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Draft Dose: Who needs a quarterback?

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Posted Feb. 28, 2011 @ 11:52 a.m. ET
By Andrew Struckmeyer

While Andrew Luck falling out of the draft might weaken the 2011 QB class, it still shapes up to be a strong one. With that in mind, the ninth installment of the Draft Dose looks at which teams might be in the hunt for a QB in this year's draft, in order of selection in the first round.

Carolina Panthers (No. 1 overall)

Had Stanford's Andrew Luck come out, the Panthers gladly would have taken him at the top overall spot. Do they stay fixed on taking a quarterback and go for a guy like Missouri's Blaine Gabbert? Or do they go back to Jimmy Clausen, their second-round pick from last year, who had a 1-9 record in 10 starts last season, throwing three touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

Buffalo Bills (No. 3)

Ryan Fitzpatrick performed admirably last year in Buffalo, throwing for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick is the perfect stopgap quarterback, if the Bills were to draft a young signalcaller and let him grow into the role. On the other hand, the Bills' last-ranked run defense might force them to snatch up a defensive lineman like Nick Fairley or Marcell Dareus. Quarterback still could be an alternative later in the draft.

Arizona Cardinals (No. 5)

Arizona's rotating QB carousel of Max Hall, Derek Anderson and John Skelton produced miserable results in 2010. The Cardinals finished 31st in the league in passing yards, average gain per pass play and passing touchdowns. Neither of Hall nor Skelton looks like a franchise QB and Anderson is on the verge of becoming a journeyman. The Cardinals could explore bringing in a veteran, like soon-to-be-jettisoned Donovan McNabb, and try to fill the other holes on the roster.

San Francisco 49ers (No. 7)

Here's another NFC West team that couldn't make up its mind about who it wanted to start at quarterback in 2010. The Niners went back and forth between Alex Smith and Troy Smith for most of the season. Neither of the Smiths is the answer for the San Fran, so it won't be a surprise if new head coach Jim Harbaugh (noted for his work with Luck at Stanford) decides to draft a QB that he can groom.

Tennessee Titans (No. 8)

With Vince Young on the way out, the Titans are in need of a quarterback. At age 38, Kerry Collins is a solid backup at this stage of his career, but he does not appear to be a starting-caliber QB any longer. Needless to say, the young Rusty Smith, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010 who looked ill-prepared in two games last season (zero TDs, four interceptions) isn't the solution either.

Washington Redskins (No. 10)

After the Donovan McNabb experiment blew up in Mike Shanahan's face, Shanahan once again resumes searching for the next John Elway. Mike and his son Kyle, the offensive coordinator, like Rex Grossman, but he looks to be more of a transition quarterback than the long-term answer. Shanahan likes mobile quarterbacks who can get on the edge of a defense, making Auburn's Cam Newton and Washington's Jake Locker possibilities, although perhaps not a match at such a high pick.

Minnesota Vikings (No. 12)

Now that Brett Favre is finally done in the NFL, the Vikings' options at QB are Tarvaris Jackson (a free-agent-to-be) and Joe Webb, who probably would be best served playing wide receiver. Both players are athletic and good on the move, but not the type of player you build a franchise around. It will be interesting to see what the team does with its first-round pick, with new head coach Leslie Frazier already saying that finding the team's QB of the future is a top priority.

Miami Dolphins (No. 15)

Miami just spent a second-round pick on Chad Henne in 2008, but the Michigan product has regressed and it might not hurt to bring another quarterback into the mix to compete with him. Considering the depth at the quarterback position in this draft, the Dolphins still could have a decent option from which to choose at the 15th overall pick.

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