At the onset of the offseason, there was no specific consensus first overall selection, but it was split between two prospects. Many believed Teddy Bridgewater would be taken by the Texans, or Houston would take Jadeveon Clowney simply because he’s the best player in the draft.
Those days are long gone. Clowney appears to be the consensus top pick, and there’s a good chance there won’t be any quarterbacks taken in the top five. Furthermore, Teddy Bridgewater appears to have slid behind rival quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.
Although Clowney’s talent may have bumped the quarterbacks out of the top slot in the draft, it’s other quarterbacks further down the line that have likely impacted the projected slide from the top by Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel. It’s tough to rationalize using a top five draft pick on a quarterback when Derek Carr, who will likely be pulled off the board in the second round, is very nearly as good of a prospect as anyone at the top of the draft.
One quarterback wouldn’t be enough to shift the top end of the draft, but the perception is that there’s plenty of solid options deeper in the draft that could turn into long-term solutions. Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger and A.J. McCarron, in addition to the aforementioned Carr, could all become franchise quarterbacks.
This year’s quarterback class lacks elite talent at the top, but it does have solid depth, and that’s what has shifted the perception of where the best quarterbacks will be selected.
There may be yet another twist in the road for quarterback prospects on draft day. Because teams think they can spend a first round pick on the best available player, then pick up a franchise quarterback in the second round, the top quarterbacks in the draft may slide beyond simply the top five.
That being said, once teams realize they can get a bargain quarterback in the first round, probably outside the top ten, there could be a small run on the top quarterback prospects.
Essentially all this boils down to a strange, skewed draft. Usually, the top quarterbacks fly off the board quickly simply because the NFL is a quarterback driven league. Still, teams are always looking for value in the draft, and because of that, teams may avoid taking a quarterback early in the draft order. Don’t expect the first round to pass without a quarterback coming off the board, but don’t be surprised to see those top quarterback prospects to slide just a little big on draft day.