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Top 10 Teams That Could Draft QBs
Eric Galko, Optimum Scouting
The quarterback position generally dominates the headlines of the NFL Draft. Teams invest heavily, both for their teams and their own careers, whenever they draft a quarterback that will be the "quarterback of the future".
For some of these teams, it's clear: they need to and will be drafting a quarterback. For some others, it'll be determinate on how free agency plays out. And for the rest, it could be a situational decision and one that could shake up the entire draft early on. Here are ten teams that likely will target a quarterback early in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The obvious choice, this pick is all but announced to be Andrew Luck. I've still heard from a Colts scout that have been considering and actively talking about Robert Griffin as another option, but it's still a likely happening that Andrew Luck will be the replacement for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
I've both noticed and heard from someone around the Redskins that Mike Shanahan had not anticipated going into the past two seasons with Rex Grossman as his quarterback, and has been looking for a quarterback the past two years. I've heard that quarterback was Jake Locker the past two seasons (didn't declare as a junior, went two picks ahead of Redskins surprisingly in 2011), but with Locker gone, Shanahan will certainly use this draft to find his quarterback. I've still heard the Redskins all the favorites and most likely to trade up for Griffin, and regardless if they do or not, they'll still likely stick at #6 and draft Ryan Tannehill. I also don't believe Peyton Manning will actively pursue the Redskins as well.
Colt McCoy has been a solid stop-gap quarterback and has been much better than expected since he came out of Texas, but it's safe to say he's not the franchise quarterback. I believe the Browns likely will be the favorites for (and get) Matt Flynn from Green Bay. However, whether they do or not, the Browns likely will target a developmental quarterback early. If they pass on Flynn, they may look to trade up to get Griffin at #2 or take Brandon Weeden in round two. If they take Flynn, they could look Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, or Kirk Cousins in the 2nd-3rd round area.
From all I've noticed and heard, Peyton Manning just makes too much sense for Miami. He has a home there already. They have the offensive line in place to protect him. They were very competitive and maybe a Top 6 AFC team the second half of the year. And if they bring Reggie Wayne in as well, he, Marshall, and Bess make a fantastic unit. Plus, I doubt the Dolphins want to mortgage the future for Robert Griffin or take a gamble on Ryan Tannehill for a playoff ready team. However, if they sign Manning or not, they'll need to groom someone as well. My vote goes to Russell Wilson or B. J. Coleman in the 3rd round area, but they could look earlier.
A wildcard in the quarterback-needy club, the Bills suffered mightily with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm the latter part of the season, and they likely realize he may not be the franchise quarterback they'd hope. Maybe the team that makes the most sense for Ryan Tannehill as of now based on the offense and they fact he'll have a full year to sit if needed, don't be surprised if the Bills shake up the draft (as usual) with a Tannehill selection.
Already rumored to be talking with Peyton Manning, they are likely the Dolphins most fierce competition for the Hall of Fame quarterback with an offensive line in place and some talent on defense. However, if they don't end up with Manning, they'll need to go into next season with some sort of young competition for Tavaris Jackson. Whether that entails a trade up for Ryan Tannehill, gambling on Brock Osweiler in the early 2nd round via a trade up, or just bringing in a 2nd-3rd rounder to develop, it's pretty safe to say the Seahawks are watching this quarterback class closely.
Kansas City Chiefs
They'll already have Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton battling for the top quarterback spot in Training Camp, but neither one is the franchise quarterback that the Chiefs haven't had since Trent Green. Another sneaky team for the Ryan Tannehill sweepstakes, they'll more likely look for a developmental quarterback with a high ceiling like Brock Osweiler in the 2nd-3rd round area.
One of the teams that met with Robert Griffin at the Combine, the Eagles aren't as much of a shocker as many think. Vick is set to be on the down slope of his career soon, and the Eagles are known for understanding when a player is past his prime and it's time to move on. Outside of linebacker, safety, and offensive line depth, the Eagles don't have many pressing needs, and if they can package Asante Samuel, two first rounders, and maybe a second rounder, that could be enough to entice the Rams to trade back to the middle of the first round.
They'll be in the Peyton Manning race because of his connection with Larry Fitzgerald as well as the need for Ken Whisenhunt and most of the Cardinals organization needing to win next year for many to keep their jobs. However, after they lose out, they'll likely be okay with settling with John Skelton as the quarterback next year. If Kevin Kolb is released, which I expect, they could look to bring in some young competition that can play early, such as Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden, to compete with Skelton.
While Tim Tebow is a polarizing player and such a unique (frustrating) quarterback, it's safe to say that barring the Broncos surprise everyone and find a way to secure Peyton Manning, he's their guy next year. I'm confident they won't take a quarterback in the first round, and likely not in the second with the possible exception of Brandon Weeden, but they'll likely add a quarterback at some point in the draft and John Elway feels can play in a more "conventional" NFL offense.
Eric Galko is a contributing NFL scout for Patriots Insider at Scout.com.
Eric Galko is the Owner, Director of Scouting of Optimum Scouting and lead editor for OptimumScouting.com. He has been scouting college football for eight years, and for pro teams and other sports professionals for the last four years. Eric is also a member of the FWAA.
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