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 ...
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.
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.
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 --
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.
Steelers, Giants), much like the
Packers did back in 2005 when they took some kid named
Aaron Rodgers out of Cal.
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
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.
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.