NFL QB Carousel: Planning For 2012

Jul 28 3:25am

The first few pieces of the QB carousel have fallen into place, and that means some team is dangerously close to being left out in the cold. One would expect the Cardinals and Dolphins to trade for Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton, respectively. Should both guys find new teams, there are still going to be several teams without a long-term option at the game’s most important position.

Not to worry, though. Three elite college QBs could be on their way to the NFL next year. Stanford’s Andrew Luck is the biggest name among them, but USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones have also drawn high marks in the scouting process thus far. The three undergraduates are likely even more interested in the NFL transactional tornado than you or I, as it has a direct impact as to where they’ll wind up next year.

The following teams have set themselves up nicely to target a quarterback in the 2012 draft. Which one will win the Luck Bowl?

Washington Redskins

Mike Shanahan has raved about John Beck this offseason, which is code for “I’m finding my quarterback in next year’s draft.” The team has brought in Kellen Clemens already, and Rex Grossman shouldn’t be too far behind. All three have an equal chance at being the starter in 2012, which is to say they have no chance at all.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills added quality backup Tyler Thigpen behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, who turned out to be not all that terrible for the team. However, the Bills should struggle to find wins again this year and draft high enough to get a top signal caller. Fitzpatrick is a free agent after this year, and I don’t think anyone in the organization thinks of him as a future Super Bowl QB.

Oakland Raiders

Jason Campbell is a free agent after 2011, placing Oakland in the QB market if he doesn’t have a great season. The Raiders were reportedly heavy on Colin Kaepernick during draft weekend, so it looks as if they’re already working on finding a future signal caller. Another 8-8 season won’t get them high enough to grab one of the big three, though.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle was able to lure big-time receiving weapon Sidney Rice into town, but they still face an uphill battle at competing, with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst expected to “battle” for the starting position this year. A five- or six-win season puts them in place for a chance at elite youth at the QB position, something this team needs in a bad way.

Cleveland Browns

They may or may not belong on this list, and their 2012 QB shopping experience will depend on how Colt McCoy does as a starter this season. If he struggles, the Browns could easily find themselves with a top-five pick, making them a player for a rookie QB. If McCoy excels, they’re not going to draft high enough to grab one of the elite prospects.

Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers

Both teams should have rookie QBs under center at some point in 2011, and if both look terrible, it could lead the Bengals or 49ers to pull a Carolina and grab a highly-rated QB for the second straight year. Cincinnati should definitely be the owner of a top-five pick next summer, and it may prove too tempting to pass on Luck if they’re sitting at No. 1.

Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals

Both teams are primed to add a quality starter via trade this week, but if either one fails to complete a deal, they’ll definitely be in the market to add a young potential starter in the next draft. Since Kolb-to-Arizona looks like a slam dunk and Miami plays in a division with two Super Bowl contenders, the Dolphins have the higher probability at getting and using a high pick on a QB.

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