Ranking Every Team’s Pre-Draft Quarterback Situation, Part One

The 2019 NFL Draft Weekend is a month away, and there are at least 26 quarterbacks available to choose in this class for the 32 teams across the league. Even after a frantic free agency beginning that saw Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Ryan Fitzpatrick among others earn substantial offers (Bridgewater turned down his), there are still other some options out on the market.

As we look at rosters across the team, there are many teams with fluid situations at the most key position to their franchise. Many depth charts will drastically change over the next few month’s before the first preseason games of 2019 come in August. Who will take the draft’s cream of the crop in Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, or Drew Lock? Who will take a chance on a late-round option like Tyree Jackson or Kyle Shurmur? Who will wait for next year’s class?

I evaluated each NFL team’s quarterback situation, and speculate answers to these questions. Here are the bottom 12 teams based on the list I compiled. Bold players are the presumed team starter, and bold draft picks are first rounders. 

Team Quarterback Rankings: Part One

32. Buffalo Bills

Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott got the quarterback they needed from the 2018 Draft,  in Josh Allen. That doesn’t mean they don’t still own the worst quarterback situation, and possibly the worse offensive group in football. Frank Gore, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Tyler Kroft are upgrades, and sending Nathan Peterman out the door was long overdue. But between Allen’s inconsistent rookie campaign and Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley’s semi-pro level of play, Buffalo isn’t anywhere near the rest of the league at this position.

31. Washington Redskins

Colt McCoy (7-20 career starting record) and Case Keenum (26-28 record), are the only active quarterbacks on this roster. Josh Johnson (coming off of a recent ankle surgery) and Mark Sanchez are currently unsigned but don’t have a large market while the Redskins are still holding a candle for Alex Smith after his gruesome leg injury. Washington will most likely go into the season either with either Keenum or McCoy under center. Neither seem to be sufficient options to lead this team to compete against the Cowboys and Eagles, let alone raise their playoff hopes, but Coach Jay Gruden appears willing to hang his tenure on their backs and new quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay. I don’t see anything yet that will make that a good decision, but maybe the Redskins sneak away with a prospect from this year’s draft that could make things work out well.

30. New York Giants

  • Division: NFC East
  • 2018 Record: 5-11
  • QBs on Roster: Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta, Alex Tanney
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 6; Round 1, Pick 17; Round 2, Pick 37

As much as general manager Dave Gettleman tries to convince the rest of the football universe that he has a plan, the Giants currently carry the exact same quarterback group from last season, despite a 5-11 tenure led by longtime franchise starter, Eli Manning. Gettleman believes that Manning still has what it takes, but after sending Odell Beckham out of town, I doubt now more than ever he’ll be able to prove us wrong. Even if he does have one more year in the tank, Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney don’t appear to be even potential starting options in the future. Hopefully, they’ll go and get Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, or Drew Lock, but until then this will be one of the uglier QB charts – and overall rosters – in the league.

29. Arizona Cardinals

  • Division: NFC West
  • 2018 Record: 3-13
  • QBs on Roster: Josh Rosen, Brett Hundley
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 1; Round 2, Pick 33; Round 3, Pick 65

Drafting Josh Rosen and sitting him on the bench to learn from Sam Bradford and hoping he will develop into a franchise quarterback never really seemed like a good plan. Rosen did what he could, but it wasn’t enough for a terrible roster. Arizona decided then to completely abandon their plans one year in and hit reset. With new head coach Kliff Kingsbury having the power to draft any player he wants – including Kyler Murray – things aren’t safe for Rosen. Adding Aaron Rodgers’ longtime backup Brett Hundley sends a mixed message about their plans, but if they roll into the season like this, I doubt Kingsbury’s offensive mind alone will automatically unlock a higher level of play from Rosen.

28. Miami Dolphins

  • Division: AFC East
  • 2018 Record: 7-9
  • QBs on Roster: Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Fales (Free Agent), Luke Falk, Brock Osweiler (Free Agent) Jake Rudock
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 13; Round 2, Pick 48; Round 3, Pick 78

The Dolphins tried to get ahead of the group in the new Mahomes-inspired wave by firing Coach Adam Gase, promoting Chris Grier, and reassigning Mike Tannenbaum. They then shipped Ryan Tannehill out of town, but could only sign Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency. Say what you want, “Fitzmagic” has proven he can still win (and yes, lose) tough games in the NFL. Plus, he’s still a better option, health and record-wise, than Tannehill. While the surrounding offensive crew will suffer some departures, this could still work – especially if they draft another quarterback for the long run.

