As part of an occasional series, Fanspeak will offer tips and best practices for its wildly popular and first-of-its-kind On The Clock draft simulator.
Today’s topic: How do you rank the quarterbacks when putting together your own customized big board?
One player entered the season ranked as a priority free agent, then had one fantastic season to close out his college career.
Another one had three terrific seasons for a top program, but he was injured a lot, too.
And then you have the two prospects who have ideal athletic traits, but, for whatever reason, neither one has put it all together for a full season, showing elite traits one moment and Day 2 traits the next.
That quartet might not be drafted until Day 2 if they played any other position.
Translation: If you want to customize and use your own On The Clock big board, then you need to move those QBs up the rankings – even when you know at least one of them is statistically likely to have a subpar career.
Comparing the big 5 QBs in the 2020 draft class to the five first rounders in 2018:
Baker Mayfield-Joe Burrow
Sam Darnold-Tua Tagovailoa
Josh Allen-Jordan Love
Josh Rosen-Justin Herbert
Lamar Jackson-Jalen Hurts
— Drew Peacock (@trillgates7) March 17, 2020
Ultimately, most of them draw the same conclusion: If you want a shot at drafting a franchise signal-caller, then you better take him in the first round, preferably high in the first.
It’s about supply and demand.
Take this year’s draft as an example.
Tier 1 is made up of Burrow, the presumed No. 1 overall pick, plus Tagovailoa and Herbert. Love is alone in tier 2. All four are expected to be drafted in the first round.
Then you have the tier 3 players – any of whom could go in the first round but are viewed as a notch below the first two tiers: Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Washington’s Jacob Eason and Washington State’s Anthony Gordon.
Now think about the teams that need a new QB:
That’s eight quarterbacks for eight QB-needy teams.
Works out great, right?
Unfortunately, the disbursement of talent is never that clean and easy.
Say Tampa decides it needs to groom a young QB to back up 42-year-old Tom Brady and figures it won’t be drafting as high next season. Georgia’s Fromm suddenly becomes an attractive option at pick 45 overall.
Or maybe Dallas manages to plug its holes on defense in free agency and takes a cornerback in the first round. With Cooper Rush as the backup quarterback, would Dallas consider drafting Oklahoma’s Hurts in the second round?
An entire city fell in love with Gardner Minshew last year, but Jacksonville has enough draft capital (two first round picks) to move up if it wants to go after someone with a better pedigree, like Alabama’s Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Herbert.
The point is, every team is well aware of the scarcity of the position and why it needs to take a QB high in the draft.
Sure, but the odds are stacked against them.
That’s why teams tend to overdraft QBs and why you should consider ranking them higher in your big board.
Jake Rigdon covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.