The 2020 NFL Draft is now officially slated to take place in less than a month. We have no idea how the draft is going to look. What we do know is that all 32 teams will get together in some form and conduct the annual event.
Among the most talked about stories leading up to the draft has been the potential landing spots of the best quarterbacks in this year’s class. Joe Burrow will go No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals. We already know that.
After that, it’s going to be interesting to see where Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert from Oregon land. Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts and even Jacob Eason are three other potential first-round options.
It’s in this that I check in on five teams who could surprisingly select a quarterback within the first 32 picks.
Las Vegas Raiders
After signing former No. 2 overall selection Marcus Mariota, it seems that the Raiders will avoid quarterback with their two first-round picks. Mariota joins Derek Carr in Las Vegas’ quarterback room. In no way does there seem to be a fit for a No. 3 quarterback, especially in the first round.
That could not be further from the truth. We already know Raiders head coach Jon Gruden can’t have enough quarterbacks. It’s also being reported that the Raiders are high on both Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts. If they could potentially trade back from 12 or 19 and still land one of these signal callers, it would not surprise me in the least.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let’s be real for a second, shall we? Tom Brady is 42 years old and has regressed significantly in recent seasons. He signed a mere two-year contract. The Buccaneers have no one of substance behind Brady on the depth chart after moving on from Jameis Winston. What is to stop general manager Jason Licht from going quarterback at 14?
Some will say Tampa Bay is in win-now mode. It may have made a promise to Brady that the team will look for an immediate-impact player in the first round. That’s not how the NFL works. Brady will not dictate what the Buccaneers do come April. Let’s say Jordan Love or Justin Herbert is available. If the Bucs have them higher on their draft board than players at need positions, look for them to pull the trigger. Signing Brady does nothing to change this.
New Orleans Saints
Retaining do-everything backup Taysom Hill to play behind the aging Drew Brees seemed to show the Saints’ hand. They fully expect Hill to eventually replace Brees after the latter re-signed on a team-friendly deal. That could still very well be the case. I am just not too sure this is what Sean Payton has on his mind behind the scenes.
Hill, 29, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after next season. Assuming Brees remains relatively healthy, it would be foolish to re-sign him to a long-term deal. Enter into the equation a player like Jacob Eason or Jalen Hurts at 24. It would be a more traditional way for the Saints to find a long-term replacement for Brees. Remember, he’s signed through the 2021 campaign.
Green Bay Packers
Teams must be forward thinking at the quarterback position. Has Aaron Rodgers regressed? No. Does he has several good years of football left in him? Possibly. With all of that said, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst continues to prove that he’s in this for long-term success.
What if Love or Hurts is available with the 30th selection? Would Green Bay pass up on the opportunity to find an heir-apparent to the 36-year-old Rodgers? Stranger things have indeed happened.
Here’s a true wild card. In pretty much one fell swoop, Indianapolis lost its first-round pick (13th) overall in the DeForest Buckner trade. It then signed 38-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers to a one-year contract. General manager Chris Ballard and Co. are going all in for the 2020 season.
Even then, the idea of moving back up into the end of the first round makes too much sense. Indy could turn to its most-recent trade partner and move up to the 31st selection with San Francisco for someone like Eason. It would be a way for the team to have a seamless transition from veteran to youngster, something we never saw under Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck. Just some food for thought.