The most important position in any professional sport is the quarterback.
The quarterback touches the ball more than any other player by a wide margin (excluding the center), makes key decisions, and in a passing-favored league, can dominate games from the onset. Joe Burrow showed the true power of a transformative QB last season, molding the Cincinnati Bengals from a perennial laughing stock to the Super Bowl runner-ups and AFC champions.
Because of the premium on capable gunslingers, teams are always looking to upgrade their quarterback position; however, the presumptive top prospect in this year’s draft, Kenny Pickett, is still not viewed as a sure-fire franchise player.
With that uncertainty polluting the upcoming NFL draft, here is a look at 10 teams in peculiar positions that either need to Pickett (as in pick it, or pick a QB in the first round), or not Pickett and stick with what they have.
One more note: all rhyme and reason has gone out the window in terms of draft order; this is purely hypothetical. Here we go.
Atlanta Falcons: No Pickett
Matt Ryan’s cap hit in 2022 is going to cost more than any player in the history of football; this is a hefty sum to pay a player that is clearly regressing and has not been himself since the infamous 28-3 comeback Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. However, Ryan still has arm talent left and an exciting cast of weapons around him, so with a more solid defense, Atlanta could realistically compete for the NFC South crown.
Washington Commanders: Pickett
The team with an ever-changing name needs a quarterback desperately; they have not had a long-term starter since Robert Griffin III, whose injury woes made him unreliable on a broader scale. Taylor Heinicke has his moments of magic, but until they get a steady leader in their backfield, they are doomed to be in the bottom half of professional football regardless of their defensive heroics.
Detroit Lions: No Pickett
Look, Jared Goff played decently well for a Lions team that showed some grit and spunk last season. Granted, their 3-13-1 record cannot be repeated without repercussions, but they are in a rebuilding stage and need to prioritize other areas— people are quick to forget Jared Goff was just in a Super Bowl a few years ago.
Seattle Seahawks: No Pickett
Russell Wilson has been raising a hellstorm on the Pacific Northwest over the past 12 months or so, but drafting his heir apparent would do nothing but exacerbate the situation. Now, if the Seahawks have already arranged a trade in which they can recoup a few assets, that is different, albeit unlikely with how heavily their cap is devoted to a select few players.
Denver Broncos: Pickett
Denver could be firmly in the mix for back-to-back Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, but if they miss out on the Green Bay Packers’ stud, they need to make yet another move at quarterback. Drew Lock proved to be too turnover prone to last as a starter, and Teddy Bridgewater did not have enough urgency in his game, but Kenny Pickett is a perfect blend of the two. He would be entering a terribly hard division, but he has guts and would be pushed by the competition.
Houston Texans: No Pickett
Look, nobody wants to say it, but Davis Mills had a fairly solid rookie campaign for a backup surrounded by inferior talent. Mills deserves at least another year of assessment and with a retooled roster that is not reeling from off-field controversies and trading away its best players. If it does not pan out, the Texans will be able to grab another highly-touted prospect in the next draft.
Cleveland Browns: Pickett
The Browns need to draft Kenny Pickett in this hypothetical situation to put pressure on the incumbent, Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has been granted a plethora of excuses from personnel issues to coaching changes to injuries, among many others. Cleveland will have to decide whether or not they want to pay him a huge deal by next year, so drafting Pickett would provide an insurance policy in case they decide that he is not worth it.