There’s been a lot of talk about which quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL draft are best suited for teams in need of franchise signal callers, but rarely do we look at it from the players’ perspective.
Thing is, now that a slotting system controls the money first-round picks get, there’s no longer a dire need to be picked as high as possible. Instead, good fits might actually take precedent. You’d rather be in a good spot as a 20th pick than in a terrible spot as a first overall selection.
So let’s take the seven teams that truly look to be in dire need of a quarterback and rank them in terms of how enticing they’d be for a rookie pivot.
1. Cleveland Browns: Solid defense and lots of weapons on offense. They’re young and talented, even if the front office is a mess.
2. Houston Texans: Welcome. Meet Arian, Andre and DeAndre. And oh there’s J.J. Watt, the best defensive player in football. All are ready to serve you.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quality team on both sides of the ball, lots of room to grow and a good coaching staff in place. Can’t ask for a lot more.
4. Minnesota Vikings: Jury’s still out on the coaching staff and Adrian Peterson has a finite amount of gas left in the tank. Lots of question marks here.
5. Tennessee Titans: This doesn’t strike you as a team about to flourish, and Jake Locker is still there.
6. Oakland Raiders: I don’t like what that regime’s been doing and the offense doesn’t look as though it’ll being overly supportive.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sorry, but this is simply an unstable franchise with few good parts and an uncertain future. No quarterback has succeeded there since Mark Brunell, so there’s little reason to believe things will be any different for you.
Of course, that doesn’t include teams that currently have starting quarterbacks locked in. The reality is that a lot of the guys in this year’s draft would be better off in New England or Denver, where they’d get a chance to wait in the wings while learning from Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
If I’m Teddy Bridgewater right now, I’d prefer to be drafted by the Patriots instead of the Raiders or Jags, regardless of immediate starting opportunities. That’s sort of what happened to Aaron Rodgers in 2005, when he slid from San Francisco and other quarterback-needy teams and wound up behind Brett Favre in Green Bay. Things worked out OK for that guy.
So here are eight under-the-radar quarterback destinations:
1. New England Patriots: Tom Brady is 36.
2. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning is 38.
3. New York Giants: Always in contention and Eli Manning could be running out of time/rope.
4. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees is 35 and Sean Payton is a genius.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger is quite beat up for 32.
6. Dallas Cowboys: Do-or-die year for the 34-year-old Tony Romo.
7. St. Louis Rams: Do-or-die year for Sam Bradford.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Carson Palmer is a year-to-year guy at the age of 34.