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A historical perspective on the McNabb/Kolb situation

Posted by Doug on July 25, 2007

The Eagles' decision to draft University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb with the 36th overall pick has cast some doubt on Donovan McNabb's future with the team.

For a historical perspective, let's look at all teams since 1978 that:

  1. had the same primary quarterback for three consecutive years;
  2. drafted a quarterback with a pick between #15 and #45.

The age listed is the incumbent quarterback's age at the end of the season just prior to the drafting of the young quarterback. For reference, McNabb was 30 at the end of last season.

Tm   Yr   Incumbent          age  Pick  Rookie QB
kan 1979 Mike Livingston      33   23 Steve Fuller
oak 1980 Ken Stabler          34   15 Marc Wilson
pit 1980 Terry Bradshaw       31   28 Mark Malone
buf 1980 Joe Ferguson         29   37 Gene Bradley
stl 1981 Jim Hart             36   33 Neil Lomax
nyj 1983 Richard Todd         29   24 Ken O'Brien
mia 1983 David Woodley        24   27 Dan Marino
cin 1984 Ken Anderson         34   38 Boomer Esiason
phi 1985 Ron Jaworski         33   37 Randall Cunningham
sea 1991 Dave Krieg           32   16 Dan McGwire
atl 1991 Chris Miller         25   33 Brett Favre
nyj 1991 Ken O'Brien          30   34 Browning Nagle
den 1992 John Elway           31   25 Tommy Maddox
kan 1992 Steve Deberg         37   40 Matt Blundin
buf 1995 Jim Kelly            34   45 Todd Collins
sfo 1997 Steve Young          35   26 Jim Druckenmiller
gnb 2005 Brett Favre          35   24 Aaron Rodgers

As we would expect, many of the incumbent quarterbacks --- Stabler, Hart, Anderson, Jaworski, Deberg, Kelly, Young, and Favre --- were older than McNabb and clearly in need of an heir to the job. Some of the others --- Livingston, Todd, and Woodley --- despite having been their team's quarterback for at least three years, simply weren't considered very good. O'Brien and Miller probably belong in this class as well.

That leaves Bradshaw, Ferguson, Krieg, and Elway. Although it clearly wasn't because Dan McGwire was too good to leave on the bench, Krieg played only one more season in Seattle. The other three all played at least three more seasons, and none ceded the job to the youngster drafted to replace him.

So if nothing else, we've learned that this situation is rare; it's been about fifteen years since we've seen something comparable. The Eagles shouldn't be too shocked that McNabb feels blindsided. At the same time, though, McNabb needs to realize that he --- not Kevin Kolb --- is in control of his future. If McNabb continues to play well, then he, like Bradshaw, Ferguson, and Elway, should continue to play for his current team for several more seasons.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 at 4:41 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.