The 2018 NFL draft saw four quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. Lamar Jackson was taken with the last pick of the first round to make a grad total of five quarterbacks taken in the first round, which is fairly high number. We haven’t seen five quarterbacks taken in the first round since 1999 when Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Dante Culpepper and Cade McNown were all taken in the first 12 picks.
As of right now, none of the first round quarterbacks drafted in 2018 are listed as the starting quarterback for their respective teams. That may change quickly once the games matter, but no team is beginning the season with a rookie as their starting quarterback this year (note that this may change while I am writing this).
If you look at the actual age of the current QB1 for every team and average them you find that the average age of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now is 30.3 years old. See the table below (the shorthand after the name is how the quarterback was acquired with 18/1 meaning 2018 first round pick - data is from www.ourlads.com)
|NE||BRADY, TOM 00/6||41.1|
|NO||BREES, DREW U/SD||39.6|
|NYJ||MCCOWN, JOSH SF17||39.2|
|NYG||MANNING, ELI T/SD||37.7|
|LAC||RIVERS, PHILIP T/NYG||36.7|
|PIT||ROETHLISBERGER, BEN 04/1||36.5|
|GNB||RODGERS, AARON 05/1||34.7|
|WAS||SMITH, ALEX T/KC||34.3|
|BAL||FLACCO, JOE 08/1||33.6|
|ATL||RYAN, MATT 08/1||33.3|
|CIN||DALTON, ANDY 11/2||30.8|
|AZ||BRADFORD, SAM U/Min||30.8|
|DET||STAFFORD, MATTHEW 09/1||30.6|
|DEN||KEENUM, CASE U/Min||30.5|
|MIA||TANNEHILL, RYAN 12/1||30.1|
|MIN||COUSINS, KIRK U/Was||30.0|
|SEA||Wilson, Russell 12/3||29.8|
|CAR||Newton, Cam 11/1||29.3|
|CLE||Taylor, Tyrod T/Buf||29.1|
|IND||Luck, Andrew 12/1||29.0|
|BUF||McCarron, AJ U/Cin||28.0|
|OAK||Carr, Derek 14/2||27.4|
|SF||Garoppolo, Jimmy T/NE||26.8|
|JAX||Bortles, Blake 14/1||26.3|
|PHL||Wentz, Carson 16/1||25.7|
|DAL||Prescott, Dak 16/4||25.1|
|HOU||Mariota, Marcus 15/1||24.8|
|TB||Winston, Jameis SUS/3||24.6|
|CHI||Trubisky, Mitch 17/1||24.0|
|LAR||Goff, Jared 16/1||23.9|
|HOU||Watson, Deshaun 17/1||23.0|
|KC||Mahomes II, Patrick 17/1||23.0|
There will be 16 starting quarterbacks 30 or older and 16 under the age of 30. Now if we swap out the four guys who are likely to lose their jobs to the four quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks of the 2018 draft that average age goes down some, but not by much. The average age then goes to 29.1.
Here are the currently ages of the four young quarterbacks:
- Baker Mayfield - 23.4
- Josh Allen - 22.3
- Josh Rosen - 21.6
- Sam Darnold - 21.2
I don’t know about you, but this seems to be a very well-aged group of starting quarterbacks currently populating the NFL - in other words, I don’t remember quarterbacks playing this well into their late 30s like they seem to be now. I wrote about this last year.
In that article I tried to quantify quarterback performance vs age and normalize it by removing guys who played well in a spot start or two, but were essentially NOT starting quarterbacks anymore in their late 30s or early 40s. To do this I multiplied quarterback rating by games started and then divided by the highest score ever (which was Peyton Manning in 2004 when he was league MVP the second time) to give a value on a scale of 0-100%.
We are going to focus on recent quarterbacks who continued to play well at and beyond the age of 36 as well as current starting quarterbacks who are that age or close to it. So let’s look at that historical guys’ graph first. Note that Peyton Manning was 28 when he set the highmark for this stat with a value of 100% (16 games started x quarterback rating of 121.1 = 1938. 1938/1938 = 100%)
The three quarterbacks who are historically the gold standards for continuing to start well into your late 30s are Warren Moon, Brett Favre and Vinny Testaverde. Favre had the most starts at quarterback after reaching the age of 36 with 93 regular season starts. Tom Brady currently has 76 (inclusive of the year they turn 36). Brady would need a full season this year plus two starts in 2019 to surpass Favre.
So how let’s look at the current or very recent guys and see how they compare
My apologies to those who are colorblind. I will e-mail you a link to look at data tables if you would like. Brady last season started 16 games and had a quarterback rating of 102.8 that comes out to (16 x 102.8)/1938 = 84.9% which is pretty darn impressive for a 40 year old quarterback. Drew Brees had a similar value of 85.8% last season at the age of 38.
The question that should have popped into your head as this point is this: How long can Brees and Brady keep this up? Can either of them venture into that uncharted territory up there on the graph? Can Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers (and maybe Alex Smith) play as well for as long as Brees and Brady? Is there someone who will step up and achieve that level of quarterback play that Peyton Manning, Brees and Brady have attained after the two top quarterbacks finally retire?
To do so that quarterback would not only have to continue to play at high level, but they would also have to stay healthy enough to play in 14-16 regular season games every year, something that few quarterbacks have been able to do after the hit the age of 36.
Which current QB steps up to take the title of best (or second best) QB in the league after Br*dy and Brees retire?
This poll is closed
someone else not listed