There were 15 quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, including three going in the first round. All three of them: Jared Goff with the Los Angeles Rams, Carson Wentz with the Philadelphia Eagles and Paxton Lynch with the Denver Broncos, seem guaranteed to be starting QBs next season for their teams. That might also be true for Christian Hackenberg and Cody Kessler with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns respectively.
A very interesting draft unfolded compared to what was expected two months ago. Two quarterbacks being the 1-2 picks? No one saw it coming before the trades. But after them? The only big surprise seemed to be Joey Bosa going to the San Diego Chargers and maybe, maybe, the Dallas Cowboys slightly reaching for Ezekiel Elliott and letting Jalen Ramsey slide to the hands of the delighted Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cowboys took a quarterback too: Dak Prescott, hoping he becomes more than just a backup to Tony Romo.
So who gets to start week 1 of the 2016 NFL season? It’s hard to see Goff not starting for the Rams. Despite his unimpressive win-loss record at California, quarterbacks heading into the NFL are measured by different numbers and tangibles. Goff seems to be more ready than anyone to start for an NFL team, and it’s going to be hard seeing him lose that job, at least early on, to Nick Foles and Case Keenum, and who knows if Foles isn’t traded by the time the season starts.
Wentz right now is a bigger question mark. He played in the FCS, meaning it’s going to be quite a competition leap for him if he’s a starter right away. Remember, the Eagles have Sam Bradford who reportedly wants to be traded after the Eagles signed him on a two year deal in the offseason and also Chase Daniel, one of the more highly regarded backups in the NFL, also signed this offseason. Weird way of running things in Philly, who got low marks by a lot of those draft review articles for their selections.
Lynch? He’s in a comfortable position. The Broncos possibly slightly reached by going for the former Memphis quarterback, but they were afraid he’d be gone by the time they selected again after the first round. The good thing for Lynch is that he doesn’t have to do much, just like Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler last season. A good running game, very talented wide receivers, and a defense that doesn’t mind carrying the team.
The Jets keep drafting quarterbacks, and it’ll be an interesting situation. Right now Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t signed and Geno Smith… well, no one wants to be put in a situation with him as the only choice. Christian Hackenberg is an interesting choice. The question that needs to be answered: Have the last two years exposed him for being unprepared or not good enough for the NFL, or was it really a terrible offensive line and the change from Bill O’Brien to James Franklin that made him drop like that? The Jets believe he’s the guy everyone used to think was a guaranteed number one pick.
We finish with Cody Kessler, slightly surprising to be a third round selection after a quiet career at USC. However, the Cleveland Browns don’t have anyone that seems like a lock to start. Robert Griffin III might be a big name, but it’s hard to think of someone who didn’t play at all last season and hasn’t had a good season since 2012 as someone who is anything more than a slight favorite heading into training camp.