By: Oliver Stern ’21
Each year, a number of NFL teams search for a franchise quarterback. The hope is that the quarterback develops into an elite player, eventually leading their team to a Super Bowl victory. But, despite their efforts, most fail. Some teams try to find their quarterbacks through free agency. Some gamble through trades. However, most try their luck through the draft, desperately trying to find the quarterback who can lead their team for the next 15 years. This year, 5 NFL teams took a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft. Those teams were the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, and Baltimore Ravens. All of these teams added great talent to their team, but what is most important to quarterback development is the right team fit. These are the rankings for best team fits for each of the 5 quarterbacks.
5. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen may have the most raw talent out of the five quarterbacks. He also has the most bust potential out of the 5 quarterbacks. This is coupled with the lack of veteran leadership in the quarterback room. Between AJ McCarron, a career backup behind Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Nathan Peterman, a second year player who threw 5 interceptions in one game last season, there exists no true mentor for Josh Allen. Josh will also have to deal with the snowy and frigid Buffalo weather. He didn’t exactly play in a warm climate with the University of Wyoming, but he will still have to adjust to the conditions.
4. Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns
Unlike Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield is surrounded with a true pro in Tyrod Taylor and an offensive minded head coach in Hue Jackson. Baker also had a multitude of offensive weapons such as Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Carlos Hyde. The only negative about Baker Mayfield being with the Browns is that there is a lot of pressure to perform when he is finally ready to play. The Browns have been plagued with atrocious quarterback play for years, angering fans. So with a new quarterback that was drafted number one overall, there comes enormous pressure from fans and the organization to play well. This could provide new motivation for Baker to succeed or cut him down and turn him into one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
3. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has the luxury of sitting behind Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III before starting his first NFL game. This allows him time to develop and get used to the learning curve that comes with entering the NFL. However, Lamar Jackson also needs his own offense that will be catered to him and his skills as an athlete. Right now, with Joe Flacco at the helm, the offense is not fit to the offense that Lamar will run when he becomes the starter. Because of this, he might have to learn an entirely new offense when he finally gets his opportunity to start for the Ravens. Lamar has the potential to become an explosive player while in the NFL, but it may take a few years until fans start to see him on the field regularly.
2. Sam Darnold and the New York Jets
This could be the best situation in terms of having a mentor that can teach the game. Josh McCown, the Jets current starter has been in the NFL for 15 seasons and that experience will help Sam, who is only 20 years old, to become a successful starter in the NFL. Sam Darnold also benefits from the opportunity to start the season or sit behind Josh based on how far along Sam is at the end of Training Camp. The only downside with being in New York is the media. The pressure that the fans of New York put on quarterbacks and how critical the media is could be detrimental to Sam’s growth as a quarterback. Similar to the Browns, the Jets have gone through a multitude of quarterbacks since Joe Namath won a Super Bowl. Luckily for Sam, he has a calm, cool, and collected demeanor that has a chance to thrive in New York.
1. Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals
Josh Rosen is in a great position with the Arizona Cardinals. He has a chance to compete for the starting job in week 1 while also learning from longtime professional and former number one overall pick Sam Bradford. His new offensive cordinator Mike McCoy has had a lot of experience through his years with Denver and San Diego, providing Josh with a great person to learn and collaborate with. The best part about Arizona for Josh is the supporting cast. Josh is surrounded by a stout defense and top weapons on offense David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. If Josh can avoid the injury bug, he has a great chance to succeed in Arizona.