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Cory's Corner: Elite QBs are worth gold in the NFL

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Cory's Corner: Elite QBs are worth gold in the NFL

If you weren’t sure how much a quarterback is worth in the NFL, you should have a better idea after seeing the pair of blockbuster trades.

The Rams gave up six picks — including first rounders this year and next — in order to grab this year’s top pick from the Titans. And the Eagles traded five picks that stretch all the way to 2018, which also includes a pair of first rounders.

The fact that teams are willing to sacrifice for their future for a franchise quarterback is a pretty good barometer of where the NFL is right now. If you don’t have an elite quarterback, you can forget about competing for and winning a Super Bowl.

Gone are the days when a Trent Dilfer could lean on a superior defense and “game manage” his way to a championship. Thanks to defensive limitations, offenses have to score and the best way for that to happen is through the air.

And that just goes to show you how lucky the Packers have been. Finding one elite quarterback is tough enough, but following that with another preeminent passer is amazing. Elite quarterbacks are the Holy Grail in this league and the presence of that guy can turn a morbid franchise into a playoff contender.

However, I still think the Rams and Eagles got fleeced. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are good, but not quite as good as Andrew Luck or Jameis Winston. Both of those guys were no doubt, can’t miss prospects, but it seems like there’s plenty of hesitation and doubt with Wentz and Goff. Wentz appears to be the most pro ready, but what about his level of competition at North Dakota State? And Goff competed against better competition but how much does that matter if he only went 14-23 in three years at Cal?

The NFL Draft was, is, and will always be an inexact science. That’s why the best philosophy has always been to use volume. You’re likely going to miss with a few picks, which is why it’s best to insure yourself against those potential mistakes.

Just think if Wentz or Goff turn out to be career backups. The Rams and Eagles will be drowning without the benefit of a life raft. They won’t have an elite quarterback and they sacrificed their future to do it. I understand the philosophy more from the Rams. They at least have a solid defense and can use a quarterback to make significant damage in the NFC. But the Eagles are a long ways away. An elite quarterback will help them, but they still have plenty of holes thanks in part to Chip Kelly.

But let’s fast-forward five years. Aaron Rodgers turns 38 at the end of that season and his replacement will be a high priority. Will Ted Thompson’s replacement Eliot Wolf be able to pull off a move that will keep the quarterback momentum alive at Lambeau Field? Perhaps a move in the mold of his father Ron that brought Brett Favre to Green Bay in a trade.

It’s a question that all teams must ask themselves. Do we go all in and strive after an elite quarterback or try to power through with an above average Kirk Cousins look-a-like?

Elite quarterbacks are the answer, but mining them is the toughest part.






Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture

"Will Ted Thompson’s replacement Eliot Wolf be able to pull off a move that will keep the quarterback momentum alive at Lambeau Field? "

That statement is so presumptuous in so many ways...

ray nichkee's picture


marpag1's picture

"Gone are the days when a Trent Dilfer could lean on a superior defense and “game manage” his way to a championship."

Anybody remember the good ol' days when a team like Denver could dilfer its way to a Superbowl win with a game manager ..... way back in 2016?

NFL Ranking of Denver 2015 passing offense:

Passing yards........ 14th ... (3970)
Completion % ....... 25th ... (60.7)
Yard per att. ......... 23rd ... (7.0)
TDs.......................... 28th ... (19)
INT thrown............. 32nd ... (23)
Passer rating......... 31st ... (76.3)

Evan's picture


EdsLaces's picture


croatpackfan's picture

One season surprise... If Steelers were not fumbled all those evidence about top defense would not be discussing now...

marpag1's picture

Yada, yada, blah, blah, coulda, shoulda, woulda. The Broncos advanced because they beat the Steelers. That is all. They beat them mostly with their defense, including when the Broncos FORCED that fumble with 10 minutes left in the game. They won because they were better and deserved to win.

If you want to play the game that "the Broncos SHOULD have lost" to PIT then please remember that the STEELERS definitely "SHOULD have lost" to the Bengals the week before that.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture


4thand1's picture

Its football, fumbles, stupid plays, missed chip shot field goals. Ask the viqueens about woulda, coulda, shoulda...............lmao. Or the Packers the year before, sob, sob,sob

PaulRosik's picture

Exactly. In a season after the Super Bowl Champion did it with a great defense and really poor QB play is not the time to say how an elite QB is a must.

