Five 1st-round quarterbacks with the fewest starts in the first three seasons of their NFL career ft. Aaron Rodgers
The quarterback position is often regarded as the most crucial position in the game of football. Teams often spend a lot on the quarterback position, hoping to secure their future for years to come.
However, not all quarterbacks drafted in the first round get the opportunity to start games immediately. In this article, we explore five quarterbacks who have started the fewest games in their first three seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the first round.
#1. Jim Kelly - Buffalo Bills (1983-85) - 0 starts
Jim Kelly was drafted by the Buffalo Bills as the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. However, dramatic circumstances led him to sign for the Houston Gamblers in the USFL while in the middle of contract negotiations with the Bills.
Nonetheless, the Bills retained his NFL rights. After the USFL folded, Kelly joined the Buffalo Bills in 1986 after he was unavailable for the first three seasons after being drafted. He led the team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances and six divisional championships. His No.12 jersey was retired by the team at the end of his career.
#2. Rich Campbell - Green Bay Packers (1981-83) - 0 starts
Rich Campbell was drafted by the Green Bay Packers as the sixth overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft. He spent his entire four seasons with the Packers as a backup, never starting a single game in the first three seasons.
Campbell struggled to find his footing in the Packers team, playing only seven games in his four-year stint. The Packers traded Campbell to the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984, but the quarterback never played again in the NFL.
#3. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers (2005-07) - 0 starts
Aaron Rodgers became the first quarterback drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers since Rich Campbell. Like Campbell, Rodgers had no opportunity to start a single game in his first three seasons with the team.
Rodgers initially served as a backup quarterback to the well-established Brett Favre. However, he finally got his chance as a starter and quickly established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He's won multiple MVP awards and led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory.
#4. Jordan Love - Green Bay Packers (2020-22) - 1 start
Jordan Love was drafted by the Green Bay Packers as the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was viewed as a potential successor to Aaron Rodgers, who has famed himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league's history.
Love was inactive throughout his entire rookie season with the Packers, playing zero games. He, however, made the first start of his NFL career with the team after Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. That remains his only start for the Packers in his three seasons so far in the NFL.
#5. Jim Drunkenmiller - San Francisco 49ers (1997-99) - 1 start
Jim Drunkenmiller was drafted as the 26th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1997 NFL Draft. Projected to be the successor to Steve Young, Drunkenmiller spent his two seasons with the team as a backup to the established Young.
Drunkenmiller was only able to start the Week 2 game in his rookie season throughout his time with the 49ers. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 1999 for a conditional draft choice. He also did not start a game for the Dolphins in his first season with them.