NFL Draft 2019: Teams with most riding on outcome
The NFL Draft is nearly here, and to say a number of teams have a lot riding on their impending decisions would be an understatement.
Here are five teams with the most to gain or lose in the aftermath of the 2019 NFL Draft:
The Arizona Cardinals hold the number one pick, and the biggest story leading up to the draft is centred around dual-sport star Kyler Murray.
The former Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft but opted to pursue a career in football instead.
Given that the Cardinals already have Josh Rosen, who was picked 10th overall in 2018, there has been speculation over whether Arizona will draft a top-10 quarterback for the second straight year.
The Cardinals finished last season with a league-worst 3-13 record and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. They have not had a winning season since 2015 when they went 13-3 and won the NFC West under Carson Palmer, who retired at the end of 2017 and left a void Rosen just could not fill in 14 lacklustre games as a rookie.
The Oakland Raiders have four of the first 35 picks, followed by four selections in rounds four through seven (Numbers 106, 140, 218 and 235).
However, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are reportedly on their own in making final decisions on the team's draft prospects after sending their scouts home over feelings of distrust. Considering how they acquired the picks in the first place — remember Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper? — the Raiders are bound to do something reckless.
While Gruden and Mayock have reiterated their support for Derek Carr, it is not out of the question for the Raiders to pull a surprise quarterback pick early, among other questionable moves.
Things are a mess in New York, but the Giants have a chance to turn things around and start the season fresh on a positive note.
The New York Giants have two picks in the first round at number six and 17, and it might make the most sense for the team to take a potential successor to Eli Manning with the latter selection. But general manager Dave Gettleman has his own way of doing things, which is evident by his willingness to trade Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns and his unapologetic approach to the event.
New York have reportedly met with multiple quarterbacks, including Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, Missouri's Drew Lock and Murray, and Manning expressed confidence the Giants will draft a player at that position. He was inconsistent last season as the Giants missed the playoffs for a second successive year and his contract is set to expire after next season.
Speaking of quarterbacks, the New England Patriots have to be thinking about Tom Brady's impending retirement and who will take his place under center when he decides to call it quits.
Brady turns 42 in August, yet has remained insistent he will play into his mid-40s. Still, the Patriots have to anticipate his decision and allow time for his successor to learn from him, like they did with long-time backup Jimmy Garoppolo before he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Then again, New England have other needs that require addressing sooner, specifically at tight end following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. The Super Bowl champions could also use a defensive end and eventually a receiver considering Julian Edelman is 32 and newcomer Demaryius Thomas is 31.
The Washington Redskins are another team in search of a long-term quarterback solution following the departure of Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith's horrific leg injury.
The Redskins still have Smith under contract even though he will not play in 2019 and traded for Case Keenum as insurance, but Washington are reportedly open to the idea of taking a quarterback with their 15th overall pick.
However, there is competition in the picks ahead of Washington. With only four potential first-round quarterbacks up for grabs, the Redskins could be prompted to move up the board by opening the door to prospective trades.