Bearmeat's picture

You CAN win with a mediocre QB - but winning it all is even harder than it is with a great QB. You've got to have ALL the other team pieces in All-Pro Shape (WRs, RBs, OL, and the whole D), AND you have to get lucky. Lest we all forget, Denver should really have lost to PIT in the AFC Div round.

That said, giving up 2 1st round picks for a QB who "may" work out or "may" be a career backup... it's nuts. The reason the Rams are the Rams is because of crap like this.

4thand1's picture

These are the types of teams looking for new head coaches and GM's all the time.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Aren´t you too young to remember the last time GB did not have an elite QB? Wasn´t Paup a Bill to you? It is easy to say the Eagles are nuts - while I think they were, I would give up a LOT if we needed a QB.

marpag1's picture

Then again, maybe he's old enough to remember the Green Bay Packers trading 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a third to the Rams, and in return receiving twenty years of misery and the rights to John Hadl.

Bearmeat's picture

No. I don't remember that. I was 8 in 1989 when GB won 6 1 point games and missed the playoffs to the Viqueens by a tie-breaker. I remember them being awful in 3rd grade: 1988.

And I STILL think the Eagles and Rams are nuts. The fact is you don't know who is going to be great. For every Andrew Luck there are ten Jake Lockers. Remember - both had the "it" factor. Both could make all the throws...

You pick a guy and hope he pans out. Then you build him running game and a defense to try and help.

marpag1's picture

I'm agreeing with you Bearmeat. With the Hadl trade, not only did the Packers totally whiff on finding a reliable QB, but they flushed a boatload of draft capital for the next two years. It's pressure enough when you have to hand in ONE first round draft card for a guy, but when you have to hand in two 1st, two 2nds and a 3rd on top of it.... that's killer.

The Pack probably would have sucked in the 70s and 80s with or without the Hadl trade, but there's no question that that miserable flop expedited their downfall and kept them in the cellar for years.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I did say that I think the Eagles are nuts. Now, I'd say the Eagles look like geniuses compared to Devine and his trade for Hadl, especially given the changes in the role of the QB since 1974. GMs get desperate but perhaps also optimistic (1 player away syndrome) when their QB, Jerry Tagge, tosses 1 TD and 10 INTs for a 36 passer rating in the first 6 games and you still have a 3-3 record.

First, Hadl was 34 years old! Thirty-Four is not a misprint! 2nd, we'd just played the Rams and beaten them, with Hadl going 6 for 16 and getting benched. Just 10 days after that game, Devine traded for Hadl, mid-season (week 7). 3rd, Hadl had been rather average most of his career, with passer ratings in the 60s and 70s, and only 2 seasons breaking 80. Hadl went 3-3 for us in 1974, and 4-9 in 1975, tossing 9 TDs and 29 INTs. 1975 was also the year that Brockington bottomed out as well, rushing for just 434 yards. Starr in 1976 promptly traded Hadl, Ken Ellis (an all-pro CB in 72 & 73 and a pro bowler in 73 & 74) along with a 4th rd. pick that year and a 3rd in '77 for Lynn Dickey, who himself was exciting but overall pretty average (73 passer rating, 133 TDs to go with 151 INTs, and a 43-56-2 record). Dickey raised his QB rating by 25 points as soon as James Lofton took the field in 1978.

marpag1's picture

I'm aware of all this.

But in the end you're still saying that the Packers surrendered a ton of picks, whiffed on the player, and set the team back for years, right?

Amanofthenorth's picture

Remembers (shakes head and wipes away an all too familiar tear)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sorry, Marpaq, I got carried away by the lunacy of the Hadl trade! Yes, of course GB whiffed and the franchise was set back. We traded a 1, 2, 3, another 1, 2, then a 4th, a 3rd, and Ken Ellis to end up with Dickey. I think the Rams and Eagles grossly overpaid, and the trades are far more likely to hurt their teams than help them, and Goff and Wentz aren't quite good enough to justify more than a 1st and a 2nd.

Here are the points I am trying to make:

1) The current NFL requires a team to have a good to elite QB in order to have sustained success. Yes, a great defense like Denver's can win, but you have to pay so many guys top dollar that you can't keep the defense together for years in a cap world.

2. Second and third-tier QBs now make almost as much as elite QBs. Since you have to feed the dog, the dog might as well be a good to great one.

