Over the past 20 years, using a top 10 pick on a quarterback has resulted in mixed success for the player and team. Only two QBs that were chosen in the top 10 between 1995 and 2014 have managed to win a Super Bowl, though a few others have at least played in the big game. But the list is also littered with several busts. By Ken Hornack and Andrew Astleford
Steve McNair (third pick, 1995, Houston Oilers)
Five years after being taken, he led the now-Tennessee Titans into Jacksonville and was a main reason why they crushed the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-14 in the AFC championship game. In 2006, he still had enough left in the tank to help the Ravens go 13-3 during the regular season. He threw for more than 31,000 yards and also ran for 37 touchdowns – who else remembers his 71-yarder at Tampa in 1998 which clinched a victory over the Buccaneers? – during a 13-year career which began with him backing up Chris Chandler in Houston.
To last 17 years in the league is a tribute to Collins' resilience. That included leading the New York Giants to the NFC championship in 2000 and having a turn-back-the-clock season with the Titans in 2008. But his time with the Panthers was rocky, and his performance against the Ravens in Tampa was one of the worst by a starting quarterback in Super Bowl history. His last hurrah came when he started three games for the Colts the year before they drafted Luck.
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Peyton Manning (first pick, 1998, Indianapolis Colts)
After a two-year stretch where the pickings were truly slim (Jim Druckenmiller, Tony Banks, Bobby Hoying), the Colts picked the right time to be coming off a 3-13 season. What tends to be forgotten is they were just as bad in Manning's first year as he threw a league-worst 28 interceptions as well as for 3,739 yards. The rest, as they say, is history. His 69,691 yards are second only to Brett Favre, and he overtook Favre last season for the career lead in touchdown passes. Critics will point to his 11-13 playoff record and how he looked like a quarterback nearing 40 in the Denver Broncos' loss to his former team, but the good easily outweighs the bad.
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Ryan Leaf (second pick, 1998, San Diego Chargers)
Coming out of Washington State, where he was the star of the Cougars' first Rose Bowl appearance in ages, Leaf was thought of more highly by some experts than Peyton Manning, whose inability to beat Florida had been well-documented. Let the record show that Leaf finished his career with 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions and had a 4-17 record as a starter over a combined three years with the Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys. Until not long ago, he was the standard by whom busts at quarterback were measured.
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Tim Couch (first pick, 1999, Cleveland Browns)
When the Browns returned as an expansion franchise, they tried not to subject the former Kentucky star to the pressures of starting right away behind a ragtag offensive line. The intentions were good, but the execution left much to be desired. Couch was sacked a total of 147 times during his first four seasons, and when the Browns made the playoffs for what remains the only time since the original franchise bolted for Baltimore, it was with Kelly Holcomb at the controls. Couch was done by the time he turned 27.
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Donovan McNabb (second pick, 1999, Philadelphia Eagles)
A pick which was lustily booed by Eagles fans who wanted running back Ricky Williams instead, McNabb and coach Andy Reid became all but joined at the hip for 11 years. You can quibble with the NFC championship game losses at home to the Bucs and the Carolina Panthers, and with good reason. But it had been nearly a quarter-century since the Eagles last reached the Super Bowl until he helped them earn a trip to Jacksonville – yes, Jacksonville. The less said about his years in Washington (2010) and Minnesota (2011), the better.
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Akili Smith (third pick, 1999, Cincinnati Bengals)
In the fifth game of his rookie season, Smith threw a touchdown pass with five seconds remaining to give the Bengals an 18-17 victory over the Browns, whom he thought should have taken him ahead of Couch. That turned out to be the first of only three wins Smith recorded with the Bengals, who cut their losses by drafting Carson Palmer first overall in 2003. Smith completed less than half of his throws and had a passer rating of 52.8 before fleeing to the Canadian Football League, where he was just as much of a dud.
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Michael Vick (first pick, 2001, Atlanta Falcons)
There's no denying things ended badly for him on and off the field with the Falcons, or that he became disposable by the end of his five-year stay with the Eagles. But the proliferation of the quarterback who's as much of a threat with his legs as with his arm can be traced to Vick. As was the case with McNair, Vick backed up Chandler as a rookie and endured his share of growing pains. Remarkably, his best season came after serving 18 months in prison on dogfighting charges, when he threw for 3,303 yards and 18 TDs for the Eagles in 2011.
David Carr (first pick, 2002, Houston Texans)
Like Couch, Carr had the misfortune of coming to a brand new team. He was the league's most-sacked quarterback in three of his first four years, and while he completed 68.3 percent of his passes in 2006, the Texans went only 6-10 and Carr was shown the door. A change of scenery with the Panthers didn't do him any good, and he wrapped up his career backing up Eli Manning with the Giants. His younger brother, Derek, was a second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders a year ago and finished the season with more TD passes (21) than first-round selection Blake Bortles (11) and Teddy Bridgewater (14).
