QBs always in demand during NFL Draft

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The New England Patriots’ boring Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams is a distant memory, one that many would rather forget.

Now the focus is on the NFL Draft.

As it is every year, questions revolve around the top quarterbacks available, and who can have an immediate impact. And with so many looking at Kyler Murray being the No. 1 overall pick, the latest scuttlebutt has the New York Giants trading up to nab the 5-foot-10, 205-pound gunslinger who is ready put his baseball glove and future with the Oakland Athletics aside for a career on the gridiron.

The Arizona Cardinals, who have the No. 1 pick, must decide on whether they’re going to stick with Josh Rosen.

The difference between Rosen and Murray, is the latter can immediately bring that here-and-now explosiveness that many teams need. Murray would add a very strong arm with solid accuracy to the field. If he can gun down baserunners from dead-center field, he’s certainly found a knack for overcoming his diminutive size to find receivers streaking downfield.

While Murray may not be the typical Giants quarterback — see aging Eli Manning — New York has to decide if it is going to join the era of mobile, electric, playmaking quarterbacks. The Giants are slotted in to get the No. 6 pick, so if they choose not to pursue a higher draft pick, they have to hope Dwayne Haskins — someone more their style — will still be around.

Haskins might end up being the better quarterback of this year’s class, as the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Ohio State is a big, prototypical signal-caller who boasts a big arm and a great command of his offense.

While he is heavy-footed and used to dropping back when under pressure rather than scrambling about, he can sling it as good as anyone and could learn a pro-set offense quick after leading the nation with 4,831 yards passing and 50 touchdowns last season.

If it isn’t the Giants or possibly the Oakland Raiders swiping this guy, you can count on someone trading up to grab him.

The sleeper of the 2019 class has to be Missouri’s Drew Lock, who brings another prototypical body type to a backfield. Standing 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, Lock has the size, the arm strength and the athleticism that brings a complete package.

Critics may knock this kid’s accuracy and ability to fire at varying speeds, but he’s also a four-year starter and a true student of the game. Working with the right quarterback coach could elevate his game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lock end up with a team like the Denver Broncos, to learn from Joe Flacco, who insists he’ll start regardless of who the team takes.

Oakland coach Jon Gruden coached Lock at the Senior Bowl, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Silver and Black make a move upward, striking a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to get the No. 2 pick overall. If Gruden doesn’t move up to get Lock, it’s conceivable Miami or Denver will try to strike a deal with the 49ers or Jets (No. 3) to grab a quarterback.

Other quarterbacks to watch in the 2019 NFL Draft (in alphabetical order): Ryan Finley, North Carolina State; Will Grier, West Virginia; Tyree Jackson, Buffalo; Daniel Jones, Duke; Jarrett Stidham, Auburn.

From a betting perspective, what do the top prospects mean for win totals, which will be released roughly one week after the draft?

If the Cardinals were to take Murray, they should improve from 3-13 in 2018. Doubling the win total would be asking a lot, but an investment of Over 5 wins isn’t far-fetched. The projected win total of five would likely be the lowest in the league, along with the Dolphins.

Oakland was 4-12 last year, and with the added skill-position players it’s acquired this offseason, and a young quarterback with confidence, a projected win total of 6 might be too low for a team that could pull off eight victories for its final season in the Bay Area.

The Giants went 5-11, and they’re in rebuild mode. With Manning still under center, you’re looking at value by betting Under 6 wins. With Murray or Haskins coming in and eventually taking over this offense, it’s a matter of building chemistry with a receiving corps — Golden Tate, Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer — that isn’t all that bad without Odell Beckham Jr., who is now with Cleveland.

Denver finished 6-10 in 2018, and the addition of Flacco brings a Super Bowl ring and playoff experience to the Broncos. Whether or not he can flip the script for first-year coach Vic Fangio remains to be seen, and even with a young gun pushing for the starting job, this is a team that may end up with an inflated win total, where the value would be the under.

Miami was 7-9 last season and could very well be the worst team in the league when all said and done. Since last season, the Fins have said good-bye to their top three quarterbacks, their leading rusher, their top receiver and three starting offensive linemen.

A projected total of 5 wins might be too high for Miami, regardless of a move to grab a quarterback, as that offense has a lot of work to do.

“Teams drafting a quarterback don’t necessarily improve immediately,” Kornegay said. “We have to look at their current quarterback situation and whether or not the new quarterback could positively or negatively impact their over-under win total. The rookie might be better than their current option or a team could throw him out there in place of the current quarterback who could be better than the new rookie.”

Kornegay said most times there are money line adjustments rather than a win total move. 

“As far as this year’s QB class it’s a crapshoot in my eyes. If I was a GM, I wouldn’t bite on any of them early in the first round. I would prefer to go defense, something I know will have a longer shelf life. One scenario that could have an immediate impact on the win totals would be a team that’s in win now mode and acquires multiple players to improve their roster.”

Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, said his property will post over/under totals for the 2019 NFL season in a week. 

“Teams drafting a quarterback don’t necessarily improve immediately,” Kornegay said. “We have to look at their current quarterback situation and whether or not the new quarterback could positively or negatively impact their over-under win total. The rookie might be better than their current option or a team could throw him out there in place of the current quarterback who could be better than the new rookie.”

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About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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