Using pro-football-reference.com, drafthistory.com, and superbowl.com (just to check if Tony Eason started Super Bowl XX), I have been examining the success rate of 1st round QBs.
I have used a very modest measure of success. I have considered it a successful pick if he
a. made at least one Pro Bowl with the team that drafted him, or
b. started at least one Super Bowl with the team that drafted him.
This shows at least some positive outcome from drafting the QB. One could argue persuasively of course that drafting a QB just to have him make one Pro Bowl and never lead your team to the Super Bowl is probably a lousy use of a pick. But I'm just trying to measure some level of success achieved by drafting a QB in the first round.
I have excluded supplemental picks from this percentage. Listed below are the number of first round QBs who achieved either a. or b. out of the total number of QBs selected in the first round. I decided to check from the merger on.
1983 (Elway) and 1986 (Everett) feature QBs who did not achieve a. or b. with the team that drafted each, but was acquired by a team prior to their rookie seasons.
This measures only a very small level of success. A few other factors that might be better for measuring success:
a. QBs who made multiple Pro Bowls with the teams that drafted them
b. QBs who started and won at least one playoff game with the teams that drafted them.
The numbers show little other than that is is a crapshoot whether or not a 1st round QB will have even a minimal, short-term level of success.
I could compare this to the relative success to other positions taken in the first round. I'm not sure that would be accurate, however, for two reasons:
1. QB busts make a bigger difference than busts at other positions
2. Successful QBs have a greater impact on their team than other positions.
Anyway, this is a bunch of gibberish right now.