X

Marcus Mariota and More: Each NFL Team's Odds of Drafting a Quarterback

Mike Tanier@@miketanierNFL National Lead WriterMarch 31, 2015

Brian Spurlock/USA Today

It's roughly 99 percent certain that the Buccaneers will draft a quarterback on the last weekend of April. It's also about 99 percent certain that the Seahawks will not draft a quarterback. Everything in-between is speculation, projection, hearsay, smokescreen and out-and-out guesswork. 

Oh, perhaps there's a little more certainty than that.

The Patriots and Colts aren't exactly quarterback shopping, for present or future. The Jets and Bills can't be as comfortable with their current platoons as they pretend to be. The Rams are on record stating that they plan to draft a quarterback, even after the Nick Foles-Sam Bradford trade. The Cowboys have become candid about discussing a post-Tony Romo future. Chip Kelly would give up a kidney for the chance to draft Marcus Mariota. Howie Roseman's kidney, to be sure, but a kidney's a kidney.

Just how likely is your favorite team to draft a quarterback? To find out, I put my ear to the ground, surveyed all 32 teams, took stock of their depth charts and organizational histories and calculated the back-of-the-envelope probability that each team will select a quarterback in the first four rounds.

Even the Patriots (especially the Patriots) are capable of grabbing some kid late in the draft to see if he develops into a punt returner or someone to trade to the Texans after a few years. Let's focus on real investments with a real chance to at least wear the "heir apparent" label, if not compete for an immediate starting job.

Whether these teams plan to enter the Mariota sweepstakes or to make the most of some Brett Hundley-Bryce Petty consolation prize, here are the odds that each team will walk away from the draft with a new quarterback.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

(Note: Chances were calculated based on immediate and future need, expected draft priorities, depth-chart space, the estimated future potential and spot starter capability of backups, public endorsements or other statements by teams about quarterbacks and the likelihood that each franchise's decision-maker will drink six cups of coffee and completely change his mind 15 minutes before the draft begins).

32. New England Patriots

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Jimmy Garoppolo (second round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Tom Brady is jumping off a cliff! I better catch him! Wait...why?
Tom Brady is jumping off a cliff! I better catch him! Wait...why?Charles Krupa/Associated Press/Associated Press

From Ryan Mallett to Garoppolo, the Patriots have been aggressive about spending early draft picks on Tom Brady insurance policies that can later be used as trade bait. But Garoppolo is entrenched as the heir apparent right now, and the Patriots need this draft to restock other shelves after free agency.

Brady may ascend to Valhalla when his contract expires after 2017, leaving Garoppolo the keys to paradise. Brady could instead extend his contract, with Garoppolo following Josh McDaniels to the Browns in two years. But barring a cliff-diving mishap, nothing is happening at the end of April.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): Less than 1 percent

31. Seattle Seahawks

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Russell Wilson (third round, 2012)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

The quarterback depth chart behind Wilson is populated by guys with more initials than starts (B.J. Daniels, R.J. Archer), though veteran caddie Tarvaris Jackson is still waiting in the lobby of the journeyman quarterback employment agency for his number to be called.

A seventh-round flyer is likely, but this year's early rounds and organizational resources will be devoted to making sure the Seahawks can protect, support and afford the quarterback they already have.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): Less than 1 percent

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Landry Jones (fourth round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

The Steelers just extended Ben Roethlisberger's contract and have never been players in the draft-and-develop game at quarterback. Jones' expiration date as a prospect has not arrived yet, and Bruce Gradkowski has inherited Charlie Batch's ceremonial backup-for-life clipboard.

