There hasn’t been a single Big Ten quarterback taken in the first round of the NFL draft since the Carolina Panthers took Kerry Collins out of Penn State at No. 5 overall in 1995.
Collins is now 42 years old and has been retired for three years.
Twenty years and over 600 first-round draft picks later, the Big Ten still has yet to come up with another quarterback “worthy” of that kind of status (though Tom Brady and Drew Brees would disagree, I’m sure). However, that’s a curse that will inevitably ended by the 2016 draft, as at least three are more than likely to go off the board in the first round.
Mediocrity is a word that is becoming extinct when associating with the Big Ten Conference, and much of it has to do with the rise of a strong group of quarterbacks that are undoubtedly some of the best college football has to offer.
With nearly every offseason competition at the position settled, here’s how I rank all of the conference’s quarterbacks as we grind our way through May.
No. 6-14 (in order): Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska; Jake Rudock*, Michigan; C.J. Beathard, Iowa; Clayton Thorson*, Northwestern; Mitch Leidner, Minnesota; Caleb Rowe, Maryland; Joel Stave, Wisconsin; Chris Laviano*, Rutgers; Austin Appleby*, Purdue.