Monday, April 21, 2014
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If the Eagles want to draft a QB this offseason, they'll have plenty of competition

There's a growing sentiment that the Eagles' 'franchise QB' will be drafted this offseason.

If the Eagles want to draft a QB this offseason, they'll have plenty of competition

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

After Nick Foles' disappointing performance last week against Dallas, coupled with the reality that Michael Vick likely isn't the long term answer at QB for the Eagles, there's a growing sentiment that the Eagles' 'franchise QB' will be drafted this offseason.

The crop of QBs who could be available in this year's draft is an impressive group that could include 5 or more players drafted in the first round. CBS' Rob Rang and Dane Brugler recently put out their admittedly very early mock drafts, and the following QBs made an appearance:

And yes, they each have the Eagles taking a QB.

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However, there's no guarantee that the above players will even declare for the draft. The only seniors above are Boyd, Mettenberger, and Carr. Meanwhile, Mariota, Manziel and Hundley are only redshirt sophomores and could choose to stay an extra year to add more polish to their games.

But beyond that, if the Eagles do indeed have their sights set on any of the aforementioned QBs, they are going to have plenty of competition from other teams around the league for a franchise QB. If the Eagles want to get their hands on "their guy," they're either going to have to give up a huge package of draft picks to go get him, or start losing... a lot.

Here are the teams they could be competing with for a QB, if they feel like they need a long term answer there:

Jaguars (0-7)

The Jaguars are scoring 10.9 points per game, and Blaine Gabbert has had QB ratings of 65.4, 77.4, and 36.0 in his first 3 years in the NFL. Unless you're a Chad Henne fan (2 TDs and 5 INTs this season), there isn't a more obvious team to draft a QB in the first round this year than the Jags.

Buccaneers (0-6)

Josh Freeman is gone, and head coach Greg Schiano might not be far behind. Mike Glennon has shown some promise in his last two starts against the Eagles and Falcons, but there's a pretty good chance a new head coach would want to begin his regime with his own guy at QB, and it's not as if Glennon is a great prospect. 

Giants (1-6)

The Giants are a tricky case, To rehash what I wrote about the Giants in my Week 5 hierarchy/obituary, if the Giants don't rattle off a bunch of wins and end up picking in the Top 5, what do they do?

By far and away, the QB position in football is the most important position in sports, and often can be the hardest to find. If you have a chance to get an elite prospect at the top of the draft in a rich QB class, it's tough to pass that up that opportunity. They don't come along very often, unless you're a perennial bottom feeder.

Eli Manning will be 33 in January, and the Giants will need to decide if the current cast of characters on their team can no longer compete for the Super Bowl. They've had some injuries this year, but even without them, it sure doesn't look like this team is anything close to being competitive. If they do go the QB route, what do you do with Eli? Do you trade him? Do you cut him? The Giants need to keep those options open. While 33 isn't exactly ancient for a QB (look at what Eli's brother is doing at 37), how old will Eli be before the Giants can rebuild around him once again?

Despite his poor season so far, Eli can still play. Moving on from him would mean a significant step backward in the short term, but would signal an honest assessment of what their team has become... an accomplished, but over the hill team that probably needs to start over. That could also mean the end for Tom Coughlin, crazy as that sounds for a head coach with 2 Super Bowl wins in the last 6 years. After all, if you're going to start over, you probably won't want to do so with a head coach who is nearing 70 years of age, even with how great he has been. The difficulty there is that I don't think Coughlin would quit, and you run the risk of a PR nightmare if you handle that situation the way Jerry Jones handled Tom Landry's dismissal a couple decades ago.

The other thing the Giants could do is look to deal their pick for a huge package of picks to a team looking for a franchise QB. Or they could just take Jadeveon Clowney. OK, now I'm just rambling. The Giants are going to be a fascinating team to watch this offseason.

You could make a similar argument for the Steelers here too, by the way.

Vikings (1-5)

Christian Ponder is a bust, newly signed Josh Freeman just isn't very good, and Matt Cassel certainly isn't an answer. The Vikings are another obvious team in need of a legitimate franchise QB.

Texans (2-5)

The Texans are an interesting team to watch in the QB shuffle. They have an excellent defense, and a some aging stars on offense. It's a team that can win right now, but Matt Schaub is an average QB having a brutal season and doesn't appear to be the answer. If a guy like Eli Manning or Jay Cutler were to be moved, the Texans would be a logical landing spot, and a rookie QB may require more time to get up to speed.

Raiders (2-4)

Terrelle Pryor is an exciting player to watch and has kept the Raiders competitive this season, but if you're the Raiders, you want to be careful about over-valuing a guy like him. The Raiders are a clear candidate to draft a QB.

Rams (3-4)

The Rams spent the #1 overall pick in 2010 on Sam Bradford, and he has been disappointing. This season, he has thrown for 14 TDs and just 4 INTs, which is helping him have a 90.9 QB rating. But that's a little misleading. Bradford's yards per attempt are terrible, and have been since he entered the NFL 4 years ago:

The risk you run here if you're the Rams is that if you let Bradford go and the light comes on with his new team, you'll forever look like idiots. Some QBs just take longer to develop, and there's at least some reason to think Bradford can come alive, as opposed to a guy like Blaine Gabbert, who has shown absolutely nothing.

Also worth noting here is that the Rams have the Redskins' 1st round pick in addition to their own, so they be major players in the first half of the first round this year.

Cardinals (3-4)

In April, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said, “I think our quarterback room is as strong as any in the National Football League.” 

Carson Palmer has 8 TDs and 13 INTs this season.

Browns (3-4)

You know how I know Browns new GM Michael Lombardi doesn’t like current QB Brandon Weeden? Because he said so, when he was a TV guy on NFL Network, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

(Lombardi) had called the drafting of the 29-year-old quarterback with the No. 22 overall pick a year ago, a “panicked disaster,” even as he admitted Friday of having no memory of making that statement. Lombardi has said the Browns would have been better served conducting a competition instead of anointing Weeden the starter.

In awkward situations such as this, the next step for Lombardi after he was hired was to come up with a lie that attempted to let the fans, media, and your QB know that you didn’t really mean it. But at the same time, Lombardi doesn’t want to come off as a media hack who was just throwing out nonsense opinions for the sake of creating TV discussion. Here’s what they came up with:

“I think you do different things in the media,” said Lombardi, who also appeared on a weekly radio spot for the Cleveland sports station 92.3 FM, The FAN, this season. “Certainly, you need to get involved in terms of their personalities here. I don’t know Josh Gordon or Brandon Weeden, in terms of watching them play from the outside, so it’s a different evaluation from a media perspective from inside the house. It’s going to be different that way.

“I think when you do media you certainly have commentary of games, but I think for my part it’s a different set of circumstances. I’m looking more towards as an organization building a team and how it relates to that.”

And now they're considering benching him.

The Browns are a young, talented team, but they need a QB to continue to build around. They also have 7 picks in the first 4 rounds:

They'll have the flexibility to move around and get a player they really like, if they choose to do so.

Bears (4-3)

Jay Cutler is in the last year of his deal, but he hasn't been to the playoffs since 2010 and will reportedly be out at least 4 weeks with a groin injury. If the Bears experience a slide during that stretch, don't recover, and finish with a bad record, it's reasonable to think the Bears could target a long term answer at QB for new-ish coach Marc Trestman to groom.

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