The biggest news to break from the NFL on Wednesday was the retirement of Philip Rivers from the Indianapolis Colts. The list of teams that definitely or possibly need a quarterback just got a bit longer.
Teams in need of a QB going into the 2021 draft:— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 20, 2021
That’s half of the league..
That’s a lot of needy teams. And the Houston Texans are possibly going to enter this list if they do wind up trading away Deshaun Watson. There’s also at least a possibility that if Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers get another ring, nauseating as that thought is, they might also consider retiring, although that is just speculation on my part. If you were one of the franchises that did not make this list because you have your quarterback, and also had a high draft pick, it just became more valuable heading into the NFL Draft, as the demand for the most important player on the roster just went up, while the supply coming out of college is fixed.
Hello, Dallas Cowboy and the tenth overall pick. While technically Dak Prescott is set to enter free agency, it is a safe assumption they are going to get him back one way or another.
So who might be a possible trade partner? Let’s look at the current draft order, per Tankothon. (The order of the last four is their projection.)
So just using the teams that Connor Livesay identified above means that we can expect to see quarterbacks go off the board to the Jaguars, Jets, Falcons, possibly the Eagles and Lions, the Panthers, and possibly the Broncos before the Cowboys go on the clock. That still leaves the Colts, Football Team, Steelers, Bears, Patriots, 49ers, and maybe the Dolphins, Rams, and Buccaneers who are likely to be looking for a quarterback, with a rapidly shrinking group of possibilities. The only other option for those teams who are looking to find a QB is to sign a journeyman and hope they can make something of him, which is usually not a successful approach.
Of course, if all the teams Connor lists go for a QB, there could be eight taken before the Cowboys come up. That just seems rather unlikely, and the Falcons, Eagles and Lions especially might choose to roll with what they have, or in the case of Philadelphia, just not have much choice due to a certain huge contract they must deal with.
Will there be enough quarterback talent left in the draft for a team to want to trade up with the Cowboys? That is hard to say, and one more reason that the lack of an NFL combine and team visits will have a huge impact on things. Still, even with the altered format for workouts and such, it is entirely possible that someone might decide that a Jamie Newman or Sam Ehrlinger is the player they want. And the Senior Bowl is another opportunity for someone to catch scouts’ eyes. There is also a chance that one of the more probable first-round picks might slide down if one of the teams ahead of the Cowboys also comes up with a name that most would have ranked lower for their choice.
We have to see how those nine teams ahead of Dallas manage their draft. But if someone does need to go up for someone left on their board when the tenth pick rolls around, the price may well have gone up for that selection. If a couple of teams are looking to make a move, it definitely will affect the price.
The tenth pick might also be coveted by a team needing a WR or some other position that is available. In that case, the Cowboys’ trade leverage is also helped by quarterbacks going early, as that just pushes someone else down. There might actually be only two or three true top ten talents at QB in this draft, so if five actually are taken, a couple of good options will wind up still around at ten.
All this is highly unpredictable, but there are a lot of scenarios where the Cowboys could be fielding calls for a trade back. Given how many players they hope will be back from injury, trading position to accumulate additional day two picks might be the wise course.
It could be a very intriguing draft.