The 2014 edition of the NFL Draft contains numerous prospects who project as future NFL starters. Consequently, attempting to determine the best possible option at a given draft position has left many coaches scratching their heads. The root of many of these headaches has been the quarterback position.
Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are the quarterback prospects who have appeared most frequently as projected first-round draft selections. While each of these quarterback prospects are expected to have success in the NFL, none of them are recognized as a “sure thing” the way past prospects such as Andrew Luck were.
When the Minnesota Vikings select at eighth overall, it is likely that at least one of these quarterback prospects will be available. However, it would be a mistake for the Vikings to draft a quarterback with their early first-round selection. Instead, the Vikings should address a different need with a surefire prospect and fill their need at quarterback later on in the draft.
The best example of a surefire option that addresses a need for the Vikings is linebacker prospect Khalil Mack. Mack is considered to be one of the top prospects in this draft and would immediately impact the Vikings at a much sought after position. Unfortunately, it is very likely that Mack will no longer be available when the Vikings make their first selection.
Assuming Mack is no longer available, the Vikings still should have an opportunity to fill a need with a surefire, top-tier prospect. The Vikings could select Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert to upgrade the cornerback position or draft C.J. Mosley to fill a hole at linebacker.
It would even be more beneficial for the Vikings to trade down, acquiring more draft picks in the process, than gamble on a quarterback with the eighth overall selection. This is a result of uncertainty and depth at the quarterback position in this draft.
Quarterback prospects Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray all represent solid, high-ceiling options at the quarterback position who likely will not be selected in the first round. As a result, the Vikings could still find their franchise quarterback in this draft even if they do not select one at No. 8.
The Vikings will draft a quarterback at some point during the 2014 NFL draft, regardless of whether that is in the first round or the seventh round. With plenty of surefire options likely available at other positions of need and significant depth at quarterback in this draft class, it would be a mistake for the Vikings to draft a quarterback eighth overall.