The draft starts on Thursday and while the don’t know how things will unfold, we do know one thing—that for most teams that don’t have a quarterback the draft will revolve around getting that quarterback.
The chances seem high that the Browns, Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Raiders, Vikings, Bucs and Cardinals will take quarterbacks at some point in the first three rounds. It’s possible that the Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Giants, and Rams will be looking as well. And there are always a few surprise teams in the QB market so nearly half of the league is looking.
The teams that are in the market for quarterbacks won’t necessarily be content to wait for the draft to come to them. They will trade up if they think they think that their guy will be gone. That means even more of the draft being invested in the quarterback.
The Redskins have plenty of problems and plenty of needs but quarterback is not one of them. You can’t say that Robert Griffin III is an established star at this point but he played well enough as a healthy rookie in 2012 to say that the Redskins won’t be in the market for a replacement this year or during any other draft in the next few years.
Meanwhile, the teams in search of quarterbacks have to make the single hardest evaluation there is in football, perhaps in all of sports. Too many “sure things” turn out to be busts because of a variety of reasons.
Any team looking for a quarterback is now trying to figure out if Johnny Football’s skill set translates into him becoming Johnny NFL Football, if Teddy Bridgewater’s pro day was an aberration or a revelation, and if A. J. McCarron’s intangible qualities can overcome his so-so arm strength and athleticism.
To be sure, teams have similar questions about every other player in the draft pool. But drafting the wrong defensive tackle won’t bring down a coach and general manager. Taking the wrong quarterback will.
All of the variables and pressure might tempt some teams to bypass going after a QB altogether. After all, the demand exceeds the supply every year. But the one thing that will get you fired faster than picking the wrong quarterback is sticking with the bad quarterback you already have.
Even though the Redskins aren’t in the market for a quarterback this year, their draft still revolves around the position. That’s because they are missing their first-round pick, which belongs to the Rams in the final installment of the deal to trade up to get Griffin. That turned out to be a very steep price, especially considering that the first rounder this year ended up being the 2nd overall pick.
We don’t know yet if the trade was worth it. But while the data will take some time to come in there is the side benefit of not needed to obsess over the relative merits of Blake Bortles and Derek Carr or figure out if Tom Savage is a legitimate NFL prospect or a figment of some scouts’ imaginations.