NFL Draft 2011: 5 Teams That Should Trade Up for Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert
While scanning through mock draft after mock draft, it has become somewhat clear that NFL draft experts and handicappers agree that there are two groups of quarterbacks in this year’s annual event.
There are the top two in Auburn’s Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri—then there’s everybody else.
Considering that two of the top three teams and potentially eight out of the top 10 are in need of a quarterback, picks could be passed around with the flurry and feel of a two-minute drill.
Carolina have issues under center with current QB Jimmy Clausen, who was the NFL’s lowest-rated passer in 2010. Expect them to take advantage of the No. 1 overall pick by selecting Newton or Gabbert.
Expect the other quarterback to be right behind him with a large number of teams eyeing Denver’s No. 2 spot, which could be on the table considering that the Broncos have two quarterbacks that they're comfortable with.
Click through to take a look at the teams who might, or should, do what is necessary to trade up the ladder and grab a future franchise QB.
Content with Next Batch?
Before discussing the teams that should consider moving up, there are a handful of squads that are less likely to trade up for the top two quarterbacks and are content with an attempt to take a run at the next wave of QBs—Washington’s Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet of Arkansas and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.
Washington, for example, has the 10th overall pick and could be content with snatching up a young backup for Donovan McNabb to teach—or to take over altogether.
Miami has Chad Henne, who's shown enough promise for the Dolphins to consider taking one of the aforementioned "lower level" quarterbacks at No. 15, but who hasn’t really proven to be enough of a disaster that a trade up to the top seems necessary.
The Bengals are actually in a fairly comfortable position with the fourth overall selection.
Yes, Carson Palmer is threatening to retire as opposed to spending another miserable season in Ohio.
Yes, the dynamic duo of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco were irrelevant offensively.
Yes, the Panthers and the Bills have the first and third pick, respectively, and both could use field general upgrades.
However, panic would be premature and to trade up would be a waste.
If somehow Newton or Gabbert are available with the No. 4 pick, the Bengals will pounce on it. If not, that means that a stud wideout, such as Georgia’s A.J. Green, would still be available.
Really, it’s a win either way for a team that didn’t have many of those a year ago.
To trade or not to trade…
The Cardinals are in a tough situation with the fifth overall pick.
They desperately need an upgrade at quarterback after Derek Anderson’s miserable 65.9 passer rating last season, tossing 10 interceptions to just seven touchdowns.
They have the fifth overall pick, which is great—assuming either Newton or Gabbert are still available.
If Arizona wants to finally make a commitment or statement to the Phoenix fanbase, they should make a deal with Denver and work up the draft board to ensure they grab one of the top two QBs in this year’s class.
If it doesn’t work out, at least they no longer look indecisive, indifferent and apathetic to their fans about who is under center.
San Francisco 49ers
With a pair of failed Smiths in Troy and Alex, a new GM in Trent Baalke and a new head coach in Jim Harbaugh, it’s time for the franchise to cut their losses, their ineffective quarterbacks and make some long overdue upgrades under center.
The only way for San Francisco to do so is to trade up from their No. 7 spot and get a guy that Harbaugh can be comfortable with, build an offense around and subsequently improve one of the league’s least-potent offenses (19.1 points per game in 2010).
Being behind many other quarterback-hungry teams, however, the Niners are going to have to give to get.
The Vince Young experiment in Nashville is over.
The Kerry Collins era in the NFL should have been over years ago.
Minus those two Titans and Tennessee is left with only former Florida Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith on their roster.
Tennessee could technically sit back and select a lower-rated QB from the second group—a Jake Locker or a Ryan Mallett if they’re available, which they will be, with the eighth pick in the draft.
On the other hand, they could make a deal and move up in order to take a guy who’s a little more likely to give them a chance to win immediately than with the second-tier guys or indeed Rusty Smith.
That being said, if Tennessee is going to go, they should go big.
After all, the Titans standout running back Chris Johnson has already proven to be a better running back option with a mobile quarterback under center, which would point to Newton.
However, I think that decision would have been easier if Brett Favre was still around to ease the transition.
With No. 4 gone, it leaves just Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels to show a potential rookie QB the ropes, as the Vikings attempt to resemble a competitive team in a division that boasts the last two teams standing in NFC.
When you put it that way, perhaps they should give up a little more to get the best quarterback available in the draft, whether they believe that guy is Gabbert or Newton.