Four Verts: Justin Fields can be Steelers’ starting QB next year, and Vikings are about to take a big risk

The offseason is churning with slightly over a month till the 2024 NFL Draft. Whereas the draft would be the focus for the subsequent few weeks, how the draft is seen has been modified by free company and a few groups have been in a position to fill holes within the lead up within the draft. First, we begin with a younger, extremely drafted quarterback who’s trying to get his profession again on monitor towards a very long time veteran.

Justin Fields is formally onto the subsequent chapter of his NFL profession, becoming a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers by way of commerce. The Steelers have fully overhauled their quarterback room by signing veteran Russell Wilson and, for now, having Fields be the backup. It offers them the possibility for some kind of stability that may flip right into a long-term reply in the event that they’re in a position to develop Fields right into a extra constant quarterback. Nonetheless, Fields’ capability to compete with Wilson within the current shouldn’t be discounted, both.

The rationale Fields needs to be taken critically as a beginning quarterback candidate this 12 months is as a result of Wilson isn’t the participant that he was. This isn’t the identical Wilson that made dazzling performs with the Seahawks — this isn’t even the identical Wilson that the Broncos thought they have been buying a pair years in the past. This model of Wilson is solely not the identical man who regarded like a possible Corridor of Famer throughout the 2010s. If the Steelers are keen to make it an actual competitors, Fields would possibly be capable of push Wilson.

In fact, Fields doesn’t have a flawless ability set himself, or he wouldn’t be within the place he’s in now and would nonetheless be the quarterback of the Bears. Fields nonetheless has all of the bodily expertise on this planet and should legitimately be the most effective operating quarterback within the league, however he hasn’t proven a constant sufficient capability as a high-level passer to remain entrenched as a starter. Nonetheless, he’s not to this point off from Wilson the place he can’t be within the dialogue for the Steelers’ prime quarterback spot.

Justin Fields could but win the Steelers’ beginning quarterback job in 2024. (Photograph by Erick W. Rasco/Sports activities Illustrated by way of Getty Photographs)

The wild card right here within the Steelers’ quarterback equation is their match with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who arrives after an up-and-down tenure with the Falcons. Smith is a coach that loves to focus on the center of the sphere, which isn’t actually one thing that both quarterback does. Smith ought to be capable of get issues going with the quarterback run recreation, which might make Fields an attractive choice because the starter. Both means, neither quarterback has the cleanest match with Smith — that may actually make for an attention-grabbing dynamic as soon as camp begins.

The Steelers have a promising but fragile quarterback scenario. Wilson and Fields are each considerably unknown as they make this transfer to a brand new staff, which can open the door for Fields to renew his position as an NFL beginning quarterback. Both means, it may well’t harm his improvement attending to at the very least compete with a veteran like Russell Wilson as he takes the subsequent journey in his profession.

Hollywood Brown is an actual difference-maker for the Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes, welcome again to society. The Chiefs received their third Tremendous Bowl in 5 years on the power of a stifling protection whereas Mahomes made simply sufficient performs to pull an inconsistent Chiefs offense to a different Tremendous Bowl victory. Mahomes handled some boneheaded huge receiver play all season, however was in a position to win a Tremendous Bowl with these gamers regardless. Even with the final word purpose being achieved, the Chiefs went out and tried to discover a fast treatment to a few of their receiving woes by signing huge receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in free company.

Brown won’t be the most effective huge receiver on the market, however in an offense that has Mahomes slinging the rock, he turns into a reliable floor-raiser simply because he’s that a lot better than the Chiefs’ different wideouts. He’s a a lot better participant than Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and even Marquez Valdes-Scantling — and now he could have the most effective quarterback within the league throwing him the ball. That is the precise form of tweak the Chiefs wanted of their offense heading into the draft.

Large receiver turns into much less of a necessity, but it surely actually might nonetheless be addressed within the first spherical in the event that they select. Rashee Rice is the one younger, promising huge receiver the Chiefs have on a long-term deal. Brown simply offers them the flexibleness to go elsewhere in Spherical 1 in the event that they so select. They’ll dip right into a gifted offensive deal with class or add somebody to the defensive backfield. That is the kind of quick time period signing that breathes long-term choices to life.

There’s additionally the very actual chance that Brown is a superb match with Mahomes, helps open the deeper parts of the sphere and turns into a fixture in Kansas Metropolis over the subsequent few years. Irrespective of the way it works out for them, that is the form of course of that the Chiefs wanted to observe to present themselves an opportunity to three-peat subsequent season.

