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Late-round quarterbacks

Odds heavily against Rattler, Travis

Rookie drafts are going on in a lot of dynasty leagues this weekend, and it's been weird to me seeing guys like Spencer Rattler selected, even in Superflex formats. No offense to the guy, but while there are exceptions, it's pretty rare that NFL teams let quality starting quarterbacks slip to the fifth round.

It does happen, and recently, with Brock Purdy playing in the last Super Bowl just two seasons after falling all the way to the end of the seventh round. But Purdy is far and away the exception to the rule. And it's fair to wonder if he would have been successful in any other offense but Kyle Shanahan's quarterback-friendly one, surrounded by some of the best offensive skill players at their positions in the NFL.

Rattler had an impressive first season at Oklahoma, but was beaten out by Caleb Williams a year later, then transferred to South Carolina. He put up fairly modest numbers both seasons, and took a lot of sacks -- not all on him, with the Gamecocks having a subpar offensive line made worse by some key injuries, but he didn't look like a future NFL starter. He has a strong arm, but he's small (6-0, 211) and doesn't run. Helped Xavier Legette get selected in the first round, and also drew some praise at the Senior Bowl. But watching him play last year, I viewed him as a mid-round pick and future NFL backup. There was some name recognition and talking heads on TV seemed surprised he fell to the fifth round in the quarterback-hungry NFL, but that's what happened.

Travis, I think, is a little more likely to emerge as an NFL starter. He was leading Florida State to an 11-0 record and national championship push last year when he suffered a horrific leg injury on a scramble, ending his college career. But for the injury, he might have been selected a little earlier (the Jets took him in the fifth round, 21 picks after Rattler). He's also on the small side (6-1, 200), but his athleticism makes him a little more intriguing than Rattler, especially in fantasy leagues.

But again, odds are long. The only 5th-rounders to put up top-12 fantasy numbers in a season this century are Mark Brunell and Sam Howell (last year, and he was promptly given away in the offseason). Not many 6th-rounders, and only three other 7th-rounders besides Purdy. There are more players not drafted at all to make an impact in the NFL than 5th-rounders in the last 20 years.

Table shows the best fantasy seasons this century by quarterbacks selected from the 5th-7th rounds, sorted by fantasy points.

62007Tom Brady, N.E.4806508982462.11
FA2000Jeff Garcia, S.F.427831104144405.32
FA2001Kurt Warner, St.L.48303622600393.51
FA2007Tony Romo, Dall.421136191292379.52
72023Brock Purdy, S.F.428031111442364.47
72015Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ390531152702358.312
82004Trent Green, K.C.45912717850348.14
52023Sam Howell, Was.394621212635343.011
82000Elvis Grbac, K.C.416928141101337.56
62007Derek Anderson, Cle.37872919703332.45
FA2004Jake Delhomme, Car.38862915711327.47
FA2006Jon Kitna, Det.420821221562322.03
62007Matt Hasselbeck, Sea.39662812890321.26
62006Marc Bulger, St.L.4301248440317.55
72008Matt Cassel, N.E.369321112702311.78
FA2001Jay Fiedler, Mia.329020193214300.69
92003Brad Johnson, T.B.38112621330299.79
52000Mark Brunell, Jac.364020142362299.67
72008Tyler Thigpen, K.C.260818123863271.712
FA2005Jake Delhomme, Car.34212416311276.212

On Rattler's behalf, he could very well be Derek Carr's backup this year (Jameis Winston is now in Cleveland). Travis won't play (Tyrod Taylor will be Rodgers' backup), but a year or two from now, who knows. But in general, these youngsters look more like desperation fliers than likely fantasy assets.

--Andy Richardson

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