “It was a bad crosscheck and you’re defending your teammates,” he said. “The ref was in the way and I kind of went overtop him. That’s what I’m about. Guys take liberties on my linemates, I’ll stand up for them.” … Matt Read had just 6:54 ice time through two periods. Fourth-liner Boyd Gordon had more ice time there — 9:39 — but Read finished with 13:55 to Gordon’s 13:41. More than half of Gordon’s ice time was on the penalty kill. … Goalie Steve Mason faced some point-blank chances among the first 17 shots he faced and finished with 23-save shutout.