Welcome to the War Room! Each week, Yahoo Sports’ football minds kick around the topics of the week. Got a suggestion for us? Email us. Today, we’re talking young QBs and tailgate necessities. Onward!
Question 1: Quarterback draft! Pick the best quarterback under 30. Go.*
Russell Wilson. Answer me this: who is the last person in the league a defense would want to see with the ball in their hands and the game on the line? (Notice I didn’t say “team” because Aaron Rodgers’ Packers and Tom Brady’s Patriots are still the kings.) Wilson plays by Madden Rules. No matter how much time is remaining on the clock, you can’t let him have the final possession. And he’s pretty decent the other three quarters as well.
I’m going to take a big risk and go with Cam Newton here. Sure, there are a slew of young quarterbacks that could be better pure passers than the Panthers star (Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins), but I’m going to bet on the guy who has an MVP award, has been to the Super Bowl, and is unlike any other player at his position. Injuries and attitude may be a concern, but I’m willing to gamble on his athleticism because when everything is going right for Cam, there’s no quarterback more dangerous.
Carson Wentz is probably the consensus answer, but I’m going to go with Derek Carr instead. Sure, Wentz is having a great season for a breakthrough team, but Carr did that last season. I just like everything Carr brings to the table. He’s a fine leader, great face of the franchise, has a great arm, his accuracy has improved and he’s proven his toughness this season. There are a lot of good young quarterbacks in the league now (or coming in 2018) but I feel good riding with Carr.
Give me Deshaun Watson! I love everything about this kid — he is as poised as he is talented, and he just turned 22. His 21 total touchdowns had led the league and it felt like he was getting better every week. Dabo Sweeney called him football’s Michael Jordan, and that hardly seems far-fetched. Watson can actually change the game. He’s just that good.
I feel pretty lucky to be taking the leader of the MVP race with the fifth pick. Carson Wentz has been awesome this year. He extends plays with his feet, has a cannon for an arm and has been just absurd this year with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 23-to-5. That’s almost five touchdowns per interception! The Eagles gave Wentz the weapons he needed in his second year, and he’s ran with them all the way to the top of the NFC. He’s 24 and only improving, plus you couldn’t ask for a better face of the franchise off the field.
Shalise Manza Young:
Dang it, took too long! Wanted Watson and Jordan beat me to the punch. Since I’m now picking sixth, I’ll take Dak Prescott – and I’m really not too upset about that. Given how beloved Tony Romo is among many Dallas Cowboys fans, Prescott could have folded last year under the pressure of trying to live up to No. 9, and he didn’t. As a rookie, his 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions were almost as impressive as the five game-winning drives he led the Cowboys to, a big part of the reason they were 13-3 and able to host a playoff game. This year, with the defense taking a step back and the near-weekly Ezekiel Elliott suspension courtroom drama – he can play, no, he can’t play – Prescott has had to lead a team with more than a little adversity. He does already have four interceptions this season, but he’s also not getting the same level of protection from the offensive line. Given his total package of on-field and off-field, I’d be happy with Dak for the next decade or longer.
So many choices left! Andrew Luck! Teddy Bridgewater! Tyrod Taylor! Johnny Manziel! One of Philip Rivers’ kids! But I’m going with Marcus Mariota, who is progressing less rapidly than we expected but more rapidly than his draft-day buddy Jameis Winston. Jared Goff is still lurking around out there too, and while we need a third data point next year to decide if he leans more toward the “good” or “terrible” side, one fact is clear: there are a lot of very good, very young quarterbacks in the NFL, and when the Rodgers/Ryan/Flacco set shuffles off into retirement, the league will be in great hands. (Not Brady, though. He’ll never leave. Ever.)
*-Draft order determined by who emailed Busbee first.
Question 2: So let’s say you’re setting up a football tailgate. What’s your must-have item?
I’m going with chicken wings. Easier to chow down than a burger or a hotdog and so many different flavors to please all of your fellow tailgaters. You can’t ask for much more. –Pereles
Aside from the obvious necessary fire/ice combo, you’ve got to have a good beanbag toss/cornhole/ladder-type game, to demonstrate your small-scale athletic superiority over your crew. You also need to have a stack of singles for in-game prop bets (how many players are going to kneel? Guess right, and you could turn political statements into profit!). But bottom line, make sure you don’t include that one guy. You know the one. Yeah, him. He’ll wreck your tailgate faster than uncooked burgers. –Busbee
I will keep it super simple: How about a football? What tailgate is complete without one? You can play twos, threes, or just run routes and practice toe-tapping the sideline while holding your IPA. Perfection! –Schultz
I was born in Wisconsin and spent most of my childhood there. If I said anything other than bratwurst (and, of course, beer) in this spot, I’d be banned from the state forever. –Schwab
Soooo … I’ve never tailgated before. But one of my favorite foods is chicken wings (with the bones, thank you – boneless “wings” are just chicken nuggets), and I’ll gladly take a heaping plate of smoked brown sugar rubbed wings to nosh while we wait for kickoff. –Young
Give me a good folding table. A table allows for you to lay out your tailgate spread, put down your drinks if you want to toss the pigskin around and, as a bonus, there’s a 95 percent chance someone goes through it if it’s a Bills game. –Sulla
There’s only one thing you need for a successful tailgate: a green man suit. –Schuster
That’ll do it for this week! Got a question for our crew? Hit us up by emailing right here. See you next week!
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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