Top of the Draft a Carr Wreck
Just when you thought you might be getting a grasp of what might happen at this year's NFL draft, someone pulls the rug out from under you.
When the Houston Texans gave David Carr his out-and-out release earlier this week, it had the subsequent effect of completely shaking up the top of the draft. Several of the top ten teams are in the market for a quarterback, including the team with the first overall pick, the Oakland Raiders.
Most draft boards have the Raiders taking JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick, but is that their best option given new circumstances? Are the Raiders not better off with Carr and drafting say, Calvin Johnson instead? Sure they have Randy Moss, but the rumors, oh the rumors. Moss could go, or stay; irregardless, Johnson would be an explosive addition to the team. So the Raiders would definitely have to be exploring their options with Carr, wouldn't they?
If the Raiders don't take Carr, would the Lions look at him? They say that they are happy with Jon Kitna, but they're still always mentioned as being possible suitors for Brady Quinn. If the Lions picked up Carr, then the Raiders would likely draft Russell, and Johnson would still be available when the Lions pick. The Lions wouldn't take Johnson, but there's a good possibility that they might find a possible trade. The Buccaneers would love to grab Johnson, so the Lions might be able to parlay their pick into the number four pick and still get a very top caliber player like Joe Thomas. Then they'd have someone to protect their quarterback for the next decade as well.
If the Lions and the Raiders can't decide, why not Cleveland? The Browns are also often mentioned in the Quinn sweepstakes now that they signed Jamal Lewis. Why not grab Carr and still draft Adrian Peterson? Lewis only signed a one-year deal, so a one-two punch of Peterson and Lewis would be an effective way to bring Peterson into the NFL. The Saints proved that last year with Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister. The Browns are said to have no interest in Carr, but how can they not? If they didn't need a quarterback, they wouldn't be scouting Quinn or Russell. Is the question really whether Carr's a better fit than Quinn? Shouldn't the question be if the Browns are better off with Carr and Peterson, rather than just Quinn?
Isn't that the crux of all of this? Carr's release means that no team will have to give up anything to get him. Obviously they will have to pay some cap money for Carr's contract, but the same will be true of any would-be starter. Teams have seen what Carr can or can't do in the NFL; his learning curve should presumably be smaller than a rookie's will be.
There are also the teams that have slightly later picks that are in need of a quarterback. Teams that have still top ten picks, and that would love to move up and grab a quarterback if Russell or Quinn are available. The Minnesota Vikings, and at the time of press, the Miami Dolphins are two of those teams. Both would love to see one of the quarterback prospects fall to number seven. Would they move up to number four, five or number six if one of the two prized possessions was still available after three picks? They're also not only teams that could have their draft selection altered by where Carr lands, but teams that are candidates for Carr's services.
Carr could go to any one of the aforementioned teams and upgrade their rosters, and yet he will still likely sit in limbo for weeks and weeks while teams wait for others to flinch. He's a proven NFL starter, but one that realized very little success in Houston. Is that a by-product of the team itself, or of Carr? Teams are scrambling to make the distinction right now as they mull over their options.
The truth is, it's all purely speculation at best. Nobody really knows what organizations plan to do with their draft picks, and the teams don't usually tell anyone either. In fact, it's better business to posture away from what you do want to do, to keep more options available.
The only thing that is for sure is that the top of the draft board just got a lot trickier to predict. With so many teams in the market for a quarterback, Carr's destination will surely impact the 2007 NFL Draft in some manner.
This article was released on 2007-03-28.
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