The Baltimore Ravens are sitting pretty at sixth overall, with a clear talent drop-off after the top 5 players, not including quarterbacks. The quarterbacks are the real wild card, although it is looking more and more likely that at least one of them will come off the board in the top 5. Questions about the quarterbacks remain, namely which will go first, and how many will go in the top 7, but at this point it would be a shock if there was not a quarterback in the top 5. Assuming at least one does, that would push one of OT Laremy Tunsil, DL DeForest Buckner, pass rusher Joey Bosa, DB Jalen Ramsey, and ILB Myles Jack down to the Ravens at 6. While the Ravens would likely be happy with any of them, some fill needs better than others.
Some have been wary of expecting a quarterback to cause one of the above players to slip, but finding a franchise quarterback outside the top 5 picks is harder than ever, so if you think there is one, it makes sense to move up for one. The three candidates this year are Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Paxton Lynch, and all of them have been impressive while jockeying for position to be the first quarterback selected in the 2016 draft. Lynch seems to be trailing at this point, but not yet out of the conversation.
As for the teams looking at quarterbacks in this draft, Cleveland (#2) is thought to be a likely landing spot, with San Francisco (#7) joining them recently with the news that Colin Kapernick is not likely to be their starter in 2016. Other teams interested, some of whom might have to trade up are the Los Angeles Rams (#15), Houston Texans (#22), and possibly the New York Jets (#20) . Other teams are rumored to be looking for the heir apparent to their current quarterbacks, like the San Diego Chargers (#3), Dallas Cowboys (#4), and New Orleans Saints (#12), but they all have stable options at the position and other needs, so it is much more likely they go with developmental prospects than waste a premium pick at the position.
NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock is considered on of the top draft experts, and he believes there will be some quarterbacks taken early:
"At No. 2, Cleveland needs a quarterback," Mayock said on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast. "At No. 3, you can make an argument that San Diego better get ready for life without Philip Rivers in their future. And at No. 4, you can say the exact same thing about Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys."
The quarterbacks are jockeying for position, and the final order is yet to be determined. Here is what Mayock had to say about the prospects:
Jared Goff, Cal
Goff is "more polished, ready to go today." He says Wentz "has more significant upside."
"Polished, great in the pocket, finds lanes to throw, really good arm," Mayock said of Goff. "Not elite, but a really good arm, very accurate with a quick release. Most ready to play quarterback in the draft today."
Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
"When I look at [Wentz], I see a kid that's as athletic or more athletic than Andrew Luck," Mayock said. "He's bigger than Andrew Luck. He's got arm strength comparable to Andrew Luck. He just doesn't have the experience that Andrew Luck had at a high level that Andrew had coming out of college. So I see a ceiling for this kid similar to Andrew Luck. That's why I believe in this kid so much."
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
"The next guy up is Paxton Lynch and you'd better do your homework on him," Mayock said. "Reminds me of Joe Flacco coming out of Delaware. He's a great athlete for 6'7". He'll surprise you with his athletic ability. He's got a big arm, but he's a year or two away from playing.
"Whether it's San Francisco, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, if you think Paxton Lynch is a franchise quarterback, you'd better go get him because there aren't many of those guys out there."
While in the past there have been quarterbacks discussed in the top 10 which was mostly driven by media hype, like Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel in 2014, this year the prospects look to be real, as is the need. I will be shocked if all 3 do not go in the top 20, and if both Wentz and Goff continue to impress, there is a real shot there will be a team waiting to leapfrog the 49ers to grab whichever one falls. If that is true, the Ravens will have a tough decision to make if one of Buckner, Bosa or Ramsey are sitting there. The offer would have to be quite impressive to pass up one of those 3, so a team would have to be convinced the QB is a franchise one if they want to move up for him.