Which teams need a QB in NFL draft? Ranking all 32 based on outlook at position

Not every team is going to get a quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft. Not all of them truly need one – even if there is a top-heavy demand that could render this draft the first ever to feature four passers taken with the first four selections. But you can bet all 32 clubs will do their homework and weigh their options at the most important position in team sports.

After all, 66 quarterbacks started an NFL game last season – Joshua Dobbs doing so for two squads – a year after 68 had taken the first snap of at least one contest during the 2022 campaign.

Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf − he also happens to be the father of new Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf – was famously a proponent of obtaining a quarterback every year, and his son certainly needs one now.

“Every year, it's a goal to acquire a quarterback – whether that's draft, free agency, whatever it looks like,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who began his career as a scout for Ron Wolf in Green Bay, said at this year’s scouting combine.

“But, yeah, this year's draft class is a cool group. A lot of variances in there.”

And while there is variance in need any year, it does seem like QB depth is becoming increasingly important in a league with a 17-game (for now) regular season and ever-increasing demands given the growing creep of international and holiday games, many of those occurring on compressed timelines.

How badly does each team require help behind center? Here’s a ranking of NFL teams’ needs at QB, ranked least to most and within tiers, ahead of the draft:

Very low priority

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Duh. Carson Wentz just became three-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes’ third QB2 since 2022, with Ian Book and Chris Oladokun on hand as training camp and preseason cannon fodder with veteran Blaine Gabbert still on speed dial. But with Mahomes under contract through 2031, not a whole lot of reason (or bandwidth) to dabble with drafting and developing here.

31. Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts is gonna be around for a while. And with Will Grier, Tanner McKee and, now, Kenny Pickett (probably for two years) in the fold, little reason for EVP/GM Howie Roseman to devote much thought to adding another slinger.

30. Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen is MVP-caliber and under contract through 2028. Mitchell Trubisky is back as QB2, probably for the next two seasons, and Shane Buechele is a semi-experienced cold storage alternative.

29. Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray should be back to 100% physically next season, nearly two years removed from his ACL tear. Behind him are a pair of young passers, Desmond Ridder coming over in a trade with Atlanta and bringing 17 NFL starts with him, and Clayton Tune getting one under his belt as a rookie in 2023.

28. Cleveland Browns

Joe Flacco, the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year, may be gone, but they’re otherwise taking few chances given the diverse array of options if exorbitantly priced starter Deshaun Watson goes down again. Veteran reserves Jameis Winston and Tyler Huntley both have Pro Bowls on their résumés, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson remains an exciting prospect despite failing to shine in three starts as a rookie in 2023. With just two picks before Round 5, little chance GM Andrew Berry takes a flier on another passer.

27. New Orleans Saints

Their position on this list isn’t to suggest they’re lights out at quarterback. But they do have a full room with Derek Carr, Nathan Peterman, Kellen Mond and Jake Haener. Even utilityman Taysom Hill is still listed by the team as a quarterback. And with no third- or fourth-round pick, hard to justify investing in another one this year.

26. Tennessee Titans

With Will Levis entering his second year – coming off a rookie season with encouraging flashes – veteran backup Mason Rudolph now on board, and even Malik Willis under contract for two more years, seems unlikely a rebuilding team with no third-rounder would earmark much more to the position right now.

Depth deliberation?

25. Houston Texans

Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud is the paragon of quarterback draft pick success – an instant superstar who would arguably have his team least in need to draft another if he had a lengthier body of work … or a backup who was under contract in 2025, when Davis Mills and Case Keenum are both scheduled to reach free agency.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Fairly similar situation to division rival Houston with talented second-year man Anthony Richardson at the reins with Flacco and Sam Ehlinger in reserve … for 2024 anyway.

23. Baltimore Ravens

Coming off his second league MVP, no questions about 27-year-old Lamar Jackson … other than his propensity to get banged up. And with Huntley moving on, the backstops are Josh Johnson, 37, and Malik Cunningham, 25 – neither offering especially meaningful NFL game experience.

