The 2017 NFL Draft has come to a close, and with that being said it’s never too early to be looking at next season’s draft. Unlike this year’s class (which was weak at the Quarterback position), 2018 features some excellent talent in the pocket such as Josh Rosen, Jarrett Stidham, Josh Allen, and what looks to be the prized possession of the 2018 class, USC’s Sam Darnold.
It is evident that teams such as the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, and the San Francisco 49ers have all the signals pointing to them that they will be aiming for a signal caller come next offseason. However, it is the unlikely teams that have Quarterbacks who are on hot seats or who have question marks, that are the most intriging to be drafting a Quarterback in 2018.
While it is difficult to predict the future, here is a list of teams who could be in the mix for the deep class at QB next season:
After an excellent 2015 campaign expectations were held high for Blake Bortles (and rightfully so). Bortles threw for more than 4000 yards and 35 touchdowns, with a passer rating of 88, easily becoming a building block for the Jaguars offense.
However, Bortles severely regressed in 2016 throwing for only 23 touchdowns and still adding to the interceptions category with 16, leading the Jags to a 3-13 season. With the additions of A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell to an already exciting defense, and the drafting of Leonard Fournette, all the pieces are in place for Bortles to succeed and lead the Jags to a positive direction, but if that can’t be done, Jacksonville could be looking at a replacement come the 2018 draft.
Terry and Kim Pegula are in a disarray when it comes to the future of the Buffalo Bills. In the midst of a change in the Front Office, a change at Quarterback is also a possibility for the Bills. What played a role in the firing of General Manager Doug Whaley was the signing Tyrod Taylor to a 5-year deal at the beginning of the 2015 season.
Tyrod Taylor has been solid for the Bills since arriving to Buffalo, accumulating for 6,058 total yards and only throwing for 12 picks in two seasons as the Bills starter. The issue with Taylor is his inconsistency in throwing the football, and his lack of accuracy. Even with his contract restructured, the Bills aren’t settled with Taylor being their Quarterback of the future and could be looking at next season’s draft for his successor. The Bills do have former National Champion Cardale Jones, and recently drafted Nathan Peterman out of Pitt to look at for the future, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bills went QB in the first round next season.
The Minnesota Vikings are in an interesting situation. With an incredible defense, and quality weapons on Offense, the Viks have a well-rounded team that could become contenders with a few fixes. They thought that they did have a piece to that puzzle with a young Teddy Bridgewater, however due to a severe ACL tear, it is hard to predict whether or not the former Louisville standout can be a reliable Quarterback.
In the meantime, the Vikings did plug in former top pick Sam Bradford via trade, but Bradford does not have the ability to lead a team deep into the post-season, which should remind the Vikings front office to find another Quarterback.
Kirk Cousins has been nothing short of brilliant after officially overtaking Robert Griffin III two seasons ago. Cousins has thrown for over 9000 yards, and 54 touchdowns since replacing his former teammate. However, Washington does not seem to want to commit long-term with their Quarterback.
The past two seasons, Washington has avoided signing a long-term deal with the former Michigan State Spartan, franchising him both times. Cousins has also been linked to trade rumors from the franchise tags, meaning both sides are beginning to slide away from each other. The former 4th round pick does have consistency and turnover issues, and if that doesn’t change next season, look for Cousins to be finding a new home.
The Arizona Cardinals were in striking range to land a future signal caller such as Patrick Mahomes II or Deshaun Watson, but chose to focus on trying on winning with this roster now, rather than finding a replacement for their aging Quarterback in Carson Palmer.
Palmer was a disappointment last season compared to his MVP-caliber 2015 season, as he dealt with a ton of injuries, and couldn’t seem to find his rhythm after his 5-interception performance in the 2015 NFC Championship game against Carolina. With Palmer at age 37, it might be sooner rather than later for the Cardinals to find their future gunslinger.