Why the 2018 NFL draft is a powder keg waiting to go off

Matt Daley Roar Rookie

By Matt Daley, Matt Daley is a Roar Rookie

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    The 2018 NFL draft is set to take place in Dallas, Texas, one week from today. This has the potential to be the most exciting draft in many years, and it all comes down to the most difficult position in sports to fill: quarterback.

    To set the scene, there are four quarterbacks in the pool considered to be consensus first-rounders: Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.

    However, none of these slingers are seen as slam-dunk first overall picks like Andrew Luck or Matthew Stafford were.

    However, given the number of quarterback-needy teams and the relative dearth of talent at other traditional ‘high pick’ positions (left tackle and all non-Bradley Chubb pass rushers), it is not inconceivable that these four consensus quarterbacks could be drafted within the top five picks.

    As quarterbacks currently stand, this is a breakdown of how I think most front offices would feel about their current signal-caller on the field and their propensity to spend a high-round draft pick on a different one next week.

    No quarterback need (18): LA Rams, San Fran 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.

    Of course I’m assuming that Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson return in 2018.

    Current quarterback but underperforming (four): Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins.

    Current quarterback but end-stage or, as I call them, a ‘bridge quarterback’ (nine): Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants; LA Chargers, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and New York Jets.

    No quarterback at present (one): Buffalo Bills. Technically, yes, they do have AJ McCarron, but come on.

    Therefore there are 14 teams that would potentially select a quarterback in the first two rounds.

    American football generic

    (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

    The unique topography of this draft comes at a line between the Denver Broncos at five and Indianapolis Colts at six.

    If one of the ‘big four’ slips past Denver, Indianapolis would be the obvious trade partner for teams looking to get ahead of other potential ‘trade-down’ teams like the Chicago (eighth pick), San Francisco (ninth pick), Raiders (tenth pick), Miami (11th pick) and Buffalo (12th pick… currently).

    The first spark has been lit on the buyers front by the New York Jets, who have moved from six to three by giving up three second-round picks to Indianapolis.

    The other obvious move-up candidates are Buffalo, who have no quarterback (see above) and Arizona, who are now stuck in a division with an injury-prone Sam Bradford and with the LA Rams, Seattle and San Fran, who are set at quarterback for the next five to ten years.

    While Buffalo have the capital (picks 12 and 22) to move up this year, Arizona (15th pick) would require multiple first-round picks to leapfrog Denver.

    I don’t see the LA Chargers, Pittsburgh, New England or New Orleans making a play for a quarterback โ€“ at least not through a big trade โ€“ as these teams are all very much in ‘win now’ mode with a fading elite quarterback.

    The general thought is that Cleveland will take a quarterback with either the first or fourth pick of the draft. The New York Jets will definitely take a quarterback with the third pick. That’s about all we know.

    The most rational thing for Cleveland to do is take their preferred quarterback first and the best player available/trade the fourth pick.

    It’s at the second pick, belonging to the New York Giants, where things could start getting crazy.

    As the Jets are taking a quarterback at three, a team in desperate need for a quarterback must get to one or two.

    If Cleveland doesn’t move, that leaves the Giants as the only path. Will Buffalo make a big move to get their quarterback at pick two? Would Arizona pull the trigger?

    Or maybe the Giants coerce the Jets into moving to two to ensure their preference in a franchise quarterback? Maybe the Giants stand at two and take Eli Manning’s heir anyway.

    Maybe they take Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb and suddenly Cleveland at four or Denver at five have their phones running off the hook. That scenario alone dictates that the Giants should trade out and back up if they want to take a non-quarterback at two.

    This explosion of phone calls will be even louder if Cleveland goes full Browns and take Saquon Barkley at one. The Big Bang would look like a firecracker.

    So the backroom deals are no doubt well underway, with general managers contacting each other wondering what it will take to move up.

    In-principle trades will be quasi-agreed, conditional on all sorts of permutations regarding who has been taken and who is left.

    Of course the conservatives might win โ€“ overall pre-draft evaluations might say that none of these quarterbacks are worth the premium picks, that they all have their flaws, they’re not worth the bust risk et cetera.

    But maybe, just maybe, things get crazy. The fear of missing out sweeps through the draft and multiple teams are calling the Giants wanting their pick for whatever it takes.

    The explosions in the first hour of the draft next week in Dallas could shape the NFL for years to come.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • April 21st 2018 @ 9:50am
      no one in particular said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      The fact that these guys can all go 1, 2, 3 & 4 shows that the scouts don’t actually watch games, their just fall in love with off the field stuff.

      It all comes down to what Cleveland do. If they use both 1 and 4 then in 4-5 years time they will have to produce very, very large contracts for both of those picks and Myles Garrett. They will do something stupid like take Allen and Barkley (neither are 1st rounders) and tie themselves in a salary cap knot.

