Published: April 19, 2017 at 11:58 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2017 at 01:12 p.m.

2017 NFL Draft: How many quarterbacks will go in the first round?

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Over the past 15 NFL drafts, a total of 43 quarterbacks have been taken in the first round. Ten of those drafts included at least three signal callers coming off the board in Round 1. And only once during this time span was a draft limited to just a single QB in the opening stanza -- EJ Manuel flew solo as the 16th overall pick in 2013.

This year's class has some known commodities: Deshaun Watson carried Clemson to consecutive national title games (winning the most recent edition), while DeShone Kizer started his last two years at Notre Dame. The group also offers up other enticing prospects: North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky possesses the tools scouts desire, while Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes has the raw arm talent scouts dream of.

But this year's QB class does lack something that's pretty important: certainty. There's no set pecking order among the top prospects -- and no one knows when each of them will come off the board. This begs an obvious question ...

How many quarterbacks will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft?

I predict three: Deshaun Watson (to the Jets), Patrick Mahomes (Cards) and Mitchell Trubisky (Texans)
There are a handful of teams that need to figure out their quarterback situations, but only three will make moves in the first round.

The New York Jets have the highest selection (No. 6 overall) and Deshaun Watson would be a nice fit there. He's a proven winner and a leader who excels on the big stage. The Arizona Cardinals need a successor for Carson Palmer, and Patrick Mahomes should be too intriguing to pass up with the 13th overall pick. Finally, the Houston Texans gave up on Brock Osweiler and watched Tony Romo ride off into the sunset that is broadcasting. It's hard to see them betting their future on Tom Savage, so Mitchell Trubisky should be their answer at No. 25.
Watson and at least one other QB will be taken Thursday night
It's that time of year. The time when quarterbacks creep up draft boards and NFL teams become highly susceptible to reaching for the position -- especially in the first round. The warnings about the quarterback class have been issued and the consensus among scouts is even the top QBs shouldn't be drafted too early. There is potential at the position, but also shortcomings.

All that said, and despite possible game-changing talents at other positions, there's a good chance at least two teams will draft a quarterback on night one. Deshaun Watson should come off the board first, followed by either Mitchell Trubisky or Patrick Mahomes, but I'm not convinced any of them have top-20 talent. Not that it matters. It's the NFL's version of flu season -- each year, war rooms across the league get infected with faith.
Three first-round locks and one wild card
This is an unusual year. Seven months ago, there were some within the NFL who didn't think a single quarterback would be drafted in the first round. Then Mitchell Trubisky was named the starter at North Carolina, DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes decided to come out early, and Deshaun Watson surprised everybody by beating Alabama in the national title game. I think all four of those quarterbacks will be taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think Trubisky, Watson and Mahomes are first-round locks, and Kizer could be a target late on the first day for some team to trade up and grab, similar to what happened to Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. In all, I think at least six quarterbacks will be drafted in the first two days, with all of them having a good chance of seeing success in the NFL.
Three QBs will go in Round 1, though none of them should
Honestly, I don't think any of this year's quarterbacks should be taken in the first round. I just don't see it in this draft class. That said, I'm going to say three quarterbacks will be selected in Round 1. I think Deshaun Watson will sneak in, along with Patrick Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky.
Four will come off the board in Round 1
I'm certainly no draft expert (I'm not even a fantasy "expert" for that matter -- because there is no such thing), but I have a sneaking suspicion this year could harken back to the 2011 draft, when we saw several teams reach for a quarterback in Round 1. In that class, Cam Newton was the clear No. 1 option (and went first overall), but Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder all went in the first 12 picks.

While I don't believe we'll see four quarterbacks drafted in the first 12 picks this time around, I wouldn't be surprised if each of the big four QBs in this class -- Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes -- go in the first round. A few will be taken by QB-needy teams near the top, while the others could get scooped up by teams with an aging veteran seeking to groom an heir apparent (i.e. Cardinals, Steelers, Giants), much like the Packers did back in 2005 when they took some kid named Aaron Rodgers out of Cal.
I'm thinking three ... and MAYBE four, if a team's in love with DeShone Kizer
This current crop of quarterbacks resembles a musical festival with a bunch of "all right" bands. I mean, there are a few guys with some hits, but there is no superstar who is going to anchor the main stage. Like, I did download one of Patrick Mahomes' hits, but it's not like I'm streaming the whole album or something.

That said, it only takes one superfan (or GM, in this instance) to pull the trigger and get the ball rolling. While none of these guys would have warranted a first-round selection a few years ago when quarterbacks were getting the outrageous bonus-baby money, the rules have changed now to minimize the risk.

And the biggest player, to me, will be the Browns. Once they make a move on Mitch ( I'm not calling you Mitchell) Trubisky, some of the other teams will start to make a move, too. So I say the Texans grab Deshaun Watson and then some team jumps back into the first-round to grab Patrick Mahomes. I could see an outside chance for a fourth team to try to get DeShone Kizer, but I feel like those teams will play chicken and wait until the second round.
I anticipate three Round 1 QB selections, but maybe not in the manner many expect
I see a maximum of three quarterbacks -- likely Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes -- going in Round 1. I am not a college QB evaluator, though, so if you tell me DeShone Kizer or some crazy small school kid from ITT Tech will get drafted higher than expected, no argument here.

More fascinating is who will take a QB -- and when. I see the Texans doing so at No. 25, and some team trading back into the first round to grab a guy who might unexpectedly fall (Trubisky?). That leaves room in this prognostication. Someone in the top 10 is going to surprise folks with a quarterback pick, and I don't think it'll be the Browns.
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