After yesterdays post on wide receivers, I thought I would follow up with a similar post on the quarterbacks. There was a general belief that the free agent market, containing Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, would go some way towards helping narrow down the quarterback interest in the first round of the draft. But as of Friday, neither Manning or Flynn has signed anywhere.
Manning looks set to chose between the Titans, Broncos and maybe the late emerging 49ers. If Manning joins any of those teams, their starting quarterbacks that finished the year become expendable. Matt Hasselbeck would become an option for a west coast offense as a hold-over until next years draft. Alex Smith improved under coach Harbaugh, surely he would be a starting option for someone? Tim Tebow would have been a nailed on Jaguar had they not signed Chad Henne to compete with (and probably beat out) Blaine Gabbert. Someone could possibly take a flyer on Tebow if he didn't cost too much. Any of these guys could have an effect on how many quarterbacks will be taken in the first round.
Flynn was expected to draw big interest from the Dolphins and the Browns. He could be a fall back option for the Dolphins as they appear to be out of the Manning race, but so far has only visited with the Seahawks. The Browns don't appear to be interested at all.
When it comes to the draft, we all know Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going first and second overall to the Colts and the Redskins (although some may debate the order). After that, there's a significant drop off of quarterback talent. The next guy in line, at least from my point of view, is Ryan Tannehill. If Tannehill hadn't injured his foot, he could have solidified himself in the top 20 or even top 15 picks of the draft. But because of the injury, guys like Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins, Brock Osweiler and Nick Foles catch up with him.
I feel like Luck, Griffin III and Tannehill are the only guys I would take in the first round, but with the constant search for a 'franchise quarterback' the other guys could sneak into the bottom of the first. The Browns, Dolphins, Chiefs, and Seahawks could all be interested in taking one of these guys. I would have added the Jets to that list, but they gave Mark Sanchez a long-term deal before the start of free agency that all but rules them out of a first round quarterback.