Teams Desperate for Franchise Quarterback in 2014 NFL Draft
A lot is expected of quarterbacks in the National Football League. You have to produce at a good level and do it relatively quickly. If you are unable to do so, teams have no problem moving on to the next big thing.
The 2014 NFL draft has the potential to have several quarterbacks available in the top rounds, depending on whether underclassmen declare. Should all of the big names do so, it could be a special class.
Suffice it to say, that's good news for quite a few teams that cannot seem to find the answer at the quarterback position. So far this season, five stand out as teams that will need to look at the draft to find their quarterback of the future.
5. Oakland Raiders
I was reluctant at first to put the Raiders on the list, because Terrelle Pryor has shown some talent now that he's had an opportunity. Besides, the Raiders actually have a win, unlike the other four teams on the list.
Still, even if the Raiders perform surprisingly well, the long-term answer at quarterback for the team is not currently on their roster. There are many pieces that need to be fixed, and quarterback has to be at the top of that list.
Having the 1-1 record could be a misnomer for now, as the win came against another team on the list. If they fail to have any momentum and end up with a poor record, they will naturally draft a quarterback.
That being said, they could easily be that one team in 2014 that should draft a quarterback but doesn't if they are higher on Pryor than I am giving them credit for.
4. Minnesota Vikings
Christian Ponder does not seem to be on the hot seat as much as the top three quarterbacks on this list. Having the best running back in the game on your team in Adrian Peterson should be making his job a bit easier.
The Vikings were 10-6 last year but are 0-2 so far, and a loss against the Browns this week would sound the alarm in Minnesota big time. Ponder has times that he looks good, but he is far from being a quarterback of the future.
The Vikings have enough talent elsewhere on the roster that they should not be a top-five team in the draft, meaning the top quarterback will be out of the question.
If someone is available in Round 1 who could connect better with Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and others, then I would be shocked if the Vikings passed on that opportunity to improve at QB.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are in a tough situation. I think they are better than their 0-2 record, but in the tough AFC South, a playoff push looks out of the question at this point.
More importantly, QB Josh Freeman and head coach Greg Schiano don't see eye to eye, to put it nicely. Both could be on the hot seat, but Freeman has been unable to recapture a good 2010 season, and if he continues to struggle, he will be the one let go rather than Schiano.
They drafted Mike Glennon in the third round last year, but I would be surprised if they consider him the quarterback of the future. If they continue to struggle and have a four- or five-win year, there's no question they will grab a quarterback.
They have the pieces in Mike Williams, Doug Martin and others to have a good offense. Quarterback is what they will need to fix going forward.
2. Cleveland Browns
I thought the new coaching regime would be perfect for Brandon Weeden and that he would showcase his ability to succeed in the NFL. In two games, it looks all but confirmed that this is not the case.
The lack of improvement, combined with a smaller window due to his age, means there is no way he gets a third year to attempt to piece it together. Unless he magically gets good with the return of Josh Gordon this week, his time is done.
Their defense is solid enough that they will not finish worse than Jacksonville, meaning the second-best QB will likely fall to them, whether it is Tajh Boyd or one of the rapidly rising underclassmen.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have been struggling for so long to find that franchise quarterback that even the second coming of Mark Brunell would be a welcome addition. David Garrard's 2007 season of efficiency (18 TD, 3 INT) was the last season of quality by any Jacksonville quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne have proven to be only backup quarterbacks at the NFL level, and while they have a few talented players on offense, they need a franchise quarterback for that talent to be recognized.
They are 0-2 and lost their arguably most winnable game this year against the Oakland Raiders, so if there's any team winning the race for Teddy Bridgewater, it's them. Even if they don't have the first pick in the draft, there's no question they will take a quarterback next year.