Maybe you’ve noticed, but I listen to sports talk radio on my lunch break. Even for just 15 minutes while I’m picking up lunch, I find it entertaining, informative, and thought provoking.

Today’s comment which is spinning around in my head is from The Sports Reporters’ Thom Loverro, who claims he wouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round EVER. When asked to verify that he wouldn’t have drafted Peyton Manning, he agreed that he would’ve passed on him, simply because of the huge investment you’re making by taking a Quarterback in the first round.

It’s an interesting concept, and without doing any research, my first thought is that he might have a somewhat valid point. How often do we see first round quarterbacks become busts, seriously damaging a franchise’s odds of making the playoffs for years to come.

Forgetting about last year’s draft for a moment, let’s go back to the 2008 draft.  Matt Ryan was taken in the first round, and with a playoff appearance and 2 winning seasons under his belt, Matt Ryan was a good draft choice for the Atlanta Falcons.  Same with Joe Flacco.  After that, backup QBs were taken.  I don’t believe we’ve seen Brian Brohm yet up in Green Bay, but Chad Henne has looked pretty decent down in Miami when he was called upon to takeover due to injury.

Think about the 2007 draft.  JaMarcus Russel with the first overall pick?  Sure, Al Davis, he’s a great athlete, but how’s he doing in the NFL?  21 picks later, the Browns took Brady Quinn, and while some people wondered why Cleveland passed up on him for Joe Thomas (who happens to now be a 3 time Pro Bowler after three years in the league), all you have to do is look at Quinn’s stats.  Kevin Kolb was taken in the second round, and in a couple games he’s played in, he’s thrown for 300+ yards each time.  Dolphins got John Beck, Lions got Drew Stanton, and you don’t hear anyone talking about how they wasted their picks.  The Bills, in the third round, picked up Trent Edwards, who might not be a long-term franchise QB option, but he has played better than Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell, not to mention the fact that the Bills’ 22nd overall pick in 2004 – J.P. Losman – is no longer a part of the equation in Buffalo because of Edwards.

In 2006, the Titans took Vince Young with the #3 pick, and sure he’s a 2-time Pro Bowler (’06 and ’09), but there were times in the past 4 years when I’m sure Titans fans were worried that Vince Young might not ever play a game in the NFL again, and at one point in 2008 Vince was benched for Kerry Collins (sure, there was an injury involved, but Vince was cleared to play, and he didn’t return to the starting spot).  Jay Cutler has looked decent in Denver (buy the hype if you want, but the numbers show he’s not GREAT), but Matt Leinart?  The Cardinals should’ve found a different option (though they might not have brought Kurt Warner in as a mentor if they didn’t bring in Leinart).  Second rounders in 2006 – Tavaris Jackson and Kellen Clemens – are both in the running to start next year after considerable seasoning which has lead to decent improvement.  Both of their teams have been in the playoffs the past two years.  Same can’t be said for Denver (and Chicago), nor Cleveland or Oakland the year before that.

How good could the 49’ers look in an otherwise mediocre NFC West if they had taken Ronnie Brown, DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, Roddy White, Heath Miller or Logan Mankins in 2005 instead of Alex Smith?  Those guys are all Pro Bowlers, and Smith is just now beginning to look like a starter.  Forget that they could’ve had Aaron Rodgers, that’s an easy decision to question.  Kyle Orton was taken in the fourth round, and all he does is win games.  Dan Orlovsky in the 5th round wouldn’t be an improvement over Alex Smith (unless you take into account SALARY), but Derek Anderson put up fairly decent numbers in Cleveland, and he was taken SIXTH ROUND that year.

In 2004, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were all taken in the first round, but as I mentioned before, so was J.P. Losman, and how did that work out for the Bills?  Not as good as if they would’ve waited and taken Matt Schaub, who was still there at pick 90.  The Texans are happy the Bills didn’t pass on Losman and wait to take Schaub in the second round.

Of the QB’s taken in the first round of the 2003 draft, Carson Palmer is still with the Bengals (though his injury set them back a little bit), Byron Leftwich is no longer in Jacksonville after losing his job to 4th round pick David Garrard.  Kyle Boller is gone from Baltimore.  Rex Grossman is now a backup for the Texans (after being drafted in 2003 by the Bears).  Sure, second round picks Dave Ragone  and Chris Simms might not have been a better option for those teams (though some people will still tell you that Simms has lots of potential), but you can’t tell me that Jacksonville and Chicago wouldn’t be better off taking Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Nnamdi Asomugha (don’t worry if you don’t know Asomugha, he’s just the best cornerback in the NFL, 3 Pro Bowls to his credit).  All three of those guys were picked in the 1st round in 2003.  The rest of the draft didn’t necessarily have any QB studs in it, although Tony Romo did go undrafted that year.

Maybe Thom Loverro is right.  Maybe I need to do more  research before I say for certain.  Either way, it’s a compelling point.