I can’t wait for Thursday’s NFL draft. It figures to be the most compelling, action-packed draft ever. Why?
Combine the complications created by the current labor dispute with the number of quarterback-needy teams, and you have the perfect recipe for an active, drama-filled first round.
The NFL labor dispute has created a situation in which teams were not able to sign free agents after early March. After the Tennessee Titans declared its intentions to part ways with Vince Young, team management was not able to cut or trade Young, scan the free agent landscape, and sign a stop-gap quarterback.
If the Titans had signed one of the better quarterbacks believed to be on the market (Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton or Donovan McNabb), they might have a sense of whether they could draft a developmental quarterback in the second round.
Without a top-flight quarterback on the roster, there is heightened urgency to reach for a franchise-caliber quarterback in the draft, because there’s no telling if Tennessee can sign or trade for Kolb, Orton or McNabb.
Head coach Mike Munchak has mentioned Kerry Collins’ name enough times for me to believe that Collins is the team’s plan B.
If the Titans draft Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley (as predicted by almost every mock draft) at pick number 8, Collins may start in 2011. If so, expect the Titans to win no more than four games.
Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, Tennessee and Minnesota all need a franchise quarterback. Denver and San Francisco may also be interested in drafting a quarterback during the first two rounds.
There are enough quarterback-needy teams and enough good quarterback prospects to create what NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock is calling a feeding frenzy for quarterbacks Thursday night.
I agree with Mayock. There is no guarantee that trading down in order to pick a quarterback where he should be valued will work.
Rookie quarterbacks are not overrated. However, they are overvalued. So be it.
Was Mark Sanchez worth the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, given his relatively shallow college resume? The Jets believed he was worth the pick and traded up to get him. Sanchez has won three tough playoff games in two seasons.
Carolina or Buffalo will draft Cam Newton. Buffalo, Cincinnati or Arizona will draft Blaine Gabbert.
If the Titans believe Jake Locker is a franchise quarterback, they should draft him at number 8. The same goes for Andy Dalton.
I refuse to believe that the Titans want Ryan Mallett to be the new face of the franchise.
If Tennessee drafts Fairley or Julio Jones instead, they had better cross their fingers and hope Colin Kaepernick or Christian Ponder is available Friday morning.