NFL Draft 2014: Quarterback-Starved Teams in Desperate Need of Top Pick
No position is more important in any sport than quarterback in the NFL. It has become the most scrutinized position in all of sports, and for good reason.
The quarterback is the face of the franchise, a team leader and the most essential piece of the offense in today's pass-happy NFL.
Look around the league and you will find that the best teams are those with the best quarterbacks. Tom Brady on the Patriots and Aaron Rodgers on the Packers are just two examples. The Ravens would not have won in 2012 if Joe Flacco didn't elevate his game in the playoffs.
There are still a few teams around the league who have yet to find their franchise quarterback and who would greatly benefit from having a top pick in the 2014 NFL draft where they could find a leader of their own.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It seemed like Josh Freeman was the quarterback of the future for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he had an impressive sophomore campaign in 2010.
But Freeman regressed after that breakout year and had very pedestrian numbers in 2011 and 2012 to go along with an 11-21 overall record.
Freeman's contract is up at the end of the year, and the Bucs made it clear they will wait to discuss a new one. If 2013 is a dud, then they could be looking at a guy like Stephen Morris to come in and take the reins right away.
The Jacksonville Jaguars desperately need to admit they made a poor decision picking Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Gabbert is just not a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, and Chad Henne certainly isn't the solution either. They need to just play it out this season and then cut ties and look to the future.
I think they're a virtual lock for a top-three pick in the 2014 draft, so don't be surprised if Teddy Bridgewater is a Jaguar next spring.
The Oakland Raiders have a mediocre NFL quarterback in Matt Flynn, but they are fooling themselves if they think the 28-year-old with two career starts is their future.
Flynn was a backup in Green Bay and then lost a competition for the job in Seattle before being traded to Oakland. Terrelle Pryor is not promising enough to be considered as a franchise prospect, either.
I think the Raiders will be right in the mix for a top-three pick, so Teddy Bridgewater is a definite possibility.
Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns really confuse me. They have some talented young pieces like Josh Gordon and Trent Richardson, but why did they draft such an old quarterback in the first round?
Weeden was remarkably unimpressive in his rookie year last year, and now he is already 29 years old. So even though they just drafted him 16 months ago, they really ought to look to the future again unless he lights it up this year (which would shock me).
Weeden would still be good to start for another year or two to let another prospect like David Fales or Aaron Murray develop behind him.
The Philadelphia Eagles will be looking to revamp their offense in 2013 with new head coach Chip Kelly at the helm. Mike Vick will likely start the season as the team's quarterback.
But Vick is already 33 years old, and I don't think Nick Foles is good enough to be a franchise quarterback in any offense, let alone Kelly's complex, uptempo one.
I think Kelly will take advantage of the deep 2014 quarterback class and grab a guy at the top of the draft whom he can develop as his own. I think Tajh Boyd would be an ideal top selection for the Eagles.