Mitch Trubisky will be the first quarterback off the board. I don’t see him lasting past the Jets at sixth overall. The real intrigue comes as to whether he goes before that point -- via trade, in particular. I can’t help but wonder if the 49ers, who I believe are inclined to go with Brian Hoyer this season, swap out of second overall for another team to move up and grab the quarterback.
Trubisky is raw and started only one season in college, but he is very much in play in the top few picks. Again, I don’t see the Browns going that way and don’t rule out them trading for Jimmy Garoppolo until this draft is complete. But they’ve also been very high on Trubisky since the fall. The Bears are doing a ton of work but that $18.5 million they are paying Mike Glennon, and all of the other holes on their roster, will tend to resonate.
Regardless, after talking to a host of scouts and executives this week, the quarterback debate will begin once Trubisky is off the board. Some teams have Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes as the top passer on the board, but many of those clubs don’t have a quarterback need and aren’t taking one in the first round this month. Ultimately, the second quarterback taken will come down to Mahomes and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.
After that tier, there are two other quarterbacks under first-round consideration in Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Cal’s Davis Webb, but the sense I get from the scouting community is they are heading in very different directions. Kizer might just slip out of the round entirely with execs not sold on his attitude and maturity, while Webb continues to generate a groundswell of support. It could end up becoming much closer between those two than most would have expected back in September.
As for other quarterback landing spots, very quietly, the Los Angeles Chargers are doing ample work on quarterbacks and at seventh overall might be more motivated to find a replacement for Philip Rivers than many believe. And the Saints are going to take a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks (No. 11, No. 32) in all likelihood as well. The Cardinals are trying to gauge internally what it might take to move up from No. 13 to get a quarterback -- I continue to hear a strong buzz about them and Watson -- but that price might be prohibitive. Regardless, the Cardinals spent a lot of time last week getting to know these quarterbacks better.
The Texans are drafting a quarterback high -- they have to with an acute, pressing need -- and I don’t think Mahomes gets past them as his floor. The Chiefs are very deep in this as well with Andy Reid quite interested in seeing if one of these kids could be a franchise guy for him down the road while the Saints close the round out with the 32nd pick. Four of these QBs will end up going, I would be willing to bet, and after Trubisky it could go in several different directions.