2017 Starting Quarterback Power Rankings (10-1)

32-21  20-11  10-1

10. Ryan Tannehill: Miami Dolphins

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Like Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill’s reputation is unearned. Perceived as an average quarterback, his skill set is diverse and he played a big role in guiding the Dolphins to the playoffs.

Tannehill is best known for his rollout ability, but he also excels in moving around the pocket and has greatly improved his deep passing and overall accuracy. While he isn’t quite as good as Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson, his progression to this point has nevertheless been impressive, and his play under pressure is stellar.

The one concern going forward would be his health I guess, but there really isn’t any knock I can give against Tannehill. I think he’s a top 10 QB up to this point because of how efficient he is across all scales of the field. One of the more underrated and unrecognized passers in the league.

Pros

-Great rolling out

-Strong under pressure

-Composed pocket movement

-Improved accuracy downfield

-Very mobile

Cons

-Health?

9. Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ranked as the 2nd best QB heading into 2016, Ben Roethlisberger’s play went out of control after suffering a knee injury against Miami in the regular season.

Steelers fans have been concerned about the future if Ben were to suffer another injury, but a healthy Big Ben should put those worries at ease. He is still capable of leading the best downfield passing offense in the league, and his mobility and movement are vintage Ben.

Pittsburgh’s aggressive approach has been refreshing in comparison to the rest of the league’s more cautious, conservative playcalling. A healthy Roethlisberger will continue that trend in 2017. Or so we hope. The future Hall of Famer has a few great years left in him, so here’s to the Steelers using it wisely.

Pros

-League standard pocket movement

-Pioneer of buying time in the pocket

-Strong arm

-Terrific deep accuracy

-Patient in the pocket

Cons

-Play and decision making become atrocious when injured

8. Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans

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Marcus Mariota has become a superstar after 2 seasons. He was already really good after his rookie season, but in his sophomore year he added the ability to manipulate defenders with his eyes and became a near unstoppable threat.

Mariota’s early struggles in 2016 were due to his skill set being misused. Mike Mularkey envisioned Mariota as more of a running QB in his “exotic smashmouth” offense. Over time, Mularkey eventually realized that more pocket plays needed to be called, allowing Mariota to be more comfortable and transcend his skill set.

The one flaw Mariota has is his downfield accuracy. His gaudy numbers in that area were due to volume instead of actual efficiency. Nevertheless, he excels intermediate, and his reads are among the quickest I’ve ever seen in my years of evaluating football.

Marcus Mariota is a special talent, one that has evolved into one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He may be stereotyped as a running QB, but he is practically immortal as a pocket passer.

Pros

-Amazing ability to thread the needle

-Excellent use of manipulating defenders with his eyes to create open lanes

-Quick throwing motion

-Fast reads

-Deadly accurate

Cons

-Deep accuracy

7. Philip Rivers: Los Angeles Chargers

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Philip Rivers is everything you want in a quarterback when it comes to fundamentals. His pre snap ability, read progressions, mechanics, accuracy, and pocket control are all first class and have shaped him as one of our generation’s best quarterbacks.

In 2016 his deep passing declined, but his awareness and intelligence did not. Surrounded by injured players and a poor offensive line, the Chargers have struggled to try and make the playoffs despite being filled with talent.

None of that should be applied to Rivers. At full health and with a strong receiving cast, he should continue to make the Chargers competitive in a new home. For my money, he’s a Hall of Fame QB.

Pros

-Outstanding pre snap work

-Quick mechanics

-Dead on accuracy

-Expert movement

Cons

-Declining arm

6. Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks

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Russell Wilson is one of the most gifted athletes in the NFL. Armed with the best mobility money can buy, incredible downfield accuracy, and a rocket quick release, Wilson’s progression has made Seattle one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.

In 2016, his health held the team back, similar to Andrew Luck in 2015. In these cases, his accuracy depleted and it was clear he didn’t look comfortable playing. Even still, there was still plenty of vintage Wilson moments spread throughout the season.

One flaw that keeps Wilson out of the top 5 is his consistency regarding pressure. Many times, he’ll deck out of a clean pocket anticipating pressure and miss open receivers. In this case, however, his mobility, overall movement, and accuracy easily make up for these flaws and make him one of the league’s premiere passers.