3. I don't think QBs who have a first round grade like AR reportedly had are ever going to fall to #24 again. This might be tested this year: I've been told that Lynch has a legitimate 1st round grade (I hear he is a little goofy, so maybe 1st/2nd) who should go in the mid to late 20s. I think he goes in the top 12, probably higher.

I hope GB never faces a situation where we don't have a good starting QB, but if that day comes again I think TT will pony up to obtain a good QB prospect in the draft. I define "pony up" as paying a net of a 1st, a 2nd, and possibly another pick like a 3rd or 4th for the right prospect.

As long as AR is healthy, this is a moot point since we won't find out just what TT would do if the team did not have a good QB at the helm. So yes, I think it is easy to criticize other teams for paying so much to trade up, but really we should be thanking our lucky stars that TT acquired AR without having to pay through the nose. Kudos to TT.

Nick Perry's picture

I think both the Eagles and Rams lost their minds to give up that much. I'm not so sure I wouldn't rather have Brett Hundley over Weitz especially just because he hardly ever played in College. I mean we are talking about a guy who's started 22 games, attemped 612 paasses IN HIS CAREER. I get the Bison were a run first team but to bet the teams future on a pick who's career stats are most QB's season stats is nuts!

I'm no "In Ted We Trust" kind of guy, I believe he could do more to help the Packers over that hump to get to the SB. But I'm glad "Most Days" he's our GM when you see guys like Roseman and Snead risk their teams future with moves like this.

The Eagles will have over $40 Million of their Salary Cap tied up in the QB position and have no idea if they have a winner. Wrap your head around that!

4thand1's picture

The Titans and Browns will have to improve so much just with the young talent they will acquire the next 2 years. The Rams and Eagles are just plain nuts. Cow and Samson must be their GM's.

Dustin Evans's picture

Eagles do have a starting veteran quarter back for two year under contract. Makes sense to me to get one of those guys and have him study for two years, learn the system, bulk up etc. Get him NFL ready just like Rodgers and farve. Rams maybe can take a flier on a guy but would like to see veteran Qb help there to.

Nick Perry's picture

The Eagles have Bradford under contract for a cap hit of $12 million and also signed Chase Daniels to a 3 year $21 Million contract this offseason. Daniels came to Philly with Petersonm the Chiefs. That's a lot of money for one position.

John Galt III's picture

One and or both QB's will be a bust.

Historically, when (2) QB's are drafted in close proximity in the first round - the second one is a bust - 75% of the time. and the first one can be 40% of the time. I just read a 30 year study of this - can't link - requires paid subscription.

I think these teams are crazy.

Amanofthenorth's picture

If my math is correct, and it usually is, that's 115% of the time they are busts. Not good odds.

Samson's picture

However --- A team's odds of playing in SBs increase considerably when you have an elite QB.

Wait a second.--- AR is elite. AR and the Pack have played in one SB in 8 seasons. (soon to be nine)

As Gilda would say -- "Never mind".

Nick Perry's picture

And the Vikings have played in ZERO Superbowls in 39 YEARS . So I guess that means the Vikings have been so pathetic over the last 40 years they couldn't even get to one let alone win it.

It also says the Queens have been unable to even GET a Elite QB for 39 years. As a Packers Fan would say to a Vikings fan, "Whats the use"

Samson's picture

Do you ever post w/out referring to the Vikings? -- A little obsessive, maybe?? ----I grew up a stones throw from Lambeau Field. I've probably met more Packer players than you can name.

Like it or not -- The Pack need to make some real noise in season 2016 or changes will happen. ---- AR is getting old and antsy.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Going for it all to get Wentz or Goff is pretty damn funny. This will make the Chip Kelly Eagles roster gaffe look good, comparatively. We shall see, I suppose.

ray nichkee's picture

Cory, can you please step up to the plate and start writing better articles? I know you can do it because you've done it before. The comments above are factual. I love peyton manning but he wasn't the same guy last season.


Samson's picture

Maybe you should shell out a few bucks to be here. --- Your attitude might change a bit. --- (or try writing something yourself and we'll critique you on your efforts)

egbertsouse's picture

Dandy Dan Devine and Limp Dickey! Talk about bad memories, all we need is a mention of Tony Mandarich to complete the trifecta

4thand1's picture

I like Lynn Dickey, was a pure passer. Great offense no defense. I was at the MNF game in 85, 48-47 Pack. Dan Devine was the worst thing that happened to the Packers.........EVER!

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