Who will be this years Sam Bradford?
Despite what the 49ers ex-head coach believed, no position is more important in the NFL than the QB. A great QB can make up for a lot of holes on a team, but without a good QB a team has to have one of the best defenses and running games in the NFL to have any shot at winning it all. In other words, a team with average to poor QB play can't have a weakness at any other position except maybe WR.
The Rams are a perfect example of this. In 2007 they finished 3-13 and in the following draft chose DE Chris Long with the second overall pick, while passing on Matt Ryan who was chosen by the Falcons with the next pick. In 2008 they finishing 2-14 and in the subsequent draft used the second overall pick on OT Jason Smith while the Jets chose Mark Sanchez three spots later (and yes I know Sanchez's numbers blow but he has a cool nick name, The Sanchize). Finally, after finishing 1-15 in 2010, they decided to chose a QB when they took Sam Bradford. He came in and made an immediate impact as the Rams improved to 7-9 and look to be moving in the right direction. As dominant a player as Ndamukong Suh is, would he have helped the Rams improve as much as Bradford has?
The problem with this years draft is that all of the top QB prospects all seem to have some concerns. Cam Newton was a one year wonder at Auburn and seems to have JaMarcus Russell written all over him. Blaine Gabbert played out of the shotgun and could be the second coming of Alex Smith. Jake Locker seems like a poor mans Tim Tebow and has accuracy issues. And finally there's Ryan Mallett who seems to have the personality of Ryan Leaf.
Still, some teams will role the dice on these players because the payoff, if it works, could be huge. With that in mind, let's look at what teams are most likely to take a QB in the first or second round of this years draft after the jump.
The Cardinals QB situation last season was abysmal. Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton all took turns playing and they all proved they're equally capable of having the snot beat out of them. None of them showed they were the QB of the future. Hall and Skelton were rookies last year so I don't think the Cardinals will part ways with them just yet, but don't be surprised if the Cardinals decide to add a third young QB to the mix with the 5th overall pick.
Ex-head coach John Fox cried when the Panthers got rid of the human pick machine Jake Delhomme and now we know why. Matt Moore became the starting QB and proved he could lose with the best of them, although he did have that one fluky good game against the 49ers. Finally they turned the reins over to Jimmy Clausen and he proved even better at losing than Moore. They have the top overall pick and everyone seems to think it will be Newton. John Fox is crying once again, only now they're tears of joy.
David Carr is the only QB currently on the roster, although there is talk that Harbaugh will bring Alex Smith back. If they do I'm sure it's simply because they don't want any new QB they might draft to be given the same treatment as, well Alex Smith. If the lockout wasn't going on the 49ers may have already made a deal for someone like Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton. As it stands, they can't rely on a deal that might happen, but need to give serious consideration to finding their future in the draft. Will that person still be there when it's their turn in the second round? They may need to trade up to get the player they want. Or just stick with Alex Smith because who doesn't want to watch more of that?
Vince Young is done, Kerry Collins is old and unsigned, Jeff Fisher is finally gone after 16 years as head coach, and the Titans have more holes to fill than they have draft picks. It also doesn't help that an area they thought they were OK, WR, has suddenly become a need after the arrest of Kenny Britt. I don't see them using their top pick on QB unless somehow Newton or Gabbert fell to them, but the second round could be where they finally replace the QB who was their future but is now in the past.
The Dolphins drafted Chad Henne in 2008 and he's been amazingly mediocre ever since. A 75.4 QB passer rating is not exactly what teams are hoping for when they draft a QB in one of the first two rounds. Unfortunately, they're in a bad position. Drafting at 15 is too late to get Newton or Gabbert, but it's also too early to take Locker, Mallett, Andy Dalton, or Christian Ponder. If they really like one of the second four QBs, I wouldn't be surprised to see them trade down. Then again, knowing the Dolphins luck with QBs since the retirement of Dan Marino, they'd probably trade down only to see the QB they wanted leave the board before it's their turn again.