The NFL's Oncoming Quarterback Crisis And Its Implications For The Draft

The NFL's Oncoming Quarterback Crisis And Its Implications For The Draft

Why the Cowboys have to select a Quarterback with the fourth overall pick.
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This April, the Dallas Cowboys sit in a curious position. It's a curious position that will not only set the course for the franchise going forward, but that could also have broad implications on the direction of the league going forward.

A year ago at this time, the team was on top of the world. The team had ridden Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant, along with the league's best offensive line, to a deep January run. Despite losing Murray in free agency, the team was one of the consensus favorites in the NFC the next season. Of course, things didn’t turn out that way. Romo and Bryant spent the season injured and the team floundered to a 4-12 season, finishing last in the lowly NFC East.

With the fourth overall pick in this years draft, the Cowboys have two options. They could add an impact player like Joey Bosa, Miles Jack, or Jalen Ramsey who could potentially spark a Super Bowl type of season. After all, the core of the roster from a year ago still remains. However, many are calling for an alternative option. Romo is already 35 and has only finished one of the past three seasons. Dallas likely won’t be picking this high in the draft for a long while, leading many to believe that they could use that pick to draft Romo’s eventual successor as Quarterback.

Owner Jerry Jones has initially scoffed at such theories. “Jerry told me recently that he will unequivocally not take a quarterback at No. 4, where the Cowboys draft this year,” wrote NFL Media’s Gill Brandt. “I believe him. It makes sense if you think Romo will make a full recovery from off-season surgery, will be your starter for at least three more years, and your team has a window of opportunity that will remain open by filling more glaring needs with the top pick in the draft.”

If Jones is indeed telling the truth, this is a worrying statement for Cowboys fans. There aren’t enough quarterbacks in the league to go around as is and the Cowboys know the struggle of sifting through years of quarterback purgatory first hand. Teams like the Texans and Rams have let strong rosters go to waste for years while waiting for the next franchise quarterback.

“We still can’t find ourselves more than 16 to 20 guys at one given time to control and operate an NFL franchise at the quarterback position successfully,” said Rich Eisen on a broadcast of the NFL Combine. “It really is incredible how difficult this position is or to find somebody.”

This problem has always plagued NFL teams. There aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around. The teams with a true franchise quarterback are in a great position to contend for titles while the rest are left as afterthoughts, no matter how strong their roster is.

Except, nowadays, the problem has been more or less been solved for the bulk of the teams in the league. Almost every team in the league has an established starting quarterback on their roster. Due to the strength of recent drafts for the position, the problem doesn’t seem nearly as bad. Successful picks like Jameis Winston, Derick Carr, and Blake Bortles in recent drafts have given hope to once lost teams. At the moment, only the Browns, 49ers, Rams, Jets, and Broncos lack an established starter at the position. By the account of most draft experts, two of these teams will find a solution in the draft through either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. When compared to even five years ago, when quarterbacks to the likes of Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell, Kevin Kolb, and Bruce Gradkowski, among others, entered the year as starters, the state of quarterbacks right now doesn't seem nearly as bad.

This won’t last long, however. A large number of the currently established starters are quarterbacks who will most likely be set to retire within the next five years, leaving massive holes in the position for a disturbingly large number of teams. Currently, there are seven established starting quarterbacks in the league who are at least 34 years of age, among them are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger.

Don’t let the longevity of Brady and Manning change expectations for how long quarterbacks last in the league. Those are generational talents that have been able to make up for their diminishing physical skill set with an exceptional mastery of the mental side of the game. Brees falls into this category as well. While players like Romo and Rivers have been fine players in the position for many years, they shouldn’t be considered in the same vein as those Hall of Fame talents.

All of these players would project to retire two to four years from now. That list doesn’t include guys like Jay Cutler and Alex Smith, who have been middling talents and may not last much longer than that in starting roles. Of course, Aaron Rodgers turned 32 this year and has had his own problems with injuries in recent years. His physical playing style may not lend to a long career like Brady. Throw in a few teams abandoning questionable type of players like Ryan Tannehill and Tyrod Taylor and there could easily be ten or more teams searching for a quarterback within a two or three year span.