      Allen is by far the best QB of the lot. Best pro-prospect QB since Luck

      Mayfield, I feel, is the product of Lincoln Reillys offense. How many successful NFL QB’s have come out of the Big 12 the last 15 years?

      Darnold just isn’t accurate. If he put up those same numbers at Arizona and not USC he wouldn’t be talked about as a #1

      Cleveland should take their QB at 1. Let Giants do what they want at 2, Jets take a QB at 3. That leaves at least one, may two, QB’s left at 4, with interested takers. Trade down for a late 1st round and multiple 2nd and 3rds. Let another team mortgage their future and take their picks. The most successful draft teams have the most picks, because the more picks you have the more chance you have of getting it right.

      Mason Rudolph is the interesting one. If the right team (Saints, Patriots) takes him in the 2nd round and let him sit he could be quite good

      The big winners are teams that don’t need a QB, especially the Colts

      • Roar Rookie

        April 21st 2018 @ 11:52am
        Matt Daley said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        What do you think of the timing of the Colts trade? It was certainly curious insofar as it was made a good month from the draft – did they think they wouldn’t get a better offer, or were they sold on the quantity of picks? It certainly seems that this is not a particularly deep draft – maybe getting the number 6 pick was the key, allowing them to get a premium non-QB player that they would have picked at 3 anyway. I suspect they might have preferred that deal to, say, Buffalo trading them 12 + 22. They might have wanted next year’s 1st instead of 22. I can’t imagine the Jets were the only team they spoke to. Perhaps they were scared the QBs wouldn’t live up to the hype and this would be the 2013 draft all over again – lots of sellers, no buyers?

        I wouldn’t worry about Cleveland’s cap space. Frankly, they’d love to be doing a big extension or two – it would show that some of the players they’re drafting are sticking to the roster!

        • April 21st 2018 @ 12:23pm
          no one in particular said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          Yeh, Colts think they’ll get the same player. The timing is not unusual, it gives them room to move in free agency, knowing where they need to fill. And they don’t know where Luck sits, so next season could be terrible again and they have 2 1st rounders with a fitter Luck in ’19, or have 2 1st rounders to trade to get Lucks replacement.

          We don’t know what else they were offered, and how that would affect their division. There is a school of thought that the Bills are playing the long game. Trying to accumulate draft picks (hence Peterman starting) but they over achieved last year. Build a roster and be ready to dominate the division when Brady and Bellichek are gone in a season or two

    • April 21st 2018 @ 11:07am
      Nathan said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      Barkley at 5 looks good to me. We need a new RB now CJ has been released and I’m interested to see what Keenum can do with this offense. Michel is also another possibility but I am a little biased toward the Broncos taking Georgia backs.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 11:41am
        no one in particular said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Elway should be fired if he takes a RB at 5

        Knowshon is a prime example why

        • April 21st 2018 @ 12:46pm
          Nathan said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          I don’t think we need a new QB at 5, the only other real option I see is Quenton Nelson but there are some good guard prospects in the 2nd and 3rd round so I’m not sure that’s the right pick either. The running game does need a good kick up the read end though so that’s why I’m going Barkley.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 1:08pm
            no one in particular said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

            Nelson is the real deal, probably the best player in the draft

            RB is the most over rated position in the NFL. In the past 10 years there have been 20 RB’s taken in the 1st round. These 20 players account for a total of FOUR 1st Team All Pro selections, and 14 Pro Bowl appearances. That’s not 14 players, that’s 14 in total, with Chris Johnson leading with 3. Look at the past few SB winners, the teams they beat, the conference championship teams. Who were their RB’s and where were they drafted? LaGarrette Blount is a 3x winning SB RB, and he went undrafted.

            Barkley only had 4 100 yard games last season and the same the season before

            In saying all this, I think if one of the QB’s somehow drop to 5 they will take him

            • April 21st 2018 @ 5:08pm
              bear54 said | April 21st 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

              If the Browns were smart (historically questionable?) they should go Rosen at 1 and Nelson at 4 because if the guard is as good as everyone says he is he’ll open holes for any running back and take the pressure off the young QB. They can worry about the contracts down the road if they’re a success and given Cleveland’s recent history success could be 3 x 8 and 8 seasons.

              From what I’m hearing Josh Allen has a great arm but lacks accuracy so I’d take Rosen given the majority of throws are short to medium. A cannon arm is useful maybe 3 times a game and usually when you’re desperate.

              A very Browns thing is to over-correct on mistakes. They should have taken Wentz last year so the new “Wentz” is supposed to be Allen which means its just doomed to fail.

              Not sure working under Hue Jackson is going to help any QB anyway????

        • April 21st 2018 @ 12:47pm
          Nathan said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Either that or trade back.

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