Predicting When, Where Top 11 QBs Will be Taken in 2014 NFL Draft
Predictions for Top 11 QBs in 2014 NFL Draft
The 2014 NFL Draft is still almost five months away, but if the first 11 weeks of the 2013 season have taught us anything, it’s that nothing has changed — many teams still need franchise quarterbacks. But the biggest issue now is many teams already have players who they drafted to be the that important signal-caller, but are not rethinking those decisions. Thus, there will be a lot of surprises in the first four rounds of the draft that will take place in May and all of them will include quarterbacks being taken by teams desperate to put fans in the seats by fielding a solid passing attack.
Now that’s not to say that all of the quarterbacks taken in the 2014 NFL Draft are going to turn around their new pro teams. On the contrary, there’s a lot of fool’s gold in the upcoming draft, which will almost certainly doom franchises with poor front office management. But at the same time, other teams with sharp minds among their brass will come away looking like geniuses, although those realizations may not be recognized until a year or two down the road.
But that’s the best part about quarterbacks in the NFL Draft — you never know what to expect, except for cases like Andrew Luck, of which there are none among the passers in the 2014 class. So instead of ranking these players or discussing which teams need signal-callers, we’re going to do our best to predict when each young quarterback will be selected in the upcoming draft and where he will land. Basically, are you ready for a game of blindfolded darts? Here we go.
Round 1, Pick 1 (1): Jaguars Select Teddy Bridgewater
Everyone knows the Jaguars are going to take a quarterback with the first overall pick and regardless of Louisville’s weak status, Bridgewater has been and will remain the top signal-caller in the 2014 draft class, so he’ll be the pick at the top for Jacksonville.
Blaine Gabbert still has one more year left on his rookie deal and you can’t really say he’s a terrible NFL quarterback because he might have done better had he been drafted by a better team. Regardless, the Jaguars’ impatience will cause them to use yet another high draft pick on a franchise quarterback, which will result the same way it did with Gabbert.
Round 1, Pick 2 (2): Vikings Select Marcus Mariota
The Vikings’ experiment with Josh Freeman didn’t last very long and he’ll be a free agent at the end of the year. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel are both under contract in 2014, but only one of them will be kept as Mariota’s backup.
Mariota is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in this draft class, although he’s the arguably the best in my opinion. He will make the Vikings a .500 team in his rookie year and then if Minnesota drafts well in 2014 and 2015, Mariota will lead this team to the playoffs in his sophomore season.
Round 1, Pick 10 (10): Browns Select Johnny Manziel
Johnny Football is undraftable in my book because he’s going to be the next Tim Tebow — you just can’t run around on most plays and always throw to your first option when you actually do stand in the pocket. Still, Cleveland is desperate for a spark plug to put fans in the seats, even though the Browns would be wise to use this pick on another position and give Brian Hoyer another shot as the man under center.
Manziel might win a game or two early against bad teams, but he’ll be figured out very quickly and his tenure as the starter in Cleveland will last two years at the very most and then he’ll be just like Tebow: unemployed.
Round 1, Pick 19 (19): Cardinals Select Brett Hundley
Everyone knows Carson Palmer isn’t the long-term option under center for the Cardinals, especially with Bruce Arians as the head coach; he needs a strong-armed passer who will throw the ball down the field on mostly vertical routes. Considering Palmer is pretty noodle-armed, his time in Arizona is limited.
Hundley is another quarterback who’s not being talked about much, but that’s just because he’s not in the running for the Heisman Trophy. Hundley can run any type of offense, make every throw, has a terrific deep ball and he’s as cool in the pocket as any quarterback in the 2014 class. In addition, his ability to run makes him more appealing, especially because he doesn’t look to run — it’s just an additional asset. He’s a taller, stronger Russell Wilson and he’ll be a star with the Cardinals under Arians.
Round 1, Pick 20 (20): Bears Select Tajh Boyd
Widely considered a first-round lock, Boyd doesn’t look like a longtime successful NFL quarterback in the making. But with Jay Cutler fighting injuries and an expiring contract, the Bears will look toward a future with a new signal-caller and they will see Boyd as the best available at this point in the draft.
Boyd runs a lot and he’s not nearly as patient in the pocket as he thinks he is. In addition, he takes a lot of hits while carrying the ball, which will make him very injury-prone in the NFL. While he’s certainly a better quarterback than Michael Vick, he’ll have a career similar to the Eagles’ troubled passer from an injury standpoint, which means Chicago will be in this same position again three or four years down the road.