Pros

-The deadliest mobility in the league

-Very accurate, especially downfield

-Vital to the run game

-Extremely quick release

Cons

-Inconsistent regarding pressure

5. Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints

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Drew Brees ages like a fine wine, yet while we acknowledge him as one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks, we never take time to analyze why he’s so special.

Perhaps it’s because he’s been overshadowed by Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers for so long, but Brees deserves more respect. In spite of his small size, he offers the smoothest mechanics I’ve ever seen, combing fast processing with getting the ball out quickly and deadly fast footwork. This all results in one accurate passer.

Like many QBs his age, his arm is declining, but not to the point where he can’t throw the ball anymore. He’s one of the most efficient passers in NFL history, making him a treat for both stat and film buffs alike.

Pros

-Extremely fast process

-Smooth mechanics

-Deadly footwork

-Accurate

Cons

-Arm strength declining due to old age

4. Tom Brady: New England Patriots

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Many people have argued whether Tom Brady makes the Patriots or the Patriots make Tom Brady. His status as a 6th round outlier turned into a 5x Super Bowl champion and 2x MVP have brought this up.

To be honest, it’s both. Bill Belichick provides the friendliest QB environment and Brady takes advantage of all his riches, providing very few mistakes while showing top notch pocket movement, accuracy, pre snap reads, and footwork. More of the same from the future Hall of Famer basically.

The only area Brady struggles in is downfield passing, but does it really matter? Both the Patriots offense and Brady are so good they can exploit their team’s weaknesses even with those flaws. All in all, Brady provides some of the best QB play you’l ever see, and is arguably the greatest QB of all time.

Pros

-Extremely quick decision making

-Smart pre snap ability

-Excels in the intermediate field

-Great movement and footwork

Cons

-Struggles downfield

3. Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers

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No, this is not a joke. Cam Newton’s position at #3 is completely justified. The MVP in 2015, Newton was perceived to have declined severely in 2016.

This isn’t true at all. The schedule got tougher and Cam’s receivers and offensive line both went back to suffocating him, making the Panthers offense full of blown pass blocking, receiver miscommunications, failed effort, and drops galore.

In spite of this, Newton had a great season in my opinion. His ability to handle condense pockets and his arm trajectory are league standards. It’s of a quality you see in few quarterbacks. Although his accuracy has been criticized, it really isn’t that bad when you factor in drops and miscommunications.

Cam Newton is a top 5 quarterback in my mind. His 2016 season is much better than anyone will ever give it credit for, but that’s why he’s this high. He’s an otherworldly talent that deserves more recognition for what he’s been able to do behind awful supporting casts.

Pros

-Otherworldly arm talent

-Amazing ability to handle condensed pockets

-Dynamic skill set

-Master of downfield passing

Cons

-Accuracy can be erratic

2. Andrew Luck: Indianapolis Colts

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In 2015, Andrew Luck played with a broken body. In 2016, he returned to form as arguably the 2nd best quarterback in the league.

If you’re a big Luck guy like I am, there’s not much to talk about that we haven’t before. Although, he managed to cut down on the dumb mistakes in 2016, improved his pocket patience, and continue to fire with pinpoint accuracy and make outrageous plays.

For such a special talent, you’d think the Colts would be able to take care of him more. The offensive line improved somewhat with the addition of Ryan Kelly, but the coaching has been atrocious and the receivers outside T.Y. Hilton have little experience.

Nevertheless, Luck is one of the best players of our generation, and deserves better from his franchise. And in 2016, he returned to top form, providing an unforgettable season.

Pros

-Outrageous playmaker

-Improved pocket patience

-Less turnovers

-Sharp accuracy all around

-Outstanding under pressure

-Big arm talent

1. Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers

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And here it is. The only quarterback you will ever need to watch.

Aaron Rodgers was the true best quarterback of 2016 in my eyes. He’s the best one I’ve ever seen, and the most complete player I’ve ever witnessed play in the NFL. He was sensational in the first half of 2016, and went on an immortal run in the 2nd half, playing at a level unseen.

Rodgers offers it all. Near flawless pocket patience, accuracy, arm velocity, footwork, processing, play under pressure, composure, care of the football, mobility, and overall intelligence. There just isn’t a quarterback like him.