Some teams have done their best to combat this issue by drafting mid-round quarterbacks as “heir apparents” to take over when their aging starter retires. Teams look at the story of Aaron Rodgers sitting behind Brett Farve for years and try to replicate those results on their own teams. The Saints just drafted Garrett Grayson in the third round. A year earlier, the Patriots took Jimmy Garoppolo in the second. The best example of this is the Broncos drafting Brock Osweiler, who went on to have success as their starter this past year before defecting to the Texans. However, such mid-round talents rarely pan out as starting options. For every Kirk Cousins, there’s a Ryan Mallett. 23 of the current starting quarterbacks in the league were drafted in the top 40 selections in the draft. Guys like Tom Brady, drafted outside of the top round of the draft to sit, are the exception and not the rule.

Of course, this all goes without mentioning the matter of college football as well. The days of ready-made, Andrew Luck type prospects coming out of college are ending quickly. More and more colleges are switching to spread style offenses, leaving less pro-ready prospects coming into the league with each passing year. The athletes in the draft are woefully unprepared to take on NFL level play books, drop back seven steps and read the field, line up under center, or even take command of a huddle.

So, if the Cowboys do stick to the words of Jones and draft a position outside of quarterback with the fourth pick, they will be cursing themselves to the mad scramble for quarterbacks in the league-wide quarterback draught that is sure to come in the next few years. They won’t be picking this high in the draft again until it’s already too late.
Cover Image Credit: Denver Post

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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5 Tasks The Detroit Pistons Must Do To Change The 8th-Seed Stigma

After speaking with my lawyer, blackmailing Tom Gores into selling the team is off the table.

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The Detroit Pistons returned to the NBA playoffs following a three-year hiatus. Unfortunately, the newest acquisitions to the coaching staff and roster weren't enough to change the narrative of Detroit Pistons basketball and first-round playoff sweeps. Milwaukee dominated the Pistons into a third-consecutive first-round playoff exit since 2009. What can the new titleholders of the NBA consecutive playoff game loss record do to revitalize their early 2000s reign as tenacious contenders within NBA's Eastern Conference?

1. Don't trade Andre Drummond

With the 9th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut. Throughout Drummond's six years in the NBA, he continues to adapt, learn, and overcome the adversity surrounding his athleticism and play-style.

The 2018-2019 NBA season was arguably best offensive and defensive season for the 25-year-old center. Trading the three-time NBA total rebound champion that led the league in defensive win shares the past two years is not the answer to our problems.

2. DEFINITELY (and I can't stress that enough) trade Jon Leuer

Jon Leuer received a four year, 24 million dollar contract in 2016 under the management of Stan Van Gundy. As Pistons fans suffering slowly comes to an end, we still have an opportunity to trade Leuer to acquire a player or draft picks that are basically guaranteed to prove more beneficial than Leuer's inconsistent run as a backup power forward.

The Detroit Pistons trading for Thon Maker mid-season was the nail in the coffin for Leuer's run as a Piston, finishing the season averaging 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds throughout 41 games. We're already paying Josh Smith $5.3 million to sit at home and watch us get swept in the playoffs, we don't Jon Leuer sitting on the bench doing the same thing.

3. Acquire size, strength and defense on the wings

Whether it's in the NBA Draft, a trade (hopefully involving Jon Leuer) or even a free agency signing this off-season, the Pistons desperately need to establish depth of wing players. Currently, the Pistons don't have a single small forward on the team.

The Pistons current depth chart (considering we do not re-sign any expiring contracts) is made up of a single point guard, five shooting guards, three power forwards and one center. A wise man once advised the Pistons to use their size and strength to "form a fuckin' wall." Without small forwards, forming a wall isn't an option and mismatches will be an easy exploit for larger teams.

4. Weigh every option with the 15th draft pick

Due to our past drafting history, it's crucial for the front office and coaching staff to weigh every option before we use our 15th overall draft pick. It's common knowledge Detroit has struggled when it's come to the NBA Draft. The narrative began after skipping over talents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2003 and most recently with Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent drafts.

Trading the pick away, trading down in the draft, even trading up in the draft must all be considered. Shopping the draft pick should rank above using it specifically based on our shameful lack of cap space. The Pistons' picks in the 2019 NBA Draft are the only elusive assets Detroit has left until 2020.

5. Find a legal way to force Tom Gores to sell

Since blackmail is illegal, how about brainwash? Tom Gores bought the struggling team in 2011 for $325 million since then not much has changed. He's proved he isn't capable of responsibly owning the team after allowing Stan Van Gundy to take over as head coach and president of basketball operations on top of approving ridiculously priced contracts for players. I'm grateful he gave the Pistons a shot to prove themselves when rumors of relocation circled like vultures but it's time to move on.

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