Links to similar discussions on other positions:
Grinding the Mocks compiles mock draft data throughout the pre-draft process. This data provides insight into when players may hear their name called and which teams may be interested in calling their name. Likewise, patterns can appear around what teams may be interested in targeting a specific position. This article focuses on what we can learn about the quarterback position in the lead-up to the NFL Draft from mock drafts since March 1.
Forty-nine percent of mock drafts have Carolina selecting a quarterback in the first round, amongst the most likely teams to address the position. Kenny Pickett, from Pittsburgh, is the most mocked player (26%). The selection of a quarterback would likely end the Sam Darnold experience in Carolina while continuing the string of unproven quarterbacks to throw to D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey. Both are locked into multiyear deals with Carolina and could see a value fall if the Panthers select a quarterback. This would particularly be so if the Panthers select Malik Willis, who is widely thought of as a running-centric option and who is raw as a passer. The Panthers do not have a day two pick at present, so they would likely select a quarterback at the sixth pick, trade down, or roll over another year before addressing the position in 2023. With the coaching staff reportedly on the hot seat, there is an incentive to address the position with the hope of solving an issue, but this could be a detriment to the quarterback’s development. Justin Fields, selected by a widely thought of lame-duck front GM-head coach tandem of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy in Chicago in 2021, is a good example. In his second year, Fields is with his second coach with a lack of supporting cast. Such a situation is a real possibility for whoever the Panthers select.
Detroit picks second in the draft, and despite having Jared Goff at the position, is only mocked to select a quarterback 25% of the time in the first round. Malik Willis is the most mocked quarterback (6%) likely a product of Detroit also having the 32nd pick in the draft from the Matthew Stafford trade. The late first mock drafts incorporate a variety of quarterbacks. Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis have both visited with the Lions, and the Lions coached Willis, Sam Howell, and Bailey Zappe at the Senior Bowl.
Seattle sits at the ninth pick in the draft, a product of the Russell Wilson trade to Denver. The most mocked position for Seattle is quarterback (34%) with Willis the most common quarterback (20%). Matt Corral is the fourth most mocked player (10%) to Seattle in the first round, higher than his typical projection in mock drafts. If Seattle does not address the position in round one, they have two options in the second round at 40 and 41 overall. 22% of mock drafts have Seattle selecting a quarterback in the second round where Desmond Ridder (10%) and Corral (9%) are the two most mock drafted players to Seattle. Overall, more than 50% of mock drafts since March 1 have Seattle selecting a quarterback. Seattle brought back Geno Smith for one year with a maximum of seven million dollars, which is in the range Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky signed for in the offseason, so it is not a foregone conclusion they address the position. Likewise, Seattle could still be in the market for Baker Mayfield.
The most mocked player in the first round to the Saints is Kenny Pickett (17%). The quarterback position is the second most mocked position in round one (36%). Corral was mocked to the Saints 8% of the time, the fifth most mocked player. The Saints have two first-round picks after trading their 2023 first-round pick, so they will have a limited ability to address the position if they do not do so with one of their first-round picks this year. If the first round passes without the Saints drafting a quarterback, Jameis Winston should get a firm uptick in valuation as he is without a direct challenge over the next two seasons of his contract.
Pittsburgh is mocked a quarterback a whopping 64% of the time, the most of any team. Malik Willis (21%), Kenny Pickett (19%), Matt Corral (10%), and Desmond Ridder (10%) are the four most mocked players to the Steelers in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Steelers brought in Mitchell Trubisky on a two-year 14.3-million-dollar contract, with no money guaranteed after 2022, so there is nothing contractually preventing the Steelers from selecting a quarterback. Trubisky has a good cast of weapons, including Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth, and could be fantasy viable, especially in Superflex leagues if he gets the opportunity to start in 2022 and win a long-term opportunity with the Steelers. He has drawn trade values in the second round of rookie drafts, which is a firm avoid cost to acquire Trubisky with the market implying a high likelihood the Steelers draft a quarterback.
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