By Paul Wanecski
As the NFL draft approaches, more and more people are discussing Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be selecting FSU’s Jamies Winston with the first overall selection, so I suppose it is natural to look to where the next best quarterback will fall. Here we will go through a variety of situations and circumstances that could lead to the former duck landing in a new pond.
Draft Order: What Could Happen and What it Would Take
1. Buccaneers - If they don’t select Winston and instead select DE Williams or Mariota, the phones of the Tennessee Titans might actually explode with teams looking to trade up. Tampa would have to be simply blown away by an offer to trade down that would have to include at least 3 first round selections and possibly a 2nd or 3rd round selection this year.
2. Titans - While they have MANY needs, it is hard to believe that they are trying to sell Mettenberger as a starting QB. Williams makes a lot of sense for them. They are also going to be listening to offers. Phillip Rivers has been floated out as a possibility but a trade is highly unlikely. They should look to trade down if the Jets call offering the 6thoverall selection along with a 3rd and 4th round this year and a 1st, 2nd the following year. This would keep them high enough in the draft to still draft an impact player. Houston, Washington, Arizona, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, and New Orleans will all be in the QB market this year.
3. Jaguars - While the Jags have a plenty of needs, the worth of their pick is stipulated on what happens with the Titans. We will just move forward and assume that Mariota is still on the board. The Jets will look to jump up again. So will Cleveland, figuring that they could throw either both first round selections or this and next year’s first to move up.
4. Raiders - Already set at the QB position, the Raiders need offensive weapons. Could they benefit from both of Cleveland’s first round selections? Absolutely. New Orleans also has two first round selections, but they still have an effective Drew Brees and won’t panic to acquire a QB.
5. Redskins - They have until May 3rd to pick up RGIII and his $16+ million dollar option. Obviously, the draft will be completed by then. If Mariota falls to them, they won’t be trading out of this pick. They could then look to deal RGIII for whatever they can get for him.
6. Jets - They will try and try to move up. Word is they absolutely LOVE Mariota. No-brainer pick at 6th if he is available
7. Bears - Still looking for a QB of the future, they could have a few different options. If any other team takes Mariota, they may look to flip Cutler to Cleveland and call Washington about RGIII.
8. Falcons - They have no interest in trading up for a QB
9. Giants - Eli Manning is paid a lot of money and they may look to move on from the investment at some point. They will not mortgage the future in this draft to do that. I would expect them to explore options to trade down. They need offensive line help and would benefit from an additional selection in the 2nd or 3rdround to try and rebuild a dismantled secondary.
10. Rams - Nick Foles is the answer apparently in St. Louis. I don’t believe it either, but the cupboards were bare last year. They are fine with Foles and Austin Davis for the time being. This pick is tough to trade since it’s the last one at that high 5th year option in the first round. Most teams will want pick 11.
11. Vikings - They have a lot of needs and QB isn’t one. The Vikings have been aggressive in previous years when moving around the first round, so it wouldn’t shock us to see them trade down to a team like the Panthers who will be trying to find a starting left tackle.
12. Browns - We don’t think Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel will be the answer for the Browns. Honestly, Connor Shaw looked better in one game than either did last year. With two bullets in the gun (holding the 12th and 19th selection), they have the ammo to move if they really want to. Bradford from the Eagles makes sense (because most insane ideas seem to make sense in Cleveland), Cutler does as well. They will need to capitalize while they have something that other teams want.
13. Saints - We suggested in the 32 Teams in 32 Days articles that New Orleans would look to get in the basement of the 1st round to select a QB (insert Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson rumors here). While dealing Jimmy Graham, they did that. They won’t be going anywhere with this pick.
14. Dolphins - After picking up Tannehill’s option, they have committed to him for the next 2 seasons. If they move up, it will be for a WR, but don’t expect that to happen with as deep as this draft is at the position.
