- Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston’s Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.
In case you missed it, our NFL Nation reporters had some fun imagining what all 32 franchise’s rosters would look like if every player were released from their contracts and re-drafted to new teams. They went four rounds (the rest of the roster was assumed average-level talent) with the goal of building a foundation that would contend for a Super Bowl within five years.
One of the picks was a mandatory quarterback selection. That QB requirement gave us a unique look at how the NFL’s quarterbacks stack up.
To be clear, what follows is not my ranking of the top quarterbacks in the league. Instead, it is my thoughts on each quarterback selected in the re-draft and how I consider his draft spot to fall in line with his on-field ability, with age and injury concerns rolled in. Let’s take a deeper look at how the quarterbacks came off the board, which picks were too high or too low and in which areas each of the 32 re-draft QBs excel.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Selected No. 1 overall in the NFL re-draft by Ben Baby to the Bengals
A slam-dunk choice to kick off the quarterback run, as the reigning Super Bowl MVP checks off every desired box. Mahomes’ prodigious ability encompasses terrific accuracy, endless arm strength, exceptional mobility, football awareness and high character. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to win the MVP and Super Bowl MVP before the age of 25.
2. Russell Wilson
Selected No. 2 overall in the NFL re-draft by John Keim to the Redskins
The pillar of stability, Wilson is a wizard on the field. He has never missed a single game, which eases any concerns about his performance at the end of this five-year window when he will be 36. Wilson’s field vision and awareness is unmatched, as he has rare ability to keep plays alive and deliver unscripted lasers from outside the pocket.
3. Lamar Jackson
Selected No. 3 overall in the NFL re-draft by Michael Rothstein to the Lions
The most electrifying player in the league causes defensive staffs to lose sleep in the week leading up to playing him. Jackson’s MVP campaign in 2019 was just the beginning; he’ll continue to grow even further as a passer after making remarkable strides from his rookie season. And there is, of course, no more dangerous runner in the open field. Jackson is the only player to ever throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season.
4. Deshaun Watson
Selected No. 4 overall in the NFL re-draft by Jordan Raanan to the Giants
Perhaps no quarterback finds a way to make something out of nothing quite like Watson, who has no “give up” in him at all. The 24-year-old is an exceptional downfield thrower and has Houdini-like moments eluding the rush in the pocket. He has averaged over five yards per rush in each of his first three seasons and has a big-game mindset that cannot be ignored.
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