The two quarterbacks that led their teams to Super Bowl XLVII proved that different styles can be successful under center, but there is no getting around the importance of having a quality guy at the position.
Teams that don't have a player they believe can lead them to a Super Bowl must make finding that guy a priority.
There are a ton of teams in that situation as the offseason begins, but only a few in position to draft a player worthy of the tag franchise quarterback.
Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, the teams highlighted in the following mock draft must take quarterbacks.
(The teams that are being spotlighted will feature an image.)
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
When your team is ranked 24th in total offense and 32nd in passing yards, it is very difficult to ignore the need for a franchise QB.
Some may have doubts about Smith as the future leader of a franchise, but he is the best prospect available at a position of need for the Chiefs.
Selecting Texas A&M's stud left tackle prospect Luke Joeckel wouldn't be a ludicrous decision, but taking Smith would be the smartest move.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
I know this may be high for the Jaguars to take Wilson, and it's possible they end up with him by trading down.
However it happens, coming away from the first round with Wilson wouldn't be a bad thing for the Jags.
How can a team that ranked 29th in total offense, and ended the season with Chad Henne as their starter think they are set at quarterback?
3. Oakland Raiders - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore looks like a tremendous young pass-rushing prospect. The Raiders were ranked just 31st in the NFL in sacks in 2012. The 6'4" 250-pound junior racked up 12.5 sacks for the Aggies in 2012, and had 21 over two years.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
The Eagles will make it two Aggies in a row. Joeckel is probably the best overall prospect in the draft, and he fits a huge need for Philly.
They gave up 48 sacks in 2012, and they must protect the quarterback better in 2013.
5. Detroit Lions - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Cliff Avril could be leaving the team via free agency (MLive.com), so the Lions would do well to solidify their pass rush with a player like Werner.
He had 13 sacks for the Seminoles in 2012, and he makes sense for the Lions.
6. Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is a dynamic defensive prospect, but because he is believed to have spinal stenosis, his stock has fallen a bit.
The outlook on other players that have suffered from the same condition isn't all that positive (Seahawks Draft Blog), but the Browns could be getting a steal if Jones checks out physically.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Wasting another year of Larry Fitzgerald's Hall of Fame career without a decent quarterback would be criminal. This team isn't that far away from making the playoffs at other positions, but they are being held back by instability under center.
I still believe Barkley has what it takes to be a successful NFL QB. Giving him a stud like Fitzgerald from Day 1 is only going to help.
8. Buffalo Bills - Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
It is time for the Bills to go in a different direction at quarterback. They could wait until the second round and select Ryan Nassib because of his ties to new coach Doug Marrone, but Glennon is a nice prospect that grades out a bit higher.
He threw for 4,031 yards and 31 touchdowns for the Wolf Pack in 2012.
This team needs a leader and new direction offensively, and that starts with the head coach and quarterback. Marrone was a solid hire because of his offensive background, and now Glennon can be the franchise player under center.
9. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Rex Ryan's defense must return to their days of pressuring the quarterback. Mingo is a perfect fit as a 3-4 pass-rushing OLB. If he's available here, the Jets have to take him.
10. Tennessee Titans - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Tennessee needs help at several positions, but Lotulelei figures to be the best player available at this point. I love his motor and potential to be disruptive in the backfield.
11. San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
Thanks to Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews returning to school, Fisher's stock has skyrocketed. He has done well with the extra attention, as he shined during the Senior Bowl (HoustonTexans.com).
The Chargers will be able to fill a pass-protection need with this pick.
12. Miami Dolphins - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Joe Philbin's offense needs a primary weapon. Patterson is a big, athletic target similar to the one the team nearly gave away in Brandon Marshall.
They could go for Keenan Allen of California, but Patterson is the better prospect in my opinion.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
When you allow the most passing yards in the NFL, it is obvious pass-rushing and secondary play are areas in need of improvement.
Milliner is the best cover-corner prospect in the draft, and a smart selection for the Bucs.
14. Carolina Panthers - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Of all the teams that didn't make the playoffs in 2012, the Panthers are among the most promising for 2013. Adding a stout presence in the middle of the defensive line could be huge.
Hankins would certainly fit the bill.
15. New Orleans Saints - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Defense was the obvious issue for the Saints in 2012. They registered just 30 sacks as a team which was good for only 25th in the NFL.
Ansah is starting to get some love after playing well in the Senior Bowl (Pewter Report).
