Look up at your NFL draft board and shift your eyes toward the quarterback position. Does anything stand out?
Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder—the trio of headlining names have occupied the upper portion of the signal-caller totem pole for quite some time. While the 2022 quarterback class has left much to be desired following a year in which three gunslingers came off the board in successive fashion to open up round one, a dive into the evaluation process, and potential final grades from many of the league’s 32 clubs toward this year’s crop, should have some feeling worrisome and pessimistic toward the true game-changing potential of any quarterback eligible this spring.
Round 1 grades aren’t easy to come by—especially under center. A day in age where the NFL has become as pass-happy as ever, the need not just for guys who lit up the college scene but talents with the necessary projectability four, five years down the road to lead a franchise to late winter football has become an exhaustive process.
Pickett, Willis, Ridder, and Matt Corral, the quarterbacks set to potentially hear their name called on night one, are as good as it gets in this year’s class. Underwhelming, sure, you can say that—the masses have been spoiled with the likes of baby-faced talent that have taken over the league the last few campaigns. However, and as we’ve seen with Daniel Jones, Christian Ponder, and Mitch Trubisky, teams reach on talent no matter where a name sits on their draft board. But if history is a sign, there could be a method to the madness as to why teams have consistently remained trigger-happy when it comes to turning in their round one draft card for fresh legs under center.
Drew Lock, DeShone Kizer, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith… I can feel you cringing through the screen. All of those players were day-two talents in their respective drafts. There have been 20 quarterbacks taken in the second round since 2002. The standouts? Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton, Jalen Hurts.
Why is that important in relation to this year’s class? Well, every year teams need quarterbacks, and while some opt to play the waiting game, others don’t shy away at expending high assets to get their guy.
Although positional value and current needs play into each franchise’s overall plans at the position, taking a signal-caller on day two since nearly the turn of the century has presented teams with a blind throw at a dartboard in hitting a bullseye on draft weekend. Although Carr has become the poster child for the group and the data is much smaller in comparison to night one, you begin to excavate why teams have become so hard-pressed on taking a talent within the first 32 selections. Brock Osweiler, Jimmy Clausen, Kevin Kolb, John Beck—it’s almost a superstition to avoid quarterbacks on Day 2, and this year should prove to be no different.
Whether it’s the Detroit Lions at No. 2, Carolina Panthers at No. 6, New Orleans Saints at No. 16 (or No. 19), Pittsburgh at No. 20, or a team like Seattle or Atlanta that could throw their name into the fire as a team that could surprise on opening night, teams will reach, and—like every draft cycle—quarterbacks will once again prove to become a hot commodity when the selection clock begins to churn in Vegas.
- Sep 24, 2023
- Sep 22, 2023