Backup quarterback is not the first need that comes to mind when people think of the Green Bay Packers. Generally, that honor goes to the defensive line, safety, or running back (at least prior to Thursday and Friday). Yet the Packers spent all of 2012 merely one play away from Graham Harrell as starter.
Two weeks ago, we discussed the merits of drafting a quarterback sometime on the third day.
Here's where things get interesting. While this year's draft class has been criticized for lacking obvious franchise quarterbacks, it's rich with high upside prospects who should be on the board through the middle rounds. A modest investment of a fourth or fifth round pick could net the Packers their next Matt Flynn.
At that time, the names projected be available in round 4 were Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, and Matt Scott. While all of them are indeed still waiting to hear their name called, there are some even more intriguing options still on the board. USC's Matt Barkley, once a consensus first round pick, has tumbled all the way out of the first two days of the draft. Ryan Nassib, another smart but physically average passer, has too seen his fortunes decline. While this is partially the result of an inconsistent senior season and failure to impress scouts during the pre-draft process, there's also a bit of serendipity in play.
In most years, there are a handful of teams that desperately need a quarterback and will reach to acquire one in the draft. There's also usually a few teams with an older single caller that drafts a QB to groom for the future (think New England in 2011 with Ryan Mallett).
2013 isn't most years, however. This draft comes on the tails of two consecutive strong classes for quarterbacks. 2011 produced Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder, all incumbent starters heading into the upcoming season. A year later, the league gained Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill. Neither of these lists includes the talented quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins who haven't become fulltime starters yet. Because of this sudden influx of quality passers, demand for sub-elite prospects like Barkley and Nassib has compressed.
But sub-elite doesn't mean neither is a quality player. SB Nation's draft guru Dan Kadar had each in his top 100 overall prospects, and he was not alone. Many had Nassib going as high as number 8 to the Buffalo Bills while Barkley was a popular selection anywhere in the first round to the top of the second.
Which means now is as good a time as ever for the Packers to snap up a quarterback with real starting potential well after they should have been taken. For years, Green Bay has been one of the best teams in the league at developing quarterbacks. Selecting one of these passers and putting them through a few years of Mike McCarthy's QB School could yield big returns. Not only could the Packers have another quality backup to Rodgers, but Ted Thompson could have a trade chip to cash in during a future offseason. With 10 draft picks on the final day of the draft, it's a very modest investment.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JBHirschhorn.
Of course, keep your internet machine locked on Acme Packing Company for all the coverage of the Green Bay Packers' ten draft picks on day three. It will be a long, busy day, but we'll be there with you every step of the way.
Check out all of Acme Packing Company's draft coverage: 2013 NFL Draft Central | Green Bay Selects Datone Jones in First Round | Green Bay Drafts Eddie Lacy in Second Round | Packers' Complete Draft Order