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Trevor Lawrence vs. history

Will Lawrence have a career like John Elway or JaMarcus Russell or something in between?

Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway stiff-arms Atlanta Falcons linebacker Cornelius Bennett during the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXIII at Pro Player Stadium, Jan. 31, 1999, in Miami. The Broncos beat the Falcons 34-19.
Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway stiff-arms Atlanta Falcons linebacker Cornelius Bennett during the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXIII at Pro Player Stadium, Jan. 31, 1999, in Miami. The Broncos beat the Falcons 34-19. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When (If? No, when)the Jaguars make Trevor Lawrence the first pick in the draft, he’ll be the 26th quarterback to go number 1 overall since the merger in 1970. Of those quarterbacks, six won Super Bowls as a starting quarterback.

Here’s the list: Terry Bradshaw (first pick in 1970 draft), Jim Plunkett (1971), John Elway (1983), Troy Aikman (1989), Peyton Manning (1998), Eli Manning (2004).

13 of the 25 have losing records in their careers as a starting quarterback. Some of that can be attributed to being drafted by losing teams.

The Jaguars hope Lawrence becomes the next on this list that includes four No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining Bradshaw, Elway, Aikman and Manning.

Some of these numbers must be put into context. From 1970 through 1997, a span of 28 drafts, eight quarterbacks were selected with the top pick. Since 1998, a span of 23 drafts, there have been 17 quarterbacks taken with the first pick. The only exceptions since 1998 are Courtney Brown (2000), Mario Williams (2006), Jake Long (2008), Eric Fisher (2013), Jadeveon Clowney (2014), and Myles Garrett (2017). The rest of the picks were all quarterbacks, seven of whom are still playing in the NFL.

It won’t take much for Lawrence to become one of the best top picks in recent history. While some quarterbacks like Andrew Luck (2012) and Matthew Stafford (2009) have enjoyed long careers, others have flamed out fairly quickly (JaMarcus Russell comes to mind).

Yr.NameTeamRecord
2020Joe BurrowCincinnati2-7-1*
2019Kyler MurrayArizona13-18-1*
2018Baker MayfieldCleveland23-22*
2016Jared GoffLos Angeles Rams42-27*%
2015Jameis WinstonTampa Bay28-42*%
2012Andrew LuckIndianapolis53-33
2011Cam NewtonCarolina68-55-1*%
2010Sam BradfordSt. Louis18-30-1
2009Matthew StaffordDetroit74-90-1*%
2007JaMarcus RussellOakland7-18
2005Alex SmithSan Francisco38-36-1
2004Eli ManningNew York Giants117-117!!@
2003Carson PalmerCincinnati46-51
2002David CarrHouston22-53
2001Michael VickAtlanta38-28-1
1999Tim CouchCleveland22-37
1998Peyton ManningIndianapolis141-61!!
1993Drew BledsoeNew England63-60
1990Jeff GeorgeIndianapolis14-53
1989Troy AikmanDallas94-71!!!
1987Vinny TestaverdeTampa Bay24-48
1983John ElwayDenver Broncos148-82-1!!$
1975Steve BartkowskiAtlanta55-66
1971Jim PlunkettNew England23-38!!
1970Terry BradshawPittsburgh107-51!!!!
* - active
% - active with different team
@ - drafted by San Diego then traded
$ - drafted by Baltimore then traded
! - Super Bowl championships

About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.