The Steelers need to use this draft to get their average defensive age below the Military History Channel viewer demographic, anyway.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 3 percent

29. Green Bay Packers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Brian Brohm (second round, 2008)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28:  NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers talks with Sam Dekker #15 of the Wisconsin Badgers after the Badgers 85-78 win against the Arizona Wildcats during the West Regional Final of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketbal
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ted Thompson prefers to find Aaron Rodgers' backups in the seventh round (Matt Flynn, still unsigned but hanging around the coffee shop with Tarvaris Jackson) or through his signature waiver-wire dumpster dives (Scott Tolzien). Unless Rodgers injures himself celebrating a Sam Dekker three-pointer next week, the Packers won't be making any quarterback moves.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 3 percent

28. Atlanta Falcons

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Matt Ryan (first round, 2008)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

The Falcons re-signed T.J. Yates to back up Matt Ryan, Sean Renfree is entering his third season on the third string, and coach Dan Quinn said at last week's league meetings that the Falcons could add Matt Schaub if they need veteran depth.

Matt Schaub as a Falcons backup again? If we are coming full circle, why not consider Michael Vick? Or David Archer?

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 4 percent

27. Minnesota Vikings

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Teddy Bridgewater (first round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Teams rarely draft a quarterback the year after a high-round rookie seizes the starting job because: A) There are only so many meaningful practice reps to go around, and the young starter needs all available developmental resources; B) It sends a mixed message that can be counterproductive; and C) Why the heck would they want to?

Bridgewater is the face of the Vikings' future, Shaun Hill is on hand as a journeyman-for-hire, and the Vikings have plenty of other offseason work to do.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 5.75 percent

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Blake Bortles (first round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Two

See the Vikings comment. Interesting fact: The Jaguars either draft a quarterback high in the first round—Bortles last year, Blaine Gabbert in 2011, Byron Leftwich in 2003—or they do not draft a quarterback at all.

David Garrard was a fourth-round pick in 2002, but since then, the Jaguars have never tossed a mid-to-late-round pick at the quarterback position in search of a late-blooming prospect or some extra competition. Instead, they littered their deep bench with the likes of Quinn Gray, Luke McCown, Trent Edwards and Todd Bouman, with Chad Henne eating innings whenever Gabbert or Bortles faltered in recent years.

The Jaguars probably should have done more speculating at quarterback instead of giving Gabbert 50 chances and living and dying with Garrard for so long. They now hope that Bortles makes their quarterback past a moot point.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 5.75 percent

25. Baltimore Ravens

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Joe Flacco (first round, 2008)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Ozzie Newsome's modus operandi for backing up Flacco has been to grab a Tyrod Taylor (2011) or Keith Wenning (2014) in the sixth round; even before that, Newsome used fifth- or sixth-round picks to select Troy Smith (2006) and Derek Anderson (2005).

With Taylor gone, look for a similar strategy this year. The Ravens racked up a compensatory pick in the fourth round and two in the fifth, so the potential to seek late-round bargains is certainly there. But the Ravens have other things to worry about before that.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 6.5 percent

24. Indianapolis Colts

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Andrew Luck (first round, 2012)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

The Colts' quarterback draft probability may look a little high. That's because I really did use a calculation method for this wacky exercise, and the Colts rang three statistical bells.

First, Luck's only backup is Matt Hasselbeck, who would be totally grey if he had any hair at all, and no third-stringer on the depth chart means a likely slot for a third- or fourth-round pick. Second, teams earned a "volatility" score based on just how unpredictable they are on the transaction wire, and the Colts are pretty volatile.

Finally, they earned a few points for "filling needs via free agency," freeing them to potentially do something eccentric in the draft. That said, the chance that the Colts will do anything except grab a seventh-rounder remains low.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 7.25 percent

23. Oakland Raiders

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Derek Carr (second round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

See the Vikings comment. The Raiders have no interest in pushing/threatening Carr right now, but they may have some interest in adding competition to the Christian Ponder/Matt McGloin bench.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback: 7.5 percent

22. Cincinnati Bengals

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Andy Dalton (second, 2011)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

The Bengals are committed to Dalton and have AJ McCarron on hand as the capable young semi-prospect/backup. They may bring back Jason Campbell (ordering his second cup of coffee at the Tarvaris-Flynn Cafe) for emergencies, but they have no use for another young arm.