Round 2, Pick 3 (35): Buccaneers Select AJ McCarron
Tampa Bay won’t spend its top-five pick on a passer, but with McCarron available in the second round, the Bucs won’t be able to pass him up. Sure, Mike Glennon has looked serviceable under Greg Schiano, but the clueless coach will be gone soon and his replacement will likely want his own signal-caller to groom.
McCarron will likely be a three-time BCS National Champion when the draft rolls around, so his track record of success will make him very appealing to NFL scouts. Add in the fact he’s got a great arm and a solid head on his shoulders and he’s got all the tools needed to succeed at the next level with a little grooming and time to develop. That’s exactly what the Bucs’ new coach will look to do with McCarron.
Round 2, Pick 10 (42): Titans Select Zach Mettenberger
With reports that the Titans are all but saying they’re done with Jake Locker, it’s expected they’ll take a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. But after jumping the gun on Locker as a top-10 pick in 2011, Tennessee will be smart about its pick this time and wait on Zach Mettenberger, who has the potential to be the best quarterback in the 2014 class, especially if put into the right situation with a team that’s only missing a quarterback, such as the Titans.
Mettenberger’s accuracy is by far the best of any quarterback in this class and he showed at LSU that he can carry a team if needed. With that ability, he can get the most out of Chris Johnson, which is something the Titans’ brass will consider before selecting a quarterback in 2014. All of these things considered, Mettenberger is a steal at this point for Tennessee.
Round 2, Pick 12 (44): Rams Select Aaron Murray
After emerging as a first-round draft pick after his junior year, Aaron Murray has somewhat been forgotten in this disappointing season for Georgia. However, he’ll make a splash right away in the NFL and considering the Rams are all but done with Sam Bradford, Murray could take over Jeff Fisher’s squad and turn it into a playoff team.
Murray is a prototype quarterback with good pocket presence, a strong arm and an accurate ball. He’s everything NFL teams want in a young signal-caller and with a team like the Rams that has everything except a quarterback, he’ll turn out to be a second-round steal.
Round 4, Pick 13 (109): Steelers Select Stephen Morris
Ben Roethlisberger is under contract through 2015, but by then the Steelers will likely have a new coach and be in the process of rebuilding. Considering Roethlisberger will be 34 when the 2016 NFL season begins, it’s time for Pittsburgh to find his eventual successor.
Stephen Morris is another quarterback who is going mostly overlooked in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he’s a very solid option who could be a Pro Bowler with a year or two to learn under a player like Roethlisberger. He’s very calm in the pocket, has a strong arm and his athleticism is off the charts. Morris isn’t a guy you want starting on opening day as a rookie, but he will be a great player if put in the right situation and Pittsburgh fits the bill.
Round 5, Pick 16 (144): Raiders Select Derek Carr
Fresno State may be undefeated, but Derek Carr isn’t getting any love because his team plays in the Mountain West Conference. But just like his older brother before him, this Bulldogs quarterback looks like a future NFL star. However, the younger Carr is hoping to avoid the flop of a pro career put together by the man drafted first overall in 2002.
Unfortunately for the Carr family, history will repeat itself. Like his older brother, Derek is a great athlete with a terrific arm, but his pocket presence is weak, to put it lightly. If he was comfortable in the pocket, his footwork would be better, which would result in a lot more completed passes. You can’t just “arm it” off your back foot all the time in the NFL and the Raiders will suffer through another woeful half-decade until they’re in this position again.
Round 6, Pick 9 (169): Chargers Select David Fales
The Chargers don’t need a quarterback right now, but Philip Rivers is 31 and he only has two years left on his contract. Considering the Chargers haven’t won anything during his tenure with the team, San Diego’s brass has to be looking toward the future. Fales is a project quarterback with a ton of potential and he’s a California kid, so he’s a great choice as Rivers’ eventual successor.
Fales is very raw and will need time to develop and learn under a guy like Rivers. He has all the tools necessary to succeed in the NFL, but he needs the right fit to come into his own two or three years into his career. Fales is extremely accurate and his timing/decision-making makes up for his average arm strength. If the right weapons are put around him in San Diego, he could be a future star for the Chargers.