NFL

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

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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.

Carolina Panthers

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Joe Webb

The Carolina Panthers are in pretty good shape at the quarterback position, as they boast the reigning NFL MVP in Cam Newton.  At 26 years old, it’s conceivable that Newton could actually get better, and if so then the rest of the NFL would be in huge trouble.

Newton can do it all, he has the most athletic ability of any quarterback ever, and he’s a really good guy off the field, despite his reputation.

Backing up Newton is veteran Derek Anderson, who has settled in nicely as a professional backup after having an abbreviated starting career in Cleveland, where he led the Browns to a 10-win season in 2007.  Anderson is a pure pocket passer and he’s capable when called into duty.

Joe Webb is a “slash” type of player who has played wide receiver and special teams in the NFL, as well as quarterback.  Webb seems to fit as a backup a little better than Anderson, only because he can run a similar offense as Newton, with his athletic ability.

The long-range plan for the Panthers is likely to let Anderson walk after his contract expires in 2017 and groom Webb for the backup job.

So when should they think about taking a quarterback? 

The Panthers are set up pretty well as their MVP starter is also their youngest quarterback.  With Joe Webb serving multiple functions, it’s conceivable that the team could select a late-round quarterback and have him sit on the practice squad.  Still, it’s more likely that they bring one in after the draft.

Atlanta Falcons

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matt Simms, Sean Renfree

The Atlanta Falcons have a full quarterback room with four players currently on the roster.  It’s actually a possibility that all four make the team in some regard, which is a bit abnormal.

Matt Ryan is the unquestioned starter, and he’s coming off a bad 2015 campaign (for him), as he completed 66.3 percent of his throws, for 4,591 yards, but only threw 21 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.  His quarterback rating of 89.0 was the lowest of his career since his second season in 2009.  Ryan will be 31 before training camp begins and the organization is hoping that 2015 was more of a blip than a trend.

Matt Schaub was brought back to Atlanta to backup Ryan, and he’s certainly capable of filling the job, but it won’t be handed to him.  Schaub became an interception machine in Houston and then in Oakland, and there are questions of whether he’s washed up.

Matt Simms will be competing with Schaub for the backup job, and if the team had it’s way he would win the competition.  Simms is only 27 years old (to Schaub’s 34) and has quarterback pedigree with father Phil and brother Chris both playing in the NFL.  Simms has a good enough arm and there was talk that the Jets really liked him a few years ago.

Sean Renfree is a developmental quarterback who has a weaker arm.  Still, he put up huge numbers in college and could develop into a backup.

So when should they think about taking a quarterback? 

The Falcons have a Pro Bowler as a starter, a veteran backup and a younger guy to challenge him.  On top of that, they have a developmental guy.  It’s tough to envision the team spending a draft pick on a quarterback.

New Orleans Saints

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Garrett Grayson, Griffin Neal

The Saints are trying to squeeze out every last drop of a Hall of Famer’s career, as Drew Brees is the most cherished player in the history of the franchise.  At 37 years old, he is still playing at a very high level, but Father Time is undefeated, and his ultimate decline could happen sooner rather than later.

Still, with Brees under center the Saints feel like they can beat anyone on a given week and that isn’t wrong.

Luke McCown is a more than serviceable backup who has embraced his role and even has a national commercial. McCown is a better athlete than most people think, and he can make all the throws.  At 34 years old, he’s not going to get any more starting opportunities outside of injury.

Garrett Grayson was selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft and the thinking was that he could eventually become Brees’ heir apparent.  Although he has a strong arm, Grayson wasn’t spectacular in his first preseason and there are waning thoughts of whether he has much of a future in New Orleans.  This is a big year for him.

Griffin Neal is a raw, developmental prospect that won’t figure in to any competitions.

So when should they think about taking a quarterback? 

Conventional wisdom would say that you have the veteran (legend) starter, a veteran backup, a middle round developmental guy, and another long-shot developmental guy; there’s no room for anyone else.  The Saints have looked at every quarterback prospect in this NFL Draft which signals that they don’t believe Grayson is the guy to replace Brees.  It’s possible that they could draft a guy in the middle rounds and he will battle Grayson for a roster spot.  Of course the rookie would make it, so Grayson would have to compete to stay on the roster.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Current quarterbacks on the roster: Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, Dan LeFevour, Ryan Griffin

The Bucs appear to be set at the most important position, as last year’s No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston put together a fine rookie season.  Winston showed great leadership abilities, a strong arm and an ability to make big plays with his feet, although he’s no track star.  There’s nothing after one year that would tell anyone that he isn’t the future of the franchise.

Backing up Winston is Mike Glennon, and there is some pressure to try and move him as his contract expires after 2016.  Glennon is a very solid backup, who can compete for a starting job with a team that has a desperate quarterback situation (possibly Denver or the New York Jets).  He has a good arm, but a very long release and is erratic on down the field throws.

Dan LeFevour was recently signed and some suggest that he can potentially be a backup if Glennon is moved.  That is certainly a possibility, but the reliance on an unproven, weak armed quarterback shouldn’t force the Bucs to make a move with Glennon.

Ryan Griffin is the developmental prospect and many in the organization like what he brings to the table.  He has good size and decent feet.

So when should they think about taking a quarterback? 

With a young starter, a solid backup (for one more year) and a couple of developmental guys, it doesn’t seem like Tampa will do anything with the position very early in the draft.  If they do indeed select a guy in the middle rounds, it would likely mean a trade for Glennon is in the works and they aren’t quite as high on Griffin as some believe.


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.