Over the past 8 drafts (2003-2007), 20 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round. Incredibly, only 3 of those -- Roethlisberger, Palmer and Cutler -- rank among what I'll call the "Solid 16," above-average NFL starters as judged by top-16 passer ratings. For perspective, the Solid 16 also includes... - 3 QBs drafted round 6 or below in that same time period - 4 QBs over age 35 - Chad Pennington Clearly a lot of mistakes have been made in selecting QBs. What should teams be doing differently? Looking at both the successes and failures, I'm finding it devilishly hard to identify any trends in pre-draft qualities. Take Alex Smith, the overall #1 in 2005 who has done nothing to impress. Well, Smith was a good athlete, smart with good football sense, but was coming out of a shotgun offense that played against iffy competition. Maybe that should set off alarm bells? Hold on...how about Tony Romo? You could use the exact same description for him. Though Romo had better arm strength. That's a trait he shares with Derek Anderson, aha! And Anderson was also a very well-built athlete with lots of physical potential...but weak football sense and so-so work habits and competitiveness. Which makes him the precise opposite of fellow 6th-round success story Tom Brady. Can anybody really predict a college quarterback's success? Has any personnel team struck gold more than once? I give BB & co. a lot of credit for looking past a skinny 6th-rounder's pedigree to hand him the job, but that recognition came once he was already on the team. Remember that their highest draft pick for a QB was Rohan Davey. If I were the Bears, Ravens, etc. I'd be sorely tempted to target a proven quantity instead...since another 3 of the Solid 16 should be available by trade.