Drafting a ready-to-use QB remains a crapshoot in the NFL. Drafting in the first round still does not, and will never, guarantee success. For every Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, there is a JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart and Rex Grossman.
For teams like the New Orleans Saints, the best strategy should be to select a first-or-second-round quarterback within the next year or two. Wait. What?!?! Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million dollar contract.
The Saints’ primary quarterbacking interests should remain in the hands of Brees. In fact, that’s pretty much the point of drafting a quarterback. Brees was an exception to the rule that teams almost never find franchise quarterbacks via free agency. Typically, a team strikes gold in the draft and does everything in its power to retain top-level signal callers. This should be the New Orleans mindset. Who better to mentor an up-and-coming face of a franchise than the player most responsible for the Saints’ ascendancy to a perennial playoff contender?
The best current example in the league for this idea is Aaron Rodgers. Serving as Brett Favre’s backup for three years certainly did not hurt Rodgers. Perhaps he could have started sooner, but the risk of fail-by-fire decreased with every offensive snapped he watched from the sidelines. Plus, it is likely that Brees would relish the mentor role if he does not view the young candidate as a threat to his job. And Saints fans know that the only individual who could threaten Brees’s job would be a perfect combination of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in one body.
Like it or not, the Saints need a strategy for the post-Brees era. No matter who assumes the duties, risk will be involved. The best way to limit that risk is to draft and develop. Otherwise, the dice stand a better chance of falling the wrong way.
Nick Waguespack is an NFL team writer for TPF and can be contacted at NWaguespack@thepenaltyflagblog.com.