The news that Washington's head coach, Mike Shanahan has benched Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman has added fuel to the fire burning beneath the 2011 QB draft class.
No less than 13 teams will be seeking QBs. Some will need a franchise QB. Others will be looking to draft for depth Lets take a look at who needs what, and who they might expect to come their way via the draft.
With starter Derek Anderson and backup QB Max Hall on the IR, the Cards turned the reins over to John Skelton. Skelton is a rookie 5th round draft pick who started in Week 14, and will handle the ball for the rest of the year.
Is it any wonder that the Cards need a Franchise QB in the upcoming draft?
Projected draft position: 6th Projected QB: Ryan Mallet (BQBA)
The Bills looked to be in the market for a franchise QB at the start of the season. Then, Ryan Fitzgerald stepped in, and stepped up. The Harvard graduate's performance has cooled the Bills need for a franchise, but depth remains an issue here.
Projected draft position: 5th Projected QB: 3rd - 4th round BQBA for depth
The Panthers have many needs, but none more urgent than QB. With the first overall pick in the 2011 draft all but assured, the Panthers will pull the trigger on drafting the top QB available.
Projected draft position: 1st Projected QB: Andrew Luck
The Texans have been playing well behind Matt Schaub, and have a high powered offense. While the Texans will have a draft dominated by their many defensive needs, the backup QB is Dan Orlovsky. So shakey is Orlovsky, that some depth is in order.
Projected draft position: 12th Projected QB: 6th - 7th round BQBA for depth
The Jags have had some success behind starter David Garrard, but would be in real trouble if backup Trent Edwards had to play. Remember, it was Edwards who was released by Buffalo after 3 weeks of disasterous performances.
Projected draft position: 22nd Projected QB: Ryan Mallett
The Chiefs have been riding the rapids behind Matt Cassel. Cassel is having a breakout year, but like the Jaguars, KC will be up the creek if they have to turn to backup Brodie Croyle, or 3rd stringer Tyler Palko. A late depth QB couldn't hurt.
Projected draft position: 19th Projected QB: 7th round BQBA
Tony Sporano's Dolphins lost Chad Pennington in November with a shoulder injury. Enter Chad Henne, who's done a good job in the backup role. Behind Henne is Tyler Thigpen who was found in a box of Cracker-Jacks. An upgrade would be welcomed.
Projected draft position: 17th Projected QB: 6th or 7th round BQBA
Is there a team with greater need at QB? The Favre saga is finally coming to an end. Tavaris Jackson is on IR (Turf Toe), and Sage Rosenfels was mysteriously released. With Joe Webb taking the controls of the imploding Vikings team, a franchise QB is a must.
Projected draft position: 14th Projected QB: Colin Kaepernick, or Andy Dalton
The QB position is populated by refugee castoffs Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, and J.T. O'Sullivan. Not exactly the trifecta. While the Raiders situation isn't hopeless, a solid backup will be needed to push Campbell.
Projected draft position: 48th Projected QB: Colin Kaepernick, or BQBA
The QB situation has been FUBAR in the Bay area for so long, that I can't remember their last reliable starter. They had 4 QBs in the preseason, but dealt Shaun Hill to Detroit for a bag of peanuts, and 5 BART tokens. Alex Smith is the starter De Jour, with Troy Smith and David Carr waiting in the wings. To make matters worse for the free falling 49ers, both Smiths will be free agents in 2011. The QB carousel will spin unabated, and may do so under a new head coach.
Projected draft position: 9th Projected QB: 2nd round reaches Andy Dalton or Jake Locker
The Seahawks checkered season under new head coach Pete Carroll has been highlighted by the need for a franchise QB. They are currently being led by Matt Hassleback, and backed up by Charlie Whitehurst and J. P. Losman. Would you hang a franchise title on any of these QBs? I thought not. Folks in the Seattle area are clamoring for Washington's Jake Locker, but they should try to trade up for a more promising franchise QB.
Projected draft position: 13th Projected QB: Jake Locker is the local favorite.
Now comes the curious case of the Redskins, who traded for McNabb, and let Jason Campbell go to Oakland. McNabb has been benched by the brothers Shanahan, and will start Rex Grossman backed up by John Beck. Looks suspiciously like McNabb's days are numbered in D.C. Now, what appeared to be a position with some stability has suddenly become a QB 911.
Projected draft position: 42nd Projected QB: Trade up for Ryan Mallett. This is an emergency.
The Bengals season went seriously sideways, and you only have to look at Carson Palmer to see why. Palmer has bottomed out and is on his way to bustville. Palmer will be too expensive to release, but the fans are hollering for the Bengals to draft Cam Newton. Newton would be a long reach from the 2nd perch in the draft order, but having missed out on the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes, Newton looks like a must have.
Projected draft position: 2nd Projected QB: Cam Newton is a lock. Book it.
This may go down as the "Great Arms Race of 2011." With so many teams in dire need of a QB, the class as a whole will be pushed up draft boards everywhere. The QB class will have greatly inflated values, to be certain. The market is now so hot that the artificially inflated values will appear to be more palatable than they really are.
The Lions will gain from the upward thrust of QB's in the draft. More defense, and O-line help will be available in later rounds, as a result of the 2011 Arms Race.