Evaluating the QB Drafting Decision

PlayerAgeTeam1st PickAVExp AVDifference
Tom Brady39Patriots601711.35.8
Carson Palmer37Cardinals291610.35.7
Eli Manning35Giants101410.04.0
Drew Brees37Saints121410.33.7
Philip Rivers35Chargers31210.02.0
Josh McCown37Browns2510.3-5.3
Peyton Manning40Broncos3128.3-6.3
Tony Romo36Cowboys4210.3-8.3

Dallas and Cleveland should clearly be considering a QB and given the opportunity San Diego has, I think they should consider it as well, even though Rivers is a touch younger. Where the Giants and Saints pick makes this a more challenging question.
Given Brees’ age, contract status, and the teams need for at least a capable player in the future drafting a QB with the 12th pick is probably the right decision.

The Giants will likely only be looking for a star quality player to replace Manning which generally is a far riskier option picking outside the top 5. For them they would probably be better off drafting a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round where they still have a chance at getting a decent player and an outside opportunity at a great one that can take over for Manning in a few years. They have around a one in three chance of getting back to the top 10 in the future which means they may be able to do so before Manning is done.

The Cardinals and Broncos should be thinking QB as well, but there is no need, given where they draft, to push it in the 1st round. Again that could be a 2nd or 3rd round pick and they probably have just as decent a chance as hitting while taking a higher value player with their 1st round pick. The Patriots have already kind of used this strategy in picking insurance policies for Brady through the years so it would not be a shock if they do it again though they do have a somewhat young QB on the roster.

My guess is of these teams the Giants, Cardinals, and Chargers wont consider a QB at all and Id lean towards the Saints not considering it either all because of the veteran over-reliance factor.

When we move into the younger groupings Id look at age expected performances plus their age in making a decision. Here are the veteran players with no more than a +2 in expected AV from last year:

PlayerAgeTeam1st PickAVExp AVDifference
Ryan Fitzpatrick34Jets201311.02.0
Matt Stafford28Lions161311.02.0
Jay Cutler33Bears111210.31.7
Matt Ryan31Falcons171311.41.7
Ben Roethlisberger34Steelers251211.01.0
Kirk Cousins28Redskins211211.01.0
Ryan Tannehill28Dolphins131111.00.0
Sam Bradford29Eagles8910.1-1.1
Colin Kaepernick2949ers7410.1-6.1
Joe Flacco31Ravens6511.4-6.4

Seeing where Bradford and Kaepernick are there is logic in both teams considering a QB or moving up to find one. Neither is very good and both are nearing a time when they are going to be questioned as a starter moving forward. Flacco’s contract makes him unmoveable and I think injuries are also a reason for his performance so that would be a situation where drafting his year probably does not make sense. This is more of a move down spot.

The Bears at 11 would make logical sense to consider a first round quarterback and should strongly consider a 2nd or 3rd rounder if not. Cutler is moving to the wrong side of the age curve and Chicago is at a place where they can get a decent player to replace Cutler in the future. If they play poorly again this year this would be an example of a team that probably should pick QB in back to back years if the option is there.

Miami should be considering a QB, but given they already traded down 5 spots to get Byron Maxwell it would seem clear that this is not a position on their mind. If they don’t take a 2nd or 3rd round QB they could be in a bad spot in the future.

The Falcons and Lions should not be in the market. They are young and productive enough to probably continue on this path. ….The Jets should clearly be drafting a player. I think they could argue moving up if they can get high enough in the first round, but if not then any of the first three rounds would make sense for them. Washington and Pittsburgh should at least consider in the 2nd and 3rd round with Washington probably being in a position where they should strongly consider it.

Out of those teams that probably should consider a QB, my gut is that the Dolphins and Steelers will not and that the 49ers will not if they keep Kaepernick. The Jets, Eagles, Bears, and Redskins should be open to it.

As for the younger players in the league only three really underperformed age based AV expectations- Mariota, Blaine Gabbert, and Nick Foles. I already touched on San Francisco and the Rams have certainly addressed their issues by moving to the top pick in the draft for all the reasons outlined here about the benefits of having that pick. If I were Tennessee I would not be against another QB though with one of those picks acquired from the Rams. At worst it’s a 2nd or 3rd round insurance policy.

But in general the more chances the better. Are the Bucs completely convinced that Winston is the guy? Their decision may be based more on risk tolerance than anything else. Bortles, Bridgewater, and Carr have enough of a sample size to where I think they can say they have their QB for the time being and possibly the future and are not chasing the development that we saw the Jags and Vikings do with Gabbert and Ponder in years past. Of the three teams I could see an argument for Minnesota considering a later pick the most. Tyrod Taylor would be the other young player and given such a small sample size the Bills would be a team I think should be in the draft for a QB. I doubt any of these teams will consider a quarterback in their first three picks.