While we’re watching the 2018 playoff picture become clearer with each week, there’s a third of the NFL (maybe more, at this point) also looking for some confirmation when it comes to the ’19 draft order.
And those draft watchers may have seen an interesting trend occur as the league’s bottom 10 emerge: Could we be looking at the first top 10 since 2013 that does not include a quarterback? Or will we be looking at yet another top 10 where a few teams jostle for the right to pick the quarterback.
According to Tankathon, here’s what the first 11 picks currently look like:
1. 49ers (2-10)
2. Raiders (2-10)
3. Jets (3-9)
4. Cardinals (3-9)
5. Lions (4-8)
6. Falcons (4-8)
7. Giants (4-8)
8. Bills (4-8)
9. Jaguars (4-8)
10. Packers (4-7-1)
11. Browns (4-7-1)
The Giants and Jaguars are both teams with a need at quarterback, but both have veteran-laden rosters who may not have time to break in a rookie under center. There have been a flurry of reports about Eli Manning starting in 2019, perhaps as a way to soften the blow when it eventually happens. Every other team on this list has an established star or promising first-year player who was selected high in last year’s draft.
What does this mean, exactly?
For one, it will probably increase the premium on veteran talent in free agency. I could see both Jacksonville and the Giants being in on Teddy Bridgewater. Tyrod Taylor is also going to be on the market barring an extension.
If the order falls this way, it will also (potentially) decrease the opportunity for teams to fall back and collect more picks. If you’re someone like the Raiders, who are amassing a stable of picks from teams that are deeply engrained in the 2018 playoff race, is there much perceived value given that teams can probably find a similar talent (especially on the defensive line) later in the draft?
One more thing to consider: The NFL has a borderline suspicious way of unearthing and promoting marketable, top-of-the-draft names every year, so we’ll inevitably fall into a clamorous rhythm of projecting Top Prospect X to Needy Team Y (we already have some of that here with our latest mock draft). But with the specter of a quarterback-less (or quarterback-lite) top 10 lining up, will it lose a bit of luster for the casual fan?
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