No single factor may be more important toward determining which teams win and lose in the NFL than having a franchise quarterback.
The Minnesota Vikings took Christian Ponder with the 12th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft in hopes that he would be their answer for them at that position. Three years later, the team is once again looking at possibly taking a quarterback in the draft.
However, former Vikings’ quarterback Rich Gannon cautions the team against potentially using their first pick, No. 8 overall, to draft a quarterback this year.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Gannon says it would be “foolish” for the team to draft a passer that early in this draft class.
“Based of my knowledge of these players that are coming out and the Vikings’ situation, I think they’d be foolish to take a quarterback at No. 8,” Gannon said. “That’s just my personal opinion. They’d be foolish.”
Gannon was more open toward the teams selecting a quarterback in the second round or later in the first round. But to take a quarterback inside the Top 10 with the options that would be available doesn’t make sense to Gannon.
“I don’t really have a first-round grade on any of [the quarterbacks],” Gannon said.
Teams that have a franchise quarterback that can consistently produce at a high level tend to win more games more often while teams that have shaky quarterback play tend to struggle. While that isn’t exactly a surprising revelation by any means, it speaks to the importance of having a franchise quarterback in place. Teams that don’t have that guy are always going to be on the lookout to try to find him in free agency or the draft.
However, committing to the wrong guy may be the single most devastating blow a franchise can take. It requires a commitment in significant financial resources and also the time spent trying to develop a guy who doesn’t have the ceiling to be the player they initially envisioned.
The Vikings already experienced that conundrum before with Ponder, who hasn’t turned into the quarterback they hoped when they drafted him 2011. If they truly aren’t sold on one of the top quarterbacks on this draft being able to become the franchise quarterback option they need, they may be better off riding out next season with Ponder and Matt Cassel and seeing what options are available later in the draft or next offseason.