Year after year, the NFL draft feels like somewhat of a crap shoot. In fact, in just looking at the first quarterback off the board in the last several drafts, it becomes obvious that drafting is an inexact science.

Here is a list of the first QB off the board in every draft since 2012:

  1. Andrew Luck
  2. EJ Manuel
  3. Blake Bortles
  4. Jameis Winston
  5. Jared Goff
  6. Mitchell Trubisky
  7. Baker Mayfield
  8. Kyler Murray
  9. Joe Burrow

Only three of these players are still with the teams that drafted them. All three are still on their rookie contract. So, you get the point; drafting is hard. What is easier, however, is going back and re-examining a draft after the fact. You know, hindsight is 20/20 after all.

We are going to re-draft the top 10 quarterbacks from the last three drafts based on card prices. To make things consistent, we will be looking strictly at Panini Prizm Base Rookie PSA 10’s.

Let’s get into it. Remember, this is based solely on the most recent sale price of these cards.

*All prices come from Market Movers*

  1. Josh Allen ($1,089.50) : With the first pick in the draft...  JOSH ALLEN. When Allen came out of Wyoming, drafted 8th to the Buffalo Bills, he was given the “raw talent”, “project quarterback” label. This might have been true, but if so, his raw talent has clearly pushed him towards elite status. Coming off a huge third season that saw him in the MVP race for much of the season, Allen is looking like the best QB in this class. He has steadily improved each season, before taking a massive leap this year. This card sold at $487.58 on September 10th. As his play took off, so did his card more than doubling in price.
  2. Lamar Jackson ($920): Lamar Jackson goes in the two spot here. Jackson is one of the more interesting draft picks in several years. A Heisman trophy winner in college, Jackson is one of the most explosive football players in a long time, particularly at the QB position. When he entered the draft, many people loudly stated that he could not play QB in the NFL. That he should move to Wide Receiver. He ended up falling all the way to the bottom of the first round, until the Baltimore Ravens took him with the 32nd pick. He started the season backing up Joe Flacco, until an injury forced him into the starting lineup. He took over a middling team and led them to the playoffs. This was all a precursor to his dominant MVP campaign in 2019. Last season was not as great for Lamar. He still played at a very high level, but his ridiculous 2019 season set some lofty standards. Unsurprisingly, his card prices have followed the trajectory of his performance very closely. On September 13th, 2020, the day of the first game of the season, this card sat at $2,850. Since then, it has been on a consistent downward trajectory. With the rumbles that Lamar can’t win in the playoffs, along with a performance not as strong as his MVP year, his prices have taken a hit.
  3. Justin Herbert $812: Herbert surprised many in his spectacular rookie season. Originally slated to back up Tyrod Taylor for most of the year, he was forced into the lineup about 30 minutes before game time in week 2 vs the Kansas City Chiefs. He did not look back from there. He threw for over 4,000 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Herbert, sort of like Josh Allen coming out, was a bit of an unknown. Everybody knew he had incredible arm talent, but he was not given much freedom in the Oregon offense. Despite a porous offensive line he dazzled each week. On January 8th 2021, this card was priced at $725. It peaked at $1,350, and now sits at $812. Interesting price movement here. Herbert’s cards will be exciting to follow in the coming years.
Justin Herbert 1/20-4/22

4. Joe Burrow $676: Burrow, the actual number 1 pick in the 2020 draft, got off to a great start last season. He looked to be worth every bit of the investment with a great feel for the game and the ability to elevate those around him. Until a torn ACL prematurely ended his season in week 11, it looked like a two-man race between Burrow and Herbert for rookie of the year. It’s unfortunate his season got cut short as he looked like a stud in the early going, continuing his strong play from LSU. With the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft, the Bengals should aim to put more talent around him, or blocking in front of him. His card prices have largely held steady. On January 18th, this card was sold at $519. The card peaked at $799 on February 4th, and now sits at $676.      

5. Kyler Murray $530: Taken with the number 1 pick in 2019, Murray won rookie of the year honors and built on that with a strong year in 2020. He threw for 26 TDS, adding another 11 on the ground. Watching Murray on a weekly basis is fascinating. Some weeks he looks unstoppable, and other weeks he struggles to get it going. This card has stayed pretty consistent since the end of the season. On January 1st it sold for $365, rising to $594.17 on April 15th. Overall, the highest priced sale of this card is $700. The card now sits at $530. Next year is a big one for Murray and the Cardinals.

6. Baker Mayfield $490: The third straight number one pick here, as Mayfield was taken first by the Browns in 2018. Baker has had an uneven start to his career thus far. He’s been great as a commercial actor, however, with several Progressive commercials. That’s neither here nor there. He had his best season as a pro in 2020, throwing for 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, all while leading the Browns back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Mayfield is definitely starting to come into his own, but has left some doubt as to what his ceiling is as an NFL quarterback. This card is currently right near it’s peak over the last two years, sitting at $490.

7. Jalen Hurts $425: This is probably the biggest surprise on the list. Hurts had a fine, but unspectacular rookie season filling in for Carson Wentz down the stretch. He brought some excitement with his legs, running for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns. He struggled throwing the ball, especially towards the end of the season. His card price surely reacted to the Carson Wentz trade, paving the way for him to be the starter in 2021. All in all, it is hard to know what to expect from Hurts next season. On January 15th, this card was at $199. On March 25th, it peaked at $523, and has stayed pretty close to that price, now sitting at $474. Time will tell.

8. Tua Tagovailoa $396.66: Tua is a tough guy to evaluate after his rookie season. After coming into save Alabama vs Georgia in the championship during his Freshman year, the hype train quickly started moving. A nasty hip injury put the rest of his career in doubt during his Junior season. Luckily, he recovered and got drafted by the Miami Dolphins. However, in replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick, his performance was very up and down in year one. Often times the Miami offense stalled with him under center instead of Fitzpatrick. The question all of us need to answer is, were these typical rookie growing pains, or a sign of things to come?

Daniel Jones 1/27-4/25

9. Daniel Jones $185.83: This is basically a make it or break it year for Daniel Jones. The Giants have added players on both sides of the ball. He’ll have Saquon Barkley back, along with the addition of Kenny Golladay. Jones' play has been very uneven thus far. He makes some great plays, but also makes a few head scratching plays seemingly each game. He definitely has the talent to succeed, but the time is now for him. This card has gone up over the past couple of months, sitting at $113.50 on January 26th, and now at $185.83 according to Market Movers. This year could really go either way for Jones. If it goes the bad way, he may find himself fighting just to keep his job.

Comparison Graph

10. Sam Darnold $175.50: Darnold is going to be a fascinating one to track. He has been flat out bad in his first three years in the league. Specifically last season, when he was quite literally the worst QB in the league. However, he had several factors stacked against him. Terrible blocking, poor skill players and incompetent coaching. The Darnold believers will say he is getting a fresh start on a more talented team with much better coaching. The Darnold naysayers will say he’s turned the ball over at a high rate since college, why would he stop now? The question is, which side of this debate do you fall on? This card peaked at $202 in late August, and now sits at $175.50 following a dreadful season and a trade. Your move, collectors.

QB's 6-10

Hopefully this was a fun way to look at how the base prizms of the top QB’s from the last three years have corresponded to their play thus far. This is all important context as we prepare for the NFL draft.