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Joey Harrington (third pick, 2002, Detroit Lions)
Getting stuck on bad teams didn't help his cause. Then again, Harrington never made a bad team appreciably better. The high point of his career came on Thanksgiving Day 2006 when, as a member of the Dolphins, he returned to Detroit and threw for three touchdowns in Miami's 27-10 victory. But he was benched by the end of the season for Cleo Lemon, and after a lackluster 2007 season with the Falcons, Harrington's playing days were through. He finished with a career record of 26-50.
Not since Boomer Esiason fell to them in the second round in 1984 had the Bengals found anything but bad luck at quarterback in the draft. Palmer never took a single snap as a rookie, playing behind Jon Kitna, but threw for a league-high 32 scores in 2005. The Bengals and their fans probably still wonder what might have been if Palmer didn't suffer a career-threatening knee injury in the first quarter of a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While his career record is only 70-73, he has gone 16-6 the last two years with the Arizona Cardinals, who had the best record in the league last season until Palmer tore the same ACL in November.
He threw for 51 touchdowns with 36 interceptions while with the Jaguars and started for them against the Patriots in the 2005 playoffs. By no means does that qualify as a disgrace. But Leftwich was ineffective in that game and was gone after the following year as the Jaguars decided to take their chances with David Garrard. He became the quintessential journeyman, going from Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Tampa Bay and back to Pittsburgh.
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Eli Manning (first pick, 2004, San Diego Chargers, traded to New York Giants)
The last blockbuster trade involving the No. 1 pick wound up being, pardon the cliché, to the benefit of both teams. Manning will never possess the statistics of his older brother, but he helped the Giants defeat the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, with the first of those wins coming when Tom Brady & Company were less than a minute away from the NFL's first perfect season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. He should pass the 40,000-yard mark in the Giants' opener this fall, although the more legitimate issue might be whether he can avoid a third straight losing season.
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Philip Rivers (fourth pick, 2004, New York Giants, traded to San Diego Chargers)
Though he might be lustily booed in every stadium when the Chargers are on the road, you can't find much fault in Rivers' results. He has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 36,655 yards and has been chosen for five Pro Bowls. The Chargers have never gone worse than 7-9 in any of his nine seasons as a starter but haven't finished better than 9-7 since 2009. That recent lack of success could be part of the reason why reports have suggested Rivers could be involved in another draft-day trade, with him heading to the Titans for the No. 2 pick (presumably Marcus Mariota).
Alex Smith (first pick, 2005, San Francisco 49ers)
He was the 49ers' face behind center for the better part of seven seasons. Smith didn't post a winning record in a single campaign until 2011, when he guided San Francisco to a 13-3 regular-season record and a trip to the NFC Championship Game. That year, he threw for a then-career-high 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns. Eventually, Colin Kaepernick replaced him as the starter in 2012 as the faster, more nimble option. Still, Smith's presence allowed for San Francisco's rise under then-coach Jim Harbaugh to happen. Smith joined the Kansas City Chiefs before the 2013 season.
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Vince Young (third pick, 2006, Tennessee Titans)
His promising career flamed out quickly. Young arrived in Tennessee as the assumed figure who would deliver the Titans to relevance. After his first couple season there, that looked to be the case. He posted an 8-5 record as a starter in 2006, then a 9-6 mark as a starter in 2007. A knee injury sidelined him early in the 2008 campaign, but he went 8-2 as a starter during a Pro Bowl season in 2009. But that proved to be the final good memory for Young in a Titans uniform. He had a tumultuous 2010 season in which a right thumb injury led to a tension between him and then-coach Jeff Fisher. His Tennessee career ended after that year.
Matt Leinart (10th pick, 2006, Arizona Cardinals)
He never lived up to the promise he showed as a college player at USC. Leinart posted a 7-10 record as a starter with the Cardinals, totaling 3,893 yards passing and 14 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. Kurt Warner replaced him as the starter in the 2007 season, and Leinart served primarily as a backup from there until Warner's retirement before the 2010 season. Leinart was thought to be the starting quarterback for Arizona in the post-Warner Era, but he lost the job in training camp to Derek Anderson. The Cardinals moved on with Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall.
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JaMarcus Russell (first pick, 2007, Oakland Raiders)
Is there a more disappointing bust in the past decade? Russell's size at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds was enticing, but he didn't have the heart to match in his short NFL career. He finished 7-18 as a starter in parts of just three seasons with the Raiders. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was abysmal -- he threw 18 touchdowns to 23 picks -- and he never evolved into an effective NFL player. He still stands as a cautionary tale for teams in need of a quarterback at the top of the draft. Russell never came close to the player Oakland thought he'd be.
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Matt Ryan (third pick, 2008, Atlanta Falcons)
The Falcons succeeded in locking up their long-term face at quarterback with this pick. Ryan has posted an impressive 66-44 regular-season record as a starter, his best season coming in 2012, when he threw for 4,719 yards with 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in guiding Atlanta to the NFC Championship Game. Recent years have been a struggle, though. After starting his NFL career with five consecutive winning seasons, he has posted losing records as a starter in each of the past two campaigns. In 2013, he threw a career-worst 17 interceptions.
