Every year, there’s always one position in the NFL Draft that teams absolutely need to address. Since the beginning of football, the quarterback position is not something that’s an option, rather it’s something that’s necessary.
Have the right quarterback and you’re likely to be amongst the games best teams for the next 15 or so years. However, if you don’t have a franchise-caliber quarterback, then your team is likely to struggle each year and be stuck in the NFL’s chamber of mediocrity.
Over the last two NFL Drafts (2017 and 2018), there were a total of eight quarterbacks selected in the first round alone. Of all eight teams that opted to take quarterbacks, seven of them traded up in order to do so. The NFL’s run on quarterbacks over the two NF Drafts without a doubt shows that the position has become even more important in today’s NFL.
Just a decade ago, a team could put together a winning season by having a good defense and a good running game. As long as the starting quarterback was good enough to make plays when needed, teams found a way to have success.
After the way that SeanMcVay turned around the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, teams with young quarterbacks are now more reluctant than ever to find a young offensive mind and pair them with their face of the franchise. The Chicago Bears would do the same with Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky in 2018.
However now, it’s virtually impossible to win in the NFL unless teams have the right quarterback in place.
This year, with the 2019 NFL Draft about three months away, a weaker quarterback class is expected. Unlike the classes of 2017 and 2018, the quarterback class of 2019 has multiple different players who could be labeled as the “number one quarterback”.
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins offers plenty of intrigue. So do Will Grier, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones. While Haskins is being touted as a first-round draft pick, others are likely going to be drafted on day two or three. Then there’s Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, a two sport athlete who’s played both football and baseball. Some have said that Murray is going to be a first-round pick.
When teams feel like they have “their guy”, they’ll do whatever they need to make sure that they get him. However, teams are also beginning to change the way they handle rookie quarterbacks.
Just ten years ago, quarterbacks drafted in the first-round were immediately dubbed as franchise saviors. While this is still the case, teams are now hesitant to have rookie quarterbacks start from day one.
Essentially, teams are willing to take a slow approach, doing whatever they need to in order to make sure that young quarterbacks are successful in the NFL. Rather than toss their first-round pick into the huddle on day one, teams are now making the rookie earn their jobs and only having them play when the coaching staff feels that they are ready to begin handling the rigors of an NFL game.
This slow-down approach has led to the value to quarterbacks rising even more now. While the position was the most valued in football, now teams understand that if they don’t trade up, then they’ll see another franchise snag whoever their main target may be.
As the NFL continues its evoluton into a more pass-oriented league, there’ll be an increase in the number of offensive minded head coaches that are hired. In 2019, six of the eight head coaches hired previously were offensive assistants. Of the six, three teams (Browns, Jets, and Cardinals) featured quarterbacks that were selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Looking ahead, there’s no doubt that the value of quarterbacks is going to remain higher than ever. In 2020, when Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert declare for the NFL Draft, teams like the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants will be looking to add one of the names listed above. In 2021, expect the same with Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
While quarterback has always been the most important position in the NFL, the value of the position is higher than evern right now due to coaches like Sean McVay and Matt Nagy. As the NFL continues to undergo an offensive revolution, young quarterbacks are at the center of it all.