NFL Network’s Mike Mayock hosted a two-hour press conference so we’ll be dropping tidbits from his musings all week. He covered the running backs, defensive backs, linebackers, and pass rushers in the 2017 NFL Draft, but first up is Mayock’s thoughts on the trade value of New England Patriots back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
“In my opinion, if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got 1 and 12, if I came away with either [Myles] Garrett or Jonathan Allen at No. 1 and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo, I would be stoked,” Mayock expalined. “I would feel like I've got a difference maker on defense, and we've got our quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We've got five of the first 65 picks, let's get to work. So, yeah, from my perspective, looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that.”
Mayock doesn’t have the highest opinion of the 2017 draft class of quarterbacks and thinks that investing in Garoppolo would be the better investment. Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer is his #1 quarterback prospect, but he has serious flaws in crunch time and Mayock doesn’t think he is ready to play in week 1. The same concerns apply to Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky, and Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes II.
“I don't have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10,” Mayock said. “It doesn't mean that I don't think there is talent there, because I think there are four quarterbacks in this draft that have first-round talent. In my order that I had for my initial Top 5, it was Kizer, Watson, Trubisky, and Mahomes. All four of them have holes in their game. I don't think any of them are ready to start week one.
Mayock went on to explain how he has “about the same grade” on Trubisky, his #3 quarterback prospect, as he placed on Garoppolo in the 2014 NFL Draft. He thinks that these incoming quarterbacks can eventual start in the NFL, but they’re not ready for 2017.
When looking at the full quarterback class, Mayock got the feeling that every prospect needed a season or two before they would be ready to play in the NFL. For teams like the Browns or the Chicago Bears, with front offices that can’t afford to wait that long for success, investing in Garoppolo is a better bet.
In a somewhat shocking take, Mayock also groups Garoppolo alongside the likes of Raiders QB Derek Carr, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Washington QB Kirk Cousins, and Bengals QB Andy Dalton as “quality starters outside of the first round.” In the same stream of thought, Mayock implied that quarterbacks like Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and Ravens QB Joe Flacco as simply “starting quarterbacks” and not franchise players.
If front offices around the league share Mayock’s opinion on Garoppolo, then the Patriots have a franchise quarterback on their hand and that’s absolutely worth an early first round pick. All it takes is one team to fall in love with Garoppolo and the Patriots could make out like bandits.