It is time to take some pressure off Drew Brees and the offense.
16. St. Louis Rams - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
If someone asks which prospect from this year's draft will be selected to the most Pro Bowls, my answer would be Warmack.
Because he's a guard, his value is a bit diminished, but he is probably the prospect most ready to come in and dominate at his position.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
With Casey Hampton likely departing, the Steelers need to get a younger anchor to their 3-4 look. Jenkins has the size, strength and ability to fill this vital role for the Steel Curtain.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
On talent alone, Richardson could be a top 10 pick. Some have criticized his intangibles. NE Patriots Blog wrote this of Richardson:
Off the field Richardson has been hurt by poor grades, lack of interest in classes and failure to follow team policy. While his on the field ability is likely to get him drafted in the top 15 he is not without some risk.
With the Cowboys' defense in need of a playmaker, it will be hard for them not to take the risk on such a talented player.
19. New York Giants - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
A major strength of the Giants' team has been its defensive line over the last five seasons, but their stalwarts are aging, and their contracts are coming to an end shortly.
If the team hopes to maintain the depth and quality they have enjoyed recently, they need to replenish the talent.
Jordan would be a good selection for the G-Men here.
20. Chicago Bears - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Bears may be tempted to draft Alec Ogletree as the eventual successor to Brian Urlacher at MLB, but they can't squander an opportunity to address the team's biggest need.
They must take measures to better protect Jay Cutler if they ever hope to get the best out of him.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Teamed with the surprising Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals could assemble the premier linebacker corps in the NFL for the next five seasons.
Ogletree will be the most talked about prospect at the NFL Combine. He's an absolute freakishly gifted athlete.
22. St. Louis Rams - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Jeff Fisher continues to put the pieces together for what will be a dangerous Rams team in 2013.
The crop of players the Rams come away with in this draft will prove the Robert Griffin III trade was a win for both the Rams and Washington Redskins.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Keenan Allen, WR, California
Christian Ponder was made to look like Joe Montana after Joe Webb's pitiful performance in the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers.
The team will likely look to get Ponder a weapon in the passing game to complement Adrian Peterson.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Colts need defensive players that fit their system. A 3-4 pass-rushing OLB would be ideal, but they'll probably have to find that later in the draft.
Williams has the strength and run-stuffing abilities to be an asset for the Colts up front.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The future of this team is bright and exciting. A player like Austin can help in several ways. He's the best kick/punt returner in the draft and a valuable slot receiver.
Getting Russell Wilson more weapons and a player that impacts field position is the best move for this team.
26. Green Bay Packers - D.J. Fluker, LT/RT, Alabama
There is no way the Packers can allow Aaron Rodgers to be sacked 48 times again in 2013. They were fortunate to keep him healthy all season.
Fluker is a mountain of a man at 6'6" and 335 pounds. He has great leadership qualities and the ability to play either tackle position.
27. Houston Texans - Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
When Brian Cushing went down, the Texans defense was never the same. It exposed the depth issues they had at the position.
Drafting Te'o would give them insurance at middle linebacker, and even more quality in the base 3-4.
28. Denver Broncos - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Peyton Manning is missing a solid option at tight end. The team could go defensive tackle here, but Ertz is too good of a prospect to pass up.
The Broncos need to maximize the few years Manning still has left.
29. New England Patriots - Matt Elam, S, Florida
Strengthening the secondary play is a priority for the Patriots. They gave up the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL in 2012.
We saw Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens exploit this weakness in the AFC Championship Game. Elam is a physical player that represents an upgrade at both safety positions for the Pats.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Atlanta simply didn't get consistent pressure on the quarterback. They were 28th in the NFL in sacks in 2012. That deficiency led to second-half collapses in the playoffs against the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
They have to take the best pass-rusher available, and in this scenario that would be Okafor.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
After Chris Culliver's horrible Super Bowl experience (USA Today), the Niners should think long and hard about drafting a cornerback here.
Trufant has the size (6'0", 195 pounds) to entice scouts. He really shined at the Senior Bowl practices (CBS Sports), and he may not even last this long.
The Niners would be smart to take him here if he's available.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
Ray Lewis went out in style, but now the Ravens need to replace their leader.
The team must re-sign Dannell Ellerbe. He could slide over to fill the role, but the defense would be stronger if they draft a prospect like Minter and allow Ellerbe to play next to him.
The 6'2", 245-pound junior led the Tigers with 130 tackles in 2012.