It's official, the 2019 NFL Draft will have a non-graduate quarterback of interest now that Dwayne Haskins has officially declared for the draft. NFL teams at the top of the draft, rejoice.
Now, that isn't to say that Haskins isn't without flaws. On the contrary, he has only one year as a starter under his belt, and showed plenty of the normal weaknesses that you'd expect to see from a first-year signal caller. His mechanics and pocket presence will need to develop significantly at the next level, but his short-intermediate accuracy is impressive and his decision-making was pretty solid for a redshirt sophomore.
Now his development will have to continue in the NFL, where he'll have zero control over which team ultimately selects him in April. I am a HUGE believer that landing spot and coaching fit are everything for a quarterback prospect, so with that in mind, here are the five teams I believe Haskins is most likely to end up on come draft weekend.
First, keep in mind that only two teams really need a quarterback in my opinion, while five others could consider drafting one in the first round. The two in desperate need? Jacksonville and Miami, who will each move on from their current starters with nothing waiting in the wings behind them.
The other teams that I could see considering a quarterback in Round 1 are Washington, Oakland, Denver, Cincinnati and the Giants. I'm not ready to go there with Tennessee just yet. Sure, teams like New England, Los Angeles and maybe New Orleans could opt to look to the future, but in the first round of a bad quarterback class? Unlikely.
So with seven teams to consider, that makes the job of selecting five much easier. Until we know who the head coach is in Cincinnati, I'm not convinced they'll move on from Andy Dalton. And until we get an update on Alex Smith's condition, let's rule Washington out as well.
5. New York Giants - No. 6 overall
Hard as it is to believe, it sure doesn't sound like the Giants are ready to move on from Eli Manning. That could change over the next several months, but right now based on Dave Gettleman's recent comments, it appears their priorities are elsewhere. They also don't have a third round pick this year, selecting just twice in the first 100 picks. For a team with a ton of needs, that doesn't exactly suggest trading up.
Haskins would be a fit with Pat Shurmur in my opinion, but not with the Giants skill players. Odell Beckham, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard would all be better served in a more aggressive, vertical-based passing attack, which I don't project Haskins favorably too. However, as long as Shurmur is calling the shots, Haskins makes sense for the Giants.
4. Denver Broncos - No. 10 overall
We don't even know who Denver's next head coach is going to be, so it's possible we may need a mulligan on this one. I'm just not sure I can see John Elway's next big move as general manager being to trade up for a one-year starter coming from a pretty quarterback-friendly system, especially when Haskins doesn't have the upside (mobility or arm strength) he's typically desired.
Case Keenum is under contract for one more year, and I don't think Elway's seat is hot enough to spur him to action. If he passed on last year's quarterback class, I can't believe he'd be invested enough to move up for someone in the 2019 crop.
3. Oakland Raiders - No. 3 overall
This is where it starts to get interesting. I could see Haskins as a fit in Oakland with Jon Gruden, but if you're the Raiders, there is no need to rush into your next quarterback. Derek Carr finished the season competently, winning next year isn't a major priority and you know the 2020 quarterback crop looks a lot better than this one. Wouldn't it behoove you to work on drafting and developing the rest of the roster so that when you do find the ideal quarterback, the rest of the team will be ready to thrive around him?
Like everyone else, I truly have no idea what Oakland is going to do, but I would not project them to draft Haskins at this time. Pass rush and offensive skill players remain the top priorities.
2. Miami Dolphins - No. 13 overall
Like Denver, we don't know who Miami's next head coach will be, making this prediction extremely difficult. We do know that Ryan Tannehill is expected to be gone, which will leave the position in about as dire a straits as any team in the NFL.
Without knowing Miami's system it is hard to predict how Haskins would fit, but assuming it has similarities to what Gase ran, I could definitely see Haskins there. The question will be how much Miami falls in love with him, as I would guess they'll need to move up to acquire his talent ahead of teams like Jacksonville and perhaps others.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - No. 7 overall
The Jaguars are the team that I believe is most desperate for a franchise caliber signal caller, and therefore the most likely to end up with Haskins in the end. Yes, picking seventh overall is not ideal positioning, but it could be worse. Plus, I'm not convinced anyone picking ahead of Jacksonville will be that interested in a quarterback come draft time.
Yes, it will be pricey, but the Jaguars might not have to climb all the way to no. 1. Oakland and Tampa Bay are both teams I believe would consider moving, and the Jets might be in that company too depending on how the board falls. Keep in mind, Jacksonville also has an extra third from the Dante Fowler trade, which could be a nice cherry on the top of a trade with minimal hit to the Jaguars.
Jacksonville's roster is fairly set and they can easily afford to give up multiple picks to acquire Haskins. The fit makes sense as well, as Jacksonville's current offense attacks the short-intermediate areas of the field, works in plenty of play-action, relies on a competent run game and should return a healthy offensive line next year. Hypothetically they wouldn't ask him to do too much early on, and could bring him along at a suitable pace.