The story of the 2018 NFL Draft was the top five quarterbacks and where they would go. Three of those quarterbacks, including the two most polarizing, ended up in the AFC North.
With aging quarterbacks in Baltimore and Pittsburgh and the quarterback situation in Cleveland as unstable as ever, the AFC North quarterback picture could be changing drastically in the next two or three years.
What could it look like in 2020?
In 2020, Ben Roethlisberger will be 38. He has talked about retirement in recent years and it is unlikely that he will make it that long. The Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph this year. The Oklahoma State quarterback would have gotten a lot more fanfare if this year’s draft wasn’t so deep at the position. He has a big arm and a lot of potential.
In 2017, the team drafted Josh Dobbs out of Tennessee. He is a dynamic player with the ability to create big plays and should not be ruled out. Between Rudolph and Dobbs the Steelers’ 2020 quarterback may very well be on the roster. Losing Roethlisberger will be a huge change for the Steelers and the AFC North. How will the next man up fare in Pittsburgh? Hopefully not as well as the last.
Who will start at QB in 2020? Mason Rudolph
As one gritty playmaking quarterback with a bit of edge to him prepares to leave the division another one enters. Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has the ability to lead a team and adapt on the fly just like Roethlisberger has for all these years in Pittsburgh.
Mayfield has his share of redflags, but the Browns looked past that to select him first overall. If he lives up to his potential, he could be a star in the NFL by 2020 and the Browns could be a real contender.
However, if history has taught us anything about the Browns, it is that they probably chose the wrong quarterback and they will have already tried four or five others by the time 2020 rolls around.
Who will start at QB in 2020? Baker Mayfield (hopefully for the Browns)
Joe Flacco will be 35 in 2020, but will he still be the Ravens’ signal caller? Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has all the talent in the world. He is a skilled passer and a dynamic rusher who needs to clean up a few technique issues in order to become an elite quarterback in the pros.
Jackson would add a level of excitement to the Ravens’ offense that the franchise has literally never seen. Whether he fixes his technique issues or not, by 2020 Jackson should be the guy behind center in Baltimore and the AFC North may never be the same.
Who will start at QB in 2020? Lamar Jackson
Much to the chagrin of his doubters, the Bengals are in no hurry to move on from Andy Dalton. Dalton will be 32 in 2020 and has been a stable presence behind center for the Bengals.
Unlike the Browns, who have had no such stability at the position, and the Steelers and Ravens, whose respective quarterbacks are a bit longer in the tooth, the Bengals do not have a pressing need at the position.
In 2020, Dalton should be the most established quarterback in the division and as such, he’ll need to have the Bengals’ offense firing on all cylinders before these young challenges try to make a run at the division.
There is a youth movement coming at the quarterback position in the AFC North. The Steelers, Browns, and Ravens all have young exciting prospects waiting to get their opportunity to shine.
Which quarterbacks establish themselves as top NFL players and how well Dalton can have the Bengals offense running by that time will have a huge impact on the makeup of the division in 2020 and beyond. Will Marvin Lewis remain in Cincinnati in 2020, which is one year after his current contract expires. You’d have to bet on it. And if he is, Dalton will probably be right by his side.
Who will start at QB in 2020? Andy Dalton