The more I watch Aaron Rodgers play, the more I’m convinced the rest of the NFL is quarterbacked by high schoolers. Players of his quality in ANY sport come once in a lifetime. The fact that we get to watch Rodgers at the top of his game is a gift to sports fans everywhere. Like LeBron James, his impact on the sport is how ahead of everyone else he is.

Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, hands down.

Pros

-Everything

 

Summary

Just to recap all of that.

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2017 Starting Quarterback Power Rankings (20-11)

32-21  20-11  10-1

20. Mike Glennon: Chicago Bears

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Mike Glennon’s contract in Chicago has been persecuted by the NFL community, largely because he hasn’t started a game in 3 years. It’s made even more confusing with the Bears trading up to draft Mitch Trubisky from North Carolina.

While Glennon isn’t the most attractive name, his tape in Tampa Bay was actually pretty decent. It’s no masterpiece, but there are a few impressive plays here and there, and there really isn’t anything that signals a red flag. He has good footwork, solid accuracy, and has decent mobility. He’s just never been given a fair shot, being overlooked by Lovie Smith in 2014 and playing second fiddle to Jameis Winston in his last 2 years in Tampa Bay.

Outside of being gone too long, Glennon’s only real issue is that he doesn’t do anything spectacular. He basically does everything solid, which makes him greater than the sum of his parts. If he can pick up where he left off, you’ll see him a lot higher on the list. For what it’s worth, I think the Bears got a decent QB if he proves to shake off the rust.

Pros

-Solid at pretty much everything, including footwork, accuracy, arm strength, and buying time

Cons

-Out of the starting role for a while, which means it could take a while for him to shake off the rust.

19. Jameis Winston: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Jameis Winston’s ranking at #19 is interesting since he doesn’t have a laundry list of flaws. In fact, he does a lot of things right. His pocket movement is great, he’s patient when rolling out of the pocket, and his footwork is good.

The one issue holding him back from being a top 10 QB is a severe one; his accuracy. Despite playing with 6 ft 5 freak Mike Evans, Winston’s accuracy has been atrocious, often not being in the same area code as his receivers. Perhaps it’s the throwing motion being a bit too long, but this is a case where having one flaw makes or breaks a QB. He had the 3rd worst accuracy on throws of 20+ in 2016.

Winston’s strengths certainly don’t make him a terrible QB, but if he ever improved his accuracy, he’d be an elite starter.

Pros

-Great pocket movement

-Patient

-Good footwork

-Strong arm

Cons

-Horrible accuracy

18. Matthew Stafford: Detroit Lions

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Matthew Stafford presents both the best and worst you’ll see from a quarterback. He’ll make the most mindblowing throw you’ll ever see and follow it up with a mindblowingly stupid decision.

His ranking on this list is fitting as a result. In Jim Bob Cooter’s offense, Stafford has played more efficiently, but his accuracy issues, inconsistent decision making, and YOLO passing still shine through even in a stripped down offense.

However, Stafford is also worth keeping because of what he does right. His arm talent and mobility are otherworldly, and he offers brilliant pocket movement at times. Fascinating and frustrating, infuriating and awe inspiring, Stafford is fun to watch for both the right and wrong reasons.

Pros

-Amazing arm talent

-Terrific mobility

-Capable of excellent play

Cons

-Bad short accuracy

-Frustrating decision maker

-Sidearms it too much

17. Tyrod Taylor: Buffalo Bills

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It’s rare for a backup quarterback to become a decent starter in the NFL, let alone for another team, but such is the case for former Ravens QB Tyrod Taylor.

Tyrod’s success has not been based on making plays in the pocket, though he is adept to throwing dimes downfield. While not bad, his pocket play is lacking compared to some of his peers.

But what Tyrod lacks in decisiveness and subtlety in the pocket, he easily makes up for when on the run. Outside the pocket, Tyrod is a top 5 QB. He gets into a zen-like trance and picks apart the open receiver while dodging defenders like he was in The Matrix.

It’s here where Tyrod provides his greatest value. He deserves to be Buffalo’s franchise quarterback, despite what they may think.

