The Redskins desperately need a "quarterback of the future" and the draft is always the best opportunity to add one. It's also the best opportunity to pick a guy way higher than he should go and set your franchise back five years in the process, but let's not deal with that unpleasantness right now.
We talked in the last post about the quarterbacks who figure to be available around when the Redskins will be drafting, now let's take a look at the teams who will be picking ahead of the Redskins that could snatch those guys up before Shanahan has the chance to get his hands on them. Here is the draft order from SB Nation, now let's break down which teams in the top ten might consider taking elite signal callers at the top of the draft.
If they didn't have a bad enough season to earn the number one pick, they might consider giving Jimmy Clausen another year to develop and trying to fill another hole on the roster. But because they have the first selection and Andrew Luck is available, everyone is assuming they will go in that direction. Based on what we've seen from Clausen this year, that is probably a pretty good choice.
They'll be picking second, but for a team this bad, they actually have a glut of capable quarterbacks. Kyle Orton could be a starter, Tim Tebow showed a decent amount when given an opportunity at the end of the year, and they still have Brady Quinn to remind them of the terrible trade they made with the Browns in which they gave up Peyton Hillis. I personally don't think any of these guys can be much more than an above average QB in the NFL, but with Luck off the board and plenty of holes to fill on the roster, I'd assume the Broncos look elsewhere this high in the draft. They have too much invested in the position already to not take the best player available here.
Boy would they have loved to finish with a bad enough record to take Andrew Luck. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a pretty good season for them, but he isn't the type of player that signals a particularly bright future for the franchise. But like the Broncos, they have a capable starting quarterback, and plenty of other holes to fill. If they fall in love with Cam Newton they may take him here, but that would be kind of a reach. Going best player available is always the best way to draft, and for their sake, I'd hope the Bills subscribe to this theory.
The Bengals are in a tough place with regards to the quarterback position. Just a few seasons ago Carson Palmer was listed among the top five or six quarterbacks in the league, but he had an absolutely terrible season this year. Do they let him go and start over, or do they take somebody at a different position and give Palmer a chance to regain his form with a better supporting cast. Maybe taking A.J. Green helps Palmer rebound, which would provide double value for the pick. Like the Bills, the Bengals could fall in love with somebody and reach for him here, but I would be surprised if they didn't go in a different direction.
Max Hall is not the answer. John Skelton is probably not the answer. Derek Anderson is definitely not the answer. This is the first team in the draft after the Panthers that doesn't have a player on the roster that can start a game in the NFL without evoking laughter from fans of the other team. They need a QB of the future to rally around in the worst way. But picking somebody in the top five, particularly a QB, means paying them a lot of money, so there needs to be someone whom they feel is worth that type of value if they want to pull the trigger. Maybe Arizona falls in love with Cam Newton, Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett and pick him here. Or maybe it goes with a safer option and try to give the big armed Skelton another chance. But if it likes one of the QBs on the board, this might be the safest bet for the second QB to come off the board.
Colt McCoy played well enough in the final part of the season to show the Browns that he can be at the very least an average starting quarterback in the NFL. Time will tell if he can be anything more than that. But he played well enough that the Browns won't be looking to replace him with this pick. They'll probably work on adding some talent around him.
You can probably pencil one of the quarterbacks in at this slot, unless the whole Alex Smith experience has made them a little gun shy about picking a QB in the top 10. Like the Cardinals, they desperately need a young quarterback to build around and that inspire confidence in the fan base. That player is not on their roster. This would be a good spot for Cam Newton if he performs well in the national championship game and has a good combine. I'm not saying that he will justify being picked in this spot, just that the 49ers make a lot of sense as a destination for him.
Does anyone have any idea what's going on with the Titans QB situation? Seriously, I'll give $100 to the first person who has a legitimate handle on what the Titans plan to do at that position. Is Vince Young done there? It seems like he might be but who really knows? Is he done enough that the Titans would replace him with a top ten pick? To me, it seems more likely that they would take somebody at a different position. But again, this is the team that I have no idea about. But I assume that the Young situation will become a little bit more clear over the next few months, so maybe we'll know by draft day what their intentions are. They have a dire need to figure out their QB situation, I'm just not sure that their solution will come through the draft.
They've got Tony Romo coming back and John Kitna as one of the most capable backups in the NFL. There is no way they take a QB here. This is the first team that we can say unequivocally does not need a quarterback.
Do we really need to go into it? Rex Grossman started the last three games of the season. 'Nuff said.
I'm including them on the list because they might pick ahead of the Skins based on the results of a coin flip. But they have Matt Schaub on the roster so they won't be taking a QB here anyway. So they don't really factor into this equation, even if they get the tenth pick over Washington.
Here is how I would break down those 11 teams based on needing a quarterback.
- Carolina will be taking Andrew Luck, or they will be facing an enormous backlash from the media and their fans. But hey, Mario Williams has certainly worked out so who knows.
- Arizona and San Fransisco desperately need a QB and will probably take one if there is a guy they can justify picking that high.
- Buffalo and Cincinnati could use an upgrade at the position, but are likely to stick with what they have because there isn't a quarterback who is a sure thing where they are drafting and they have decent options for 2011. Denver falls into this category because of Tim Tebow, however he may turn out.
- Cleveland, Dallas and Houston are all set.
- Washington needs a QB, it just comes down to if the guy they like is available.
- Who knows that's going on in Tennessee.
So of the teams picking ahead of the Skins, I see three teams that probably would prefer drafting a QB over any other position, including Carolina at the top. But there are three other teams that may surprise and take a QB if they fall in love with a guy. And one team that is a complete enigma. There is also always the possibility that a team trades up and snatches somebody up before they get to the Redskins. So basically, who knows what is going to happen. But if the Skins like any of the top four QB prospects, there is a good chance at least one of them will be available to them when they pick.