Bengals fans who complain about Dalton must always take a few deep breaths and remember they could have been born Browns fans.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 8.75 percent

21. New York Giants

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Ryan Nassib (fourth round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

You know how when Egyptian pharaohs died, their favorite servants were killed, mummified and entombed with them so they could continue to serve in the afterlife? It's gonna be like that for Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning.

Coughlin and Giants co-owner Steve Tisch made soothing noises at the league meetings about Eli's contract (up at season's end), while backup Nassib still passes the young-prospect sniff test. There's a small chance they will add clipboard competition for Nassib, but the Giants are a no-nonsense organization that will spend this draft the way they spend every draft: selecting players that will help them survive their annual midseason crippling injury rash.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 9.5 percent

20. Detroit Lions

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Matthew Stafford, (first round, 2009)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

Stafford's backups are Kellen Moore and Dan Orlovsky.

Ndamukong Suh's departure moved the Lions out of the eighth circle of salary-cap hell and into one of the nicer circles, where they just get buffeted by heavy winds, the kind that can blow Moore passes back into his face. But they still must solve many of their problems as cheaply as possible.

Don't be too surprised if they grab a size-arm project like Sean Mannion in the third or fourth round, both as injury insurance and a gentle reminder to Stafford that nothing, not even his mighty contract, lasts forever.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 9.75 percent

19. Arizona Cardinals

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Logan Thomas (fourth round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

Bruce Arians loves Thomas. He loves him enough to not play him, keeping the unprepared rookie on the bench during last season's playoff run so he would not adopt bad habits or become emotionally scarred by postseason failure. Instead, Ryan Lindley scarred us all. At any rate, Arians sees a top prospect in Thomas, even if most of the rest of us just see a beefier Christian Ponder.

Arians' Logan love keeps the Cardinals from ranking higher on the quarterback draft scale: Thomas has "top prospect on the bench" status, which would not normally be reserved for a guy who couldn't wrest a start from Lindley. Arians probably won't create a logjam on the Cardinals bench, and for a playoff team, they have more than their share of other draft needs.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 15 percent

18. Carolina Panthers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Cam Newton (first round, 2011)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

You know what we haven't heard in a while? Faint, backhanded, obviously motivational praise of Newton emanating directly from the Panthers organization. Here's Ron Rivera from last week's league meetings:

I do expect to see him take another step as he continues to work on his position-specific skills and techniques. He relies so much on his great athleticism that sometimes he's not as sound as he needs to be with his fundamentals. That's the next step.

Oh, there it is!

Newton was one of two players who kept the Panthers from crashing down into the ACC last season, but Carolina is in no rush to extend his contract, allowing him to play out his fifth-year option right now. No matter what Newton does, there's always a sense that the Panthers organization has become its own message-board troll and really thinks the team would be better off with Derek Anderson and some spunky newcomer.

The Panthers are too needy all over the roster to play the Let's Motivate Cam to Improve His Fundamentals game. They are also too unpredictable to dismiss when it comes to making a statement draft selection.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 16.25 percent

17. Denver Broncos

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Brock Osweiler (second round, 2012)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Tom Gannam/Associated Press

Heir-apparent quarterbacks are like baking soda boxes in the fridge. You have to replace them every four years or else they get stale. (What? I am supposed to replace the baking soda? No wonder the lettuce crisper smells like biology lab on dissection day). Case in point: The Patriots drafted Ryan Mallett the same year the Broncos selected Osweiler, but they traded Mallett and freshened up to Jimmy Garoppolo last year.

With the Peyton Manning retirement event horizon racing toward them, the Broncos must provide Osweiler with some competition for the throne. They could wait for the late rounds to see if a made-for-Gary-Kubiak play-action passer like Chris Bonner stays on the board. But with the 2016 starting job possibly at stake, they may not want to wait that long.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 16.75 percent

16. Kansas City Chiefs

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Brodie Croyle (third round, 2006)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

From Steve DeBerg, Joe Montana, Elvis Grbac and Trent Green through Matt Cassel and Alex Smith, the Chiefs have been importing their quarterbacks from other franchises for over a generation. Things may change now that Clark Hunt has taken over the family business, but they also may not: Hunt likes Smith as his quarterback and Andy Reid as his coach, so don't expect the Chiefs to reach for their signal-caller of the future.