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Matthew Stafford (first pick, 2009, Detroit Lions)
His career has included mixed results. He's 35-42 as a starter with the Lions, his best statistical season coming in 2011, when he threw for a career-high 5,038 yards with 41 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. He has been Detroit's answer behind center in each of the past four seasons, during which he has started all 16 regular-season games each time. Of course, having a wide receiver like Calvin Johnson at his disposal helps. Still, playoff success has eluded Stafford. He has just one playoff appearance to his name, a loss to the New Orleans Saints in the wild card round in 2011.
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Mark Sanchez (fifth pick, 2009, New York Jets)
High hopes with the Jets came crashing down by 2013. Sanchez posted a 33-29 record as a starter with New York from 2009 to 2012, a run that led to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009 and 2010. But his play dropped off dramatically in 2012, when he threw 13 touchdowns to just 18 interceptions. From the Tim Tebow dramatics to Geno Smith's introduction as the starter, Sanchez's experience with New York was no smooth ride. Starting in 2014, he tried to revitalize his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
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Sam Bradford (first pick, 2010, St. Louis Rams)
Knee injuries ravaged Bradford's time with the Rams. After arriving with much promise, he posted an 18-30-1 record in four seasons as a starter with St. Louis. He never was part of a winning season in his time there. Part of the problem was the lack of weapons around him. He arrived during the failed Steve Spagnuolo Era, and by the time Jeff Fisher was introduced and attempted to re-build the offense through the draft, Bradford's health didn't cooperate. Before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in March, Bradford threw for 11,065 with 59 touchdowns to 38 interceptions in parts of five seasons with St. Louis.
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Cam Newton (first pick, 2011, Carolina Panthers)
He's evolving into one of the NFL's most dynamic quarterbacks. A two-time Pro Bowl player, he's a strong threat to run and pass, though more consistency through the air would help. He has guided the Panthers to playoff appearances in each of the past two seasons. He has posted a 30-31-1 record in the regular season as a starter, with 14,426 yards passing and 82 touchdowns to 54 interceptions.
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Jake Locker (eighth pick, 2011, Tennessee Titans)
He never grew into a talent befitting of his No. 8 overall selection. He became a starter for the first time in the 2012 season, but after appearing in 11 games that year, he never played in more than seven games in a single season through his final one in Tennessee in 2014. Injuries were a contributing factor to rookie Zach Mettenberger replacing him as the Titans' quarterback in the 2014 campaign. Locker announced his retirement in March, saying he no longer owned a burning desire to play football for a living.
At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, his size is enticing, but he never panned out with the Jaguars. He posted an awful 5-22 record as a starter in parts of three seasons in Jacksonville. He finished with 4,357 yards passing with 22 touchdown passes to 24 interceptions there. The cost of the failed experiment was high for the Jaguars, who traded two picks to select him early in the draft. Jacksonville traded Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers in March 2014, and now Gabbert serves as a backup to Colin Kaepernick.
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Andrew Luck (first pick, 2012, Indianapolis Colts)
It appears the Colts chose wisely in their decision between Luck and Robert Griffin III. Luck has compiled a 33-15 regular-season record as a starter in three seasons with Indianapolis, and he figures to become better as he matures as one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks. He threw for a career-high 4,761 yards with 40 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in 2014. The Colts have taken strides with him in the playoffs, with them reaching the AFC Championship Game last year. But Luck still waits for his first Super Bowl berth.
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Robert Griffin III (second pick, 2012, Washington Redskins)
Will Griffin's career get back on track? It's a legitimate question after his recent problems with the Redskins. He burst onto the scene with a strong rookie season when he led Washington to an NFC East title, but recent years have seen him decline, so much so that he's a polarizing figure among some in the District. Jay Gruden was named coached after the tension-filled Mike Shanahan Era, in part, to help revitalize Griffin's career. But it remains a curiosity if Gruden has fully bought into the idea that Griffin gives him the best chance to win. Next season will be a vital one for RG3.
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Ryan Tannehill (eighth pick, 2012, Miami Dolphins)
He has been mostly average in three seasons as Miami's starter. Tannehill has posted a 23-25 record, and he has failed to lead the Dolphins to the playoffs despite some close calls. He has been decent, but Miami must decide if seven- or eight-win seasons are good enough if those results continue. He has passed for 11,252 yards with 62 touchdowns and 43 interceptions. He threw for a career-high 4,045 yards last year.
Somewhat of a surprise pick at No. 3 overall last year, he produced an underwhelming rookie season. Bortles completed just 58.9 percent of his passes for 2,908 yards with 11 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. He started 13 games and posted a 3-10 record in those contests. He has time to develop, of course, and rookie struggles can be expected. Will Bortles become the Jaguars' answer at quarterback after so many recent misses for that franchise? Time will show.