The quarterback position is the most important in football, and it doesn’t take long for teams to grow enamored with a potential franchise option. Even when there are questions of the position group heading into the annual draft, teams will reach thinking they’ve found “the one.”
The 2019 NFL Draft does not have a clear-cut dominant quarterback that will run the table as the top option. There is no Andrew Luck or Cam Newton or even a Peyton Manning/Ryan Leaf pairing that everybody believes is worth grabbing at the top of the draft. Instead, we have Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) and Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) competing to be the first quarterback off the board. Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are among others who could get into the first round, but for the time being, Haskins and Murray seem likely to be the first two quarterbacks off the board in some order.
There has been speculation about whether or not Arizona might grab Murray, and there are questions as to who will be willing to move up if they think they have to leapfrog some teams to grab a QB. Some teams legitimately are interested in drafting a quarterback, while others simply want a team to move up and take a QB to guarantee one more non-QB is available for them.
It appears we can add the Detroit Lions to the mix. They have Matthew Stafford in place but general manager Bob Quinn said on Monday that the team won’t rule out any position with the No. 8 pick.
“We’ll consider any position in the draft at any point in time, whether it’s the eighth overall pick or we have multiple picks later in the draft,” Quinn said. “We’re in a position now with the eighth overall pick that the whole draft board is really wide open to us. We’re not going to really eliminate any prospects.
”In previous years, at least my last couple years here, we’ve drafted anywhere from 16 to 22 I believe. It’s a little bit different for us this year. There’s a few more players that are going to be available and if there’s a quarterback out there that we deem could help us this year or in the future, we’ll never close the door on that.”
We’ve seen teams jump on the QB position even when it seemed unnecessary (Chiefs two years ago), so nothing would surprise me. But again, it could be a matter of convincing a team behind the Lions that they need to make a move up.
So who exactly needs a quarterback in the top half of the draft? You could make arguments for teams in the back half of the draft, but the odds seem long of any of them being interested in moving up to the No. 2 overall pick.
2. 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo starting, and Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard competing for the backup role. Maybe they deal one of their backup quarterbacks, but they won’t be spending a first round pick on the position.
3. Jets: Sam Darnold took his lumps, but he’s their guy.
4. Raiders: After the Cardinals, this is where it gets interesting. Derek Carr seems unlikely to be going anywhere at this point, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock adding a quarterback in the first round would not surprise me in the least. That being said, I would expect it with one of their other first round picks.
5. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston is signed through 2019, on his fifth year option. I would not be surprised to see them sign some competition in free agency, but if they are relatively quiet on the QB front in March, they are a dark-horse to make some noise in the draft.
6. Giants: They need a replacement for Eli Manning, but they kicked the can down the road this past year. If rumors heat up around the Raiders and/or Bucs, the Giants seem like a strong contender to be chatting up the 49ers and Jets about moving up — pending the Cardinals own decisions.
7. Jaguars: Blake Bortles is not the answer, and in spite of signing him to a three-year, $54 million extension a year ago, the Jags seem likely to be in the market. Free agency is a wasteland at the position this year, so they might be forced to be aggressive in the draft.
8. Lions: They’re playing the game, but I would be surprised if they drafted a QB at this spot.
9. Bills: Josh Allen is their guy.
11. Bengals: Andy Dalton is not the answer, but a lot will come down to how conversations have gone between new head coach Zac Taylor and the front office.
12. Packers: Aaron Rodgers isn’t going anywhere. They need a replacement at some point, but it’s not yet.
14. Falcons: Matt Ryan is their guy for the foreseeable future.
15. Washington: They seemed settled with Alex Smith, but his devastating leg injury leaves them entirely uncertain of the future. I would not be at all surprised to see them looking at the QB position in April.