Then again, Reid once drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round despite his devotion to Donovan McNabb, so he'll pounce on the quarterback market if he loves a prospect. The Chiefs' depth chart is teeming with the likes of Chase Daniel, Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray. Graft Bray's arm and Pryor's legs onto Murray's body, insert Daniel's brain, and you've got a hell of a backup. The Chiefs may opt for the middle rounds of the draft instead of crimes against humanity.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 21 percent

15. Miami Dolphins

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Ryan Tannehill (first round, 2012)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

Pat White's retirement from the CFL last week reminded us that the Dolphins were kings of the second-round quarterback selection from 2007 through 2009. Their takeaway from that era: White (a Wildcat lava lamp), Chad Henne (now the Jaguars backup) and John Beck (a then-26-year-old prospect who now works at a quarterback academy). Tannehill may be a slow developer, but he sure beats the alternatives.

The Dolphins will use their fifth-year option to keep Tannehill locked up through 2016 and have retained Matt Moore for clipboard duties. There is space at the bottom of the depth chart, and the Dolphins met most of their other needs in free agency, but if Miami has any interest in seeking long-range contingency plans, this is not the draft in which to do it. Better to keep investing in motivated weapons and linemen who don't turn the locker room into Degrassi so Tannehill can succeed, than to start seeking alternatives.

Chance of Drafting a quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 21.25 percent

14. New Orleans Saints

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Danny Wuerffel (fourth round, 1997)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Two

8 Nov 1987:  Quarterback Bobby Hebert of the New Orleans Saints looks to hand off the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Saints won the game, 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
Mike Powell/Getty Images

The Saints haven't drafted a quarterback in the first three rounds since they took Dave Wilson first overall in 1981. The last quarterback they drafted in any round was Sean Canfield, a seventh-rounder in 2010. Drew Brees was a free agent, they traded for Aaron Brooks and smuggled Bobby Hebert out of the USFL to keep the offense busy between Dome Patrol linebacker beatdowns of the late 1980s. In-between, they just made do with lousy quarterbacking.

All bets are off with Brees aging and the Saints trying to wake up from a salary-cap nightmare. The team held an everyone-but-Brees-is-available sidewalk sale during free agency. If their daring trades don't jolt them back into the playoffs, it's full-scale rebuilding time.

The quarterback depth chart consists of the other McCown brother and practice-squad ping-pong-ball Ryan Griffin. The Saints are prime candidates to take a chance on Garrett Grayson or Shane Carden, heady undersized guys (like Brees) who could fit Sean Payton's system better than any other.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 25.25 percent

13. San Francisco 49ers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Colin Kaepernick (second round, 2011)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

If you have any idea what the 49ers will do next, you are either kidding yourself or are a member of the Baalke family.

Blaine Gabbert is all alone on the depth chart behind Kaepernick, who is one of the few remaining holdovers from the epic regime change of…12 weeks ago? That's all it's been? Anyway, there are two things stopping the Trent Baalke-Jed York-Jim Tomsula troika from using the draft as a Kaepernick ultimatum: No one after the top three prospects is even a remote threat to Kaepernick, and the 49ers have myriad needs right now.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 27.75 percent

12. San Diego Chargers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Charlie Whitehurst (third round, 2006)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

The Chargers are our first Mariota sweepstakes entrant, though they are the biggest longshots. What's certain is that the Chargers and Philip Rivers are facing the same midlife crisis the Steelers and Giants are going through with Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, but they have been reluctant to renew their vows.

Rivers' contract expires at the end of the season, he turns 34 in December and his backups are Kellen Clemens and Brad Sorensen. Even if you don't believe the Titans-Chargers trade voodoo, the Chargers appear likely to grab a Brett Hundley or Bryce Perry to develop behind Rivers for a year or three.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 28.25 percent

11. Dallas Cowboys

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Stephen McGee (fourth round, 2009)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Two

The Cowboys have ignored the quarterback position in the draft, even in the final rounds, since Tony Romo rose from the practice squad to stardom a decade ago. But Romo won't live forever (his contract will be used to snuff out the sun, but that's another matter).

