The NFL is becoming more and more a quarterback's league. Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams' lackluster seasons, along with the nagging injuries of Arian Foster and the season-ending injuries of Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are just more proof that the days of the running back are over. It's a passer's league now.
In the 2011 draft, six teams took a player in the first two rounds of the draft, and seven rookie quarterbacks have played the majority of at least one game this season. That is something that has never happened before.
A lot of teams decided that the need was critical enough to make big reaches (like Christian Ponder at the 12th overall spot).
So, with a lot of teams needing quarterbacks, will the same thing happen this year? Here are five teams in need of a quarterback and the five prospects that could help them out at the position:
This one is a no-brainer. If the Colts keep the first overall pick, they're going to use it on Andrew Luck.
Now, it's starting to look like they might auction that pick off, but for the moment, I'm assuming they keep it.
Robert Griffin III had a better season, but Andrew Luck has been an absolute stud for two years straight now and comes from a pro-style system, so he's still going to be the first quarterback taken.
Luck completed over 70 percent of his passes and led Stanford to its second straight one-loss regular season, with that loss coming from the same team as it did last season: Oregon. He seems to have no big weaknesses at all, is the right size, can run when play breaks down, makes great decisions and is a leader on his team.
If the Colts don't trade down, there's no reason to not use their first pick on Andrew Luck.
Mike Shanahan loves mobile quarterbacks, and Robert Griffin III is about as mobile as they come. He supposedly runs about a 4.5 40-yard dash and has shown that he can outrun nearly anyone on the field.
That said, don't lump him in with others as a "mobile quarterback"; Griffin can pass. He completed almost 73 percent of his passes this season for nearly 4,000 yards. He also beat out Andrew Luck in every statistical category, so there's that too. He got the Heisman for a reason.
The only knocks on Griffin are that he's a little shorter than some teams would prefer at 6'2" (although Aaron Rodgers is the same height) and the fact that he's coming out of a spread system. However, he seems to be a pretty sharp guy, so I don't expect him to miss a beat in getting a pro-style system down.
The Redskins have won games when they got good quarterback play from Rex Grossman (it does happen occasionally) and if they had a guy that could give them high-level play from week to week, they'd be NFC East contenders.
If the Jaguars decide to not give up on Blaine Gabbert, then the Redskins will probably be able to select Griffin.
The Chiefs will have to reach on this one a tad. Landry Jones has fallen a little flat this season, but I don't think anyone really thinks that Kyle Orton is the long-term answer.
I could be wrong. The Chiefs have a lot of weaknesses they need to address and they might not be ready to give up on Matt Cassel, but I think, if they're in a position to get Landry Jones in the draft, they'll snag him.
There were bigger reaches last year, and I don't think they'll be afraid to take him. Besides, with the new CBA, reaching for a quarterback doesn't sink you financially like it used to.
Jones put up some pretty good numbers this year, but he didn't improve like everyone thought he would and he still has a spread offense giving him better-looking numbers. He does have pretty good-looking numbers though: 4,300 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also played a very tough schedule, so if he does well in the combine, teams might be willing to overlook the inability to win big games.
At the season's start, Ryan Tannehill looked like the guy that might surprise everyone, and when Texas A&M started out strong, it looked like everyone was right.
However, the team melted down in the second half of the season and Tannehill was unable to lead his team to victory in several close matchups. Still, like I said about Landry Jones, he played a very tough schedule and still has some good numbers.
Tannehill threw for over 3,400 yards this season and had as many touchdowns and interceptions as Landry Jones, and ran for an additional 296 yards and four touchdowns. This was only his second season as a quarterback; he was a wide receiver before that, so he may not have peaked yet.
At least, that's what Seattle will tell themselves when they reach to draft him in the first round. But again, the new CBA makes it not that big a deal financially, and Seattle is pretty set everywhere else on their team except quarterback.
It makes sense for them, and if Tannehill truly hasn't peaked, the Seahawks may get a steal. If nothing else, with Marshawn Lynch around, they'll have a good run game as long as they don't run out of Skittles.
If you just look at Nick Foles' numbers, you have to wonder why he isn't a definite first-rounder. He's thrown for over 4,300 yards and 28 touchdowns with 14 interceptions (is that number of touchdowns and interceptions a secret joke or something? I keep seeing it everywhere).
He carried his team, but he also relied heavily on Juron Criner and threw most of his interceptions late in the season in what looked like a meltdown. That said, he threw for monster yardage and did it pretty efficiently, completing 69 percent of his passes.
He'll be an end of the first-round trade or a second-round selection, but the Browns need help at quarterback. Colt McCoy has continued to be mediocre, and the team needs a spark. That said, I don't think they're entirely ready to give up on Colt McCoy, so they won't take a quarterback until day two.
Drafting Foles would let McCoy know it's time to put up or shut up without unhinging him as the starter.
Lots of other teams need quarterbacks, but aren't in a position to draft them, but crazy things happen on draft day and you can never predict trades, so here are the other teams in need that might take a chance:
New York Jets
Unless Mark Sanchez does something amazing in the last part of the season and gets them to the playoffs, the Jets need to start thinking about possible replacing him. However, with where they're picking, no quarterback that's available would be a definite upgrade, so they'll keep Sanchez for now.
The Jaguars just spent the 10th overall pick on Blaine Gabbert, but he's been terrible and the team has a new owner and will have a new head coach. They might give up on Gabbert after just one season. Of course, they could always give him some actual weapons instead and see if he does better next season.
Matt Moore has been great, but I don't think they want to commit to him long-term. Still, they won't be in a position to take a definite upgrade, so they keep him on for now.