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Ten quarterbacks worth pursuing in free agency/2018 NFL Draft

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Over the next several months, the rosters of all 32 teams will begin to take shape for the 2018 season. In this series, NFL.com writers and analysts look at the best players available via free agency or the NFL Draft at the following positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive back, pass rusher. Today, David Carr looks at the top 10 quarterbacks worth pursuing.

1) Drew Brees, free agent

I'm not quite sure why New Orleans still hasn't locked down Brees. He's one of the most accurate quarterbacks I've ever seen and his leadership is off the charts. For the first time in a long time, Brees wasn't the center of the offense in 2017 -- thanks to Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield -- but he was able to dice up defenses when asked (See: NFC Divisional Round). There will be questions about his age (39), but he should be leading a contender as long as he continues to take care of his body.

2) Kirk Cousins, free agent

In a market that resembles a domino game, Cousins is likely to be one of the first QBs to fall off the list. He proved he can be a major player in this league in an organization where he wasn't necessarily valued as such. Cousins, who will be 30 at the start of the 2018 season, has put up big numbers since winning the starting job in 2015, doing it even when he hasn't had a ton of talent around him.

3) Case Keenum, free agent

Keenum's not the most talented quarterback on the market, but he did a phenomenal job in Minnesota this season. From taking this team over early in the season to executing a throw that resulted in the Minneapolis Miracle, Keenum proved he can handle any situation. People knocked him all season but he answered the bell each week, leading the Vikings to a 12-3 record as a starter (including playoffs). His accuracy, poise and leadership just might put him in another starting role in 2018. He's definitely earned it.

4) Josh Rosen, draft prospect

He's the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft class, and I believe Rosen could win a starting job in a lot of places due to his football IQ and physical ability. I've had conversations with him, and he reminds me of Eli Manning, who I've said countless times is the smartest player I've ever been around. Having that same type of vibe, you get the sense he's almost bored. Some evaluators will see this trait as arrogance, but the teams that aren't intimidated by his intellect will challenge him. Give Rosen a playbook and a few months, and he'll bring it to life.

5) AJ McCarron, free agent

He's been a backup in Cincinnati since coming into the league in 2014, making just three starts in the 2015 season -- and one playoff start -- for an injured Andy Dalton. In those four starts, McCarron put up a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and proved he can handle big situations. He has the physical ability and demeanor to lead a team. He just needs an opportunity.

6) Chase Daniel, free agent

Daniel's been around a long time and although he hasn't made more than two starts in nine seasons, he plays well when he's on the field. Daniel just finished a one-year deal with the Saints, his second stint with the team (the first being 2010-12), and knowing a lot about this league, teams don't bring a guy back if they don't think highly of him. As good as the Saints were in 2017, I think Daniel could've done a fine job leading the offense -- similar to what Case Keenum was able to do in Minnesota. Daniel might not have the talent or elite skill set some of the draft prospects possess, but that doesn't mean he can't execute a game plan.

7) Josh Allen, draft prospect

If we were comparing just physical ability here, Allen might be at the very top of this list. He has the size (6-foot-5, 233 pounds) and a rare, elite arm. No throw is too challenging for the Wyoming passer, who was asked to do more than most of the other QBs in his draft class during college. Allen has a ton of upside, but the one unknown here is experience.

8) Sam Darnold, draft prospect

There's a ton to like about USC's young gunslinger. He has freakish physical abilities, which was obvious when he walked into one of the most storied football programs and played well, but his age (20) concerns me. He'll likely be one of the top quarterbacks drafted in April, but I'd like him to sit behind a veteran and stay off the field until he's mentally ready. He tends to be a little loose with the football and is eerily similar to Jameis Winston in that regard. I don't want turnovers and bad decisions to become who Darnold is if he's thrust into a starting position right away.

9) Baker Mayfield, draft prospect

I'm not condoning his brash behavior, but, from a football standpoint, he's got a lot going for him. I have to give him credit for going from two-time walk-on at two Big 12 schools (Texas Tech and Oklahoma) to Heisman Trophy winner. He's lower on my list because he's not as physically gifted and doesn't have a big arm that can transcend an offense, but he's athletic and has the "it" factor. Mayfield isn't afraid of the moment and is going to give his team everything he has. Like Keenum, he has that natural energy that will elevate the play of his teammates when he's leading the huddle.

10) Sam Bradford, free agent

Bradford will always be in this conversation: Remember that really good game Bradford had two or three years ago? He was so accurate. Remember THAT game? It's unfortunate because he's at the very top of this list if he's healthy. He hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2012. You know what they say: A quarterback's best ability is availability, and Bradford hasn't been regularly available for quite some time.

On the fringe: Teddy Bridgewater, free agent

Since Drew Brees shouldn't even be on this list, I've added one more quarterback for good measure. For Teddy to get back to the Teddy we were all excited to see before his freakish injury, he needs confidence in that knee and a TON of reps. It'll be good for him to go through a full offseason, OTAs and training camp fully healthy. He's an accurate quarterback and won't get an offense into trouble. The biggest concern I have is whether he can put the past behind him and feel comfortable in the pocket with guys flying around him. That said, Teddy has the ability to play in any system and could elevate quarterback play for quite a few teams.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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