In 1975, when hard rock band Nazareth decided to release their own cover of the Everly Brothers' "Love Hurts", they probably didn't envision the massive success the song would bring them. It was an international hit that reached the top of the charts on numerous boards and rankings.
Did they know that they'd also be projecting the two biggest surprise draft picks of the 2020 NFL Draft?
Of course, I'm referring to Jordan Love, selected by the Green Bay Packers in the first round, and Jalen Hurts, taken by the Philadelphia Eagles on the following night. Both selections were near-unanimous eyebrow raisers for analysts and fans alike and sent ripples through the NFL community as the teams' pre-existing quarterbacks were scrutinized for their reactions.
But where do these two quarterback draft picks rank among the most shocking selections over the past 20 years? Let's dive in.
10. Colin Kaepernick, 2011 (36th Overall)
This pick is a blend of two factors, one of which was that Kaepernick was taken a little bit earlier than expected, the other that the 49ers weren't the most likely candidate. San Francisco needed to look for quarterbacks, but with Alex Smith's future in doubt -- the team had yet to re-sign him as he was due to become a free agent -- one could have reasonably thought that the 49ers would look for a more NFL-ready prospect or another quarterback through free agency.
However, with an early second round pick, the Niners went after the Nevada quarterback and made a decision that would spur a run of success for the franchise. They traded up to do so, and there's speculation that John Harbaugh really wanted him. Even still, the second round would have seemed pretty high in just weeks prior to the draft. NFL analyst Charley Casserley said that most GMs saw him as a round three or round four guy and that he was in agreement with them. Kaepernick's workout did a lot to boost his stock, and it was enough for the Niners to buy in on his raw talent and electric athleticism.
9. Baker Mayfield, 2018 (First Overall)
This one was definitely not as surprising as some of the other names on the list. You knew that Mayfield was one of the primary targets for the Browns at the top of the draft and that they were most certainly going to take a quarterback in a relatively deep draft pool.
However, there was question as to whether Mayfield or Sam Darnold, or even Josh Allen was going to be the guy that they ultimately decided on. There may have actually been more buzz surrounding Darnold throughout the general NFL fan universe in just hours before the draft got underway, and that same buzz carried to analysts and experts. Now-NFL GM Mike Mayock, then an analyst for NFL Network, was one of many experts that had the Browns going with Darnold in his mock draft.
8. Blake Bortles, 2014 (Third Overall)
In NFL.com's scouting report of Bortles, it was noted that the UCF alum was "not yet a finished product" but could certainly develop into a franchise quarterback. But with Chad Henne as the only quarterback to represent the Jaguars, it seemed likely that Jacksonville would go with a more NFL-ready prospect.
There were several other options that appeared to be more developed prospects when the Jaguars were on the clock, including Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama's AJ McCarron. Bortles looked to be the least-proven player of the bunch, which made many question why the Jaguars selected him with such a prized pick when they needed someone to take the reins and compete for a starting job right away.
Bortles proved that he wasn't quite ready for the NFL in his rookie season, going 3-10 and tossing 17 interceptions as compared to just 11 touchdowns.
7. Christian Ponder, 2011 (12th Overall)
NFL.com's analysis of Ponder at the time of the draft was that he had "slowly climbed up boards" and was "almost certain to go in the second round." But runs of any position in the draft can be a reason for players' stocks to rise even higher, and this one featured another pretty surprising pick in Jake Locker at No. 8 overall. Still, the Vikings reached up a pretty surprising amount in order to scoop up the Florida State product.
Just listen to the reactions of the fans and the analysts after Roger Goodell announces the pick (video here).
Guys like Andy Dalton were taken a good amount later, meaning that the Vikings probably could have waited on this pick instead of grabbing him at No. 12. Besides, they apparently weren't in love with Ponder enough to give him the starting job, instead negotiating a move with the Redskins to start an aging Donovan McNabb. Ponder eventually took over the job, but did little to impress and is widely considered a notable bust.
6. Mitch Trubisky, 2017 (Second Overall)
Everyone knows the story of this one. The Bears certainly needed a quarterback in this one, as Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler had split up the passing duties over the course of an ineffective 2016 season. Cutler was cut in the 2017 offseason, and Matt Glennon signed on soon after to become the potential replacement option.
Thus, quarterback was still a need, but no longer became the most crucial need, especially without an obvious choice to pick within the first three selections in the draft.
When the Bears traded up, fans figured it may have been for one of the many highly-touted defensive prospects available after Myles Garrett, like Solomon Thomas or Jamal Adams. However, the Bears thought they had found their franchise quarterback in UNC's Mitch Trubisky. It becomes harder to view their selection of Trubisky without too much hindsight bias knowing that both Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes came after him, but it was certainly still a questionable pick at the time.
5. Daniel Jones, 2019 (Sixth Overall)
If you didn't know any better and based this draft selection off of his rookie year performance, you might not think anything of it. After all, Jones showcased his ability as the potential franchise gunslinger for the G-Men, throwing 24 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. He threw four touchdowns in a game without any interceptions on three separate occasions -- one of which was a five touchdown effort against the Redskins -- and got Giants fans excited for what was to come.
