Ryan Fitzpatrick was the last quarterback selected in the 2005 NFL draft. Yet he’s managed to last as long as the first.
The next step in the career of each comes Sunday when the Tennessee Titans face the Kansas City Chiefs at LP Field (noon, CBS).
Fitzgerald will make his first start for the Titans in place of the injured Jake Locker. It will be the 68th of his career, which is 11 fewer than the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall choice, has made.
In fact, of the 13 quarterbacks selected that year only the three first-rounders have started more games than Fitzpatrick. And if Locker is sidelined long enough, Fitzgerald could overtake Jason Campbell, the 24th choice, before he goes back to the bench.
Smith spent the first eight years of his career with, and made 74 starts for the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs traded for him during the offseason and he has started every game this season.
Fitzpatrick’s staying power has required a lot more movement. His previous starts have come with three other franchises, St. Louis, Cincinnati and, most recently, Buffalo.
“As a player, it’s hard for me [after] the last three years – really the last four years – of playing a lot of football to have to sit back and go into that backup role again,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was something that I fully accepted. Jake and I had a good thing going, but for me, I want to play.
“This is another opportunity for me to go out and lead the team and hopefully bring us a win.”
NFL DRAFT 2005 – QUARTERBACKS
Alex Smith (first overall), San Francisco: 84 games, 79 starts, two teams
Aaron Rodgers (24th overall), Green Bay: 88 games, 81 starts, one team
Jason Campbell (25th overall), Washington: 78 games, 71 starts, four teams
Charlie Frye (67th overall), Cleveland: 26 games, 23 starts, three teams
Andrew Walter, (69th overall), Oakland: 15 games, 9 starts, one team
David Greene (85th overall), Seattle: 0 games, 0 starts, two teams
Kyle Orton (106th overall), Chicago: 73 games, 69 starts, four teams
Stefan LeFors (121st overall), Carolina: 0 games, 0 starts, one team
Dan Orlovsky (145th overall), Detroit: 22 games, 12 starts, four teams
Adrian McPherson (152nd overall), New Orleans: 0 games, 0 starts, one team
Derek Anderson (213th overall), Baltimore: 56 games, 43 starts, three teams
Matt Cassel (230th overall), New England: 79 games, 63 starts, three teams
Ryan Fitzpatrick (250th overall), St. Louis: 75 games, 67 starts, four teams