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Here's a promising nugget for every NFL team struggling to find a quarterback right now.
There might be nine quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft who are good enough to be taken in the first round, an NFL scout told Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
That doesn't mean nine will be taken in Round One (not that many teams need QBs), but King says there are nine guys who could get "first round grades" from NFL scouts.
The most quarterbacks ever taken in the first round is six in 1983. The most famous quarterback draft in recent history (the 1999 draft) saw five QBs taken in the first round. There were only two quarterbacks taken in the top-32 last year.
King uses SI's current ranking of the top-50 prospects in college football as a reference point. That list features nine QBs in the top-32, and ten if you count UCLA's Brett Hundley (who isn't on the list because SI thinks he'll stay in school until 2015).
- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- Aaron Murray, Georgia
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- AJ McCarron, Alabama
- Tajh Boyd, Clemson
- Zach Mettenberger, LSU
- Braxton Miller, Ohio State
- Marcus Mariota, Oregon
- Derek Carr, Fresno State
- Brett Hundley, UCLA*
It's worth noting that other draft prognosticators aren't as bullish on this group. ESPN's Mel Kiper only has Bridgewater, Hundley, and Mariota among his top-25. We also aren't 100% sure if the underclassmen on this list will come out.
But still, these are big, intriguing names, and everyone agrees they'll be better than last year's class.
Four of these ten guys (Manziel, Miller, Mariota, Hundley) are dual-threat players in the mold of Russell Wilson or RGIII. These types of non-traditional players have historically been downgraded on NFL draft boards, but that appears to be changing.
By our count there are eight teams that we can see taking a QB in the first round: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, and Oakland.
There's obviously a long way to go until the draft. But it'll be something to keep an eye on.
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