So far this season, 74.2% of quarterbacks (23 of 31) to start at least eight games were drafted in the first round. That is the highest rate since the AFL-NFL merger (1970), and up from 57.6% (19 of 33) last year.
Until recently, first round quarterbacks were relatively rare in most seasons. Just 11 years ago, the number was 21.9% (7 of 25). And from 1976 through 2008, only three seasons had at least half of the starting quarterbacks that were originally drafted in the first round.
One reason for the shift, may be the growing importance of the quarterback and the rising salaries of first round draft picks. As the NFL becomes more dependent on the passing game, more teams may feel the need to draft a quarterback early in the draft. And teams may feel more pressure to play those picks based on how much money they are making…
* Starting quarterback is defined as anybody that started at least eight games that season. Data via Pro-Football-Reference.com