Written by Matt Prandoni
Rookie QBs are difficult to evaluate, especially in a class where there isn’t a clear cut favorite. Instead of evaluating the players, we are going to be looking at the potential landing spots and discern which team has the most to offer for a young developing QB.
What we need to look at are the team’s weapons, offensive line, and coaching. WRs, RBs, and TEs all help take some of the workload off of the QB. It is also important to have a good offensive line in front of the QB. One of the worst things that can happen to a rookie is becoming too afraid to get hit. Coaching also matters because changing schemes for young QBs will often hinder their development.
Not all of the following teams will land a new QB. We are just looking at the potential teams and the order that I believe would be the most beneficial for a new quarterback.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are built to win a championship. Whether they bring in a QB or draft a rookie, this team has everything a QB needs to succeed. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are still one of the top WR tandems in the NFL. Rumor has it that Godwin isn’t going anywhere and is likely to sign new contract. He is also dealing with an ACL tear and will miss part of the season. Bruce Arians is unlikely to go anywhere unless he retires. Even with Pro Bowl RG Ali Marpet retiring, the Bucs have a very stout offensive line. The only issue is that Bucs could lose players like Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette. The Buccaneers would need to bring most of their players back in order to remain as the top spot for a QB. If a mass exodus was to occur, then the Bucs would move down these rankings.
2. Denver Broncos
The Broncos are stacked when it comes to weapons. Javonte Williams was one of the top young RBs in the NFL last season. Melvin Gordon potentially returning will also give a QB a solid option to dump the ball off to. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant are all proven pass catching options for a QB to get the ball to. PPF ranked this group as the 19th best in the NFL, which would put them around league average. The Broncos just hired head coach Nathaniel Hackett. He was likely brought in to attempt to lure in Aaron Rodgers, but even if they do not bring in Rodgers, it is unlikely that he’s only around for one lone season.
3. Washington Commanders
The Commanders are the classic QB away from being a contender. Despite injuries on the offensive line, PFF ranked this line as the 6th best in the NFL in 2021. Of the teams in these rankings, this would put the offensive line as the second best among teams that may potentially draft a QB. The Commanders have a solid set of weapons to help a QB out led by Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson. J.D. McKissic is a solid third down RB if he remains with the team, and although Curtis Samuel had an unfortunate 2021 season where he dealt with minor injuries all year long, he could be a solid WR 2 for the team if he can manage to stay on the field. I don’t think Ron Rivera and co. are on the hot seat yet, and while I don’t actually see this happening, it is possible that they are gone after the upcoming season. If Rivera does get to stick around, the offensive system of Scott Turner will likely stay put for a upcoming QB to continue to learn.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers arguably have the best weapons to offer for a developing QB. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are among the better WR duos in the NFL. Juju Smith-Schuster is likely gone in this offseason, but it would be a bonus if he were to stay. Pat Freiermuth is also a good pass catching TE for an upcoming QB to get the ball to, and Najee Harris is a good running back who can lift some of burden off of a QB. Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Matt Canada aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it would be unlikely for a rookie QB to have to deal with a system change in year two. The only problem with the Steelers is that their offensive line is problematic coming in at ranked 26th according to PFF.
5. Detroit Lions
If I was to cut of the list into tiers, this would be the point to do so. The Lions are an alright team for an incoming QB. The offensive line is solid coming at rank 11 according to PFF. The coaching is not yet on the hot seat for the 2022 season which means that our QB will have at least two years in the same system to develop. The problem is that this team is seriously lacking in weapons. D’Andre Swift is among the best in the league with Amon Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson being solid receiving options as well. The Lions need to upgrade their WRs though because if they don’t, it will be tough on a new QB to find an open guy.
6. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have a decent offensive line, coming in ranked 16th in 2021 according to PFF. Michael Thomas has barley played in the last two seasons so he an unknown, but if he does return to form, then he would be among the best WRs in the NFL (an obvious bonus for a new quarterback). With or without Thomas, Alvin Kamara is the bright spot in this offense. Kamara remains one of the best RBs in the NFL who can stay on the field all three downs. One of the problems is that there aren’t any more proven weapons, and another big issue is that this coaching staff could be overhauled after the 2022 season. I don’t want my developing QB to have to learn a new system, which makes the Saints one of my lesser favorite spots for a new quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers
For me, this is where things start to get gross. Any of the above can be argued over the other with the Buccaneers, Broncos, Commanders, and Steelers being the top tier landing spots for a new quarterback. Then we have the Lions and Saints representing the next tier… and then there’s the Panthers.
The WRs on the Panthers are solid. DJ Moore has been a productive WR while mostly playing with subpar QBs. Robby Anderson is decent WR and Terrace Marshall still may have the potential to blossom into a contributing player for this team. Christian McCaffrey, if healthy, is one of the best RBs in the NFL. The Panthers clearly have the weapons for an upcoming QB, but the issue lies with the rest of the team. This offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL coming in a ranked 31st via PFF. Not only is the line bad, but Matt Rhule is on the hot seat and likely gone after this season, which would force a young QB to have to learn a new system in year two.
8. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons don’t really have much going their way. Even looking at the best-case scenario of the Falcons keeping Calvin Ridley, the weapons aren’t looking good outside of Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. The offensive line is faulty, coming in at rank 27th according to PFF. Head coach Arthur Smith hasn’t done much for the Falcons and is a candidate to be fired after the 2022 season. Like I said, the Falcons really don’t have much going for them. It might be beneficial for a QB to sit behind Matt Ryan for a year, but that isn’t enough to move the Falcons up the rankings for me.
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