We are almost in full swing of NFL draft season, and one topic continues to dominate the discussion: the quarterback class.
How do they rank, and where will they go? At this stage, only one thing is for certain: this is a special class. If you’re a team on the fence about taking one of these guys, I suggest you pull the trigger. Let’s get to the questions.
We have three fairly similar questions to kick us off. The first…
I feel like this actually best case scenario for the Jets. Take a ransom for pick #2 (#10, two future first round picks, a second and a third), pick some weapons and take a swing at QB, pick in volume later on. Thoughts on this strategy? pic.twitter.com/TTgMioREfi
— Andrew Bortnick (@IAmBortnick) January 2, 2021
Which do you prefer? Drafting a QB top ten without a good/great supporting cast and then hopefully revolving around him, or getting a good/great supporting cast then trading up from twenties for a QB. ie KC
— Jeremy Cassel (@CastleJeremy) January 1, 2021
And to finish…
Was the Browns strategy of building a team and passing on QB until Baker the correct move? Or should they have swung for QB with all their picks instead?
— John Sanchez (@JohnSan24629091) January 1, 2021
These questions are getting to the core of the same argument. My answer to all of them is that it depends on the quarterbacks.
The Cleveland Browns famously passed on Carson Wentz in 2016 and then Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in 2017 before selecting Baker in 2018. That said, it’s important to remember that 2016 was the first year in the life cycle of the complete teardown, and 2017 was seen by many at the time not to have a sure-fire QB1 for the first overall pick (which has obviously been proven dead wrong).
If a team is really going for a rebuild, I’m all for building some semblance of infrastructure around them before taking that quarterback (kind of what the Dolphins also tried to do) so that you’re not David Carr-ing them. So, I have no problem with how the Browns went about it. Just because you have a top pick doesn’t mean swing the bat. If there’s a guy worthy of that top pick, that’s when I advocate swinging the bat.
The Jets' teardown year was this past year, though, and now they have a ton of draft capital as well as cap space to start making big-boy plays. If this were 2019, where the options were Daniel Jones, Drew Lock and Dwayne Haskins after Kyler Murray, I’d be all in on trading down. However, as stated in the intro, this class is different — it's even better than the 2018 class.
With the 49ers drafting likely 14th-16th they are likely missing out on the top 4 QBs in the draft. Do you think that either Trask, Jones or anyone projected to go outside the first round could succeed in the 49ers offence in 2021 or is it a big drop off after the top 4
— Andy Kane (@ASKBH94) January 1, 2021
From a pure tools perspective, there’s a massive gap. Those top four guys really have it all — it’s why they’ll go quickly. That being said, I think Jones, especially, could succeed, but he’s not opening up Kyle Shanahan’s playbook in any meaningful way. That’s why…
You think a team like SF or Denver offers a Jared Goff-like package to trade up to draft Fields/Wilson? Also my pro comp for Wilson is Mahomes, tell me why I’m not crazy for doing that.
— Parker B. Luffy (@ThatDudePB_) January 1, 2021
…the 49ers make oh so much sense to be this team. Shanahan and John Lynch have to be frustrated by seeing one of the most talented rosters in the NFL sputter out to a losing season. They have to be frustrated about being one fairly easy throw away from a Super Bowl.
Shanahan has had a true “guy” at quarterback twice in his tenure as a playcaller. One was pre-injury RG3, and he put up one of the best rookie seasons ever. The other was Matt Ryan, and he won an MVP Award and nearly brought home the Super Bowl. You can’t tell me he isn’t chomping at the bit seeing Justin Fields and Zach Wilson this season.
How wary are you about drafting players who have opted out this year? Which other players in previous years have done so without being injured part of the year like Nick Bosa
— Ben Tickle (@BenjiTic) January 1, 2021
It’s actually the opposite for me. I think opt-outs will be underrated come draft time. Twenty-year-olds can physically develop by leaps and bounds in a short period. The vast, vast majority of athletic freaks only improve over their college careers. We won’t have gotten to see prime years from athletic freaks like Micah Parsons, Gregory Rousseau and Caleb Farley. Our last impression of them won’t be for a year and a half. If they’ve stayed dedicated to training over the fall, I’ve got no worries about taking one.
Now, the last high-profile time we saw this obviously doesn’t bode well for my argument above. Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and USC wide receiver Mike Williams challenged the NFL’s three-year rule back in 2004 before being told they weren’t eligible for the draft and subsequently weren’t eligible to return to school. No need to tell you how their careers turned out.
More recently, former West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson Jr. was ruled ineligible for the 2019 season before turning to the XFL for a few games. He fell to the fifth round to the Panthers and has yet to play a snap.
Is Joe Burrow the way to early favorite for comeback player of the year next year?
— Joshyboii (@JoshAhlstrom1) January 1, 2021
Yes, unless Andrew Luck comes out of retirement.
If you could construct an NFL offensive line of current players, but only using former college teammates, which school would you pick? My sleeper is Iowa, T Wirfs LT, James Daniels LG, Austin Blythe C, B Scherff RG, B Bulaga RT. Leaves Riley Reiff and Ike Boettger as back ups
— Caleb Ellis (@calebtellis) January 1, 2021
You can put together some pretty darn good lines from Alabama, Wisconsin and Iowa as you laid out, but this one still ain’t close. And the crazy thing is, four of them were actually on the same line back in 2015. Notre Dame sends out this front five:
There we have three elite starters who are in the conversation for the best at their respective positions, along with two more quality starters. That's tough to beat.