15. 49ers - Kaepernick has been on the rumor circle for months, but with his contract, they shouldn’t be able to move him realistically. The 49ers need linebackers and this pick is a perfect place to start to rebuild that.
16. Texans - With bringing in Brian Hoyer and retaining Ryan Mallett, it appears they are going to let both former Patriots sissy-slap each other for the starting gig. They will most likely be drafting in the top 10 next year as the only offensive weapon they really have is an aging running back with back problems.
17. Chargers - They will try to get a QB at some point, handcuffing the position if they are unable to resign to trade Rivers. This pick would be a bit early to do that, but crazier things have happened.
18. Chiefs - Alex Smith, Terrell Pryor, Chase Daniels, Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray are all in the fold. If Daniels, Murray or Bray were released, they would have no problem finding a job. The Chiefs are in a good spot to address WR depth.
19. Bills (owned by Browns) - They have nothing to deal to move up. If anything, they could trade the 50thoverall selection and move down in the 2nd round to acquire additional selections next year. They really are not fighting to draft a starter but would be helped by adding a guard, linebacker (inside preferred), tackle (they only have 3 on the roster currently), safety, and a taller wr. It wouldn’t be a surprise for them to draft a QB, but the value at 50 may be gone.
20. Eagles - Chip Kelly may have lost his mind but it has been fun to watch. He has Bradford who could be moved for a pick to Cleveland, which would give him two firsts to move up to acquire Mariota before the Jets or Redskins can. It’s a huge jump to have to make and will cost him more than just two first rounder’s. He will also need to include a 2nd and 4th and possibly next year’s 1st rounder.
21. Bengals - Andy Dalton is fine. He is also overpaid. While AJ McCarron was selected last year, he was injured and didn’t take enough snaps to give them any feel about his future. If a team were to call about McCarron, they would be wise to move him.
22. Steelers - Pittsburgh had a complete cleanout in the secondary with player retirement. They will be able to get tremendous value as most of the top CBs will probably still be on the board.
23. Lions - With the loss of the Suh, defensive tackle is the most logical choice for them. They may look to try and improve the offensive line depending on the dilution of the talent pool prior to their selection.
24. Cardinals - Carson Palmer is no spring chicken. Logan Thomas probably isn’t really a QB. Drew Stanton is overpaid. While they will need to look to retool the QB position, they could use assistance in the running game more. They will also need to look to get an impact WR. This selection will give them all the options they can handle.
25. Panthers - They need a starting left tackle and those are hard to find at the 25th selection. I would anticipate they move up, but if they don’t, they will have to try and figure something out.
26. Ravens - They have no interest in the QB position, but will draft someone in the later rounds.
27. Cowboys - After establishing the best offensive line in football, they are said to be feverishly pursuing Adrian Peterson (how they intend to pay him is an entirely different story; realistically, they cannot afford him). While this is highly unlikely, it does speak to the loss of DeMarco Murray. They might snag an RB here because they won’t be able to wait until the bottom of the 2nd to get the type of player they want.
28. Broncos - Brock Osweiler is the most interesting player who hasn’t been talked about at the QB position. He has played minimal snaps. He is also in a contract year. For a QB hungry team, he could make a logical choice. They team needs to make a decision if they draft Peyton’s replacement this year or if they resign Osweiler and see if it is him.
29. Colts - Andrew Luck. Enough said.
30. Packers- They have only one player starting for them who has played for another team. They will look to rebuild the linebacker group a bit, or snag a top guard.
31. Seahawks (owned by New Orleans) - This is the 3rd year they have dealt their 1st round pick. This is now owned by New Orleans. This year marks a critical one for the future of Russell Wilson. Prior to Wilson, Seattle brought QBs in by the truckload trying to find a starter. Could this happen again?
32. Patriots - This pick is the last one in the draft that offers a team 5th year option. If another team has a 1stround grade on a player who is still on the board, it won’t cost much to snag it from the Pats