22. San Francisco 49ers

Brock Purdy, who finished fourth in the MVP voting in his first year as the full-time starter, is going to be here a while – and can’t even talk about a long-term extension until 2025. Backups Dobbs and Brandon Allen may not stay beyond this season.

21. Los Angeles Chargers

They’re locked and loaded with Justin Herbert but only have understudies Easton Stick and Max Duggan locked up through this season.

20. Cincinnati Bengals

Given how effectively Jake Browning played in injured Joe Burrow’s stead late last season, Cincy looks fairly well set … aside from needing a camp arm or two.

19. Atlanta Falcons

Like the Bengals, they’re now settled at starter (recently signed Kirk Cousins) and with QB2 Taylor Heinicke signed for another year. But the Dirty Birds will need more than that – at least in terms of getting through spring workouts, training camp and preseason.

18. Carolina Panthers

For better or worse, they’re tied to Bryce Young for the foreseeable future. Yet this is another roster that will need more bodies to get by in the near term than merely Young and veteran backup Andy Dalton, 36.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Coming off a disappointing, injury-riddled campaign, Trevor Lawrence is nevertheless in line for a significant extension (but could also have a fifth-year option awaiting him). C.J. Beathard and, now, Mac Jones are in the bullpen, though both are likely to be free agents in 2025.

16. Detroit Lions

Coming off the team’s best season of the Super Bowl era (since 1966), Jared Goff is in line for a significant extension heading into his walk year. Nate Sudfeld remains as a backup … provided he’s not displaced by 2023 third-rounder Hendon Hooker, who’s now healthy enough to begin tapping into his estimable potential.

15. Miami Dolphins

Coming off his first Pro Bowl campaign, Tua Tagovailoa is also in line for a significant extension. Yet given his litany of injuries, the Fins could maybe do better than current backups Mike White and Skylar Thompson.

14. Green Bay Packers

Coming off a breakout effort during his first year as the Pack’s starter, Jordan Love is, yes, in line for a lucrative extension. For whatever it’s worth, backups Sean Clifford and Alex McGough have combined to throw one regular-season pass. Ever.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

They committed to Baker Mayfield for three more years this offseason but will likely have to re-think their contingency plans for 2025, when Kyle Trask and John Wolford hit free agency.

If the right circumstances arise

12. New York Jets

Aaron Rodgers has a very serious recent injury. Tyrod Taylor has a very lengthy injury history. And most recently, failed savior Zach Wilson has quite likely played his final down for the franchise. Though clearly in win-now mode for 2024, the NYJ have to consider value given they’re pretty much year-to-year at the position. Nearly unfathomable GM Joe Douglas would take a passer at No. 10, but – with no second-rounder – a high-end developmental prospect like South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler would be a logical luxury if he slides far enough.

11. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms-up before the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms-up before the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023.

Believe it. Like the Jets, the reigning NFC East champs and HC Mike McCarthy most assuredly need to survive deep into the 2024 postseason. As things stand now, Dak Prescott, Trey Lance and Cooper Rush could all be free agents next year – team brass apparently content to allow Prescott to play out his very hefty contract. Hard to believe Jerry Jones moves up for a quarterback, but he may also have to decide whether or not to pass on players like Washington's Michael Penix Jr. and/or Oregon's Bo Nix.

10. Los Angeles Rams

If “Matthew Stafford Watch” isn’t an annual thing already, it will be soon. Newly signed Jimmy Garoppolo is among the best backups in the league but not a long-term fallback. Stetson Bennett IV missed virtually all of his rookie season for undisclosed reasons, while Dresser Winn rounds out the group. It would be a surprise if GM Les Snead used his first Round 1 pick in eight years on a quarterback but not so much if he rolls the dice on someone who’s too intriguing to bypass on Day 2.