Vikings are about to do one thing extremely dangerous

The Vikings have made one thing very clear: They’re going to get a quarterback on this 12 months’s draft. After dropping Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons in free company, the Vikings rapidly made a transfer to place themselves for a quarterback. They traded with the Texans to amass the twenty third choose within the upcoming NFL Draft, to pair with the eleventh choose that they already down. That plus a future first-round choose needs to be sufficient ammunition to get the Vikings in vary to get a quarterback both earlier than the draft or throughout it.

The issue is, they received’t precisely have their full collection of who they’ll take with whichever choose they find yourself buying and selling to. The Bears are nearly assured to choose USC quarterback Caleb Williams at No. 1 total, with the Commanders taking their very own quarterback with the second choose. Which means the Vikings are prone to be paying the value of shifting up within the draft twice for what would be the third quarterback chosen.

It’s an comprehensible danger, however a heavy danger nonetheless. Searching to the 2025 quarterback class, it’s straightforward to see why the Vikings would favor to get a participant this 12 months in contrast to what’s at the moment projected as a weak crop subsequent 12 months. J.J. McCarthy and Jayden Daniels would have a a lot stronger declare to QB1 in 2025 in comparison with this 12 months. So, the will to get this carried out now does make some sense, particularly with a long-term deal coming for Justin Jefferson.

There’s a latest instance of this failing in a spectacular method with the 49ers buying and selling three first-round picks for the suitable to draft Trey Lance, who by no means actually received going earlier than struggling an harm and being traded to the Cowboys. That’s an excessive instance of the way it can go poorly, but it surely simply goes to point out that there’s precedent for this changing into an asset dump for a staff.

The third quarterback drafted has been a combined bag in recent times. Justin Herbert and Josh Allen carry that title, as do Paxton Lynch and Blaine Gabbert. It largely is determined by the precise quarterback — Anthony Richardson was the third quarterback drafted in 2023 and he regarded extremely promising earlier than getting harm. The Vikings should have a powerful degree of conviction that whoever will get previous the Commanders shall be a quality-level quarterback.

Opinions on quarterbacks will fluctuate from staff to staff, however what isn’t questionable is that the Vikings are about to capital P pay for one. This shall be a captivating case examine as soon as the ultimate compensation is introduced and the choice is made. They might instantly keep afloat in a abruptly robust NFC North with the suitable man, and so they might additionally value themselves jobs with the flawed choice.

Marvin Harrison is absolutely testing the boundaries of the pre-draft course of

As the nice wordsmith Future as soon as mentioned, “You do what you need once you poppin’.” Nobody resides that phrase out tougher than former Ohio State huge receiver and projected top-five choose Marvin Harrison, who has primarily opted out of the pre-draft course of. Harrison weighed in at the combine and has met with groups, however has not participated in a exercise or drill of any type this spring. He skipped the testing and on-field drills on the mix earlier than doing it once more at Ohio State’s professional day, and shall be going into the NFL Draft with nothing however the movie doing the speaking on his behalf.

The factor is, it simply would possibly work. Harrison is seen as the most effective huge receiver prospect this class and one of many extra full huge receiver prospects in years. Even with him passing on the on-field portion of the draft course of, nobody really appears to assume that it will legitimately have an effect on his lofty draft standing. He’s nonetheless being projected as excessive because the third choose in lots of mock drafts, and there hasn’t actually been a lot noise on groups preferring Washington’s Rome Odunze or LSU’s Malik Nabers over him. This very effectively may fit and set precedent for future prospects which might be deemed “no brainers” on how they need to method the draft course of.

If Harrison nonetheless will get drafted within the prime 5 regardless of doing nothing however measuring in on the mix, that validates his course of for him. How he performs as a rookie will affect how relevant his technique is for future prime prospects as a result of he’s on the cusp of displaying that the draft course of is absolutely simply not that essential for gamers on the prime of the draft. The quarterbacks have already found out how a lot fluff is concerned within the draft course of — Harrison is simply taking it one additional step.

As groups watch Harrison dismantle and embarrass defensive backs on movie, the most important factor they should ask themselves is how a lot they really care concerning the work he didn’t do that offseason. The reply will more than likely be that they don’t care as a lot as they’d have you ever imagine. Harrison’s standing as a draft prospect is already solidified and there isn’t actually a lot he can do to assist himself at this level.

What occurs subsequent shall be fascinating, however the one factor that’s undoubtedly true is the truth that Harrison is in a uncommon area as a prospect that’s eschewing the draft course of. If he continues to be among the best huge receivers in soccer, it’s going to open the door for bigger parts of the draft course of to be non-compulsory for gamers on the prime.

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