The 10 Teams That Should Select a Quarterback in Top Half of the NFL Draft
The NFL draft is officially less than two weeks away, and for 10 teams in the league, it's time to think about selecting a quarterback in the first few rounds.
These 10 teams don't all necessarily need a young quarterback to play right away. Some teams need a guy to groom behind the aging starter, some teams need a guy to develop and use as trade bait, and some teams, well, need a young quarterback to play right away.
Again, this list is all about the teams that I think should draft a quarterback in the top half of the draft. These are those 10 franchises.
When the Bills officially signed quarterback Kevin Kolb, most assumed that it set up a quarterback competition for the 2013 season between Kolb and incumbent Tarvaris Jackson.
To that, I say this: do you really think that the Bills, owners of the NFL's longest playoff drought and featuring a jaded fanbase, would trot out the pu-pu platter of Kolb and Jackson for 16 games? There's simply no shot.
And, if that did happen, everyone should be fired, including new head coach Doug Marrone. But it won't.
The Bills must take a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft. I'm not sure that they'll do it with their first pick, the eighth overall selection, but certainly with their second rounder, and the more likely scenario is to trade back into the bottom of the first round to get whomever they feel can be "The Guy."
I think Syracuse's Ryan Nassib is a very real possibility for Buffalo.
So, the Bills can let the winner of the Kolb/Jackson derby (probably Kolb) start for a few games, and once he either starts stinking up the joint or gets hurt, they can start playing their rookie signal-caller.
The Bills absolutely should select a quarterback early in the draft.
New York Jets
Are you horrified by what you've seen? I don't blame you. It actually hurt my eyes to look at.
The Jets are an absolute disaster of a football team, a dumpster fire that's evolved into a towering inferno of dysfunction. They need help across the board, as the 53-man roster is bereft of talent and playmakers.
With the team likely to jettison Tim Tebow from the roster, it would leave them with Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy. Sanchez has regressed for two seasons, Garrard hasn't played for two seasons and McElroy is an average quarterback, at best.
The Jets would be wise to select a quarterback in the top half of the draft. I'm not saying in the first few rounds, and, I'm not saying that they should use a pick acquired in a potential trade of Darrelle Revis on a quarterback either; the team has too many issues throughout the roster to take a quarterback that early.
But, they'd be foolish not to draft a young player to groom, and maybe use as trade bait down the line. McElroy isn't that guy.
Maybe someone like Florida State's E.J. Manuel could turn into that.
But wait, you say: the Jaguars are just two years removed from selecting quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in the draft, how could they draft another quarterback in the early rounds so soon after?
To answer that question, I ask: have you ever seen Gabbert play?
New general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley didn't draft Gabbert, and have no loyalty to the player. I'm not saying this is a moratorium on Gabbert's career, but if Caldwell and Bradley feel like Gabbert isn't the guy, what's to stop them from bringing in a quarterback with one of their first selections?
It could very well be at second overall, with West Virginia's Geno Smith serving as the most likely candidate. But, with their pick at the top of the second round, the Jaguars will likely be able to get another signal-caller who could be groomed to eventually start.
Going into the season with Gabbert and Chad Henne as your primary quarterbacks is no way to win football games or inspire a fanbase. The Jaguars should take a quarterback early on.
Kansas City Chiefs
I liked the Kansas City Chiefs' acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith earlier this offseason, and believe Chase Daniel was a nice signing to serve as Smith's backup.
But, if you don't think that head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey will be selecting a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft, you aren't paying attention.
That's what Reid does: draft a young signal-caller high, groom him for a few seasons, drum up interest and then ship him to the highest bidder. Reid loves taking quarterbacks in the draft, even if he has an established starter on the roster. Frankly, it's good business, and I'm surprised more teams don't do it.
The Redskins' selection of Kirk Cousins is a perfect example of this phenomenon. While many slammed the pick or assumed it was protection against a Robert Griffin III injury (which it has turned out to be), I saw it as the team taking Cousins to use him as trade bait down the line, to help restock the cupboard with draft picks after dealing away a fortune for the right to draft RG3.
Do the Chiefs need to take a quarterback in the top half of the draft? No, they do not.
Should they? Absolutely.
Will they? History says yes.
I have to give Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen a ton of credit for their trade of washed-up, selfish quarterback Carson Palmer to Arizona. Palmer should never have been acquired by former coach Hue Jackson, so kudos to McKenzie and Allen for making the move.
