To be honest, I'm not convinced there's a signal-caller who is 100 percent worthy of being drafted in the first round. But I do think there are many QB prospects with talent, some of whom will eventually start. The position definitely isn't loaded at the top, but there's depth.
We could see nine quarterbacks being drafted in the first three rounds, with Round 2 being the real sweet spot. And yes, I believe there are nine teams in this draft that absolutely must take a QB by the end of Day 2.
This list, by the way, doesn't include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The organization surely could consider snatching up another QB. General manager Jason Licht wouldn't rule it out when we spoke on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports." (In fact, Licht wouldn't even rule out addressing the position in the first round, which would seem like a stretch.) But the Bucs already have a talented youngster in Mike Glennon (albeit one who was drafted by the prior regime) and a capable vet in Josh McCown. Thus, I don't considered QB a must for Tampa.
But when it comes to a host of other organizations, the position demands attention ... now! Here are nine teams that definitely should be in the quarterback business on draft weekend:
1) Houston Texans
I already penned the column explaining why Jadeveon Clowneymust be Houston's choice with the No. 1 overall pick. But the Texans still need a quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a solid stopgap (and potential mentor). Houston needs to find its quarterback for 2015 and beyond.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars
As I've mentioned before, I'd be shocked if the Jags took a quarterback with the third overall pick. This franchise isn't simply a QB away. Jacksonville must continue building the overall depth of its roster, and that starts with drafting the most talented player available at No. 3. (Khalil Mack seems sensible.)
The Jags should seek a quarterback in Round 2 or 3. Would they invest the No. 39 pick on a signal-caller? (Remember, Jacksonville passed on a chance to take Geno Smith at No. 33 last year.) Coach Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell are building something special, but they need a leader/difference-maker at quarterback (perhaps somebody like Mettenberger or Jimmy Garoppolo). Chad Henne is serviceable -- for now -- but he's hardly the future.
3) Cleveland Browns
I think the Browns are likely to nab a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks. Personally, I think Sammy Watkins should be their pick at No. 4. If he's there, it's a no-brainer. In my mind, Johnny Manziel would be a reach at such a high draft slot. Having said that, Manziel would -- if nothing else -- have the chops to take Cleveland on the road to Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati in the AFC North. And I think he'd be a good fit in coordinator Kyle Shanahan's offense. GM Ray Farmer appears to have mixed feelings about Mr. Football, calling him "electric" and "exciting" while also conceding an important point: "He's different."
4) St. Louis Rams
I predict St. Louis will pick a quarterback within the first three rounds. Could it be Bortles with the team's second first-round pick (No. 13 overall)? Might the move come in Round 2?
Or will Snead, who's shown a willingness to flip first-rounders, trade down a bit from No. 2 overall and take Johnny Football?
On CBS' "NFL Draft: On The Clock" this past weekend, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell told me: "Johnny Manziel fits this whole philosophy of matching up in the NFC West. You have to beat them at their own game."
5) Cincinnati Bengals
6) Arizona Cardinals
While GM Steve Keim didn't seem to view quarterback as a first-round priority when we spoke last month, he made no bones about the club's intention to address the position at some point in the draft. Maybe the Cards pull the trigger in the second round; maybe they wait until Day 3 to get somebody like Logan Thomas (who has the kind of arm Arians covets); and maybe there actually is a quarterback that Arizona can't pass on in Round 1.
But there's no maybe about one thing: Arizona must add a QB at some point.
7) Tennessee Titans
I do think new coach Ken Whisenhunt can help any quarterback. But the Titans can't be shortsighted and ignore Locker's spotty play. Finding a youngster who can eventually replace Locker is paramount. Bortles, Carr, Manziel, Bridgewater, Savage, Mettenberger, Garoppolo, AJ McCarron -- Tennessee should be studying all of them.
8) Oakland Raiders
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I like Matt Schaub. I think he can resurrect his career in Oakland and be the team's starting QB over the next couple of years. But the Raiders needs a young quarterback to groom, especially now that they've given up on Terrelle Pryor. Manziel isn't the answer in Oakland, but GM Reggie McKenzie needs to find somebody to mold.
9) Minnesota Vikings
With Mike Zimmer as the coach, it's easy to imagine this team drafting defensively in the first two rounds. But what if the defensive value just isn't there when the eighth overall pick comes around? I don't think Manziel fits Turner's style, but if Bortles is available, I'm sure the Vikes will consider him as a developmental option behind Cassel.