Question of the Day: Which quarterbacks will go in the first round of the NFL draft, and where will they go? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the top quarterbacks in Thursday's NFL draft. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun
Nine of the first 15 picks in the draft belong to teams in need of a quarterback, which says demand is high. Supply is not, though, and it will be a surprise if more than four quarterbacks go in the first round.
Start with the obvious one -- Cam Newton to Carolina -- a decision that will keep the woebegone Panthers drafting early for several more years. The next up is Blaine Gabbert, and there's a good chance he goes either to Arizona at 4 or San Francisco at 7. The third quarterback to come off the board likely will be Jake Locker and he should wind up in Minnesota at 12, or, at worst, Miami at 15.
The fourth quarterback to go will be a wild card -- Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett or Colin Kaepernick -- and it will be to a team that trades into the bottom of the first round. That could be Buffalo, Cincinnati, Tennessee or Washington, whichever feels neediest.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Some are predicting a first-round feeding frenzy on the quarterbacks, but it might end up more like a nibbling frenzy. We can be reasonably assured that Cam Newton will be a very high draft pick, likely as high as one can be. The Panthers need a quarterback and are believed to be enamored with Newton’s blend of talent and charisma.
Next up is Blaine Gabbert, who is expected to be chosen in the top eight. The most likely suspect to draft him is the Bengals, but a team could move up for him as well. Between one and three more quarterbacks should be chosen in round one, but it gets difficult to predict who will go and which teams will grab them because of the potential for trades. Watch the Seahawks at 25.]
[Updated at 1:45 p.m.:
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Three quarterbacks will go in the first 12 picks, and as many as five could go in the opening round. Carolina will make Auburn's Cam Newton the first pick, and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert will go seventh to San Francisco. Buffalo (3), Cincinnati (4) and Arizona (5) will be tempted to take Gabbert, but he will slip to the 49ers.
Washington's Jake Locker will be the third quarterback off the board, going to Minnesota at 12. Both Andy Dalton of TCU and Christian Ponder of Florida State could also go in the first round, probably by teams trading up to get them. Character questions will knock Arkansas' Ryan Mallett out of the first round, even though he might be the quarterback best suited to step into an NFL offense and play soonest.
Andrew Carter, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Although there are likely to be as many as seven quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds, only two of them -– Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert -– are a lock to be picked in the first round.
Newton might not even be the best quarterback prospect in the draft, but he is likely the best overall athletic talent. Nobody would be surprised if he went No. 1 overall to Carolina, and if not there, he probably wouldn’t get past Buffalo at No. 3. Expect Gabbert to wind up either with Arizona at No. 5 or with San Francisco at No. 7.
Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker all have late mid- to late-first-round potential, especially if teams like Miami, Tennessee and Buffalo trade down -– or up -– to take them.]
Photo: Blaine Gabbert. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press