Missing on a Quarterback in the First Round of the NFL Draft Often Proves to Be Costly for Most Teams

Kevin Colbert and Company have had a pretty decent track record in the first round of the NFL draft in recent memory. The Steelers have been able to address important areas such as running back, offensive line, linebacker and defensive end.

What area is the team going to focus on this year? Will it be inside linebacker? Are they going to find the next Alan Faneca? What about the nose tackle position? With the draft still two months away, and with the Steelers picking near the end of the first round, it's anyone's guess at this point.

I'm far from a draftnik, and all I can do is take an educated guess on who the Steelers number one pick will be, but I can state with 100% certainty that it won't be a quarterback. Why? Because the Steelers obviously got it right when they drafted Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Not only was Roethlisberger the missing piece to the team's Super Bowl puzzle, but because he developed into the quarterback that Pittsburgh hoped, it allowed the front office to concentrate on other areas of the team, and because of it, they're still a Super Bowl contender.

Not every franchise is as fortunate in that regard, and there are plenty of examples of teams missing on their first round quarterbacks and having it set their franchise back time and time again.

The Cleveland Browns are just one example. It has been speculated by some NFL insiders like Adam Schefter that the Browns may be one of the teams interested in trading with the Rams for their 2nd overall selection so Cleveland can take quarterback Robert Griffin III. If Cleveland does pull off the trade and selects RG3, it will be the organization's third selection of a quarterback in the first round since their return to the NFL back in 1999.

In 1999, the Browns were an expansion team and had the number one overall pick in the draft. They decided to make quarterback Tim Couch of Kentucky their first ever selection.

Nothing wrong with that. If you're an expansion team, why wouldn't you make a quarterback your top priority? As I stated above, if you get it right, a lot of things can fall into place pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, Couch never lived up to his promise and was out of Cleveland following the 2003 season.

In 2007, the Browns took another crack at it and selected Brady Quinn of Notre Dame with the 22nd overall pick.

During his short stay with the Browns, Brady spent his time unsuccessfully trying to beat out the likes of Derek Anderson. Today, he's Tim Tebow's backup in Denver.

It might be a bit unfair to pick on the Browns. There are a lot of obstacles that an expansion team must overcome in addition to the quarterback position.

However, there are other examples of teams missing on first round quarterbacks, like the Tennessee Titans, who selected Vince Young with the 3rd pick in the 2006 draft. Young looked like he might develop into the real deal, and he even led the Titans to the playoffs in 2007. But after years of struggles, injuries and controversy, Young was finally released following the 2010 season, long-time coach Jeff Fisher was then fired, and the team was forced to start over and selected Jake Locker with the 10th pick in last year's draft.

The Oakland Raiders decision to make Jamarcus Russell the number one over all selection in the 2007 draft worked out so poorly that he is currently out of football, and the Raiders were forced to trade their 2012 number one selection to the Bengals for veteran quarterback Carson Palmer in an attempt to make a playoff run last season. The Raiders didn't make the playoffs and haven't since 2002. Who knows how far the decision to draft Russell will set their franchise back, but I do know that they won't be able to address the situation in the first round this year.

Picking a quarterback might be a sound strategy, especially if you're a struggling team, but you better get it right, or you'll spend years paying the price.

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