The top of the NFL draft order is littered with teams that have a big problem at the most important position in football. Quarterbacks that have the ability to carry their teams into the postseason year after year are rare, and teams like the Texans, Jaguars and Browns will have the first shot at this year’s crop of signal callers.
Still, there’s no denying the lack of a consensus top quarterback in the draft. Unlike last year, this year’s quarterback crop has some high end talent, but no one agrees on anything about the group as a whole. Some say Teddy Bridgewater is bound for Houston while others claim the smart money is on Johnny Manziel. Still others question whether either of the aforementioned prospects are worthy of a first round selection at all.
The nuance to consider about such a premium position is the panic that strikes every team once quarterbacks start falling off the board. Last year was a bit of an exception to the rule, but usually once one top-end quarterback is selected, anyone that was considered close in talent to him is snatched in the coming picks.
That raises a very important question. If Houston does take Bridgewater, or Manziel for that matter, will there be a quick run on quarterbacks?
The smart money suggests that, yes, there will be a brief run at the quarterback position from teams selecting near the top of the draft order if Houston goes that direction.
For our example, we’ll say that Houston selects Bridgewater with the first pick in the draft. Next up would be the St. Louis Rams. They’ve been known to deal their top draft pick for numerous picks down the line, that’s why they’re picking second overall instead of the Redskins, and there’s no doubt they’d be willing to shop the second pick to a team needing a quarterback.
With the Jaguars drafting third, the Browns, who hold the fourth selection, may get desperate to make sure they have their shot at a top quarterback, probably Manziel. If the Jaguars catch wind that the Browns are trying to leapfrog them, and they would, the Jaguars may try to outbid the Browns.
Again, for our example, we’ll say the Jaguars land Manziel in front of the Browns. Suddenly the Browns are in a pickle. They can either reach for another quarterback or they can trade down and get their next best guy later in the first round. Additionally, the Browns could decide to abandon the hunt for a first round quarterback and take a core player to bolster a less-than-talented roster.
The first round of the NFL draft is always full of surprises, but the scramble to find a franchise quarterback may be too much for a few teams at the top of the draft to resist. The Texans have it easy; they don’t have to fight anyone to get the player they want. The Jaguars, Browns and perhaps a team like the Buccaneers that wants to jump up the board may find themselves in a bidding war for the second overall pick. It’s always possible that the quarterback market could soften over the next few months, but with so many teams in need of a franchise signal caller, it’s very unlikely.