Jeremiah: Teams trying to talk themselves into second-tier QBs

It's not music to the ears of Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, but it's looking more and more like quarterback-needy teams drafting early in the first round this year are open to bypassing the position with their top pick.

In a media teleconference Thursday, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he could see a "very real possibility" that teams like the Texans (No. 1 pick), Jaguars (No. 3) and Raiders (No. 5) pass on drafting a quarterback with their first pick.

"I think teams are trying to talk themselves into that second group (of quarterback prospects) so they can take a big-time positional player early in the draft," Jeremiah said.

This draft is deep in positional players, particularly at offensive tackle, wide receiver and cornerback -- it's not a stretch to think that five players at each position could go in the first round -- but it's also deep at quarterback, which could lead those teams in need of a quarterback to bypass the position in the first round and circle back around in later rounds to grab a solid prospect. That also means that some quarterbacks who were considered first-round locks two or three months ago might not necessarily be that anymore.

Only one quarterback went in the first round last year, EJ Manuel to Buffalo with the 16th pick. That came on the heels of the 2012 draft, which saw four quarterbacks in the first round, including three in the top eight, and of the 2011 draft, when four quarterbacks went in the top 12.

But Jeremiah said the 2011 draft, in particular, has "scared some teams" because three of the first-round quarterbacks that year -- Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder -- have not panned out. And one first-round quarterback in 2012, Brandon Weeden, already is on his second team.

In addition, Jeremiah cited the "Seattle effect" as a reason teams might be willing to bypass a quarterback in the first round, noting that the Seahawks won the most recent Super Bowl with quarterback Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012. Jeremiah said teams are also looking at the model in San Francisco, which he called "the second-best team" in the league and one that is led by second-round quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"I think there's a theory going around -- 'let's build up our roster with as many talented players as we can (and) then we can insert the quarterback at that point in time,'" Jeremiah said.

Fellow analyst Charles Davis said Seattle, San Francisco and Cincinnati have developed a blueprint lessening the need for a bona-fide star at the position. Davis said teams are saying "we want to win with a quarterback" and not because of a quarterback.

Jeremiah said most of the teams in the top 10 that would seem to need a quarterback have "signed a veteran that is functional." Houston has signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jacksonville re-signed Chad Henne. Oakland acquired Matt Schaub. Tampa Bay (No. 7 pick) signed Josh McCown. Minnesota (No. 8) re-signed Matt Cassel. Cleveland, which picks fourth, is the only outlier of that group; the Browns didn't sign a veteran but do have Brian Hoyer, who played well as a starter after taking over for Weeden last season before being injured.

Davis also said the deep quarterback class has led to a lot of varying opinions on the ranking at the position. "There are so many, you have a hard time separating them," he said.

Davis and Jeremiah both said they have heard that teams are willing to bypass quarterbacks early. But they also wondered if that truly will happen.

"Will teams hold to it?" Jeremiah asked.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.