Analyzing Rookie QB Landing Spots
When it comes to rookie value landing spot is crucial. In many cases an argument can be made that depending on position, opportunity as a result of where a player ends up being drafted is just as important if not more important than an individuals skill set. This year when it comes to the offensive skill positions there appears to be more intriguing and disappointing landing spots than ones that I am overly excited about. In this series of articles I will dive into each offensive positions one by one analyzing the landing spots for the 2019 draft class. Quarterbacks will get things kicked off as they were the talk of day one at the the NFL draft.
Kyler Murray 1:01 Arizona Cardinals - The Card's shocked the draft community by selecting a QB first overall, just 12 months after taking Josh Rosen with the tenth overall pick. For roughly twenty four hours experts wondered how the two young quarterbacks would co-exist in the desert. Then midway through the second round of the draft Rosen was traded to Miami for the 62nd pick clearing the way for Murray as the week one starter. The Cardinals spent the better part of the remainder of the draft surrounding their new franchise quarterback with offensive weapons. Drafting wide receivers Andy Isabella in the second round, Hakeem Butler in the fourth, Keesean Johnson in the sixth then tightend Caleb Wilson in the seventh. Arizona also added a pair of offensive lineman later in the draft in Lamont Gaillard (179th) and Joshua Miles (248th). Murray is immensely talented and would have likely had success wherever he ended up.
Daniel Jones 1:06 New York Giants - It is no big secret that Eli Manning appears to be washed up the past couple of seasons so the Giants adding a QB early makes perfect sense. The real question that remains is will the Giants have him red shirt his rookie season in an apprentice role or throw him directly into the fire in 2019. Despite the loss of Odell Beckham the Giants still have some talent on offense with Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram. The biggest issue that the Giants offense has is the questionable O-line and whether they can give whoever is under center enough time to make a play. I like the fit of Jones with the Giants, say what you will about Eli Manning I think he will be a great mentor the the rookie Jones. Jones was a three year starter for Duke, and has special arm talent, he can make pro level throws and has the ability to attack deep with accuracy. Jones is intelligent and is incredibly mobile. He works through progressions quickly and efficiently. Adjusts pre snap plan to blitz recognition and exploits miss match opportunities. Meaning he may start sooner rather than later.
Dwayne Haskins 1:15 Washington Redskins - With Alex Smith likely to miss the 2019 season as well as the uncertainty that surrounds his future as an NFL quarterback. Paired with the fact that Kase Keenum is mediocre at best meant the Redskins were essentially forced to select a quarterback with their first round selection. They got a good one is Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins, although I fully expect Haskins to spend his rookie season as a backup to Keenum learning the nuances of the NFL game. With an uninspiring group of pass catchers on the Washington depth chart. Including Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, Trey Quinn and Jordan Reed the Skins added three play makers in the draft. Wide out Terry Mclaurin in the third, an electric runningback in Bryce Love in the fourth, and got incredible value drafting receiver Kelvin Harmon at the end of the sixth round 206th overall. I believe that Haskins will succeed at the next level it just may take a year before he is given that opportunity. With that being said don't rule out the possibility of Haskins out playing Keenum in the pre season and starting week one.
Drew Lock 2:10 Denver Broncos - The Broncos spent their third pick of the draft 42nd overall on quarterback Drew Lock. John Elway has struggled mightily evaluating and drafting QB's in the past, with Brock Osweiler 2:25 in 2012, Trevor Siemian 7:33 in 2015, and Chad Kelly 7:35 in 2017. In the meantime Elway signed Kase Keenum and traded for Joe Flacco, it appears at this point he is just grasping at straws when it comes the the quarterback position. Denver fans are hoping the struggles at QB that have been plaguing the Broncos since the retirement of Peyton Manning is finally over with the drafting of Lock. It is highly unlikely that Lock see's the field as a rookie as he will learn from veteran Joe Flacco. As Lock looks to the 2020 season to potentially start for Denver he has some promising young players surrounding him on offense. Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton, rookie tightend Noah Fant, and veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Lock has the talent and physical tools to succeed in the NFL, and between GM John Elway and former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco he has a great support system within the Broncos organization.
