With the recent shocking news of the Washington Redskins trading for Alex Smith, the 2018 quarterback landscape got even muddier. I decided to take a crack at predicting the Week 1 starters for the eight teams whose quarterback situations are up “in the air.” My ultimate goal here is to get at least two of them correct. You may feel like there are other situations not mentioned below are also undecided, but personally, I’m under the impression that all other teams at least have their starter on the roster.
I was chatting with Wray Perkins about said openings and he decided to get in on the predicting action as well. So winner takes all, here are our predictions.
Wray: 1st Round Draft Pick (Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold)
Okay, I’m cheating by saying two names here. But, I’m personally torn as to which of the two is better, and they by all rights SHOULD take as much time as humanly possible to determine which one to take first overall. I will be able to offer a more informed prediction after the combine, but one thing is for sure: DeShone Kizer’s days as the Cleveland Browns starter are over.
Andy: Tyrod Taylor
Shocker right? I think Alex Smith was actually the #1 choice for new general manager John Dorsey, evident in reports that the Browns offered a 2nd rounder versus the 3rd offered by the Redskins. Sure there was a good young cornerback in play as well with Washington, but sources report that the actual holdup was the 4-year extension Smith has already agreed to.
Those of you who know me, know that I am a Cleveland Browns fanatic and there are two things I am certain of: John Dorsey’s unwillingness to give Smith that extension means he is going to draft a quarterback at #1 or #4 and the fact that they were in the mix with a 2nd rounder shows the Browns have no intention to start a rookie too soon again (see DiShone Kizer).
It’s clear that the marriage between the Buffalo Bills and Taylor is over. In fact, the only negative grade I would give Bills rookie head coach Sean McDermott was that bone-headed move to pull a winning QB for a later-round rookie who went on to set turnover records. Taylor is a limited quarterback who can make plays with his legs and doesn’t turn the ball over. That latter ingredient was exactly the problem with DeShone Kizer, who set some turnover records of his own. Taylor gives the Browns a nice short term option to mentor in the high pick rookie and Kizer, who I think can still be salvaged.
Wray: Sam Bradford
I think Case Keenum will get paid this year by somebody, and it won’t be Minnesota. Wanting to keep their backfield, receiving corps and defense intact for the long term, I think they take the guy they were planning on starting this year in lieu of Teddy Bridgewater.
Andy: Case Keenum
This is not a Nick Foles/Carson Wentz situation, as Sam Bradford got hurt in Week 2!!! Keenum stepped in, won a lot of games and led the Vikes to the playoffs where he won a magical game. The team doesn’t know what the future holds for Teddy Bridgewater, which means it is too early to give up on him. Keenum can hold down the fort while Teddy gets healthy, potentially going to the playoffs again, and the injury-riddled Bradford will be set loose.
Some reports are saying Kirk Cousins to the Vikings. They have the cap room to do it but they also have an amazing team with some key players coming up for free agency after next year. I think choosing Cousins over those players is ludicrous, and I bet they do too.
Wray: 1st Round Draft Pick (Mason Rudolph)
The Bills have the #21 and #22 picks in the draft in April, and I believe they will use one of those picks on their quarterback of the future – and present. As it is projected right now, Mason Rudolph could be the best remaining option on the board at #21, and it’s not really a bad option. The Oklahoma State product is a better true passer than Tyrod Taylor and is experienced at the RPO’s which are taking over the NFL. It’s a slam dunk pick.
Andy: Kirk Cousins
Look, I do NOT like Skip Bayless. He plays a character on television and his opinions are often ridiculous and fabricated. However, he did say something the other day that resonated with me. Cousins also said something to me that resonated as well, which was that he would sacrifice money to be in a situation of winning.
When I combine these two things, I arrive at the conclusion that Cousins will choose the Buffalo Bills and I think they are perfect for each other. The Denver situation is just a little too high on the pressure gauge, where the Bills situation is sneaky good. Nobody will expect them to set the world on fire, but to be honest, they just might have a better nucleus than the Broncos.
Wray: Ryan Tannehill
If it hadn’t been for another freak ACL injury in the summer, he would have been the guy once again and we would never have been subjected to another season of Jay Cutler memes. He’s the big money guy in Miami and still only 29 years old, so he’ll be the guy until 2021.
Andy: Ryan Tannehill
I think they will go after Cousins and will lose out in the division to the Bills situation. Ouch, right? After that, I agree with you.
New York Jets
Wray: Josh McCown
It’s weird to say that a 37-year old quarterback had a “breakout year,” but I think that’s what McCown had in New York in 2017. He’s expressed his desire to come back and the Jets receivers seem to like him, so it appears as though the journeyman quarterback could end up with another contract with GangGreen. The Jets will still take Baker Mayfield with the #6 overall pick.
Andy: Josh McCown
You literally took the words right out of my mouth…
Wray: Kirk Cousins
General manager John Elway wants someone with experience to lead his team. With Cousins definitely leaving Washington, he will likely be the most sought-after free agent quarterback. Elway + the Broncos’ still-relevant defense + Demariyus Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders makes for a pretty attractive destination. Also, money. Money will make Denver attractive. The Broncos will still take Josh Allen with the #5 overall pick.
Andy: 1st or 2nd Round Draft Pick (Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield)
I think they will entertain the idea of Cousins, but will lose out to the Bills (read above). The Broncos staff got to coach both Allen and Mayfield in the Senior Bowl and I think one of them will head to Denver and be the best option after the preseason.
Wray: Case Keenum
I mentioned above he would get paid and the Arizona Cardinals have a gaping void at the moment with the retirement of Carson Palmer and the impending free agency of Blaine Gabbert. Keenum fits a similar style as Palmer and could be a good get for a team which is quietly stacked at wide receiver.
Andy: Sam Bradford
This is the biggest mystery by far. New head coach Steve Wilks comes from the Carolina Panthers and doesn’t have many ties to any of the quarterbacks that will be available (similar to the Bills). Slotting Bradford here for now, because why not?
Wray: Blake Bortles
Bortles gonna Bortle. UNLESS… the Jacksonville Jaguars select 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and he beats out Bortles in camp.
Andy: Blake Bortles
Look at what coach Doug Marrone did with Bortles this year! They were a few “Patriot calls” away from being in the Super Bowl. The Jags are way less worried about their quarterback situation than the rest of us.