The AFC North is a division filled with heated rivalries, and each team’s QB situation is unique.
Baltimore has Joe Flacco, who has been both great and dreadful for the Ravens. Cincinnati has Andy Dalton, who epitomizes mediocrity and limits the Bengals’ potential. Cleveland is a mess, period. Pittsburgh has a future Hall of Famer in Ben Roethlisberger, but his retirement rumours and shaky health make the Steelers concerned.
So, putting this all into account, could each team in the AFC North draft a QB for the future in the 2018 NFL Draft? If so, who will each team draft?
Judging Joe Flacco is always an uphill battle with Ravens fans, but let’s face it: Flacco needs an elite defense and a ton of luck to get back to the Super Bowl. Flacco is serviceable, no doubt, but in order for the Ravens to make a strong playoff push, they need a change at quarterback.
The Pick: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Mason Rudolph has some decent traits and he could probably beat out Flacco mid-season. He has a decent arm and although his supporting cast was great at Oklahoma State, he knows how to make plays.
Baltimore will use their second round pick to select Rudolph and groom him to be the replacement for the struggling Joe Flacco.
The Bengals are in the same predicament as the Ravens: mediocrity. Andy Dalton has had time to develop and just quite simply hasn’t. Cincinnati isn’t necessarily “a quarterback away” from going to a Super Bowl, but it would help them in the long run.
The Pick: Kurt Benkert, Virginia
Benkert could definitely become a Dak Prescott-like story for Cincinnati. He’s polished and gets surprisingly little attention by draft nerds. Although, some do love him as a prospect. If Benkert impresses in camp and Dalton struggles at the beginning of the season, then Benkert could definitely become the Bengals’ starter.
Cincinnati will use their third round pick to select Benkert and hope he can beat Dalton out of his starting job.
It goes without saying, but Cleveland is desperate for a franchise QB. If this is news to you, then welcome to football!
Cleveland acquired former Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor via trade this offseason, and Taylor will act as a bridge for whoever the Browns draft.
The Pick: Sam Darnold, USC
The Browns have their pick of anyone they want in the 2018 NFL Draft, and most would agree that the pick will be Sam Darnold. All of the QBs in this draft have their flaws, but Darnold has that feel that he might be the guy. He’s big, strong and a leader, which is a good mix of attributes for an NFL quarterback.
The Browns will use their first overall pick to select Darnold. They will start Tyrod Taylor until they believe that Darnold is ready to start.
The Steelers are a historic franchise, and Pittsburgh’s front office does not want to waste the primes of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
The Pick: Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Now this would be a story line. Jackson is explosive with his feet, but he needs to further evolve his passing game. Big Ben could help develop as a pocket passer, and if Roethlisberger gets injured, the Steelers will be able to showcase the skillset of Lamar Jackson.
The Steelers will use their first round pick to select Jackson, and hope that he can become Roethlisberger’s successor.
So, in conclusion, will every AFC North team draft a QB in the 2018 NFL Draft? Time will tell, but through assessing each team’s roster and how mock drafts are shaking out, it’s entirely possible.