Shortly before 10 p.m. Eastern on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins heard his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Haskins had just been drafted by the Washington Redskins. In doing so, Haskins brought an end to a long and bizarre drought for Big Ten quarterbacks.
Haskins was the first quarterback from a Big Ten school drafted in the first round since Kerry Collins of Penn State was drafted with the fifth pick overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 Draft. To keep things in perspective, the former Nittany Lion All-American officially retired from the NFL following the 2011 season. That was eight years ago. The college football landscape has certainly changed a lot since the last time a Big Ten quarterback went in the first round. For starters, the Big Ten had 11 teams, the Big East and WAC each existed as a football conference, Nick Saban was months away from coaching his first game at Michigan State, and the Big 12 wouldn’t begin playing football until the next year.
For those keeping score at home, that was quite a while ago, and a ton of quarterbacks have been chosen in the first round since Collins went to the Panthers and Haskins was drafted by Washington Thursday night.
While the Big Ten may have gone through a first-round quarterback drought, it is also worth a brief reminder there have been some successful quarterbacks to play in the NFL after coming from a Big Ten program during this long stretch. You may have heard of them. Michigan’s Tom Brady (6th round of 2000 NFL Draft) is coming off yet another Super Bowl victory, his sixth in eight tries. Purdue’s Drew Brees (2nd round of 2001 NFL Draft) has a collection of passing records and accolades to go with his Super Bowl ring. Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson (3rd round of 2012 NFL Draft), who shares his allegiance with the ACC’s NC State, has one Super Bowl ring and two Super Bowl appearances and he just cashed in a mega contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
Will it take another generation before a Big Ten quarterback goes in the first round again?