Teams in need of a quarterback have their fans buzzing about options to take snaps in 2011. Many fans are enthusiastic about Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, but there certainly is no quarterback in the draft that will be regarded as the franchise savior that Sam Bradford was a year ago. Most people around the league seem to agree that trading for a quarterback is the quickest fix for a team. With head coaches on such short leashes, the pressure to bring in a top quarterback is immense. Here’s a look at the teams picking in the top twelve of the draft and their quarterback situations. Would any of them be willing to trade their selection for Kevin Kolb?
1. Carolina Panthers. Quarterback need? Yes. The Panthers need a quarterback, but I would not want to trade for the top overall pick. Since Carolina has no second round selection, they would likely want to trade the number one pick for Kolb, the 23rd pick, and possibly others. Not interested. Carolina cannot justify a straight-up trade for Kolb, so no deal is on the horizon.
2. Denver Broncos. Quarterback need? No. The Broncos have a quarterback surplus, not a deficit, so this is out of the question.
3. Buffalo Bills. Quarterback need? Yes. The Bills should be looking for their quarterback of the future, but both Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton would likely appeal to them more than Kolb since they are more natural fits in Chan Gailey’s offense.
4. Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback need? Yes. Marvin Lewis seems resigned to the probability that Carson Palmer is on his way out. It would be tough to part with the fourth overall pick as A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, and Robert Quinn could all still be on the board, but if the Bengals are desperate enough for a quarterback come draft day, they may come calling. However, it’s much more likely that they select Blaine Gabbert here.
5. Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback need? Yes. By the fifth pick, the Cardinals would be smart to assume that Blaine Gabbert will be off the board. Larry Fitzgerald has suggested that the team trade for Kevin Kolb, and he will be unwilling to sign a long-term contract extension unless Arizona brings in a quarterback this offseason. There is also a sentiment among NFC West teams that whoever lands a franchise quarterback this offseason will win the division in 2011. So, the motivation is certainly there to get a deal done. If I were the Eagles, I would even throw in a second round pick to get the deal done.
Possible trade: Kevin Kolb and 2nd round pick for 5th overall pick and conditional pick in 2012
6. Cleveland Browns. Quarterback need? No. The Browns were very interested in Kolb last year, but have recently committed to Colt McCoy as the starter. With enormous needs at defensive end and at receiver, the Browns will not be interested in acquiring Kevin Kolb.
7. San Francisco 49ers. Quarterback need? Yes. Jim Harbaugh seems to like Alex Smith, but Kevin Kolb could be the answer for this team. San Francisco has Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore, but that trio has never really unlocked their potential because they lack a true franchise quarterback to distribute the ball. If the Harbaugh regime believes that Kolb is the guy that can finally get their offense off the ground, he should pull the trigger. However, there will definitely be some good defensive talent on the board that San Francisco will really want in 49er red in 2011.
Possible trade: Kevin Kolb and 2nd round pick for 7th overall pick
8. Tennessee Titans. Quarterback need? Yes. The Titans need a quarterback badly, but Kolb doesn’t really fit their vertical passing scheme. However, they may be desperate enough to add a quarterback to complement Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt to give up their prized selection.
Possible trade: Kevin Kolb and 3rd round pick for 8th overall pick
So, with only two quarterbacks who teams view worthy of such a high selection and six teams in the top eight with significant quarterback needs, there will be some fierce competition for players like Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton. Reports out of the combine say that the Eagles will net a load larger than most expect in return for their prized backup. So, it’s entirely possible that a team would be willing to surrender a very high pick in the draft for him. If nobody bites, the Eagles should keep Kolb. A top eight pick would allow the Eagles to draft an elite defensive player (Da’Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Von Miller, or Patrick Peterson) assuming that Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton or A.J. Green get selected in the early going.