With each passing day, the 2013 NFL Draft approaches with increasing haste. All 32 franchises are edging closer to that moment in which they will make their initial selections, and proceed through the process of fortifying their rosters. As always, a focal point has been speculation regarding the high profile quarterback position, including the group of teams that are undeniably in need of a signal caller who can become their long-term solution. However, if any of these teams can navigate through this season without expending a significant draft pick on a quarterback, they will have better draft options next year. Therefore, if the decision makers in Philadelphia, Oakland, Arizona and Buffalo (among others) were to solicit my opinion, that is what I would do. Unless their scouting departments can uncover the 2013 version of a Russell Wilson, who can ignite a franchise yet somehow remain available until the third day of the draft. Otherwise, it would behoove them to wait until they can choose from among what should be a deep and supremely talented 2014 class.
A Cloud Of Uncertainty Over This Year's QB Class
Since 1998, 12 quarterbacks have been selected with the first overall pick, including Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Mathew Stafford in the past four drafts. But this year, there will not be a signal caller who garners that distinction, as no former collegians have reached the same level of appeal among decision makers that was attained by each member of that prestigious foursome. It has been well chronicled that Geno Smith is quite literally the head of his class, as the former West Virginia Mountaineer is clearly established as the one rookie who possesses the greatest potential to start during the 2013 regular season. But there are no assurances that Smith will succeed if he is eventually thrust into that role, as questions persist surrounding his genuine readiness to spearhead an NFL offense. Yet, any General Manager who is searching for a quarterback that can supply an impact this season would have not a viable alternative, as it is also very possible that Smith will be the only signal caller selected in the initial round. If that comes to pass, it would be the first such occurrence since 2001. Plus, it would only serve as a further indictment against the quality of this 2013 quarterback class.
The 2014 Class Is Deep And Talented
But the mammoth cloud of uncertainty that has been cast above this year’s collection of quarterbacks simply should not exist next April, when an assortment of enticing options will be available to executives who long to seize a difference maker at the position. Beginning with Teddy Bridgewater, should he choose to skip his senior season at Louisville. His poised pocket passing and mobility would induce one franchise to seize him near the onset of the draft. Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel also appears poised to also enter next year’s selection process. Plus, when you blend Tajh Boyd, David Fales, Logan Thomas, Braxton Miller, Aaron Murray, Derek Carr, A. J. McCarron and several others into the mix of potential options, you have accumulated a bountiful draft that will provide solutions to QB needy decision makers.
Which is why franchises such as the aforementioned Raiders, Eagles, Cardinals, and Bills, who all currently possess a top eight pick, should bolster other areas of need within their collective rosters. Then reap the benefits of capturing a more secure investment with their initial selection in 2014.
For instance, Oakland’s G.M. Reggie McKenzie recently jettisoned two draft picks in exchange for five-year backup Mart Flynn, who will likely begin the regular season as the team's starter. But the Raiders still need an unquestioned talent to guide the offense. If McKenzie passes on Smith, and reinforces the team’s highly deficient defense with his first pick in this draft, he can find the sorely needed injection of talent from among next year’s exceptional quarterback class. The same scenario applies in Philadelphia, where an effective alternative to Michael Vick and Nick Foles is needed to run Chip Kelly's offense. Arizona also resides in a similar position with newly acquired but fading Carson Palmer. As do the Bills, who appear prepared to go with injury plagued and marginally productive Kevin Kolb under center.
There is one caveat that comes wrapped within this recommendation. It is very beneficial for anyone who chooses not to draft for need at the coveted quarterback position this month, to possess sizable confidence in their own job security. That will enable them to proceed without fear of any potential fallout that might result from their decision not to draft a signal caller in this year’s selection process. They can then look forward to collecting a true franchise quarterback next season, which will be provide a more effective remedy for any inadequacies in their team’s offense.