The NFL draft is just around the corner and there are plenty of anonymous scout quotes and rumors floating around NFL media as teams try to jockey for trades. This draft is also strange in that teams couldn’t have individual workouts with players, instead, needing to do interviews remotely due to coronavirus. But, in the end, teams will have their draft boards and likely do just as well as they would in a normal year.
Below, I’ll take us through the top quarterbacks in the draft and where I believe they’ll go and why.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals, 1st overall
Burrow to Cincinnati might not be set in stone, but it’s as close at it can be. Burrow has indicated he will go wherever he is drafted and the Bengals haven’t indicated they are hot on the tail of any other quarterback, smokescreen or otherwise, and they are in desperate need. There is a small chance that the Dolphins, who have three first round picks, could pry the No. 1 pick from the Bengals, as seen in NFL.com’s Lance Zerlien’s mock draft, but for a team with plenty of holes, the Dolphins would be better served holding onto their picks and taking Tua Tagovailoa.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins, 5th overall
Where and when Tagovailoa goes is an open question that nobody has a good answer to at the moment. When his hip popped out of the socket, his draft future got murky, but all indications are that he’s made a strong recovery. His longterm health is the question that teams like the Dolphins, Chargers or a wildcard team have to make, as there’s no doubt his skill level is up there or possibly exceeding Burrow’s when healthy.
The Dolphins have enough draft capital to secure Tagovailoa by trading up with the Lions for the No. 3 pick, but there has been plenty of buzz about Justin Herbert, as seen in Mel Kiper’s last mock, where he has Tagovailoa going to the Chargers at 6 and Herbert to the Dolphins at 5. The majority of mocks you find will have the opposite and I believe the Herbert love is a smokescreen and that both the Chargers and Dolphins will try to position themselves to draft him.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers, 6th overall
If the Chargers really want Tagovailoa more than the Dolphins, they should be able to get him, but the Dolphins have more draft capital and have the upper hand if they want to trade with the Lions to move up a couple spots. That would leave Herbert available to the Chargers. Herbert is a polarizing quarterback and many scouts don’t have him with a first-round grade. ESPN’s Todd McShay actually has Jordan Love going to the Chargers over Herbert in his latest mock.
There are some decent quarterbacks left in free agency and the Chargers have Tyrod Taylor, so they could end up going in a few different directions if they can’t land Tua. Herbert is a strong prospect, but not the complete package, likely giving teams pause. The Chargers will probably risk Herbert here if forced but it isn’t out of the question they could pass either.
Jordan Love, New England Patriots, 23rd overall
Love has been mocked to all of the quarterback needy teams in the league by now and has a wide range of outcomes. In his latest mock draft, Peter King has the Patriots trading up for Tua, so there’s plenty of reason to believe the team is going to look for their future starter in the draft. Love has all the talent in the world but still needs refining, which Bill Belichick would be up to do. Trying to get into Belichick’s mind isn’t going to get you far, so we don’t have any intel into how the Patriots view Love, but his upside is up their with the top quarterbacks this year.
Plus, Love’s high school uniform is quite similar to the new unis the Patriots just rolled out.
Jacob Eason, Indianapolis Colts, 44th overall
The Colts have veteran Philip Rivers to hold the job down for a year or two, but will be looking for a longterm starter sooner than later. Eason has the upside of a Top-5 quarterback in this draft and I don’t expect Colts GM Chris Ballard to skimp at the quarterback position, even with Rivers and Jacoby Brissett on the payroll.
Jalen Hurts, Pittsburgh Steelers, 49th overall
Ben Roethlisberger seems to have a second wind and wants to keep playing for a while, but the Steelers learned last season just how awful their offense is with their current backup quarterbacks. The Steelers like that Oklahoma pipeline and Hurts has shown improvement over the last season as a passer to go along with his escapability.