9. Seattle Seahawks

They have to do something – it’s just a matter of how much and when. Geno Smith and Sam Howell combined to start 32 games in 2023 (Howell with Washington), and both are under contract for the next two seasons. While the Seahawks, who tend to roll light at the QB depth chart, will need help at least to get through the summer, they’ll also have to consider outright upgrades given team brass’ fairly lukewarm commitment to Smith this offseason. Seattle currently has no second-round pick, though Schneider tends to move around the board frequently. Former Huskies star Penix is one who might hold significant intrigue given the Seahawks just hired Ryan Grubb, Penix’s offensive coordinator during his past two years at UW.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

They’ve got plenty to sort through given the recent arrivals of Russell Wilson, Justin Fields and Kyle Allen to a completely revamped depth chart. Seemingly little need to add a rookie to this mix … aside from the fact that, similar to Dallas' situation, the entire trio could be gone in a year.

7. New York Giants

They’re in a fascinating spot, literally and figuratively. With the sixth overall pick, a player like Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy or North Carolina’s Drake Maye might fall to New York – and/or, if Big Blue targets one of them or LSU’s Jayden Daniels, they wouldn’t have far to move up … though hard to see them and Washington coming to the table over the No. 2 selection. Yet coming off an ACL injury and season when he played behind a poor line and without any bona fide weapons, aside from now-departed RB Saquon Barkley, what happens with Daniel Jones as he enters the second season of a four-year, $160 million pact? With veteran Drew Lock and NFL sophomore Tommy DeVito also on the roster, seems like the Giants will either make a huge splash behind center or else barely a ripple.

6. Las Vegas Raiders

New HC Antonio Pierce’s love for and ties to Daniels (when both were at Arizona State) are apparent and reciprocated. But the Silver and Black would have to pay a king's ransom to move up from No. 13 to get him. Penix or Nix seem like more realistic options if the Raiders stick and pick in Round 1 – though after adding Gardner Minshew II in free agency, new GM Tom Telesco doesn’t have to make an extravagant trade for, say, McCarthy or Daniels … much as it seems Pierce wants him to.

High priority

5. New England Patriots

Jacoby Brissett is a proven career backup, and Bailey Zappe has a chance to reach that threshold. Said another way, the Pats are still seeking Tom Brady’s long-term successor, and the only reason not to take a shot in Round 1 is if Eliot Wolf decides a roster that didn’t support departed Mac Jones just isn’t ready to rally around another rookie any time soon.

4. Minnesota Vikings

Retread Nick Mullens and rookie Jaren Hall were among the fill-ins for now-departed Cousins in 2023 – and their collective performance helped necessitate the signing of Sam Darnold as a stopgap. The Vikes seem poised to move up for a long-term solution after acquiring the draft’s 23rd overall pick, adding it to their organic first-rounder (No. 11) even though the roster is largely in good position to win immediately. But TBD whom might be on Minnesota’s board and/or if GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can get into position for the player(s) he covets.

3. Denver Broncos

HC Sean Payton and GM George Paton freely admit they need to add to a room that currently includes journeymen Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, neither signed for 2025 – and they probably need to import multiple passers. Currently with only one draft pick (No. 12) among the top 75, this franchise faces quite a decision entering the 2024 season – and that probably means whether to gamble on someone who’s probably rated no better than this draft’s fourth-best quarterback or to essentially punt on a season effectively already crippled by the $85 million salary cap charge incurred by the March release of Russell Wilson.

2. Washington Commanders

Much as some teams might desire their No. 2 overall slot, hard to fathom a world where new GM Adam Peters doesn’t wind up with Daniels, Maye or McCarthy as the new face of this resetting franchise. Currently on the roster, Marcus Mariota, Jeff Driskel and Jake Fromm are all backup-caliber guys on one-year deals.

1. Chicago Bears

No drama here. Fields is gone. Undrafted Tyson Bagent and peripatetic Brett Rypien are currently the only quarterbacks on the roster. Former USC star and 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams is expected to join right after the draft officially starts April 25.


Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 NFL draft: Ranking all 32 teams based on need to pick a QB