Last year at this time I introduced the Quarterback Draft Desperation Tiers, a unique breakdown of where every team stands in terms of needing/wanting/having to draft a quarterback.

At the time I wrote, the 2023 NFL Draft was "unlike any draft we've seen in recent years" ... so naturally we immediately got a similar draft with a bunch of high-profile quarterbacks.

The difference this time around, however, is the presence of TONS of top-tier talent that wasn't there in 2023. There are several highly coveted wide receivers along with a bunch of really good offensive linemen and a slew of talented defensive players (particular at cornerback) who are sliding through the cracks a bit. Also: Brock Bowers, a potentially generational tight end talent! Or a future librarian, depending on who you ask. 

Just like last year, there are tons of teams that need a quarterback too. It's the never-ending cycle in the NFL. Quarterback saturation is a pipe dream; there will be no Thanos-like post-snap vacation for NFL GMs anytime soon. 

So let's break down which NFL teams are guaranteed to draft a quarterback early, which teams are guaranteed not to and everything in between.

Sure things


Holding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears were at a crossroads this offseason, debating whether to draft Caleb Williams or trade the pick for a massive bounty and build around Justin Fields. They've made their decision quite clear at this point. Tyson Bagent is the current QB1, narrowly ahead of Brett Rypien.


They also traded the incumbent starter, dealing away Sam Howell and letting Jacoby Brissett walk in free agency. Free agent Marcus Mariota sits atop the depth chart, but he's such an obvious placeholder/quiet veteran backup for whoever will be drafted second overall. Either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels could/would go first overall if they were in different non-Caleb draft classes by themselves. 

Sure thing, fueled by spite?


The offseason battle between Bill Belichick and Patriots ownership has been something else. Belichick's basically sat back and taken the wildly unnecessary public beatings, most notably through "Dynasty," the Apple TV+ docuseries that came off as a ham-handed public-relations machine for the Krafts. As a result, most of the angst in New England has shifted from Belichick allegedly losing his fastball to how things will operate in a post Belichick/Brady era. Everything is on the Krafts to get things right in New England again now. And you can't get right without a quarterback. My only hesitation? They're picking third and would have the opportunity to trade out if whoever is there (between Daniels/Maye and presumably McCarthy) isn't highly rated. Ultimately I think New England won't be able to pass on the chance to restart a new dynasty with a highly drafted QB. 

Would (will?) if they could


Minnesota is stuck with Sam Darnold in the starting role at the moment and that is a very uncomfortable place (like the back of a Volkswagen). The Vikings traded for the Texans' 2024 first-round pick to go with their own, signaling their clear intent to be aggressive in pursuing one of the quarterbacks int his draft. If they were picking in the top six, this wouldn't be a conversation and they'd be in the top tier. But because Minnesota has to maneuver around the draft board and also get lucky with someone above them passing on a quarterback in order to secure one, there's no guarantee.


The same goes for Denver at No. 12. Sean Payton would pounce on a signal-caller in a heartbeat if he had a top-five pick, but he doesn't, and he's not loaded with current/future draft capital either. He's also choking down $83 million in dead cap space thanks to Russell Wilson's release. If he loves Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix, a reach or a trade down becomes a very distinct possibilities with this pick. Denver has lots of other needs, but another rough year with no answers at the league's most critical position, under a coach who many believe can get the most out of the position, would create some questions. 


Another wild card in the teens, Las Vegas has a new coach, a new GM (albeit a retread in Tom Telesco) and nothing but Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew on the depth chart. Minshew was a pretty expensive spend in free agency and O'Connell flashed a little last year, so it's conceivable the Raiders work on shoring up other aspects of the roster before attacking the quarterback position full time. If they were higher in the draft, it would be a pretty big no-brainer, though. Penix is also an option here if you believe the drumbeat off in the distance. 

Wild cards


Sitting at No. 6 overall and well in range of getting one of the big four, it wouldn't be shocking at all if the G-Men left Thursday night with a new quarterback in tow. Daniel Jones' contract is easy to get out of after 2024 (in fact dumping Jones would save them more than $20 million in salary cap space). But there are also some other pressing issues for New York, notably at receiver and possibly on the offensive line, both of which are major strengths in this year's draft. At sixth they're guaranteed one of the "big three" receivers, assuming three quarterbacks go ahead of them and that might be too tough to pass up if they don't absolutely love the fourth quarterback. It's also a possibility they move up to No. 4 or get leapfrogged at No. 5 for the fourth QB, which makes them a total wild card.


The Titans feel a lot less likely to grab a quarterback than New York, primarily because of how they've talked about Will Levis this offseason. But if I had a dollar for every time an NFL team praised its starter only to quickly upgrade given the chance, I'd be penning this column from a much more tropical location. I'd expect the Titans go OL or WR with this pick if they stand pat, but I've been involved in some internal mocks where J.J. McCarthy was sitting there. Levis was highly rated by some but ended up only being a second-round pick and obviously Mike Vrabel was heavily involved in that selection. I think Brian Callahan and the new staff are in on him, but you can't completely rule out a team doing something drastic. 

Good ... for now


Kirk Cousins got paid, but he is older and coming off a torn Achilles.


Aaron Rodgers is still there but he is older and coming off a torn Achilles.


Adding both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields probably takes them off the market for another year.


They lost too much this offseason and have too good a roster to actually make a move in the first round, plus they'll more likely simply end up paying Tua.


Dak Prescott's contract is up after this season, which should probably have them on higher alert, but Jerry Jones said they're "all in" on this year. Many took that as a free agency bender coming, but it likely just meant "let's see how we do in 2024 and assess everything after, including the coach and quarterback."


Baker Mayfield's contract can let them out after just one year but I think the franchise really likes him.


They love Derek Carr soooooooo ... there's that. They might go somewhere between 7-10 and 10-7 with Carr under center for the next 10 years honestly. 


New coach and John Schneider empowered more than ever ... Geno Smith is the guy but it can't be viewed as a permanent solution.


Matthew Stafford is Sean McVay's guy and but he is getting up there in age. 

Not involved with the QBs


To be totally honest I wanted to include them as a separate category because Jim Harbaugh is new in town and the QB who just won him a natty at Michigan is sitting there in the draft. This isn't like Andrew Luck where he couldn't take him. McCarthy will likely be available at No. 6. But trading Justin Herbert is just an insane thing to suggest for many different reasons, namely him being an awesomely talented QB who Harbaugh can get the most out of, just like he always does.


They love Jared Goff.


They goff Jordan Love.


They just drafted Bryce Young and don't own a first-round pick.


Did you SEE C.J. Stroud last year?


They just drafted Anthony Richardson.


Lots of people are desperate to give up on Trevor Lawrence, but the Jaguars are not those people.


No first-round pick and still trying to make this Deshaun Watson thing work.


They're worried about replacing some legendary vets and fixing that disaster ending to 2023.


Brock Purdy is dirt cheap and perfect for Kyle Shanahan's system, not to mention him bailing everyone out of the Trey Lance disaster.