Which of the top 5 teams in the draft need a quarterback?
All of them.
But out of the top 5 teams in the 2023 NFL Draft, three are truly QB-needy:
Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts.
Would the Carolina Panthers benefit more from a top college prospect or Lamar?
As the first team to pick in the 2023 draft (acquired during a trade with the Chicago Bears last month), the Panthers have their eyes on a quarterback.
And yes, a new-to-the-league quarterback.
Even though Lamar has the physical stature the new Carolina coach, Frank Reich, is looking for, the Panthers GM Scott Fitterer confirmed in a recent press conference that Carolina will not pursue Lamar because he’s a “really expensive option.”
So it’s rumored that Panthers are going for that someone who has a 6’3, 214-pound build and will cost the franchise less money—CJ Stroud.
Could they benefit from Lamar? Of course. Baker Mayfield lost more games than he won. Sam Darnold still couldn’t wow the NFL world and was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. And Matt Corral, the only QB on the Panthers today, has yet to have a chance to showcase his skills. Lamar would be a more successful step-in than Carolina has been used to.
But CJ Stroud will be a great second.
He’s coming into the NFL with a Rose Bowl win during the 2021 season and a Heisman finalist for the last two years. Over those two years, he’s averaged over 4,000 passing yards and 42 touchdowns.
His college stats are top-notch, and he has everything a team would want in a rookie starting quarterback: accuracy, poise, a natural feel for the pocket, and an excellent QB IQ.
Why the Houston Texans should sign Lamar over drafting Bryce Young
The Houston Texans are second in the 2023 draft because they went 3-13-1 in 2022. But it’s also important to note that in 2021, the Texans went 4-13, and both years were with Davis Mills as QB.
So, you could say they’re in dire need of an exceptional offensive leader.
Bryce Young has received a lot of flack for his lack of size, but he has fantastic field vision nonetheless. He has a defining trait of reading defensive coverages, throws with an accurate arm, and makes efficient decisions under pressure.
Lamar Jackson is not small, and he can run the ball better than most quarterbacks in the league. Lamar doesn’t have the best completion percentage (62.3%), and it’s hard to defend him there, but can Young have that fantastic field of vision in the NFL, where the play is bigger, faster, and more aggressive?
Even with that said, KPRC reported that the Texans will not go after Lamar Jackson either.
Should the Indianapolis Colts consider a top college prospect or Lamar?
The Colts haven’t found their franchise quarterback since Andrew Luck retired in 2019, so their eyes are set on a new signal-caller for their first-round pick in the fourth position of the 2023 draft.
If the Arizona Cardinals don’t take Anthony Richardson or the Colts trade up to the third position, they’ll have the opportunity to add a QB in Richardson who possesses rare physical skills. He’s explosive, has a cannon of an arm, and can torque his body to make a challenging play and pull away from defenders.
But Richardson is still new to leading a football team with only one year of starting experience in college. Still, he could potentially be a great backup to Lamar—if the Colts can make proper arrangements to afford both—until he can display maturity and consistency in his decision-making.
Right now, Lamar could easily be their future franchise quarterback.
If the Colts traded the Ravens for Lamar, they wouldn’t be gambling their millions of dollars on a player that doesn’t have the stats to show what he can do for a team. Lamar has the skills and athleticism and is still young enough to play for another ten years. He’d be wise to invest in something similar to TB12 to keep his body healthy.
Stephen Holder reported that Jim Irsay, the Colts owner, says Lamar’s asking price is “not the problem”—it’s the compensation.
A trade that includes two first-round draft picks—one for 2024 and 2025—is one Irsay may find too much of a gamble.
Although Carolina and Houston are two of the many teams that have expressed their avoidance in considering Lamar, the Colts have not completely foregone the option. And with a few minor alterations, they have the salary cap to make it happen.
Irsay recently hinted that they have many options for round one of this year’s Draft: stay or trade to take a new QB, or don’t take a new QB at all.
Lamar will most likely not get traded or come to an agreement with the Ravens until after the 2023 draft. I could also see the transaction happen with a team hoping they had copped one of the top QB prospects but had no such luck.
No one is rushing for the MVP player right now because they don’t feel like they’re on a clock or a tight deadline. It’s honestly baffling how many teams have come out and clearly stated they are not interested in taking Lamar.
Lamar could be the quarterback of the future for either Carolina, Houston, or Indianapolis—that is, if they want to start winning now.
Irsay and team will reap the benefits of seeing the value of trading two first-round picks for a 5-year NFL quarterback rather than a new play-caller that could be a solid backup for the time being.
If Indianapolis is looking for an offensive leader ready to step on the field and win games, they’ll find it in Lamar Jackson.