Pros

-Outstanding mobility

-Amazing play when buying time

-Run threat

-Strong arm with a few dimes downfield

Cons

-Lacking pocket play

-Indecisive decision making inside the pocket

16. Derek Carr: Oakland Raiders

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The Raiders have finally found a franchise quarterback.

Derek Carr has been blessed to have the exact opposite supporting casts as his brother David. With a top 3 receiving group and OL, Carr has used these gifts to help develop his play, and he’s become an above average starter in the process.

While I think Carr is a good quarterback, I don’t think he’s great. His footwork collapses under pressure, and he forces the ball out of his hands a lot, even with clean protection. His downfield accuracy is terrific, but his short accuracy needs work.

All things considered, while Carr is flawed, he’s also a QB that Oakland can trust for the long haul. His reads have progressively gotten better over the course of his career, he’s a much improved playmaker, his patience has grown, his motion is extremely quick, and his arm velocity is stellar.

Pros

-Great arm velocity

-Smooth throwing motion

-Enhanced playmaking ability

-Improved read progressions

-Efficient downfield

Cons

-Sloppy footwork under pressure

-Short accuracy is poor

-Forces check downs even with clean protection

15. Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons

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The reigning MVP, Matt Ryan is coming off a career year statistically. I’ve always thought he was a really good QB, so why is he low on the list?

I have my concerns. Being without Kyle Shanahan is one of them. Shanahan helped Ryan out by scheming receivers open and pinpointing where to throw the ball is something Ryan may miss out on in 2017.

Normally this really wouldn’t be a problem, but Ryan’s arm strength is a major issue. Several of his passes floated in 2016, in some cases preventing touchdowns. In addition, he was very fortunate not to commit more turnovers than he did, as defenders dropped crucial interceptions.

In terms of general accuracy and mobility, though, Ryan does well in these areas. His pocket movement is also excellent, and he at the very least cut down on the bad decisions in 2016.

Ryan offers reasons to be excited and be concerned in 2016, so we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for Atlanta’s QB.

Pros

-Outstanding pocket movement

-Good mobility

-Strong accuracy

Cons

-Arm strength looks like it’s weakening

-Decision making more random than earlier in his career

14. Dak Prescott: Dallas Cowboys

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Dak Prescott’s rookie season was a pleasant surprise. A fourth round pick expected to backup Tony Romo, Prescott’s career changed once Romo went down in a preseason matchup.

Even with expectations for the Cowboys changed, Prescott provided quality play and led Dallas to a 13-3 record. Much praise is given to his offensive line, but Dak was one of the best quarterbacks before the snap, and was pretty good after it.

For a QB of his status, Prescott’s accuracy, processing, and ability against pressure are all above average. If he has one flaw, it’s that his timing can be erratic, but that can be improved with more years.

I’m not one of those that thinks Prescott will regress in 2016. I think he’ll be about the same, and a quality quarterback for years to come.

Pros

-Excellent pre snap ability, changing matchups and watching out for the blitz

-Strong play against pressure

-Good arm talent

Cons

-Processing can be a bit late

13. Eli Manning: New York Giants

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Eli Manning has always had a reputation for being a mediocre quarterback, one that I argue against. In 2016, he was closer to that reality than ever before. Part of this has to do with an aging arm, which was especially apparent in week 16 against the Eagles, and erratic accuracy.

Still, I expect Eli to play with quality in 2017 thanks to an improved receiving group and Ben McAdoo’s offensive scheme. Even behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league, his pocket movement and ability to play under pressure were league standard, hence his ranking on the list.

Eli is a very good quarterback even at his old age, and should play strong in 2017 as the Giants hope to contend for another Super Bowl.

Pros

-Terrific pocket movement

-Expert against pressure

-Can thread the needle on passes

-Efficient in McAdoo’s scheme

Cons

-Declining arm strength

-Erratic accuracy

 

12. Carson Palmer: Arizona Cardinals

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Many pundits and fans blamed the Cardinals’ surprising regression in 2016 on Carson Palmer and called for the team to draft or sign a quarterback, a claim that couldn’t be any more backwards. The fact of the matter is Arizona’s offensive line and receivers both played poorly, suffocating Palmer to the point where games were out of reach.

