By Alex Kurpeski
As a self-proclaimed “QB expert” in the realm of NFL Draft scouting, it hurts my feelings to see a prospect who I really enjoyed in college fail at the NFL level. Unfortunately, failure is a part of life, especially in the landscape of professional sports. A player can go from “the next big thing” to a free agent in the blink of an eye. This article is dedicated to the careers of those former first-round quarterbacks who were never given a fair shake. The players listed in this piece may still be salvaged, while many of their peers have already missed that opportunity.
What To Do With Darnold
The writing is on the wall for Sam Darnold. While the former USC standout has had some good moments, his performance this season for the still winless Jets has not inspired much hope. It’s almost inevitable that we will be seeing Trevor Lawrence wearing green next season, barring some outrageous sequence of events. So where does that leave Darnold?
The Jets will likely seek a trade partner for the former No. 3 overall pick, as Darnold has demonstrated the skill to be a highly effective starter when surrounded with the right pieces. I expect teams like Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco to come sniffing around, as they could acquire Darnold for a relatively low price before his fifth-year option kicks in.
How To Handle Haskins
Alright, I’m gonna say it. Washington absolutely f*cked Dwayne Haskins over this season. A talented pocket passer who simply needed some more live reps, Ron Rivera and the rest of his staff should be ashamed for how they handled this situation. Say what you will about Haskins’ maturity and NFL readiness. It was no secret that Haskins could have used a redshirt season before taking over as a team’s starter. Washington knew that, yet they’ve thrown Haskins under the bus at every turn.
In my opinion, the best plan of action for both sides would be an outright release. Haskins could then find a team that better fits his play style and personality, while Washington can have a grand time with turnover machine Kyle Allen. Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans are all spots to look out for.
Danny Dimes or Danny Done?
Daniel Jones has had an interesting NFL career. While there have been moments that would make you believe in Jones as the answer for Big Blue, there have also been moments where you question his ability to read a defense. It’s no secret that the former Duke star has had his fair share of turnover issues, issues which have only seemed to get worse in his second season. If the Giants find themselves picking in the top-five once again, trading Jones and selecting a player like Justin Fields or Zach Wilson isn’t out of the question.
If the Giants do choose to move on from Jones, his market could be rather large thanks to the dynamic running ability that he’s displayed. A team like the 49ers or Panthers (Jones’ favorite team growing up) could be a nice fit for an athletic, big-armed passer in need of some structure.
Oh, Drew Lock. It was only a couple of months ago when you were supposed to be the second coming of Patrick Mahomes. While there have been some instances where Lock has looked like “the guy” for Denver, rumors are swirling that the Broncos could be interested in selecting a quarterback in 2021. As well-liked as Lock is by Denver’s front office and his teammates, it’s possible that the team could look to trade him this offseason.
Lock’s arm talent and overall skillset are so intriguing to me. I could absolutely see him becoming a quality NFL starter for the right team. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that Denver is the “right team”. Perhaps a season as an understudy in Indianapolis, Tennessee, or Atlanta is exactly what the former Missouri star needs in order to realize his full potential.