The NFL could see a couple of teams ‘tank’ in order to secure the services of one of the top quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft, Albert Breer has claimed.
Over the years there have been a number of prospects that have come to the NFL from the college ranks that teams would have done anything to get hold of them. There was the famous ‘Suck For Luck’ campaign in 2011 for those wanting quarterback Andrew Luck, and whilst he didn’t have a funny nickname to go along with it, everyone knew for a while that whoever landed Trevor Lawrence was going to be getting a star.
In order to do that though, some teams may take part in the art of ‘tanking’, in which they strategically lose games (or at the very least not do their utmost to try and win), in order to slide up the rankings and get first pick at the talents coming out of college.
It’s a policy that has occasionally caught the eye of the league, but if you look with your own eyes, you can see which teams have and haven’t done so in the past, and Albert Breer thinks that the same could happen in 2023.
NFL teams looking to lose a lot this year?
Writing in a mailbag column for SI.com, Breer spoke about two of the high prospects that will be coming out of college in 2024 that teams might look to go for, before discussing more about the process of tanking itself and when a team might start to take their eyes off the Super Bowl and towards a different prize entirely:
Let’s, for a second here, go on the assumption that USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye play like they’re expected to in the fall—and the Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert comps hold water into early 2024. If that’s established and I’m, say, the owner of a 2–10 team in December, I am 100% doing what I can to game the system to land one of the first two picks, and preferably the first pick, with my football folks.
Earlier in the offseason, I had a conversation with a general manager who told me he’d be furious at Lovie Smith if he were Nick Caserio over the way Houston’s Week 18 game was handled. He said that he wouldn’t tank a whole season, under any circumstances, but in the case where he was that close, and winning a game had lost its meaning, he saw it as borderline malpractice to not do what you could to get the first pick.
This year, it sure looks like the stakes will be raised from where they were last year, because most people I’ve talked to regard Williams and Maye as superior prospects at this point to Bryce Young or any other quarterback in the 2023 class. So if I’m a two-win team in December, and Williams and Maye live up to expectations in the fall, and losing means getting one of them, and winning means missing out, am I manufacturing a loss or two? You’re damn right I am.
Who will be top of the tank list in the NFL?
To really be in this argument, you need to look at teams who aren’t totally set at quarterback for the coming years and who might have a rough year this year (so you eliminate the Kansas City Chiefs etc, who probably won’t be around the #1 mark anyway in a normal, but could be if Mahomes gets injured for instance).
By that mark, in our minds it really comes down to the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and maybe the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams (if Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford have another bad year) and the Seattle Seahawks (if Geno Smith reverts back to his old ways).