A record was set this past week in the NFL, but you probably didn’t hear about it. Nine African-Americans started at quarterback. Seven of them were drafted in the last three years, starting with Cam Newton going 1st overall in 2011.
To combat all the sleek, powerful pass-rushers, NFL teams are increasingly turning to athletic QBs who can beat defenses through the air or on the ground. And African-American QBs – who in the 80s and 90s were frequently diverted at the high school level to play receiver or cornerback or running back, according to Whitfield – are finding immediate success: three of the top four passers in the NFL last year in yards-per-attempt – arguably the most important stat for quarterbacks – were Robert Griffin III (1st), Newton (3rd) and Russell Wilson (4th).
More immensely talented black QBs who will enter the NFL in the coming years. Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville could be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd looks like a 1st round pick. Miami’s Stephen Morris could go as high as the 2nd or 3rd round. And in 2015, perhaps the best of the bunch, Jameis Winston (who has played one college game!), will be eligible for the draft.
It is conceivable that by Week 1 in 2015, half of the 32 NFL teams could have a black starting QB.
“Absolutely that could happen,” said Daniel Jeremiah an NFL Network analyst who previously was an NFL scout with the Ravens, Eagles and Browns. “So many African-American quarterbacks are now being allowed to throw the ball in college, and they’re being successful. There’s another whole wave of talented kids coming.”
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