27. Detroit Lions

  • Division: NFC North
  • 2018 Record: 6-10
  • QBs on Roster: Matthew Stafford, Matt Cassel (Free Agent)
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 8; Round 2, Pick 43; Round 3, Pick 88

Matthew Stafford is entering his 11th season, and his new top target (Danny Amendola) is older than him, within an even more competitive division. Most of what Stafford has shown us throughout his career has led to one simple determination – he can’t lead a team down the stretch successfully. He was capable of making it happen at some point, but that opportunity has probably past. It’s time for the Lions to begin exploring future possibilities.

26. Denver Broncos

Past decisions by the Broncos front office, especially at quarterback, haven’t inspired others to pick up the confidence they have in ex-Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Someone with Flacco’s record and statistics should be a clear upgrade to Keenum, but like Manning and Stafford, his recent play doesn’t bear quality results. Plus, this team doesn’t have a proven backup for someone coming off of a hip injury. The Broncos’ quarterback situation could head south really fast.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians is coming out of retirement to fix Jameis Winston’s career, but depending solely on Winston has almost never worked in the past, and Arians’ genius can only take them so far. DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and others are heading out of town, but the Bucs hope the young talent they have amassed can continue their success with only Winston taking the snaps, otherwise they’ll be looking for a new option come next year.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Division: AFC North
  • 2018 Record: 6-10
  • QBs on Roster: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Brad Kaaya, Tom Savage (Free Agent)
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 11; Round 2, Pick 42; Round 3, Pick 72

Being free of Marvin Lewis for the first time in nearly two decades may prove beneficial to the Bengals, but it doesn’t change that Dalton can bottom out under any amount of pressure. They don’t really have a path to any better options, so Cincinnati will most likely have to ride this guy out too (until next offseason, at least).

23. Oakland Raiders

  • Division: AFC West
  • 2018 Record: 4-12
  • QBs on Roster: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 4, Round 1, Pick 24, Round 1, Pick 27

New general manager Mike Mayock will have to work with Jon Gruden and the three first round picks he compiled last year. The Raiders haven’t expressed confidently they’re sticking with Derek Carr – he just happened to be the only quarterback on their roster, until they signed Mike Glennon last week. Gruden also made a future/reserve offer to Nathan Peterman in the hopes that he can transform him. Despite that, Oakland could take a quarterback with one of their eight picks. Whether or not they go for a potential starter out the gate (Haskins, Murray, Lock) – or a longer-term project remains to be seen.

22. New York Jets

  • Division: AFC East
  • 2018 Record: 4-12
  • QBs on Roster: Sam Darnold, Josh McCown (Free Agent), Davis Webb, Trevor Siemian
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 3; Round 3, Pick 68; Round 3, Pick 93

Sam Darnold is the future of the Jets, and they are adding supposed quarterback guru Adam Gase to mold him. Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell is expected to take the offense over the hump. There are definitely significant upgrades all around, but Darnold is another quarterback who did not put together the most inspiring rookie campaign. McCown might not play another year, and now the Jets added the younger Trevor Siemian into the mix. 

21. Tennessee Titans

  • Division: AFC South
  • 2018 Record: 9-7
  • QBs on Roster: Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill
  • First three 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 19; Round 2, Pick 51; Round 3, Pick 82

Outside of Derrick Henry, the Titans offense was abysmal last season. Head Coach Mike Vrabel is tasked with improving this unit after the team put together a strong 9-7 campaign where they nearly made the playoffs. Since Marcus Mariota struggled to stay healthy and Blaine Gabbert was inconsistent, the team went and acquired a injury-prone, inconsistent combination in ex-Dolphin Ryan Tannehill. While Tannehill has shown flashes of being a capable starter, it’s more likely he’ll replace Gabbert in the backup role going forward. It’s far from ideal, but it’s a slight improvement. If Mariota plays at a better level, the Titans could be in good shape moving forward.

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