Where do you think in the Draft is the absolute floor for Kyle Pitts to be drafted. Would like to see him in Baltimore but don’t know if he will fall that far
— Griff&Co (@griffinglover) January 1, 2021
I think that hits the nail on the head for Pitts' floor. I don’t know how the Ravens can see what he brings to the table and not sprint their card in if he’s on the clock for them. Obviously, the Patriots will be a popular mock landing spot for him, but the one team I’d love to see him end up on is the Cardinals.
The Cards are already throwing out a 220-pound tight end. Pitts' flexibility would be perfect in that offense, and it would take the pressure off feeding DeAndre Hopkins.
Who will win Offensive Rookie of the year and why will the league snub Tristan Wirfs of this honor?
— Bucs Finally in the Playoffs (@PhantomVash808) January 1, 2021
If you go through the award history, there’s a fairly strong bias towards any quarterback who looks halfway decent as a rookie. Considering Justin Herbert set the rookie touchdown pass record, I’d imagine he’s a shoo-in.
What does Washington do at QB for 2021 if they make the playoffs?
— Nick Merriam (@nickwithsports) January 1, 2021
The Football Team has one of the most fascinating offseasons of any franchise in the league lying ahead of them. The biggest reason for that is obvious: their name. Are they going to stick with Football Team? I hope so. Get an unofficial mascot or something and keep those minimalist jerseys.
The other reason is that they desperately need a quarterback yet are in no position whatsoever to draft one of the top guys. With the fifth-most cap space already for 2021, according to overthecap.com, and a defense built to win now, they have to be players in the trade/free-agent quarterback market.
It’s too early to shake down exactly who will be available, but that’s where they have to start. If they like a Mac Jones or Kyle Trask, I’d advocate double-dipping at the position with a draft pick, as well.
Tell me about André Cisco, and why he should or shouldn’t be Washington’s next free safety.
— Stacee (@sallnutt12) January 1, 2021
As for Cisco, he absolutely has to land with a strong defensive coordinator (or defensive-minded head coach). He is the single worst freelancer at the safety position in the draft class. He’s also a 6-foot, 209-pound lightning rod that runs in the 4.3’s and has made more plays on the ball than any safety in college football. He simply needs to be reeled in.
I’d love Washington because Ron Rivera quite obviously can coach up a disciplined defense. Cisco might not be the answer right away after an ACL tear, but in time he’d be a difference-maker.
Best haircut to go for if you're struggling with an M shaped hairline?
— Hendrik (@HendoFSV) January 1, 2021
I think whatever you do, you have to avoid hard lines that accentuate it. That means nothing real short. Also, nothing so long that you have a part down one of the “M” angles and have it look like a wave crashing off the side of your head. Good luck!
Who is the Lions players fans should feel best about going forward?
— Steve Cox (@S_Cox1110) January 1, 2021
You get a new coach and GM? Sorry, buddy. They really are in that no man's land as a roster. The Lions are in NFL purgatory at the moment.
Are the packers still a favourite in the NFC after losing Bakhtiari?
— Kalle Landström (@Karlstar92) January 1, 2021
I still have to think so if they get the No. 1 seed. Playing one fewer game is a massive leg up for pure odds purposes.
with the packers likely moving on from aaron jones and jamaal williams this offseason, would the team be better off drafting a big back, like najee harris, or an elusive back, like kenny gainwell, to compliment aj dillon in the future?
— David Simpson ???? (@hi_davidsimpson) January 1, 2021
While A.J. Dillon can catch traditional screens or swings, he’s not going to be able to replicate any of the vertical routes or wide screens Aaron Jones has run for the Packers. Some of my favorite backs in the draft that can fill that kind of role:
- Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
- Michael Carter, North Carolina
- Demetric Felton, UCLA
Has Devonta Smith done enough this year to put himself ahead of Chase in the draft? Also, does his size concern you?
— Logan Williams (@IndieWolverine) January 1, 2021
I think it’s important to remember in this conversation that Ja’Marr Chase was 19 years old when he was physically dominating the SEC (and now NFL corners in A.J. Terrell and Trevon Diggs). When Smith was 19, he had 42 catches for 690 yards. This is what I’m driving at when I’m saying opt-out guys could very well get undervalued. Give me Chase.
Will Josh Rosen win a job in 2021?
— Curt Chipman (@ChipmanCurt) January 1, 2021
#Titans need pass rush help in the worst way, who is a pass rusher that could be available when they pick that could be an immediate impact?
— MillennialCon. (@Millennial1776) January 1, 2021
Sadly, they won’t be drafting in a great range for true immediate-impact edge-rusher. I think Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham would be a great complement stylistically to Harold Landry, though. He’s a much larger base end and pocket-pusher who could force quarterbacks into Landry’s speed rushes. Basham had a down year by his standards, but I would love to see what his explosiveness at 285 pounds could do with some NFL coaching.