Ryan Finley 4:02 Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals used their fourth round draft pick on N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley. With Andy Dalton turning 32 this season and never really asserting himself as a top tier QB in the NFL there is long term potential for Finley in Cincinnati. Dalton has a large cap hit of roughly seventeen million the next two season then becomes an unrestricted free agent. So drafting a successor for the red rocket makes sense I'm just not sure if the fourth round is the time to do so. The offense in Cincy is somewhat of a mixed bag. With A.J. Green in the twilight of his career, Tyler Boyd proving to be an ascending talent, John Ross and Tyler Eifert out of the lineup more than they are in the lineup. The runningbacks Giovanni Bernard and Joe Mixon are solid as receiving options for any QB and offer home run potential on any little dump off. I like this landing spot for Finley who should get two years to prove to coaches what he can do during practice and preseason. Working as Andy Dalton's backup and becoming accustomed to an NFL offense for a couple of seasons on the bench will do wonders for Finleys long term development.
Will Greir 3:37 Carolina Panthers - Carolina spending a top 100 pick on a quarterback is quite perplexing to me to be perfectly honest. I know Cam Newton only has two years left on his current contract but are the Panthers really preparing to move on from an elite QB in Newton? Or is Greir strictly being viewed as a reliable backup? My issue with the backup theory is that Greir isn't overly mobile when compared to Cam and is more of a pocket passer. Meaning the offense would have to be significantly adjusted if Cam were to go down. As far as the short term there is little to no chance Greir sees any meaningful snaps with Cam healthy. In college he was a highly respected leader and known as a galvanizing locker room presence. He always played with an attacking, downfield mindset, quickly got through his entire slate of progressions, which also helps explain his third round draft selection. As I mentioned with only two years left on Cam's contract there is long term potential for Greir in Carolina if things fall into place for him. If your a patient dynasty owner or have room on your taxi squad Greirs landing spot with the Panthers may pay off for you long term.
Jarrett Stidham 4:31 New England Patriots - Could Stidham really be the one? The quarterback that replaces the GOAT Tom Brady? It was thought that Ryan Mallett drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, then Jimmy Garoppolo drafted 60th overall in 2014 may someday replace the seemingly ageless Tom Brady, but neither proved to be the one. I'm not even going to attempt to get into the head of the great Bill Belichick and try to figure out if Stidham was drafted strictly as a backup or whether he is the long term solution to fill the void left by Tom Brady's future retirement. I keep thinking back to how quickly the drop off happened for Peyton Manning as he went from record setting statistics and Super Bowl champion to washed up in a very short period of time. I can't help but wonder if the same age related regression is going to hit soon to be 42 year old Tom Brady in the not to distant future. Stidham was a successful two year starter for Auburn and was labeled as incredibly intelligent with an excellent demeanor during his pre-draft visits. His landing spot places him in an intriguing position for the short term competing for a backup job behind Tom Brady with the ultimate goal of becoming the Patriots starting quarterback.
Clayton Thorson 5:29 Philadelphia Eagles - Reports recently surfaced about some inside the organization having long term concerns for the health of Carson Wentz's injured back. Fast forward barely a week and the Eagles spend draft capital on a quarterback in Northwestern's Clayton Thorson. Intriguing to say the least. Thorson was an effective four year collegiate starter, he has good size, and great fundamentals, with excellent vision. I think Wentz is an elite talent when 100% healthy but it is hard to remember when the last time he was fully healthy. I personally hope Wentz gets back to his 2017 form but when it comes to back injuries one just never knows. As long as there is concern with Wentz's long term health there will be at least a glimmer of hope for Thorson's long term dynasty value. With only Nate Sudfied and Luis Perez on the depth chart behind Carson Wentz, Thorson should be the Eagles backup quarterback as a rookie. This is the final year of Wentz's rookie deal and his health is likely going to determine whether or not his fifth year option is picked up. So there is an outside chance Thorson finds himself as the Eagles starting quarterback for the 2020 season, stranger things have happened.