The NFL’s quarterback carousel is one of the most intriguing topics of discussion every year, so why not look ahead to what might happen next offseason?
There are some really interesting prospects available in the 2014 NFL Draft, prospects who are coming in with huge hype, expectations, and the ability to come in and start right away should they choose to leave school.
I don’t know that any of these situations will fully play out, but it’ll be fun to look at throughout the season as players progress in college and the NFL Draft order begins to take shape.
Here are my initial thoughts of what we could see in the carousel that is the QB position in the NFL in 2014.
1. Teddy Bridgewater to Jacksonville
Right now–in my opinion–Jacksonville looks like the worst team in the league. They have a serious lack of talent on both sides of the ball, or at least a bunch of unproven guys. The Jaguars actually could seriously benefit from having Jadeveon Clowney to upgrade an atrocious pass rush, and with the background of Gus Bradley it wouldn’t shock me if he’s able to convince the front office to take the South Carolina star, but it’d be TOUGH to pass on Bridgewater.
Bridgewater has all the tools you look for in a franchise QB, and he’s shown some serious guts throughout his career. Namely, Bridgewater pulled off an improbable upset against the Florida Gators in the team’s bowl game last season, and he has a lot of film that has scouts excited.
He’d be an immediate starter for Jacksonville, and quite honestly a huge upgrade over their current situation.
2. Brett Hundley to Cleveland
Hundley is only a redshirt sophomore and he’s still pretty raw, but he has tremendous upside and great size/athleticism for the position at 6’3″ 227 pounds.
The Browns are moving on to a new regime, and they aren’t forced to stick with Brandon Weeden if they don’t want to. If he plays many more games like he did in week one, he won’t be in the NFL much longer, anyway.
Hundley is a guy who could really light a fire for this franchise. He’s a dual threat QB who would elevate the talent around him, and while it will take him time to develop, he has a chance to be special. It will be interesting to see if he leaves for the NFL after two college seasons.
3. Marcus Mariota to Arizona
The Cardinals–barring an unforeseen playoff run–should be picking in the 10-16 range. I think this is a team that has a chance to surprise some people, but if not, this could be their year to go after a big name quarterback prospect.
Mariota could choose to leave Oregon and bolt for the NFL as he’s already proven that he can be effective out of the pocket and with his legs. This is a supremely talented athlete who could end up contending for the number one pick. With guys like Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel also candidates to leave school early, it’s no guarantee that all or even one will choose to depart for the NFL, but we’re here to look at the hypotheticals and explore every option.
Bringing the athleticism of Mariota to a system like Bruce Arians’ in Arizona would be a dynamic combination.
4. Tajh Boyd to Oakland
The Raiders might just have something in Terrelle Pryor, but like Brandon Weeden in Cleveland, the regime in Oakland right now is not tied to Pryor.
Oakland needs to get a franchise QB, and they need to do it fast. If Pryor can emerge this year as that guy, then they will save a pick and maybe be able to go after Jadeveon Clowney in the draft. However, as of right now, I don’t think Oakland is sold on Pryor, so enter Tajh Boyd.
Boyd has drawn some comparisons to Russell Wilson for his ability to create and make plays. He has a strong arm and despite the fact that he’s a little on the smaller side, you can’t question his ability to both run and pass the football and make plays when it matters.
5. Johnny Manziel to Minnesota
The Vikings have probably had enough of the Christian Ponder experiment, and barring the unforeseen, I think this is his last year as the starter in Minnesota.
Enter Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who finally gets out of the pressures of college football and enters the life of luxury that is the NFL. The Vikings are getting prepped to move into a new stadium of epic proportions, and they have the best running back in the game.
Furthermore, the Vikes have intriguing playmakers on the outside, and could really help Manziel succeed as a rookie. They have a great fan base already, but adding Manziel could really put them in the national spotlight.
6. Stephen Morris to Tampa Bay
Josh Freeman is a free agent, so the Bucs have a big decision to make. Do they let the disappointing Freeman go, or do they continue to try and develop him into the star he has shown flashes of?
Like other situations on this list, the Bucs are not tied to Freeman, but they did draft Mike Glennon last year. I don’t think they’re going to tie themselves to Glennon, though if they let go of Freeman, he’d be the odds on favorite to win the starting gig.
Still, adding a local kid like Morris isn’t a bad idea. Morris has flashed big time ability as well, so this would be an intriguing fit to me.
7. A.J. McCarron to Tennessee
The Titans used their first round pick in 2013 on guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama, so why not bring in his former ‘Bama teammate, QB A.J. McCarron?
Jake Locker has the ability to be a star QB in the NFL, but he needs to stay healthy and be more consistent with his accuracy. If the Titans start to get frustrated, they will look to the early rounds of the draft for reinforcements.