by Josh Golden
When discussing drafts with a great quarterback class, people always talk about the 1983 Draft. Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino were all drafted in the first round. Also, many people discuss the 2004 Draft, with Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger all being selected on day one. With this year’s draft just nine days away, the class is getting more and more attention, sparking discussions on how this year’s quarterback class could one day be discussed as one of the greatest ever. With prospects such as Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Mason Rudolph, many experts are expecting all six signal-callers to be selected on April 26th, but where will they all go?
There are only four teams who are almost guaranteed to address their need at quarterback in the first round: the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Arizona Cardinals. However, more than half a dozen teams could potentially turn to the draft to either upgrade at quarterback or find a potential replacement for an aging veteran. With Cleveland expected to draft a quarterback first overall, the pick with the largest effect on the draft is likely the second overall pick, currently held by the New York Giants. The Giants have three options with the pick: select the eventual successor to 37-year-old Eli Manning with their best draft position since 1981, draft the best player available and get another great player to try to put together one more Super Bowl run before Manning retires, or trade the pick and gain draft capital to help build for the future. Teams that could be interested in trading for the pick are the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, who both hold multiple picks in the first round, and the Denver Broncos, who would only need to move up three spots for the pick, meaning they wouldn’t need to give up too many picks to find their franchise quarterback.
The trade option for the Giants that makes the most sense is with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills, who have already moved up nine spots in the first round by trading Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati, hold two picks in each of the first three rounds. Being that they traded former starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor last month for a third round pick, the team is desperate for his replacement, and many expect them to move up and grab the quarterback the organization has been needing since Jim Kelly retired in 1996. A trade with the Giants makes sense for the Bills for many reasons, being that they’d be able to take the player they want before the Jets, their division rival, can select him third overall. Additionally, Bills general manager Brandon Beane worked as assistant general manager to Giants general manager Dave Gettleman for two years, so the close relationship between the two would likely be helpful in a potential trade talk.
This draft contains many great quarterbacks who will likely one day be on the same level as the historic draft classes of 1983 and 2004, but where will the quarterbacks end up? Personally, I expect Sam Darnold to be taken first by Cleveland, followed by Josh Rosen to the Bills second overall after an expensive trade with the Giants, and the Jets to select Baker Mayfield third overall. Josh Allen will then be selected fifth by the Broncos, Lamar Jackson will go fifteenth to Arizona, and the Patriots will select Tom Brady’s future replacement in Mason Rudolph twenty-third overall. Although my prediction could easily be incorrect, if I’m right, all of the top six quarterbacks will be going to a team where they fit the system well and can be successful quarterbacks for many years, potentially making this quarterback class even better than the classes of 1983 and 2004.