Is the 2014 NFL Draft, 2011 All Over Again?
Four quarterbacks were chosen in the 2011 NFL Draft; Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder. In 2014, three or four quarterbacks could be chosen in next week's draft.
Loaded with talent at the other positions, Newton was picked No. 1 by Carolina. Then, Locker wasn't picked until the eighth spot by Tennessee, Gabbert at 10 by Jacksonville, and Ponder at 12 by Minnesota.
Only Newton and Ponder have made the playoffs, and both lost (Ponder didn't play due to injury). Locker and Gabbert have shared time at quarterback within their franchises, and have never played 16 games in season (Gabbert did play 15 games his rookie season). Gabbert is also the only quarterback not with the team he was drafted by after being traded to San Francisco this offseason.
Looking at the other talent produced in 2011, Von Miller, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, and Julio Jones were picked before Locker and Gabbert. J.J Watt was selected one pick above Ponder. After the four quarterbacks, Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Mike Pouncey, Nate Solder, Corey Liuget, Prince Amukamara, and Cameron Jordan were taken.
After the first round, Andy Dalton, and Colin Kaepernick were picked in second round. (Kaepernick has been to the Super Bowl, and to two NFC championships).
Going forward to this year, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr all could be selected in the first round. The teams that could pick quarterback in next week's draft, all signed or re-signed signal callers in the offseason, too. Houston signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jaguars re-signed Chad Henne, Cleveland signed Brian Hoyer, Oakland signed Matt Schaub, Tampa Bay signed Josh McCown, and the Vikings re-signed Matt Cassel.
I'm not saying any of those guys are franchise quarterbacks, but they are veteran guys that could be better than guys that may not be sure things in this year's draft. Take a look at the other talent in 2014. Houston has the first pick, and could take Jadeveon Clowney or Khahil Mack and pair one of them with Watt. Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan are solid offensive lineman. There's a deep receiver class led by Sammy Watkins. 2011 ring any bells? Green and Jones? Aside from Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., and Marquise Lee all are top wideouts. Then, apart from Clowney and Mack, it's a relatively deep defensive draft. Aaron Donald, Anthony Barr, Calvin Pryor, C.J. Mosley, Justin Gilbert, Timmy Jernigan, Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby, RaShede Hageman and Kony Ealy lead a solid class.
Here's an example. Houston could take Clowney, or Mack, and then grab a quarterback later. Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, and Tom Savage could be a solid pick-up in rounds two through five.
It's all speculation, and worthy argument to have. What do you think? Is 2014, 2011 all over again?
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