2024 NFL Draft: Rams, Cowboys, Jets, and 5 More Teams That Could Shock With Round 1 QB

We know which teams at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft will target quarterbacks. But could clubs like the Rams, Cowboys, or Jets surprise with a Round 1 QB selection?

Quarterbacks will dominate the beginning of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears are expected to select USC’s Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick, while the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots will be interested in LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy at choices No. 2 and 3.

Further down the board, the Minnesota Vikings (who own picks 11 and 23), Denver Broncos (No. 12), and Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13) are viewed as likely contenders for Round 1 QBs.

But what about the quarterback selections we might not see coming? Let’s run through eight teams that might be quietly intrigued by the idea of drafting a first-round signal-caller at the end of the month.

8 Suprise Round 1 QB Teams Entering the 2024 NFL Draft

Atlanta Falcons | No. 8

Why the Falcons would consider a first-round QB: Kirk Cousins will be 36 years old in Week 1 and is coming off a torn Achilles. Even if Cousins is Atlanta’s starting quarterback for the next two seasons, general manager Terry Fontenot could prepare for the future by grabbing a signal-caller of the future in 2024.

Why they wouldn’t: Cousins’ four-year, $180 million contract with the Falcons contains guaranteed money through 2025. Barring a catastrophic injury, the former Viking and Commander will guide Atlanta’s offense for two years.

There’s probably too much opportunity cost for the Falcons to draft a first-round quarterback. They’re gunning for the NFC South title and a deep playoff run now that Cousins is in town and will need to use the No. 8 selection to fill holes on defense.

New York Jets | No. 10

Why the Jets would consider a first-round QB: At 40, Aaron Rodgers is even older than Cousins and is recovering from the same injury. While he’s signed through 2025, Rodgers hasn’t committed to playing beyond the upcoming season.

New York previously held out hope that former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson could continue his development while sitting behind Rodgers. But he’s since been granted permission to seek a trade, and the Jets have no other young QB options in the pipeline.

Why they wouldn’t: General manager Joe Douglas has no reason to plan beyond the 2024 campaign. It might not entirely be “Super Bowl or bust” for Gang Green, but Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh, and others will likely be fired if the Jets don’t at least make the playoffs.

MORE: Why the Jets Traded for Eagles EDGE Haason Reddick

Douglas is optimizing New York’s roster around Rodgers, which could make him lean toward selecting an offensive playmaker like Georgia TE Brock Bowers at No. 10.

New Orleans Saints | No. 14

Why the Saints would consider a first-round QB: New Orleans will give it one more try with its Dennis Allen-Derek Carr combo, but the club can move on after 2024. Allen will almost surely be handed his walking papers if the Saints don’t make the postseason, while Carr will likely be a post-June 1 release unless he rebounds next year.

Still, longtime GM Mickey Loomis has job stability and could look toward a post-Carr future. Trading up doesn’t make sense for New Orleans, but the club might think about a second-tier QB at No. 14.

Why they wouldn’t: Too many other holes. Take one look at the Saints’ depth chart, and it’s quickly apparent that nearly every area of this roster could use some sort of upgrade. That includes premium positions like WR, OT, and CB — all of which New Orleans could contemplate in the middle of Round 1.

Seattle Seahawks | No. 16

Why the Seahawks would consider a first-round QB: Geno Smith is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, but he’ll turn 34 in October.

New Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald might have a young QB prospect he likes. GM John Schneider is finally calling the personnel shots after Pete Carroll’s departure and could target a quarterback after reportedly being in on eventual No. 4 pick Anthony Richardson in 2023.

However, the most critical connection involves first-year Seattle offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who held the same title at Washington for the past two seasons. Could that relationship push Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. to the Seahawks?

Why they wouldn’t: Seattle has a win-now roster that can push for a playoff berth in 2024, so the club might be better off pursuing offensive or defensive line talent that can contribute immediately.

The Seahawks also acquired QB Sam Howell from the Commanders last month and reports oddly suggested the former fifth-rounder could compete with Smith for Seattle’s starting job. Even if that’s not true, the Seahawks may like Howell enough to eschew quarterback in the draft.

Los Angeles Rams | No. 19

Why the Rams would consider a first-round QB: Matthew Stafford isn’t getting any younger. He turned 36 in February and has dealt with myriad injuries in recent seasons, including a thumb injury in 2023, concussion and spine issues in 2022, and a fractured back in 2019.

MORE: Rams Mentioned as Sleeper for Michael Penix Jr.

Los Angeles added former Georgia QB Stetson Bennett in the fourth round of last year’s draft. However, the two-time NCAA champion spent his rookie season on the non-football illness list.

Why they wouldn’t: The Rams are a genuine Super Bowl contender but need to add pieces to their now Aaron Donald-less defense. Using their first-round pick on a front-seven addition who can play alongside standout 2023 rookies Kobie Turner and Byron Young seems like a better use of resources.

Pittsburgh Steelers | No. 20

Why the Steelers would consider a first-round QB: Pittsburgh overhauled its quarterback room this offseason, signing Russell Wilson and trading for Justin Fields while shipping 2022 first-round choice Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wilson signed a one-year deal, while the Steelers will decline Fields’ expensive option for 2025. They don’t have a quarterback on their books for next season.

Why they wouldn’t: General manager Omar Khan is probably hoping one of Wilson or Fields distinguishes himself next season, giving Pittsburgh an answer under center for the next couple of years. It’s hard to imagine the Steelers using a Round 1 pick on a QB when they need more immediate answers at WR, OL, LB, and CB.

Dallas Cowboys | No. 24

Why the Cowboys would consider a first-round QB: Reports have suggested that Dak Prescott could reach free agency after his contract expires in March 2025. Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones hinted that Dallas does not plan to extend Prescott’s deal despite his massive $55+ million cap charge.

Why they wouldn’t: The Cowboys arguably had the worst offseason of any team, losing contributors like RB Tony Pollard, OT Tyron Smith, C Tyler Biadasz, and DEs Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler while signing just one external free agent (LB Eric Kendricks).

Dallas has far too many roster voids to fill in the 2024 draft and already lacks a third-round pick. The club has to use its remaining draft capital to fortify a depth chart that’s far less talented than it was entering the 2023 campaign.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers | No. 26

Why the Buccaneers would consider a first-round QB: While Baker Mayfield’s new contract with Tampa Bay was nominally a three-year, $100 million deal, it’s really more like a one-year, $40 million pact.

The Bucs can exit the Mayfield accord if he turns back into a pumpkin in 2024. That’s not necessarily a likely outcome, but Mayfield finished dead last in QBR (26.3) as recently as 2022 and won’t have OC Dave Canales — now the Carolina Panthers’ head coach — next season.

Why they wouldn’t: In addition to re-signing Mayfield, Tampa Bay also brought back 30-year-old wide receiver Mike Evans and 34-year-old linebacker Lavonte David. This isn’t a team planning years down the road, especially after winning the NFC South and a playoff game last season.

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Plus, the top six QBs in the 2024 draft — Williams, Maye, Daniels, McCarthy, Penix, and Oregon’s Bo Nix — may all be off the board by the time the Buccaneers pick near the end of the first round. Trading up or dipping into the next tier of quarterbacks probably isn’t the best course of action for Tampa Bay.

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