Brian Dowling/Associated Press

Backup Brandon Weeden is like Gabrielle Carteris from Beverly Hills, 90210: obviously a little too old for his role as the plucky young supporting player. The Cowboys are talking openly about the post-Romo future, and the possibility of drafting Johnny Manziel turned into an episode of Dallas in Dallas last year.

If the Joneses see something they like in the early middle rounds—Bryce Petty looks like the kind of fella who could catch their eyes—they may do something they haven't done for a long time.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 29.5 percent

10. Buffalo Bills

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): EJ Manuel (first round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

Rex Ryan sounds like he wants to give Manuel a fair shot to compete for a starting job. When a head coach starts talking about "ball spin" and other details, it's a much more ringing endorsement than "he's our starting quarterback right now, on a Tuesday afternoon in March."

The Bills also signed both Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Tuel is still hiding behind the blocking sled in the equipment shed, and Ryan is talking straight-facedly (for him) about four-way competition.

In other words, the Bills don't sound eager to leap into the Mariota sweepstakes. Even if Tuel is displaced and Ryan's four-quarterback grand scheme comes to fruition, meaningful reps will be hard to come by, if the Bills expect open Manuel-Cassel competition.

That said, the Bills solved a lot of problems in free agency, and Ryan could easily switch to an alternate plan: relegate Cassel to clipboard sensei status and challenge Manuel to hold off a rookie challenger—maybe even Mariota—as long as he can.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 40 percent

9. Houston Texans

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Tom Savage (fourth round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Three

Maybe you think Ryan Mallet and Brian Hoyer are just two generations of generic Baby Bradys. Maybe you think Savage is just off-brand catnip for draft analysts of the Mayock School. (The school motto: "Tall + Good Arm = Can't Miss!")

No matter how low your opinion of the Texans' three quarterbacks, it's hard to see how Houston gains much by adding a fourth. By the time Mallet and Savage get their developmental reps and Hoyer throws enough to stay sharp, the fourth guy will have nothing to do but mow the practice field and play scout-team Blake Bortles.

The Texans may be motivated to leap if Mariota plummets into their hands or Brett Hundley is hanging around in the second or third round. After that, there is no one in this draft class with more talent and upside than Savage.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 40.75 percent

8. Chicago Bears

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Kyle Orton (fourth round, 2005)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

Think of this whole offseason as one long Jay Cutler exit strategy.

Acquisitions like Pernell McPhee and Antrel Rolle will make the Bears defense more competitive without spending draft picks. The Brandon Marshall trade freed some cash while adding a late-round pick for roster reshaping. The Bears can refill the cupboards in preparation for that glorious, magical day when Cutler disappears like the Cheshire Cat, leaving behind only his sneer.

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Pace has stated that he "wouldn't be afraid to take" Marcus Mariota if the quarterback were there when the Bears select seventh overall. Pace probably wouldn't be afraid to give a new offensive coordinator a toolsy Sean Mannion or Brett Hundley to play with later in the draft. But getting stuck with Cutler in 2016 because the Bears haven't even tried to groom a replacement?

That would be positively terrifying.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4)49 percent

7. Philadelphia Eagles

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Matt Barkley (fourth round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

The chance of Chip Kelly doing just about anything at this point—trading Sam Bradford before he plays a down, blaming Howie Roseman for global warming, producing a 100 percent accurate Final Four bracket he swears he filled out on Christmas Eve, starting a zombie apocalypse with tainted protein shakes—hovers at about 52.5 percent these days.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4)52.5 percent

6. St. Louis Rams

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Sam Bradford (first round, 2010)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

Jeff Fisher says the Rams will draft a quarterback, so there's that. But Fisher could be lying...or could change his mind...or the Rams could plan to select a quarterback in the sixth round.

Nick Foles isn't the kind of acquisition that makes you rewrite your draft board, and while backup Austin Davis showed some promise in extended work last season, he looked just good enough to remain "backup Austin Davis" for many years.

