2. Where the QBs will go early in the NFL Draft
Let’s just assume that Joe Burrow is going No. 1 overall to someone. If it’s not Cincinnati, then Miami is moving up to get him, or someone else makes a power play move to give away the house for a franchise quarterback.
But who needs a rookie quarterback?
Remembering that teams like the Titans will go the free agent route before they deal with a top pick for a rookie, there are just three teams – Cincinnati, Miami, Los Angeles Chargers – who have to address their quarterback situations early on in the draft.
Two other teams – Indianapolis and Jacksonville – will likely be in the mix for a new starter from the college ranks, too.
This isn’t quite the superstar class for quarterbacks you might think it is, only because of the question marks.
Burrow only really did it for one glorious year at LSU. Tua Tagovailoa has the medical concerns, there are concerns about whether or not Justin Herbert is fiery enough, Jake Fromm’s arm is just meh, Jacob Eason needs some tweaking, and Jordan Love is coming off a mediocre season.
With all of that said, here’s the early call – before the free agent world kicks in full force a month from now – for how this is going to go.
Joe Burrow, LSU: No. 1 overall to Cincinnati or Miami
Again, the call is that Miami will put together a sweet package of cash and prizes to move up from the No. 5 to the 1 to grab Burrow, but if it doesn’t, the Bengals snag him in the top spot.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: No. 5 overall to Cincinnati or Miami
The early returns on the medical concerns over his hip are positive. If he’s looking like it’s all systems go, there’s a chance teams start to furiously try to trade up to get inside the top five to get him. If not, he’s either a Dolphin or a Bengal at the 5.
Justin Herbert, Oregon: No. 6 overall to Los Angeles Chargers
Put Tagovailoa here if Herbert goes in the top five. Unless the Chargers can land one of the massive free agent stars, no way they don’t kick things off with a new quarterback in the attempt to make a splash in their shiny new digs.
And here’s where things get interesting. Don’t dismiss the idea that Carolina takes a quarterback at the seven. Will Grier might have been an early pick last year, but if Tagovailoa or Herbert slide, or if Jordan Love goes lights out in offseason workouts, the new coaching staff might want to start fresh if it doesn’t want Cam Newton around anymore or doesn’t want one of the key free agents. For now, assume everything will be set by draft day.
Jordan Love, Utah State: No. 13 overall to Indianapolis
Jacksonville might be a player at the 9, and the Raiders might make things interesting at the 12, but with the Jacoby Brissett thing not ending on the highest of notes, the Colts need a franchise quarterback to build around. Love has all of the tools and could go earlier to the Chargers. If Herbert slides to this spot … yoink.
And here’s where the other twist might come.
Miami has the 18th pick, and Jacksonville has the 20. There’s a chance they each go Best Player Available with the 5 and 9, respectively, and wait until here to see what happens. There’s a shot Love or Herbert drop, and Eason and Fromm will definitely be around here. The Dolphins could wait until the 26, too.
Jacob Eason, Washington: 2nd round, No. 42 overall to Jacksonville
In a deep first round, there won’t be too much of a rush to move up to grab Eason or Fromm. Jacksonville can fill needs at corner and on the D line with the 9 and 20, and then wait it out until the 42.
Jake Fromm, Georgia: 2nd round, No. 62 overall to Green Bay
It worked well last time. No one is saying Fromm is another Aaron Rodgers – there’s a MASSIVE difference in arm strength – but the Packers can spend the next two years grooming their future starter as Rodgers – who famously spent a few years waiting behind Brett Favre before cranking up his own legendary career – turns 37 this season.
Okay … so let’s do this.