Now that we've gone through what each team needs, we're going to take a look at what's available to them. And the best place to start is at quarterback. Every team needs a reliable quarterback… if not to win the game, to at least not lose it for you. And I believe this quote is John Madden's, "If you have two good quarterbacks then you don't have one good quarterback." Meaning that if you are going into training camp with multiple players competing for the starting job, then you don't have a starting quarterback and have to look at all options.
There are teams who have a desperate need at the position, like the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers. And there are teams that think they might already have a guy… but will probably be looking just the same, i.e. Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.
In previous years, there have been quarterbacks that just stood out as obvious choices to go early in the draft like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Jamis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Though they had some knocks against them, they were considered worthy of an early first round pick. This year's class of quarterbacks just don't have that talent level. It's not to say there won't be a great quarterback coming out of the group, it just doesn't seem like the value is there to draft one early. Cleveland has the #1 pick and a huge need at the position, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them go a different direction at 1 and grab a QB at 12 when the pick again… or even wait until the first pick on day 2.
There is no clear-cut, top of the list prospect this year. It comes down to a team-by-team evaluation with the type of system they run. So here are the top 5 quarterbacks available in the draft in alphabetical order.
Analysis: Dobbs is more of the dual-threat quarterback that is becoming popular in the league. He was a three-year starter (4 year player) who ended with a 23-12 record, completing 61.3% of his passes with a 2.2 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. That jumped to 73% completion and 12:1 TD:Int ration in his last five games. Throw in rushing for 2,106 yards and 32 scores in his time at Tennessee and you can see his potential. But dual-threat QBs don't often transfer well into the pros. For every Newton there are three RGIIIs. Dobbs would need to find the right system and have time to grow.
6'4" 233lbs Notre Dame
Analysis: Kizer's stats aren't the best. He was a 2-year starter that ended with a 12-11 record, a completion percentage of 59 % and a 26 TDs to 9 Interceptions. He through for under 3,000 yards in those two years and had a rough 2016 season ending with a 4-8 record. But what puts him high on this list is his size, arm strength and mobility that is reminiscent of Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. And where you can teach someone how to play the game, you can't teach them size or speed.
Analysis: Mahomes is the son of a 12-year MLB player (Pat Mahomes) and was a three-year starter at Texas Tech. He threw 93 touchdowns to 29 interceptions in that time with a 64 completion percentage. There is no doubt that he has the skill set, but he will need time to develop into a pro-style offense from the "air raid" offense they run at Texas Tech. His stats are a bit inflated by the offensive style, taking into account that a lot of his passes were completions of five yards or less from the line of scrimmage. In his 29 starts he ended up with a record of 13-16.
Analysis: Trubisky is an accurate passer with the size, frame and mobility to succeed in the NFL. He has a 30:6 touchdown to interception ratio and a 68.2 completion percentage, all of which puts him near the top of this group. The concern here is that he's coming out of a shotgun based system, so he'll have to learn to move under center, and he only has 13 starts. He only got into the starting lineup in 2016. Word is that this is who Cleveland has their eye on.
Analysis: Watson was a three-year starter, ending his colligate career with to ACC titles and a 32-3 record. In consecutive CFP Championship games, Watson threw for 825 yards and Clemson scored 75 points against a very good Alabama defense. He is highly mobile, has good arm strength but average accuracy. The biggest thing he would need to overcome is the transition to a pro-style offense. He has all the tools, but would need time to develop into a starting quarterback at the next level.