The Rams are stacked at many positions—they have enough defensive linemen to stock a whole division at this point—and can jump on a quarterback prospect they like without opening a hole elsewhere.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 56.375 percent

5. Tennessee Titans

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Jake Locker (first round, 2011)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

The Titans have the second pick in the draft, and Zach Mettenberger sits atop their depth chart. In typical circumstances, there would not be much mystery here. But Ken Whisenhunt has eclectic tastes in quarterbacks. The flame-throwing Mettenberger is a better prospect than the usual sixth-round pick.

Defenders like Leonard Williams or Dante Fowler would represent safe, significant upgrades for the talent-poor Titans. And there are several other franchises likely to get Mariota ants in their pants.

It would be easy to poke fun at the Titans for waiting for some Browns-Eagles-Titans threesome to materialize that leaves the Eagles with Mariota, the Browns with Sam Bradford and the Titans with 24 additional draft picks in the next three years, except that there's still a chance something like that will happen.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 68.5 percent

4. New York Jets

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Geno Smith (second round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Seven

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing the Tennessee Titans in a NFL game on November 30, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hey, no one's giving up on Geno Smith. And no one doubts that Ryan Fitzpatrick can run around in circles and throw dump-offs while the broadcasters swoon. (He's so smart! He's from Harvard! Dig that groovy beard!)

But Todd Bowles probably wants a quarterback who won't suddenly string together month-long 40 percent completion-rate slumps and doesn't turn routine plays into heroic Hobbit quests. That's why half the Jets organization attended a private Mariota workout, and why the Jets will take a long look at the Brett Hundley tier of quarterbacks if they get outflanked for Mariota.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 69.5 percent

3. Cleveland Browns

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Johnny Manziel (first round, 2014)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Only the Browns can face a no-win quarterback decision a month before they even enter the draft. If they draft a quarterback early, they obviously turn the page on Manziel and return to their eternal quarterback treadmill. If they don't draft a quarterback, they take an enormous leap of faith that Manziel can climb from rehab to on-field competence in the time frame between now and the moment they realize Josh McCown cannot play at all, which will occur in early August.

The Browns almost have to draft a quarterback just to make sure they have the necessary warm bodies. Otherwise, Connor Shaw is likely to get a long look in the window between McCown's meltdown and Manziel's reintroduction.

Of course, the Browns could still wrest Sam Bradford away from the Eagles. Bradford, not the Eagles, may be the one who needs convincing. Peter King has hinted that Bradford was reluctant to discuss contract extensions with Cleveland for some reason. If the Browns do get the ever-injured Bradford, it means…Connor Shaw will probably start some games.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): 69.75 percent

2. Washington Redskins

Last QBs Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins (first and fourth rounds, respectively, 2012)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Five

Jay Gruden restated at the league meetings that Griffin is his starting quarterback, as of that exact moment in March when he was speaking. He said the same thing at the combine in February. Gruden should be forced to update his relationship status with Griffin twice per week during the offseason.

It can be a Facebook page, or maybe a cellphone alert system. Or maybe the Redskins need a sign outside their Virginia practice facility, like the Smokey Bear forest fire signs outside state parks. "Chance of Griffin Criticism Today: Moderate. Please, No Campfires."

The Redskins are hosting a Mariota workout. General Manager Scot McCloughan was hired to restore sanity to the depth chart. And Gruden doesn't want to keep reciting the Griffin Oath every morning. Griffin may well get one more chance to compete for a starting job, but it won't be against Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4)72.75 percent

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last QB Drafted (Rounds 1-4): Mike Glennon (third round, 2013)

Quarterbacks Drafted Since 2005 (Total): Four

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 21: Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State look on during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 21, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Buccaneers are drafting a quarterback. If Jameis Winston gets arrested tomorrow for crashing an oil tanker into a manatee preserve, they will just draft Mariota. Or possibly just draft Winston and send a check to the manatees.

Chance of Drafting a Quarterback (Rounds 1-4): Greater than 99 percent

Mike Tanier covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X