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Daniel Jeremiah: Vikings 'Best Landing Spot' for Quarterback Prospect

Pass the pigskin — and the truth serum?

Rumors tend to swirl as the NFL Draft gets closer each year.

Secrecy remains important to teams not wanting to tip their hands, but motives of teams, players and their representatives can be wide-ranging and prompt subterfuge ahead of the annual player selection meeting.

What hasn't changed is how highly touted this crop of quarterbacks — some are projecting six could go in the first round, which would tie the 1983 NFL Draft's all-time record — has remained.

Most pre-draft ratings have grouped (listed alphabetically by last name) Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy and Caleb Williams as the top four. Bo Nix and Michael Penix, Jr., are the other two QBs that have been mentioned as potential first rounders.

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What about potential landing spots for a young quarterback?

NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah was battling a cold but powered through a conference call for nearly two hours Wednesday. He was asked about the environment in place in Minnesota if the Vikings wind up drafting a quarterback.

"I would say if you gave truth serum to the quarterbacks and the agents of all the top guys, every single one of them would say they would love nothing more than to go to the Minnesota Vikings," Jeremiah said. "That is by far the best landing spot for any quarterback to go into. I mean, it's all set up from the things that we talk about with the three Ps, with the play caller, the protection, the play makers, check, check, check."

Jeremiah pointed out the Vikings adding Sam Darnold on a one-year deal during free agency could allow for a longer on-ramp if a rookie QB is added.

"I can't think of a better situation for a young quarterback than the one that the Minnesota Vikings have. That's why, to me, I think it's kind of foolish to look back and see, 'Oh, you know, these teams or these people had these quarterbacks ranked wrong.' And it's like, 'Well, if you tell me where all they're going to go, it might inform how you would rate the players a little bit.' I feel pretty confident that Minnesota's got a good chance of getting some good production out of a quarterback that they take."

Earlier during the call, Jeremiah was asked, why predicting quarterback success has been so difficult for teams and if assessments have improved in the past decade-plus.

"I think it would be hard to point to the results and say that we've made progress, as sad as that is," Jeremiah said. "I think the more you look at it, I think there's more attention being paid now to the environment than the actual quarterback and knowing how to set the table for when you do take the quarterback that he can be successful. I think that seems to be a conversation I have a lot with teams around the league is, 'OK, do we take him? And then do we put him out there right away? Do we have the infrastructure for him to survive and be successful?'

"That seems to be a little bit more of the focus on that, but you know, in terms of figuring out the evaluation, it's constantly changing," Jeremiah added. "It used to be that we had the era of the huge quarterback with Peyton [Manning] and Tom [Brady] and Big Ben [Roethlisberger], and then the Russell Wilson thing happens, and then everybody says, 'OK, well, we can excuse away size,' and then you see, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray come in, and so then it's not really size. Then you see the off-platform, off-script style of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and teams have tried to copy that, and that hasn't necessarily worked all the time to perfection there.

"Then then you see last year, [C.J.] Stroud coming into the league almost as a little bit of a rollback from what he did in the pocket and how pristine he was there," Jeremiah continued. "It's constantly changing, and people can't necessarily nail it down on one style. I think it comes down to, 'Does he have the traits and the makeup' and all those things?"

Historical perspectives

The 1983 class featured Hall of Famers John Elway (No. 1), Jim Kelly (No. 14) and Dan Marino (No. 27). QBs Todd Blackledge (No. 7), Tony Eason (No. 15) and Ken O'Brien (No. 24) also were picked.

History from 40-plus years ago, or even more recently in 2021 when five QBs — Trevor Lawrence (No. 1), Zach Wilson (No. 2), Trey Lance (No. 3), Justin Fields (No. 11) and Mac Jones (No. 15) — were selected illustrates how things don't always work out as envisioned.

Jeremiah was asked about this year's depth and pointed to that 2021 class that's already had Lance, Fields and Jones move on from the teams that drafted them.

"First of all, it's one thing to feel good about the number of guys we could have go. It's another thing to see how all their careers pan out," Jeremiah said. "I just think that there's a lot of ability with these guys, and you take your shot when the ability is there and hopefully you have a little bit higher batting average than that group that we just went through."

In Jeremiah's book, Williams is ahead of his 2024 QB classmates because of what he's shown on film.

"There's a physicality to him that I think is an underrated aspect, you know? Just his toughness to be able to pull through tackles and able to absorb hits and be durable that way. I love that about him," Jeremiah said. "The playmaking stuff, the creativity is, everybody's seen all that stuff. I think that's pretty rare, the things he can do there. To me, all of the things you want to do in an offense, he can do, so I think he expands your playbook in a big way. And I think that's one of the reasons why he's the top guy."

With Chicago at No. 1, Washington at No. 2 and New England at No. 3, that's three consecutive teams who could be interested in filling starting QB jobs.

Jeremiah said he's been connecting the dots between Washington and Maye "for a long time."

"I just felt like that fit there," he said. "I think about [Commanders Head Coach Dan Quinn] going to a Super Bowl with Matt Ryan [with Atlanta], and what Matt Ryan was coming out, strengths, weaknesses, and I thought it actually married up pretty well with Drake.

"But in talking to coaches and executives around the league, they're like overwhelmingly convinced" that Daniels is going to be selected by Washington.

While answering a question about what might be the best play for the Broncos at No. 12, Jeremiah ventured to "a situation where" Minnesota made a move up the board to select Maye and not McCarthy, then Denver could choose to stay at 12 and tab McCarthy.

Jeremiah said he'll be "shocked" if McCarthy lasts beyond the 12th pick.

The former scout was asked if McCarthy could land in the top 5, despite being asked to do less in the passing game at Michigan than his draft classmates at their respective schools.

"The best way I heard this explained to me, and I love the way it was said … somebody was watching tape with McCarthy. They were watching a drive and they got into the red zone, and he said, 'Well, you can kind of fast-forward it from here. And he's like, 'Well, what do you mean?' He's like, 'Well, this is just Michigan football from here on in, we're just going to run the ball,' like that's going to work and they're going to get their way in the end zone," Jeremiah said. "And Jim Harbaugh wasn't going to, you know, why, why throw it if you don't have to throw it? And they didn't. [McCarthy told the person], 'We worked on red zone passing every day in practice and put in all the work, and I've got all that experience.'

"So that's why it's a difficult evaluation, because you can see him do everything you want him to do, or that you need a big-time quarterback to do," Jeremiah added. "It's just the numbers, in terms of the volume is not there. So you've got somebody, that if you look at him from a size standpoint, I think he's put on like 15 pounds in the last year. I think he's still growing into his body. He's gonna be a bigger guy.

"Everybody that was at the pro days that I talked to said he threw it as well or better than any of the top quarterbacks. He's got a live, you know big-time, live arm, so you've got enough size, a guy that is still growing, he's got a big arm, he's incredibly smart," Jeremiah continued. "There's things you can latch on to there. You're just going to have to have some faith, and some do and some don't on what you're buying there."