By Drafting a Quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft
Everyone is talking about it. The 2018 NFL quarterback class appears rock solid. The class could produce the best quarterback class in decades. And watch, it won’t be the typical teams drafting a quarterback in 2018.
@Andy_Benoit Spend money THIS year on Cousins(tag),then if things don’t work out, the 2018 draft looks stacked at QB – could be best class in decades
— Mark Tyler(SBNation) (@PSUHomer) April 5, 2017
- Sam Darnold, USC
- Josh Rosen, UCLA
- Josh Allen, Wyoming
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 2016 Heisman Trophy Award winner
- Jake Browning, Washington
- Luke Falk, Washington State
By comparison, only four quarterbacks currently get first round attention in the 2017 NFL mock drafts.
So, there are plenty of quality quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL draft. Now, who is going to draft them?
It will be interesting to see if teams trade up to get the Darnold or Rosen. Or, will they be satisfied waiting for a quarterback to fall to them and take what they get. Or, will a team trade up to take one of the other four quarterbacks at the top of the NFL Draft Board.
What Good Teams Do
When it comes to trading up or waiting, the better teams go out and get what they want.
Notice I didn’t say need. Good teams usually avoid allowing a position deteriorate to a need in the draft. If a need develops in the off season, good teams tend to take care of it in free agency.
Free agency offers teams more control of the situation, pay enough and get the player. After the first pick in the draft, there are no guarantees. A team can expect a player to fall to them in the draft. But, another team could also trade up at the last minute, to the pick just before, and swipe the targeted player.
Good teams control the situation. They take the best player on the board. And if they like a player, they position themselves in the draft with trades as necessary.
Even then there are no guarantees, and the team will take the best player available. Remember, the good teams never depend on a single player, not even the New England Patriots. As Jimmy Garoppolo proved in 2016 the Patriots are capable of wining without Tom Brady. They may not have won a Super Bowl, but they would’ve been competitive.
The New England Patriots
Speaking of Jimmy Garoppolo, he created a lot of blogging material at the beginning of the 2017 free agency period.
The rumors indicated the New England Patriots would trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns. In return the Patriots would get the number one overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, or more.
The rumors claimed the Browns balked at the idea. Although, some writers believe the trade could still happen.
I don’t see the trade happening. The Patriots are a smart team. They don’t need anything from the Browns. On the other hand, the Browns wedged themselves into a corner without a quarterback. The Patriots won’t give and the Browns will take a quarterback in the draft because they need a quarterback.
And with Tony Romo’s retirement, the price for Garoppolo only goes up.
That leaves the Patriots with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady wants to play until he’s 45. But the Patriots need to protect themselves from a drop in production from Brady. So, the Patriots will keep Garoppolo. Or, the Patriots will draft a franchise quarterback in 2018.
The Patriots plan for the 2018 NFL draft flows like this. They workout Darnold, Rosen, and the others. The Patriots will evaluate if they want Garoppolo or a 2018 quarterback. Then, the Patriots either keep Garoppolo, or, they trade Garoppolo, and whatever else is necessary to get their target quarterback in 2018.
Dealing with a Hall of Fame quarterback at the end of his career presents challenges. Recently the Indianapolis Colts struggled with releasing one of the greatest ever, Peyton Manning to draft the quarterback of the decade, Andrew Luck. The San Francisco 49ers transitioned from Montana to Young and created the greatest quarterback controversy in history. The Patriots transition from Bledsoe to Brady proceeded smoothly. But another legendary controversy occurred in Green Bay.
The Green Bay Packers
Brett Favre pass for over 4000 yards in 2004 and the Green Bay Packers still drafted Aaron Rodgers in the spring of 2005. Granted some say Favre showed his age during the season.
Many draft analysts projected Rodgers as the number one pick going to the San Francisco 49ers. When the Niners balked and picked Alex Smith, Rodgers fell all the way to Green Bay at 24.
I imagine most teams were set in their plans and yet the Green Bay Packers took the best player on the board, that’s what good teams do, although they had a 35 year old quarterback that churned out six more years in the NFL. After some time on the bench learning the Rodgers displaced Favre.
You see where this is going.
Could the same thing happen to a 34 year old Rodgers? Could the Green Bay Packers draft a Darnold, or Rosen, let them learn from the sidelines, then jettison Rodgers?
Now, I don’t think the Green Bay Packers will sell the house to drop down in the draft to get Darnold or Rosen. But, they might.
The NCAA doesn’t produce may franchise quarterbacks. Over half the teams in the NFL have a below average quarterback, as Yogi Berra would say. Rodgers won’t last another decade. And if the Packers can solidify the quarterback position for another decade with a third franchise quarterback, they might bite.
The Pittsburgh Steelers
This one is a relatively recent development, but one that should have been on our radars. Because of this massive stature, 6-5, 241, we see Ben Roethlisberger as indestructible.
The truth is, he is almost two years older than Aaron Rodgers and he’s been through more injuries than Rodgers.
In January this year Big Ben indicated that there might not be anything left in the tank. “I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,”
The Steelers have been a top tier team since Roethlisberger’s arrival. And shortly after Roethlisberger’s cryptic message, the Steelers re-signed the top NFL wide receiver, Antonio Brown.
Whether it was Brown’s new contract, or other factors, Roethlisberger decided to stay in Pittsburgh to the relief of Steelers fans.
Informed the team I am looking forward to my 14th season. Steeler Nation will get my absolute best! — Ben.
— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) April 7, 2017
The Steelers appear to be well run. And good teams do what good teams do. The Steelers are probably already poring over film of the top six, or more, quarterbacks to identify Roethlisberger’s replacement.
After Terry Bradshaw, the Steelers couldn’t find a starting quarterback that could win a Super Bowl, until Roethlisberger. They probably don’t want to face that again, and will be well positioned in the 2018 NFL draft to get their next franchise quarterback.
What to Watch
Watch for teams positioning themselves with extra draft choices they can later use to trade down in the 2018 NFL draft. The Patriots hold a good hand with Jimmy Garoppolo. And the list of teams looking for a quarterback extends beyond these three.
You can imagine that a half dozen teams will look for a quarterback in the first round of 2018. And, by coincidence, there are a half dozen decent candidates on the NFL Draft Board.
— The Statisphere (@statisphere) April 7, 2017
Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Luke Falk, and Mason Rudolph all are top QB prospects in 2018 NFL Draft. I’m liking the class
— Browns Chalk Talk (@BrownsChalkTalk) April 5, 2017