CARDINALS CORNER

Which teams ahead of Cardinals in 2024 NFL Draft need a quarterback?

Jan 10, 2024, 4:44 PM

It’s onto the 2024 NFL Draft for the Arizona Cardinals and the other 17 teams on the outside of the playoff picture.

When it comes down to the Cardinals’ fourth overall pick, a lot can happen. And that will be dictated by the three teams ahead of them.

With quarterback questions surrounding the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, there’s a real possibility the Cardinals will have their pick of the highly coveted Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. or any of the other top non-QB prospects in the draft.

But just how much are the other three truly in the market for a new franchise signal caller?

A gauge on where the teams ahead of Arizona stand at QB:

Will the Chicago Bears draft a QB, move on from Justin Fields?

The Bears are in a weird spot.

Once again, Chicago found itself with a sub-.500 record (7-10) with Justin Fields running the show.

Since going No. 11 overall to the Bears in 2021, Fields is 10-28 as a starter.

That’s nothing to write home about by any means, but it’s also not solely on him, with coaching changes and an ineffective offensive approach under now-fired coordinator Luke Getsy playing major roles in the team’s underwhelming performance since losing in the Wild Card round in 2020.

Fields put up his best marks as a pro from a passing and record standpoint in 2023.

On top of posting a 5-8 mark as a starter — a two-win improvement from 2022 — Fields also set career marks in passing yards with 2,562 and completion percentage with 61.4% while tossing a career low in interceptions with nine. He threw 16 touchdowns, one shy of his career-high last year despite missing four games to injury.

And while he didn’t get close to his career highs in rushing yards (1,143) and touchdowns (eight), he still put up 657 and four scores, respectively. He trailed only Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (821) in terms of rushing yards by a signal caller and landed inside the top 10 for touchdowns.

After watching the Bears painfully spin the tires in recent seasons, a change is needed.

As for whether or not that change includes moving off of Fields is anyone’s guess at this point.

Do the Bears really need a restart at QB or another legit option for Fields to throw to opposite D.J. Moore?

QB confidence: Lukewarm

New ownership, new coach and a new QB for the Commanders?

Unlike the other two teams ahead of the Cardinals in the draft order, the Commanders wasted little time making a head-coaching change.

With new owners and a need for a switch-up, Washington fired Ron Rivera on Black Monday.

It’s clear the ownership group wants new blood at head coach. The same can likely be said when it comes to quarterback Sam Howell, too.

While Howell became the first Washington QB to start a full season since Kirk Cousins in 2017, his play on the field was mixed at best. In 17 games played, Howell completed 63.4% of his throws for 3,946 yards and 21 touchdowns. Howell’s biggest issue this season, however, was throwing the ball to the other team. Posting a league-leading 21 interceptions in 2023, Howell only had four games where he did not toss a pick and five where he threw multiple.

That’s not going to cut it as a starter for any team.

I can see Howell staying put as a backup but not much more.

QB confidence: More frigid than the National Mall in January.

Regardless of Bill Belichick, Patriots need a starting quarterback

Much like the Bears, we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop one way or another on the Patriots.

What we don’t know: If head coach Bill Belichick has coached his last game in New England.

What we do know: Mac Jones clearly isn’t the answer and Bailey Zappe didn’t show enough to warrant much confidence moving forward.

After starting the first 11 games of the year and throwing more interceptions (12) than touchdowns (10) on 65% passing, Jones watched his season come to a close as the team’s inactive emergency QB in Week 18.

Zappe didn’t fare any better in his six-game sampling as a starter, throwing six TDs to seven picks on 62.4% passing.

Regardless of what happens with Belichick, change is needed within the Patriots’ QBs room.

QB confidence: As Andre 3000 said, ‘Ice cold!’

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