Five bold, crazy, stupid, daring, wacky predictions and thoughts about where all the free agent and top NFL quarterback prospects will end up playing.
5 (Potentially) Stupid NFL Draft, Free Agent Quarterback Predictions
After an all-time crazy football season, the NFL Draft and free agent market for quarterbacks is more insane than ever.
Thank you, Tom Brady, for ruining the curve for everyone else.
There’s no patience at this point, everyone wants the next superstar, and a good portion of the NFL has to figure out who its Week 1 starter is going to be.
Here are 5 (potentially) stupid predictions, thoughts and calls on how this is all going to shake out, starting with one major shift …
5. Let someone else develop your starting quarterback or keep pumping that NFL Draft slot machine
There was a time not all that long ago when an NFL team would draft a quarterback, let him stink and develop for a year or three, and then expect the payoff to come with a franchise-level superstar to work everything around for a decade.
Peyton Manning threw 26 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions as a rookie, Patrick Mahomes started just one game in his first year and didn’t do anything, and Aaron Rodgers barely saw the field in his first three seasons.
Tua Tagovailoa – there’s grouchiness by some that he wasn’t amazing after taking over late in his rookie season.
Dwayne Haskins – the 15th overall pick in 2019 – gone.
Daniel Jones – the 6th overall pick in 2019 – possibly pushed aside if the Giants upgrade in the draft.
Drew Lock – a 2nd round pick in 2019 – make-or-break year.
Sam Darnold – 3rd overall pick in 2018 – on the trading block, and 10th overall pick Josh Rosen is but a memory.
2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff – traded. 2016 No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz – about to be traded. 2016 26th overall pick Paxton Lynch – see Drew Lock.
On the positive side, there’s so much NFL-ready quarterback talent available now that there’s no reason and no time to dink around with a guy who might just be okay. The college game is cranking out talent like never before, but there’s an easier and smarter way to do this. As 2020 showed, you can get a Philip Rivers or a Cam Newton or a Tom Brady, and that’s why there are two ways to do this.
1) Let someone else develop your quarterback, or 2) keep drafting a QB, but bail fast if he’s not amazing.
Try this out. Take 2020 out of the mix because those quarterbacks are just getting started. Who were the first three quarterbacks taken in the ten drafts before last year?
Draft round followed by overall pick in parentheses.
2019: (1, 1) Kyler Murray (great); (1, 6) Daniel Jones (meh); (1, 15) Dwayne Haskins (oooooops)
2018: (1, 1) Baker Mayfield (fine, but not exactly special); (1, 3) Sam Darnold (never had a chance on miserable teams); (1, 7) Josh Allen (NFL MVP caliber). ALSO, though (1, 10) Josh Rosen (never really had a shot and hasn’t been able to stick); (1, 32) Lamar Jackson (NFL MVP-caliber)
2017: (1, 2) Mitchell Trubisky (all-time disaster because of …); (1, 10) Patrick Mahomes (Michael Jordan); (1, 12) Deshaun Watson (superstar)
2016: (1, 1) Jared Goff (unfairly dogged, but hasn’t taken the next step); (1, 2) Carson Wentz (almost MVP-caliber early, but needs fresh start); (1, 26) Paxton Lynch (oh dear lord ….)
2015: (1, 1) Jameis Winston (had to make the pick, but never got to next level); (1, 2) Marcus Mariota (the whole thing just couldn’t get going); (3, 75) Garrett Grayson (which was why Winston and Mariota went 1-2)
2014: (1, 3) Blake Bortles (no); (1, 22) Johnny Manziel (I’m on record so I can say this – if you didn’t know at the time what a monster NFL bust he was going to be …); (1, 32) Teddy Bridgewater (catastrophic leg injury derailed promising career). BTW next was (2, 36) Derek Carr (more than serviceable NFL starting quarterback); (2, 62) Jimmy Garoppolo (serviceable NFL quarterback, but I’m still convinced that NFL teams only like him because he’s beautiful)
2013: (1, 16) EJ Manuel (Josh Allen was taken with the 7th overall pick in 2018); (2, 39) Geno Smith (to be fair, 2nd rounder); (3, 73) Mike Glennon (dude made $30 million so far and counting)
2012: (1, 1) Andrew Luck (potential all-time great who left early); (1, 2) Robert Griffin (great rookie year and that was that); (1, 8) Ryan Tannehill (carved out a nice career). BTW, after (1, 22) Brandon Weeden and (2, 57) Brock Osweiler went (3, 75) Russell Wilson, then (3, 88) Nick Foles, then (4, 102) Kirk Cousins
2011: (1, 1) Cam Newton (history and stats will be kinder than current perception); (1, 8) Jake Locker (Titans had to take Marcus Mariota with the 2nd overall pick three years later); (1, 10) Blaine Gabbert (Super Bowl LV champion quarterback)
2010: (1, 1) Sam Bradford (the last of the pre-cap QBs made over $130 million); (1, 25) Tim Tebow (New York Met wannabe); (2, 48) Jimmy Clausen (7 TD passes for Carolina, 14 picks)
The point? NFL quarterback situations are fluid now.
Patrick Mahomes is the one quarterback drafted among the top three at the position before 2018 – okay, and possibly Watson – who’s still 100% rock-solid going into 2021 for the team that drafted him. Matt Ryan (2008) and Aaron Rodgers (2005) are the only other two overall, and Ryan is iffy.
So let’s get into the big, stupid predictions …