I also liked their trade for Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn. While Flynn isn't a world-beater, he's definitely above-average and will provide the Raiders with some fire sorely needed at the position.
With that said, the Raiders should be drafting a quarterback with one of their first four selections.
Oakland is going to be bad in 2013, very bad, regardless of who the quarterback is. It would be a stunner if the Raiders weren't picking in the top five of next year's draft as well.
The Raiders, on the seventh level of salary cap hell and with the flames constantly licking their efforts to improve the roster, desperately need to add young talent. Drafting a young quarterback and grooming him to trade him would be a smart decision by McKenzie and Allen.
I don't think Oakland will select a quarterback with the third overall pick, but I do expect them to draft one in the first four rounds. They absolutely should.
Once that's done, the Raiders can start on the "Suck for Bridgewater" (hey, YOU think of something that rhymes with Bridgewater) campaign, as Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looks to be the most coveted signal-caller in next year's draft.
San Diego Chargers
I've long been a fan of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, including picking him to win league MVP in 2011. But, the bottom line is that Rivers hasn't gotten the job done in the last few season, and looks like a player very much on the decline.
With this looking like Rivers' last shot to get it done in San Diego, new Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy would be wise to draft a young quarterback to groom this season behind Rivers.
The only other quarterback on the Chargers roster is the immortal Charlie "Chuckles" Whitehurst, and if he inspires confidence in you, you should probably get your head examined.
Even if Rivers puts together a solid year, the time has come to look for a successor, as Rivers will turn 32 later this year.
The Chargers should definitely select a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft.
Even though I don't think Tony Romo is capable of leading the Cowboys to a Super Bowl championship, the team could have done worse than to extend his contract. For all of Romo's faults—and they are well-documented—the guy is an above-average quarterback capable of winning games and putting up big numbers. In an NFL sorely lacking quality signal-callers, Dallas was smart to lock him up.
The Cowboys also possess one of the NFL's better backup options in Kyle Orton, a guy who has won games in the past and could easily step in and start a few games if Romo were to get hurt.
But, the presence of a young, talented quarterback on the roster is very necessary. Romo will soon be turning 33, and Orton will turn 31 during the season. It's time for some new blood in the Valley Ranch quarterback meeting room.
I think Arkansas' Tyler Wilson would be a great fit in Dallas in the middle rounds of the draft.
Even though new head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman brought quarterback Michael Vick back on a one-year deal and have second-year signal-caller Nick Foles on the roster, I fully expect them to add a quarterback in the draft.
Kelly runs a specific, sophisticated offensive system, and knows the type of player he needs to handle it.
Even if Vick starts and plays well, he's not the long-term answer for Kelly and the Eagles. I like Foles as a prospect, but he doesn't seem to be a good fit in Kelly's offense.
That means that the Eagles should look at a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft.
I think Geno Smith would be an excellent selection for the team at fourth overall.
Don't get it twisted: The Chicago Bears' 2013 season will ride on the right shoulder of quarterback Jay Cutler. Inclusion of the Bears on this list does not mean that Cutler is in any danger of losing his job, not when general manager Phil Emery hired Marc Trestman as his new head coach with the directive to fix Cutler and get him to play more consistently.
But, take a gander at the Bears depth chart as currently constituted. Josh McCown is the backup in case Cutler gets hurt? Yikes. And Matt Blanchard? If he's the answer, I'd love to know the question.
With Cutler entering a critical stretch of his career and development, the Bears would be wise to take a quarterback in the top half of the draft, a guy to groom behind Cutler and someone who could play at a competent level in the event of a Cutler injury.
Yes, the Cardinals recently completed a trade for Carson Palmer, who was then anointed the starter by new coach Bruce Arians.
And yes, the Cardinals also signed Drew Stanton to compete, and already had youngsters Brian Hoyer and Ryan Lindley on the roster. They appear to be set at quarterback.
But this column isn't about the teams I think will take quarterbacks in the top half of the draft; it's about teams that I think should take quarterbacks in the top half of the draft, and the Cardinals are one of those squads.
I believe Palmer is done. Stanton is a good player, but he isn't the long-term answer. People seem to be gaga over Hoyer, but he hasn't done anything to get me excited. Lindley looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the history of life when he played last season.
Simply put, the Cardinals should draft a quarterback. Last year, the team possessed the single worst trio of quarterbacks (Kolb, John Skelton, Lindley) of all time. There is no such thing as having too many good options at the position.
I like NC State's Mike Glennon as a potential fit in the desert.