NFL

When Should Each Team Draft A Quarterback In The NFC North?

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Quarterbacks are the most valuable assets in the National Football League.  There was no truer example of that then the handsome contract that Brock Osweiler was granted by the Houston Texans.

QB’s can be used as insurance, trading chips and give franchises more stability.  We know that 32 quarterbacks won’t be selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. With that in mind, we are going to look at each team’s quarterback situations and when they should think about drafting one.

Minnesota Vikings

Current quarterbacks on the roster- Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Taylor Heinicke

 

The Vikings appear to have their house in order in terms of quarterbacks.  Teddy Bridgewater just managed his team to an NFC North title in just his second season and there are high hopes for the 23-year old Miami native who went to school at Louisville.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

Bridgewater was hesitant to throw down field last season and the Vikings offense was pretty one-dimensional.  If he improves, Minnesota has the pieces to repeat as division champs.

Shaun Hill is the consummate professional backup quarterback.  He can run any offense and keep things on track for 3-4 weeks if you’re starting quarterback goes down.  In fact, the dropoff between Bridgewater to Hill is really negligible.

Taylor Heinicke is a developmental prospect who boasts a very good arm.  He’s raw, but he’s also a guy with the tools to potentially develop into a really solid No. 2.

So when should they think about adding a quarterback?

Competition never hurts, but the Vikings have all three phases of quarterbacks- the young starter, the veteran backup and the developmental project- therefore, it doesn’t really make much sense to draft a guy unless you feel that Bridgewater might not be the guy.  It’s most likely that the team signs a quarterback after the draft to compete for a practice squad spot.

Green Bay Packers

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Ryan Williams

When Aaron Rodgers is your starting quarterback, you don’t worry too much about the position.  Rodgers is the most talented quarterback in the NFL and before a somewhat down 2015 campaign (60.7 completion percentage, 3,821 yards, 31 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 92.7 quarterback rating), he was on an all-time pace.  Rodgers is the least of the Packers’ problems, and at 32 years old they really don’t have to worry about the position for the next half-decade.

Brett Hundley has been handed the backup job after Green Bay let Scott Tolzien leave in free agency.  Hundley was a raw talent at UCLA and he spent 2015 learning from Rodgers and Mike McCarthy.  In a perfect world for the Packers, he will put up big preseason stats, never play in the regular season and by 2017 they can flip him for a draft pick.

Ryan Williams is a raw developmental prospect who is competing for a practice squad spot.

So when should they think about adding a quarterback?

The Packers need to fix their defense and their offensive line, so they really shouldn’t use any draft picks on a quarterback.  They will likely bring someone in after the draft to compete with Williams for a practice squad spot.

Detroit Lions

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Matt Stafford, Dan Orlovsky

The Lions enter 2016 only carrying two quarterbacks on the roster, which isn’t optimal in today’s game.  Matt Stafford is a former No. 1 overall pick and he has all the arm talent that anyone can ask for.  With that said, he’s been inconsistent and this will be his first season without the ultimate security blanket, Calvin Johnson.

Detroit is financially committed to Stafford (for better or for worse), and they need him to get better at 28 years of age.

Dan Orlovsky is another professional backup who has been around the block several times.  Although he’s most well-known for running out of the back of the end zone during the team’s 0-16 season (which led to the drafting of Stafford), he’s a solid No. 2 who can run the ship for a few weeks if necessary.

So when should they think about adding a quarterback?

The Lions should be in the middle-round quarterback business as they have no developmental guy and Orlovsky is 32 years old.  They can draft a quarterback anywhere from rounds three and up, and should, as it never hurts to have more young pieces.

Chicago Bears

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Jay Cutler, David Fales, Matt Blanchard

The Chicago Bears have a veteran starter who has been to the Pro Bowl, and a pair of young backups.

That should be good, right?

Not exactly.

Jay Cutler is a ticking interception time bomb and he will once again be without Adam Gase, who helped the 11-year veteran to one of his better seasons in 2015.  Cutler can make all the throws, is more athletic than he’s given credit for, is intelligent and has all the tangibles of an elite signal caller.

So why isn’t anyone convinced he’s the long-term answer?

Because he’s Jay Cutler.  No leadership qualities, he’s enigmatic and tends to disappoint on a pretty regular basis.

The Bears are financially tied to him for this season and can get out afterwards if he doesn’t perform.

David Fales is a developmental guy with pretty good feet and a weak arm.  He could develop into a decent backup, but probably isn’t quite ready yet.

Matt Blanchard is a 27-year old developmental guy who is holding on.  It would be a surprise if he was on the roster.

So when should they think about adding a quarterback?

Realistically, the Bears should be thinking about their quarterback of the future, even if it means that Cutler will make a pouty face.  Quarterback shouldn’t be off the table anywhere in the draft, and it would behoove the Bears to select one earlier, rather than later.  If they don’t select one at all, it would be a terrible non-move.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.