Best Case Scenario: A QB Falls to 14th
It’s going to be fascinating to see what teams end up doing with the top-5 quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft. We are about 99.9% certain that three will be gone by the time the fourth pick arrives. The intrigue, then, rests in what will happen with the final two by the time Minnesota ends up on the clock.
If one of the big five end up falling to 14th – Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance, Jones – then Minnesota will likely be able to bamboozle a team into trading far, far too much draft capital to hop into that coveted 14th spot. Every team wants a franchise quarterback. The end result is multiple quarterbacks being chosen toward the top of the NFL Draft who really don’t deserve to be chosen high. It happens every year.
The Patriots, Football Team, and Steelers are all teams that come to mind as potential options for a trade up. Washington’s 19th pick really seems like a sweet spot for Minnesota. TVG‘s recent Round 1 mock explored this precise scenario. When it was Minnesota’s time to choose, Mac Jones was still on the board. Washington didn’t want to risk losing him to BB’s Pats, so they traded away their 19th pick, 2nd round selection, and a 2022 fifth. Minnesota ended up with Alijah Vera-Tucker at 19. It’s the ideal scenario for Minnesota.
This week, Rick Spielman spoke about a similar scenario with Alexander Mattison. Mattison was the plan the entire time, but they were able to trade back in the round and still get him. It allows Minnesota to have their cake and eat it too; they get the player they want as well as extra draft capital. Spielman loves extra draft capital.
The offensive line, in my humble opinion, must be the priority early. In fact, I think their RD1 pick is destined for the offensive line. Christian Darrisaw and Alijah Vera-Tucker are the most likely. Rashawn Slater is the dream. Having multiple highly-ranked o-linemen available at 14 will likely contribute Minnesota’s willingness to trade down. For this scenario to occur – multiple o-linemen and at least one of the top-5 QBs to be available – there will need to a run on those elite receivers, some corners chosen, and maybe even an edge rusher or two.
Obviously, a lot will depend on how things shake out in the back end of the top-ten. The Teddy Bridgewater trade doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of Denver going QB early, but it does make it more unlikely. Therein lies the key: the 7-9 range of the draft. Detroit, Carolina, and Denver could all be reasonably said to require an upgrade at QB. If they don’t snag a QB, though, it’s not entirely unreasonable. Detroit and Carolina have needs all over the field, and Denver will have competent play at QB.
We all know Spielman loves to trade down in the draft. A tumbling quarterback will certainly make for a compelling NFL Draft, especially if this QB gets to 14. Stay tuned, folks.