But Giants fans didn't seem all too thrilled with the pick a year ago. Some of the reaction videos are tremendous.
It isn't that the Giants didn't need a quarterback. They absolutely did, seeing as Eli Manning retired this past year. However, several viewers expected the Giants to go with Dwayne Haskins at this point, as many assumed the Giants would need to trade up to get him. Once he fell through the first five picks, it seemed like a no-brainer to many. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein pegged Jones as "more of a Day 2 draft pick than Day 1" while projecting Haskins to be a surefire first round pick. Some analysts and fans, however, did like Jones chances to be the quarterback that the Giants took with a very early pick, meaning that there are other choices to go with on this list.
4. Jordan Love, 2020 (26th Pick)
Though it must have felt like déjà vu for Packers fans, bringing back a memory reflecting one of the best decisions in franchise history, the thoughts and reactions of Packers fans didn't quite resemble that fond, nostalgic feeling. Of course, we're referring to the team's decision to draft a certain someone in 2005 (keep reading!).
Instead, Packers fans were left with very confused and conflicted thoughts with regards to the team's selection of Utah State QB Jordan Love, pegged by some as possessing a Patrick Mahomes ceiling despite his low floor.
In an especially deep receiver class, the Packers passed up on taking one in the first round, though Aaron Rodgers could certainly use the help on the outside. It's not like Rodgers struggled too much to produce even with his current weapons, as the Packers went 13-3 and Rodgers threw 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
Some analysts, like Peter King, can't imagine that Aaron Rodgers is happy at all with the decision. However, the quarterback has apparently reached out and should serve as a terrific mentor over the next few years before the Packers have a momentous decision to make.
3. Tim Tebow, 2010 (25th Overall)
The Broncos traded up with the Baltimore Ravens to secure the No. 25 pick, at which point the only quarterback to come off the board had been Sam Bradford. Kyle Orton was unspectacular but not the worst starting quarterback in the league, making a QB a definite position to address but not particularly something that the Broncos would put a lot of stock into. After all, other than Bradford, there was little consensus on the effectiveness and readiness of guys like Tebow, Colt McCoy and Matt Leinart.
Not too many people thought of Tebow as a first round talent when converting his skill set to the NFL, despite the improvements he displayed in pre-draft workouts. He just seemed too raw, too inexperienced for NFL-level schemes and too risky to invest a lot of capital. But the Broncos did just that, swapping second, third and fourth round picks with the Ravens in order to select the Heisman winner.
2. Jalen Hurts, 2020 (53rd Overall)
When the Eagles paid Carson Wentz $128 million to extend his contract, the signals they were giving weren't very mixed. No, a contract like that indicates nothing else but the fact that a team is completely committed to their quarterback. Wentz showed his MVP-ceiling in 2017 before injury. The team is banking on the fact that he'll stay healthy and deliver more results.
So it didn't make much sense at all when the Eagles drafted developmental prospect Jalen Hurts with their second round pick in 2020 when there were still some premier defensive players available and the Birds had a lot of team needs to address.
The best-case scenario for this team over the next few seasons is that Wentz stays healthy and delivers massive success to this team. The worst-case scenario is that Wentz's health becomes an issue and he's unable to play continually, in which a backup would step in. But why go for Hurts, who probably isn't ready to become a replacement-level quarterback in his current state? Why not bring in an experienced backup or stick with Nate Sudfeld, and then use their draft pick on someone like Kristian Fulton or A.J. Epenesa, both of which would have made sense given the team's needs?
Should Hurts become the next Russell Wilson and step in for an injured Wentz to lead the team to success, then so be it. But that's seemingly one of the few situations where this move actually pans out in a way that would make the second round investment worthwhile.
1. Aaron Rodgers, 2005 (24th Overall)
The Packers had gone 10-6, Brett Favre was still playing at a high level and the Packers were set to address some other team needs and build their current roster. They seemed to be in win-now mode, with a Hall of Fame quarterback still at their disposal.
Besides, even if they were in the market for a top-level quarterback, there's no way that Aaron Rodgers was going to fall to the 24th spot in the draft. They weren't going to go out of their way and trade up for Rodgers if he happened to fall outside the top five.
But when Rodgers fell outside not only the top five, but the top 10, and then the top 20, things changed.
According to longtime Packers president Bob Harlan, then-GM Ted Thompson said he had been thinking about Rodgers in the very off-chance that he fell down the draft board. Harlan said Thompson told him that "we're going to catch some heat because Brett's playing and playing well and people are going to say you've got so many needs... why in the world are you taking a guy who's going to sit on the bench?"
The next few seasons may have been filled with complaints from Packers fans, but it's pretty likely that they stopped soon after that. Maybe we'll see something similar with this year's nearly identical situation with Jordan Love.