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:
- had the same primary quarterback for three consecutive years;
- 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.
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