1983 will go down as one of the most important drafts in NFL history. Why? Just think about the first 3 picks. The former Baltimore Colts drafted QB John Elway from Stanford. The L.A. Rams drafted RB Eric Dickerson from Southern Methodist. The Seattle Seahawks drafted RB Curt Warner from Penn State.
Not only were Elway, Dickerson, and the underrated Warner drafted in the Top 3, but by the tenth pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears had drafted great offensive lineman Jim Covert. The Houston Oilers had drafted one of the best offensive lineman to ever play, Bruce Matthews.
1983 saw talent go to almost every team in the NFL. What’s even crazier is that 6 quarterbacks were drafted in Round 1. Of the 6 quarterbacks drafted, an incredible 3 of the 6 made it into the NFL Football Hall of Fame.
2018 could, eerily, turn into a repeat of 1983.
2018 NFL Draft: Are We Looking at a 1983 Round 1 Repeat?
1983 was a banner year for quarterbacks. 2 of the Top 10 greatest quarterbacks to ever play, Dan Marino and John Elway, were drafted in Round 1. Elway went on to win two Super Bowls while Marino is in the Top 5 in pretty much every meaningful NFL passing record. The third quarterback drafted in 1983, Jim Kelly, didn’t turn out too badly, either.
1983 NFL Draft Round 1 Quarterback Selections
1. Baltimore Colts – QB John Elway
Before Elway won a Super Bowl as GM and Executive VP of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos, he had taken home two Vince Lombardi Trophies as the Broncos’ QB. Elway was a 9-time Pro Bowl player, an NFL MVP in 1987, and a two-time AFC Offensive Player of the Year.
The Colts drafted Elway with the first pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. When Elway famously declared that he didn’t want to play for the Colts, Baltimore, they hadn’t moved to Indianapolis yet, traded Elway’s rights to the Denver Broncos. The rest is NFL history.
7. Kansas City Chiefs – QB Todd Blackledge
At Penn State, Blackledge had gone 31 and 5. He was an incredibly gifted college quarterback. He didn’t turn out to be much of a pro quarterback, though. Todd Blackledge ended up throwing 38 interceptions. He threw 29 TD passes. In the NFL, you can’t turn the ball. That’s actually the number one rule.
Blackledge turned into a great college football commentator. He was a part of ESPN’s Saturday Night Primetime Crew in 2017 along with Joe Tessitore and Holly Rowe.
14. Buffalo Bills – QB Jim Kelly
One one hand, the name Jim Kelly is synonomous with failure. After all, Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to 4 straight Super Bowl losses. On the other hand, Kelly did something that very few human beings can do. He beat cancer.
When it comes to Buffalo’s 4 straight Super Bowl losses in the 1990’s, every Buffalo fan will tell you: the Bills wouldn’t have stamped their ticket to a single Super Bowl without Jim “Machine Gun” Kelly. He also threw for over 35,450 yards. His TD to INT ratio was an awesome 237 to 175.
15. New England Patriots – QB Tony Eason
Eason was a decent quarterback while at the University of Illinois. Although he’s best known for not completing a pass in Super Bowl XX, a 10 to 46 loss to the 1985 Chicago Bears, Eason had an okay career as an NFL QB. He threw 10 more TD passes, 61 to 51, than interceptions. He also threw for over 11,000 yards.
24. New York Jets – QB Ken O’Brien
Ken O’Brien isn’t famous to me because he was drafted like Blackledge and Eason ahead of Dan Marino. He’s famous to me because in the 1980’s he blew an important fantasy football game for my dad. That season, my dad had both Ken O’Brien and Curt Warner on the team. The team was pretty good because, surprisingly, O’Brien wasn’t a terrible NFL quarterback.
O’Brien made the Pro Bowl in both 1985 and 1991. He was AFC Player of the Year in 1985 and threw 126 TD passes to only 99 interceptions. He also threw for over 25,000 yards. The man could play QB.
27. Miami Dolphins – QB Dan Marino
What can we say about one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play? Marino made a single Super Bowl appearance. It was in his second season, 1984. No matter, he still threw for 61,361 yards. He also threw 420 TD passes to only 250 interceptions, and was a 3 times first team NFL All-Pro. He was also a 9 times Pro Bowl Player. Marino won the NFL MVP in 1984, the year he took the Dolphins to the Super Bowl.
2018 NFL Draft Round 1 (Quarterback Projections)
Will there be a Marino, Elway, or Kelly drafted in Round 1 this season? Maybe. Check out where I believe the top 6 rated quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft end up going. I also write some about how I believe they’ll perform.
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
I know that Josh Rosen says he doesn’t want to play for the Cleveland Browns. Big deal. The Browns should draft the guy that they feel most comfortable with. It’s hard to see how Cleveland takes Sam Darnold first considering how Darnold decided not to throw at the NFL Combine. What’s the guy hiding?
I think Rosen has all the tools to be a star in the NFL. His attitude, which can be surly at times, stems from competitiveness. That’s a good thing. If Rosen really balks playing for Cleveland, the Browns could still trade his rights for a small fortune while developing DeShone Kizer and signing a free agent QB.
2. New York Giants – QB Sam Darnold, USC
The Giants must plan for the future after QB Eli Manning hits the wall. I don’t believe that Manning’s struggles this season had much to do with hitting the wall. The Giants just weren’t built to succeed this year. Darnold is raw. If the G-Men can get Darnold to take a seat for a couple of season while Eli teaches him all he knows, Sam could become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. The raw talent is that unmistakable.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I believe Baker Mayfield is an NFL star in the waiting. He’s the closest thing to Drew Brees I’ve seen in a long time. While on the football field, Mayfield doesn’t make mistakes. He immediately upgrades an offense because of his ability to read defenses. He can also evade the rush, and he’s got some wheels for a QB. Why will John Elway want to draft Mayfield if he’s there? Think about this: Mayfield walked onto Oklahoma and won a Heisman Trophy winner.
11. Miami Dolphins – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
It’s time to give Ryan Tannehill one, maybe, two more seasons before the Dolphins must move on. Josh Allen has a lot of ability. Adam Gase is used to working with quarterbacks. He should have no trouble getting Allen ready while Tannehill attempts to prove that he has what it takes to make a comeback.
If Tannehill makes a successful comeback, no problem. Trade Tannehill or let him walk in free agency once Allen is ready.
13. Washington Redskins – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Washington just traded for Alex Smith. Smith is an excellent NFL quarterback. He routinely completes 68% to 70% of his passes. The man is a legitimate NFL quarterbacks. However, Alex is 33-years-old. Eventually, every quarterback’s skills begin to diminish.
Although Lamar Jackson is a Heisman Trophy winner, he must still work on some of his throws. His pocket presence could get better. He must also get up to speed on reading NFL defenses. Like Allen and Darnold, the raw talent is there.
Drafting Lamar at 13 could be the perfect way for Washington to plan for the future.
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
The Cardinals could do worse than drafting Mason Rudolph with the fifteenth pick in Round 1. Rudolph threw 37 TDs to only 9 interceptions. He’s a massive individual at 6′ 5″ and 230 lbs. He should excel in Arizona’s soon to be run-oriented offense. Plus, the Cardinals want their QB of the future to play at least one season with the greatest player to ever put on an Arizona Cardinals’ uniform, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.