We have had two QB trades materialize and more scenarios being mentioned daily. One of the first things NFL GM’s will commission is a priority list. Each teams Pro Scouting departments have developed a priority for how they see all positions, regardless of contract status. As for QB’s the most important criteria might just be, how they fit and project to operate our chosen offensive system. Therefore each teams list will be different.
Endless hours of tape has been watched, by multiple people in the building and a consensus is built. They have inserted their current QB into the process as the line of demarcation. Players that fall below the line are not of interest to that particular team because as everyone knows, you don’t want to take a step back. Numbers/analytics are a part of the evaluation but film still rules in the NFL. As they say, the eye in the sky does not lie.
It’s easy to say, everyone is after the same guys but that’s not necessarily true. Their system determines what they desire and the evaluating part itself is very subjective. I firmly believe some teams and some people can evaluate better than others. Frankly, most teams do not train their scouts appropriately. I think it’s a learnable skill set but, like anything else takes hours/years and details that is helped with perspectives of others. I remember many years of listening to scouts and coaches and not saying a word just to figure out the intricacies and how to describe what we were seeing.
Some in the media have predicted unprecedented change but just because names may be available, there is no guarantee that there is a fit on the other end. One hurdle that seems to have been eliminated is- for cap reasons, teams won’t consider it. I may not agree with the result but teams are just willing to cut the cord much sooner now than ever before. After ample tape, here is my independent assessment of the field in play. Keep in mind, Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors for a reason.
I have the Texans, Deshaun Watson at the top although his development is still a bit of a work in progress for me. He’s not a top 5 in the league guy for me because of the quality above him more so than lacking in any one area, but at age 25, he’s on his way.
For my money Matt Stafford was the next of this bunch. His ability to make all the throws required of an NFL offense, accurately, and his skill set to operate from both the pocket and on the move, gives the Rams the flexibility that is a giant upgrade over what they had with Jared Goff. Rams coach Sean McVay can now run a play action/rollout style with a dropback game incorporated. Jared Goff showed athleticism on predetermined roll outs but not of his own volition. He could not replicate that athletic ability with foot quickness to create or buy time on his own and his inability to move within the pocket, to reset his feet when the pocket was not clean is a flaw that made him a statue at times and is hard to overlook in my book. I often say, the pocket is not for everyone and IMO, it’s not a place where Goff excels. I had the same concerns in college. Those struggles, to operate in a noisy pocket and the propensity to turn the ball over at an alarming rate will be things to judge his improvement rate on once he gets to Detroit.
Cowboys Dak Prescott was an easy choice at 3, on my list of “maybe available” because of his never-ending contract squabble with his team. For me, he has become a complete package because of the intangibles. He outperforms his skill set (although its versatile and above average) but with the right system could lead a team to the big game.
The next two names might surprise some but I think the Jets, Sam Darnold is more than salvageable. Having studied him at USC, I know the system he ran there, as well as what the Jets circus has been, both have given the kid plenty to overcome. His development has been on “permanent pause” for 4 years, but it is not all his fault. Having seen him for several years I have not changed my opinion that he may have as much upside as any we will talk about. He’s athletic, he has a very good arm. He can throw without his feet being set and can adjust his release point to allow him to exist in the pocket and on the run. I know, I can hear Jets fans yelling all the way to the northwest- let trade him and get somebody else- but to this end, I don’t think the Jets are trading this guy. I could see Kyle Shanahan making a big play for him and setting up the 49’ers for the future with his acquisition. That should be a good enough stamp for the Jets to keep him. The Raiders Derrek Carr was the other guy who stood out as a guy you can win with. IMO, Head Coach Jon Gruden needs to take a chill pill before he ships him off- he may never find an upgrade. Carr needs to take better care of the ball but his improved poise and toughness (both physically and mentally) show me that he is an ascending talent, at age 30, who many would want should Grudens lack of patience win out. I’d rather have him than Carson Wentz, Jimmy Garoppollo, Big Ben, Matt Ryan or Kurt Cousins.
I’ll let you fit free agent to be Jameis Winston into the mix on your own but my point is a good General Manager will have his list engrained in his mind. 1-10 with detail and a breakdown on each so when everyone is playing out these fantasy trades with the talking heads on TV, remember, it takes 2 to tango and these guys know the intricacies of their teams’ way better than we do. Their default is film ☺