The upcoming 2014 NFL draft is rich with talent, stretching from defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to wide receiver Sammy Watkins. However, mirroring the 2013 draft, no quarterback prospect is a clear-cut front-runner.
On the flip side, depth at the quarterback position underlines the fogginess at the position. Quarterbacks Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and AJ McCarron are possible second-rounders with starting potential.
Recently, the majority of second-round quarterbacks have been successful. QB-needy teams have employed the second-round strategy to bolster their roster in the first round and snag their quarterback in the next. In 2013, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith was the lone prospect at his position to be selected in the second round. His rookie season was rocky, to say the least, but the Jets offense was paper thin.
In 2012, the Denver Broncos drafted quarterback Brock Osweiler in the second round. Osweiler was the sole quarterback selected in his round and is a developmental prospect behind Peyton Manning.
The two second-round quarterback selections in 2011, Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals, 35th overall) and Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers, 36th overall), have had very productive careers thus far.
Dalton has led the Bengals to 9-7, 10-6 and 11-5 regular-season records, respectively, the last three years. He's faltered in the playoffs but has been relatively consistent. The Bengals used their fourth overall selection in 2011 on wide receiver A.J. Green, who is an elite wideout in the league.
Meanwhile, Kaep seized his opportunity midway through the 2012 campaign. With quarterback Alex Smith concussed and sidelined, Kaepernick led the Niners to the Super Bowl. He led the 49ers to an NFC Championship Game appearance the following year.
In 2011, the Niners used their first-round pick on OLB Aldon Smith, one of the most feared edge-rushers in the entire league, but his career has been plagued with arrests.
The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders are all in contention to draft a top-rated quarterback prospect. Each team has glaring needs, and the depth at the quarterback position, combined with the possibility of a slide from Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, means teams will undoubtedly employ this strategy in May.