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Zwiller: A guide to the NFL QB market — AFC Edition

| Monday, February 15, 2021

AFC East

Bills: Josh Allen played lights-out this year, particularly against the blitz. I think the Bills need to focus on getting a running back to help balance the offense, since the Bills ranked in the bottom half for rushing yards.

Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa didn’t look like Justin Herbert, but few rookies do. As a rookie, Tagovailoa had a better season than Peyton Manning did, and Manning was just inducted into the Hall of Fame. Get Tagovailoa dynamic wide receiver in DeVonta Smith with the third pick and give him time to develop into the franchise QB you thought he was when you drafted him.

Patriots: I like the idea of keeping Cam Newton, developing him, and turning him into a Taysom Hill of sorts. He isn’t the QB of the future, however. My crazy prediction would be that the 49ers get Deshaun Watson and cut Jimmy Garoppolo, allowing him to go back to New England for a Buccaneers-Patriots Super Bowl.

Jets: There have been rumors the Jets are trying to trade Sam Darnold, which I agree with: New coach, let him pick his new QB. I think they should make a move for Justin Fields with that No. 2 pick they have, and then at No. 25, draft a WR to help out Fields, say maybe fellow Buckeye Chris Olave?

AFC North

Steelers: When the Steelers lost to the Browns in the Wildcard Round, Ben Roethlisberger threw 68 attempts, had 47 completions, 500 yards, four TDs, and… four interceptions. Big Ben is more of a liability than anything. He’s also going to be a $41 million cap hit, and with a shrinking cap, that’s going to be a major problem. Restructure the deal, have Haskins waiting in the wings and draft a good RB!

Ravens: I think Lamar Jackson took a step back this year — that is a fact. But I think that Lamar isn’t the one to blame. This season, the Ravens saw an increase in the number of times Lamar was forced to scramble, but he was noticeably less efficient while doing so. The run game, while being a key component of the Ravens offense, can’t be the only component. I think the Ravens first need to draft Lamar a true number one option at WR, and then a lineman to increase Lamar’s protection.

Browns: According to Spotrac.com, Baker Mayfield has a market value equal to an extension worth $140 million over the course of four years. With Baker locked and trending up I think the Browns need to draft on the other side of the ball, mainly in the secondary.

Bengals: Joe Burrow is the future of the Bengals, there is no question about that. But he needs help if he is to continue to have a bright future. His tear in his ACL and MCL was, while sad, not unforeseeable. The Bengals allowed Burrow to be sacked 32 times in only 10 games, and he was pressured 24% of the time. Get an OT, and then a WR.

AFC South

Titans: The Titans looked great on offense, thanks to King Henry. I don’t think that the answer is better WR, nor do I think the Titans need to ditch Ryan Tannehill. The passing offense isn’t elite by any means but that is largely due to the number of attempts Derrick Henry gets. I would spend picks on defensive positions, and spend a second- or third- round pick on an OG.

Colts: The Colts have been involved in a lot of trade rumors for Carson Wentz, due to the Frank Reich connection (he was the OC when Philly won the Super Bowl with Wentz and Foles). I personally don’t think Wentz is worth whatever the Colts would have to give to get him. He does have upside; the Colts are merely a QB away from being in contention a vastly different situation from the Eagles.

Texans: The Texans have isolated Deshaun Watson to the point of no return. They simply need to trade him before the draft and get a haul better than the one the Lions got for Stafford. Personally, I think the Texans should send him to Miami; it’s a team with four first-round picks over the next two years and a defense that is ready now. Since Deshaun has the no-trade clause, it makes sense that you send him to a place that he can turn into a winner. Deshaun has shown interest in the Jets, but I don’t think that’s because he wants to go to the Jets; I think it’s because he really wants out of the Texans.

Jaguars: Draft Trevor Lawrence, even the Jaguars can’t mess this up. After that, I would draft a lineman so you can begin to protect him, and also help James Robinson continue to develop into a top-tier running back.

AFC West

Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes is now coming off the worst loss of his professional career, largely because he didn’t have a good offensive line (due to injury). While I think they should draft an LB to help out that unit, they should also try and get an OG to help protect Mahomes. I would prefer to see them drafted as opposed to being traded for or picked up in free agency, as Mahomes’ contract jumps from $5.3 million to $24.8 million. That and a shrunk cap are going to make roster building a lot harder for the Chiefs going forward.

Raiders: If I were the Raiders, I would keep the offense more or less the same. Derek Carr improved this season and the offense seemed to run a little smoother thanks to the weapons he has in Josh Jacobs and Henry Ruggs III. That’s why I think the Raiders need to draft some defensive linemen to help a fairly bad defense. But Todd McShay has them drafting Jaylen Waddle, which I think would take this offense to the next level.

Chargers: Justin Herbert exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations this year and looks like the quarterback of the future for the Chargers. The Chargers need to get him help, but not at the skill position, rather in the trenches. Herbert was pressured on 30% of his dropbacks, so he could use a new OT or OG.

Broncos: I would honestly be worried by Drew Lock. He only played five games last year and had decent numbers, but his accuracy, adjusted yards per attempt, and QB rating all declined this season. He’s still a cheap, young QB, so he’ll be back next year, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos moved on from him in a year or two if there isn’t a drastic improvement.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Thomas Zwiller

Thomas is a sophomore currently in attendance at Holy Cross College, and is a Business major and Computer Science minor. He is from Saint Joseph MI, and went to high school at Saint Joseph High School SB, playing both varsity football and hockey. Feel free to contact him about all things NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, particularly if you're a stathead.

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