This year’s class of draft-eligible quarterbacks has been savaged from the start by evaluators.
“I really don’t like any of them,” one team executive told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Maybe two will go in the first round because of need but they all have holes. … It’s one of the worst groups I’ve watched in a long time.”
Plenty of draftniks agree, but will anything stop quarterback-needy teams from desperately reaching in the draft?
Reports have circulated for weeks that the Browns — as NFL Network’s Michael Silver put it — have “differing viewpoints within the building” on how to use the No. 1 overall pick, with some still considering North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky over “no-brainer” pass-rushing terror Myles Garrett.
Even the 49ers are considering a passer at No. 2, with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reporting that “those who know coach Kyle Shanahan well insist … Trubisky would best fit what he does on offense.”
All this fuss over a quarterback who was described by one scout as having a “ceiling to be a solid starter like Alex Smith.”
Beyond Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes has reportedly caught the eye of the Cardinals and Chiefs amid whispers that Texans coach Bill O’Brien “absolutely loves” the strong-armed signal-caller.
“I may be crazy but when I watch (Mahomes’) tape, just as a scout, I get excited,” one personnel man told McGinn before another warned: “He has the best arm of the group, but he plays crazy. I don’t even think ‘gunslinger’ is the right word. He’s reckless. … Mahomes might have 20 plays in a game where you go, ‘What are you doing?’”
None of these quarterbacks suggest the second coming of Joe Montana, but teams with burning needs will ensure, once again, that unpolished arms go long before they should in the draft.
It’s fair to wonder if this is 2011 all over again — minus the presence of a Cam Newton-level headliner. That class was equally bereft of plug-and-play starting passers, but that didn’t stop the likes of Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder all finding homes by the twelfth pick of the draft.
With the Browns, Niners, Jets, Bills, Cardinals and Chiefs all potentially seeking quarterback talent, will the NFL overvalue this year’s crop of quarterbacks in a way that would make even Gabbert turn red?
It sure feels like it.
With just two days to go before the April 27-29 draft in Philadelphia, we’ll be tracking all of the latest buzz. Check back each day for more updated nuggets like the ones below:
1. Speaking of chasing quarterbacks, Cleveland is already laying the foundation for a potential trade up in the first round. Is Trubisky the target?
“The Browns have been doing their due diligence and investigating the possibility,” Silver reported Tuesday. “I’ve now learned that at least three teams in the top eight have been contacted by the Browns and discussions have taken place about the prospect of moving up.”
If the Browns have their eyes set on Trubisky, it makes sense to get ahead of the Jets (at No. 6) and Bills (at No. 10), but that might not be enough — and here’s why:
2. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche echoed Rapoport on Tuesday, saying that “(Cleveland) better call the San Francisco 49ers because the possibility is (that San Francisco) could take a quarterback at No. 2, and all signs indicate it would be Mitchell Trubisky.”
Wyche emphasized that the Niners “would like to keep the No. 2 pick, but if the offer is enticing to move back, they will. And if the Browns are trying to come up from (No.) 12, that is a lot of draft capital to move up to No. 2.”
3. The Titans enter the draft in enviable position, holding a pair of first-round picks (No. 5 and No. 18) that could generate demand come Thursday night. General manager Jon Robinson has shown a penchant for trading selections and acknowledged Tuesday that Tennessee could wheel and deal again, calling it no more than “50/50″ that the Titans stay where they are.
4. The Vikings, meanwhile, are taking a more conservative approach, with general manager Rick Spielman revealing that a trade back into the first round is “unlikely” for Minnesota. The Vikings don’t pick until No. 48.
5. With New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo essentially off the trade block, will Cincinnati’s AJ McCarron be dangled as bait for quarterback-seeking franchises? Don’t bank on it. Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Bengals would likely “require a first-round pick — at least” in exchange for Andy Dalton’s understudy. That isn’t about to happen, leaving McCarron resigned to spending another year as a backup. “I’m a huge competitor. I’ve always been that way. I want to play,” McCarron said. “But it’s something I can’t control … I’m at peace with it.”
6. At least one veteran passer, though, remains available. Jay Cutler’s agent, Bus Cook, clarified Tuesday that the former Bears quarterback has no plans to retire. “Jay wants to play football,” Cook told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He never has mentioned retirement to me. Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league.” Cutler is the opposite of a long-term answer, but the timing of this agent-driven missive is no coincidence.
7. It’s anyone’s guess where Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon winds up, but it won’t be with the Jets or Giants. After Gang Green general manager Mike Maccagnan came out strong this week on the subject of domestic violence, NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported Tuesday that Mixon “will not be a New York Jet when this draft is over.”
Jones then said Mixon — who was involved in an ugly domestic violence incident at Oklahoma — “will not be a New York Giant, either,” noting that it would be “impossible for me to imagine” Giants ownership adding a player “who, on video, has punched a woman.”