With Jared Goff on the move to Detroit last week, there’s been an interesting story floating around on Twitter about the 2016 Quarterback class. 15 quarterbacks heard their names called in the 2016 NFL Draft, since then, their careers haven’t exactly gone as planned. Let’s take a look at the 2016 NFL draft class and how their careers have shaped up.
Traded: Two of the Class of 2016 Quarterbacks
So far, Jared Goff and Jacoby Brissett are the quarterbacks drafted in 2016 that now find themselves on a different squad. The first overall pick from this troubled class, Jared Goff, makes his way to the Detroit Lions while Matthew Stafford makes his way to the City of Angels. We all know the story and the details.
What you may not remember is the New England Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round in 2016. Brissett played in one and a half games for the Patriots in his rookie year, but then the Patriots traded Brissett to the Colts because Andrew Luck was out for the season in a shocking move. Brissett did not see that coming. The third-rounder started the 2017 season and the 2019 season because of Andrew Luck’s injury and retirement. In both seasons, the Colts did not make the playoffs. Given the track record, it’s apparent that the Colts won’t start Brissett in 2021.
Benched With a Big Contract
The one player from the 2016 NFL Draft Class that is on the bench with a massive contract is Carson Wentz. Doug Pederson became tired of Wentz’s subpar play and sent Wentz to the bench. For the rest of the season, Jalen Hurts started for the Philadelphia Eagles. Boy, did the internet love it.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks… pic.twitter.com/uIlUa2rdt4— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) April 29, 2020
Wentz’s contract is a nightmare situation for Philadelphia and will be tough to get out of. So far, Philadelphia apparently doesn’t want to trade Wentz, but they still answer phone calls about him. Everything for the Eagles went downhill after Wentz played like an MVP in 2017. This offseason looks like it will be a fun one in Philly. As of February 6th, the Eagles are apparently moving on from Wentz now.
Out of the NFL
Unfortunately, the NFL isn’t for everyone. Over the years, many players drafted into the league aren’t on anyone’s rosters and wind up on an arena team or in Canada. From the 2016 quarterback class, six of the quarterbacks aren’t in the league anymore.
Paxton Lynch, drafted 26th overall by Denver in 2016, currently is out of the league. Lynch had playing time in Denver but never could spark any offensive momentum. After the Broncos cut Lynch in September of 2018, Lynch joined the Seattle practice squad in early 2019 but was cut by August. Lynch served a year on the Pittsburg practice squad before his release at the start of the 2020 season.
Remember when the New York Jets thought Christian Hackenberg was their quarterback of the future? Pepperidge Farms remembers, and so do I. Drafted 51st overall in 2016, the Penn State alum never played a down in 2016. Hackenberg was the fourth-string quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty. Due to abysmal preseason play, Hackenberg was the backup to Bryce Petty and Josh McCown. He never played in 2017. From there Hackenberg played on the practice squad for three different teams in 2018 before becoming the starting quarterback of the Memphis Express in 2019.
Cody Kessler, the Cleveland Browns’ third round pick out of USC, became the next “quarterback of the future” for Cleveland. Kessler wasn’t terrible in 2016, but Cleveland decided Kessler wasn’t the answer and drafted DeShone Kizer in 2017 (that’s a name I haven’t heard in forever). Kessler rode the bench and appeared in a couple of games in 2017 before winding up in Jacksonville. Eventually, things didn’t work out in Duval County and Kessler had stints in New England and Philly.
Connor Cook started for the Raiders in a playoff game in 2016 after Derek Carr suffered a season-ending injury. Cook was, well, terrible, and that’s all that was memorable. Cook ended up on practice squads after the Raiders cut him in 2017 and Cook wound up with the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL in 2020.
The Buffalo Bills drafted Cardale Jones in 2016 and cut him at the end of the season. After a couple of years with the Chargers, Jones ended up as the DC Defenders starting quarterback in 2020. Never trust an Ohio State quarterback, except maybe Justin Fields. I’m a little cynical, I know. But all the best to Justin Fields.
I had to look up Brandon Doughty, sorry Brandon. Miami had him on the active roster, then after two years, the team that drafted him ended up cutting him. Doughty was on the Arizona practice squad in 2018 but isn’t on any team now.
Back-Ups From the Class of 2016 Quarterbacks
The highest-drafted back-up on the 2016 quarterback class is Kevin Hogan. Drafted from Stanford, Hogan made the active roster for Cleveland and Denver while being on the practice squad for Kansas City and Washington. Currently, Hogan remains on the Cincinnati practice squad.
The most interesting thing about the next quarterback is that we may have witnessed the most obvious tanking on national television because of this guy, Nate Sudfeld. Washington drafted Sudfeld before he moved on to Philadelphia, and Sudfeld was the quarterback in week 17 that replaced Jalen Hurts so that Sudfeld could be “evaluated.” And you wonder why Doug Pederson doesn’t have a head coaching job.
The Detroit Lions drafted Jake Rudock in 2016 out of Michigan and he has seen little playing time. He is currently a back-up in Miami.
Brandon Allen bounced around four different teams before starting a couple of games for the Bengals due to Joe Burrow’s injury. Lastly, Jeff Driskel bounced around the league as well and made a couple of starts for Denver during Lock’s injuries. Driskel even won an epic Thursday night game against the New York Jets that included Jerry Jeudy’s phenomenal Randy Moss-like first touchdown.
Starting for the Team That Drafted Him
Rayne. Dakota. Prescott. Dak Prescott, the fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State is the lone quarterback of the 2016 quarterback class that is still the starter for the team that drafted him. What was once supposed to be a development job under Tony Romo that turned into a Rookie of the Year Award.
As much as I love Prescott and want him to stay in Dallas because I am a Cowboys fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on a different squad. Dallas is very, very closed to pulling a Cal McNair here.