With the Carolina Panthers trade for Sam Darnold, you can all but assure that they will not be drafting a quarterback with the eighth overall pick. They are picking up the fifth-year option for Darnold, and officially making this a two-year commitment. With that in mind, the list of quarterback-thirsty teams willing to draft one in the first round is dwindling.
When we look at the top three picks, we do know that they are all going quarterback, whoever that may be. That leaves two quarterbacks who are going to fall in some regard. It is not a guarantee, but with the Panthers adding Darnold, and folding on the two will fall outside of three, it does increase the Chicago Bears’ chances of being the team who lands one of these quarterbacks.
When you look around the league, you can see that most teams have found their partner and are heading home. There are only three of four teams truly hungry for a quarterback.
In the AFC East, the Dolphins committed to Tua by trading back, Josh Allen and the No. 2 pick will be locked to start, which leaves Cam Newton holding a seat for a QB.
In the AFC North, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Joe Burrow lead the way. While Ben Roethlisberger is getting old, the Steelers are all in with their HOF QB this year and will build around him. Beyond that, they have Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph and are further down in the draft. They are not going QB.
In the AFC South, the Jags will go QB at 1, but the Titans and Colts have their man for the 2021 season. If the Colts wanted to draft one they would not have traded for Wentz. The Texans are in a worse spot than Chicago where everything is on freeze with DeShaun Watson off the field.
In the West, Derek Carr has gotten reassurance he will not be traded, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Herbert do not need more to be said, so we have Denver, who has Drew Lock, but could go QB.
In the AFC, New England and Denver are competition for the last two QBs
In the NFC East, Washington could make a move, but Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia have all made decisions to show commitment to their QB through 2021 at least.
In the NFC North, Jared Goff will start at QB, and while they are a wild card at 7, a trade down is almost more likely. The Vikings and Packers seem set at QB.
In the NFC South, the Saints have 2 QBs already, the Bucs and Panthers are out, which leaves the Falcons as a wild card. They could easily draft one-four, but restructured Matt Ryan, assuring he will be on the team through 2022. They may take Kyle Pitts or trade down.
Lastly, in the West, we have Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, the #3 pick, and Kyler Murray.
There could be huge shocks, but the reality is that New England, Washington, Chicago, and Denver are the four teams with the most legitimate case to make a run for these two quarterbacks. Even in the case of Drew Lock, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, you could argue the other two teams are more desperate.
There is still the chance that Denver and New England, or another combination gets the two who fall outside of three, and all three of the other teams pick in front of Chicago. However, the list of teams that Chicago should be legitimately worried about for a QB is dwindling. That does not hurt Chicago at all.