by ASA, Inc.
For the first time in years we are heading into a NFL Draft and quarterbacks are taking a back seat to the rest of the field. The combination of a weak quarterback class mixed with the lack of need for some teams makes this a rare occasion where only two quarterbacks may be taken in the first round.
There is, and always will be, teams that are just a quarterback away from making a serious run at a championship. With the league as competitive as it has ever been, teams got as aggressive as we have ever seen. The Broncos, Browns, and Colts all went out and mortgaged their futures in order to get the one piece that they think will boost them to a championship. The biggest take away is that the AFC is absolutely loaded now. Besides the Steelers, Jags, Jets, and Texans, anyone else in the AFC has a chance to win the conference.
This QB shuffle has left some other teams in total rebuild mode, but unfortunately, the QB talent is just not deep from the draft. Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are the only two that are definitely on the first round radar. There is speculation of teams trading up for them but what team could really utilize them to win now?
Pick 2. Lions
Pick 3. Texans
Pick 6. Panthers
Pick 8. Falcons
Pick 9. Seahawks
Pick 20. Steelers
The Lions and Texans have glaring needs besides QB and are looking at the long term picture. Neither Pickett (+750 to go in the top 5) nor Willis (+250 to go in the top 5) are worthy to go this high with so many other skillful players waiting. However with the Lions and Texans inside the top 5, these 2 might be worth a look at plus money. Carolina has pick #6 which could absolutely be a QB. Matt Rhule has an argument for a first round QB in order to try and save his (possible) last season as the Panthers head coach. Kenny Pickett seems the most NFL ready and the Panthers just might be desperate to find the next chapter after playing QB roulette the past three seasons. Pickett is currently +125 to go in the top 10 which is also worth a look if Carolina is looking for a ready now QB. We still do not see Carolina as a playoff prospect with a new QB. Willis is still the favorite to be the first QB drafted (-200) but Pickett has some extra value at +175 and we feel it’s a toss up between those 2 signal callers. After that is drops all the way to +1500 for Ole Miss QB Matt Corral who is coming off a late season knee injury and UNC’s Sam Howell.
As far as teams making a move up to grab a QB, the Seahawks and Steelers both fall into that category. Pete Carroll is not getting any younger and has no appetite for a full rebuild. The same goes for Mike Tomlin. If Pickett or Willis fall to them, both teams may be able to snag a wild card berth. Each team has loaded talent on offense allowing for a rookie QB to succeed right away. That is a best case scenario for 2022 with many teams already plotting to take C.J Stroud and Bryce Young for the 2023 draft class.