No one will argue that Palmer was as good as he was in 2015. His arm strength showed its age early on in the season, but got better as the season went on. Regardless, he was really good last year, playing outstanding under pressure and showing the same accuracy in tight windows and aggressive play we’ve come to expect from #3.

Palmer’s mobility is above average, but he really stands out on subtle pocket movement, protecting the ball and stepping up quickly in the pocket to get rid of it. This will make him valuable for the Cardinals for at least one more year, depending on how strong his arm will be.

As it stands, Palmer is a smart QB and an expert under pressure, which makes him a big commodity for the Cardinals’ offense in 2017.

Pros

-One of the best QBs under pressure

-Subtle pocket movement

-Quick processing

-Accurate in tight windows

Cons

-Arm strength showing its age

 

11. Sam Bradford: Minnesota Vikings

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Sam Bradford’s reputation is not the one he deserves. Coming into his 2nd year in Minnesota, he’s been scrutinized for failing to make the playoffs and playing conservative football. Behind the worst offensive line in the league, it’s no surprise why he would play this way, as they give him very little time to throw receivers open or for routes to finish.

However, Bradford’s play is actually high in quality. Despite being a traditional pocket passer, Bradford’s play under pressure and general accuracy are both excellent. He excels downfield and throw in tight windows on a consistent basis. His lack of injuries in 2016 was a pleasant surprise, and he was a worthy replacement for Teddy Bridgewater.

Vikings fans will spend all offseason debating between Teddy and Bradford, but either way, they have a really good, underappreciated QB stepping onto the field.

Pros

-Excellent accuracy

-Great arm velocity

-Superb play under pressure

Cons

-Not very mobile

32-21  20-11  10-1

2017 Starting Quarterback Power Rankings (32-21)

32-21  20-11  10-1

 

Quarterbacks.

Everyone fights over them, everyone ranks them, and with everyones’ lists being so different, is there a definitive ranking of each starting quarterback?

Well, maybe.

That’s why I’m here. I’ve watched all 32 of the projected starting quarterbacks heading into 2017 and ranked them in order from best to worst (or worst to best depending on your preference).

The 2017 edition of the Starting QB Power Rankings is NOT based on any raw statistics, QB wins, or clutch moments (SO DON’T ASK). That is not my style of analysis, so if you want that, you’re gonna have to look somewhere else.

Quarterbacks ARE ranked on this list by:

-How well they handle pressure

-How well they control the velocity of their passes

-How poised they are when moving around

-How accurate they are

-How consistent they are when making reads

-How consistent they are at some or all of the aforementioned traits

-Most importantly, how good their tape is.

So you’ve probably been looking forward to this for a while, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, good to have you here. Let’s get this started. This first page will look at quarterbacks ranked 32nd to 21st. Part 2 will look at QBs ranked from 20th to 11th. Finally, Part 3 will look at the top 10.

And of course, there will be plenty of GIFs of visual evidence.

32. DeShaun Watson: Houston Texans

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DeShaun Watson’s ranking at the bottom is not indicative of who I think he is, but rather it’s based on his status. I don’t really believe in ranking rookie QBs until after they’ve played enough games in the NFL.

I will offer what I think of the new Texans QB though.

Watson has some stretches of NFL worthy play and offers flashes of clean footwork, but his accuracy in college was erratic and he jumped out of clean pockets when anticipating pressure on numerous occasions.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien has stated numerous times that Tom Savage would remain the starting QB heading into the upcoming season. Savage is a less expensive Brock Osweiler, which would be a mistake for Houston to make. At the very least, Watson is more promising than Savage, and I’d start him for the season if I were Houston.

Pros

-Clean footwork

-Can make good stretches of play occur.

Cons

-Erratic accuracy

-Indecisive pocket movement

-Hesitation under pressure

31. Blake Bortles: Jacksonville Jaguars

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It’s 2017 and everyone thinks Blake Bortles sucks. Except the Jaguars.

Before the 2016 season, the Jaguars were predicted to make the leap as a playoff contender after going on a free agency frenzy. Much of this was due to Bortles’ perception: In 2015 he had over 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns, but a large chunk of this was due to garbage time statistics where the Jaguars were already unable to comeback and win the game.

Bortles was bad in 2015, but offered some stretches of decent play. In 2016, his mechanics and play managed to get even worse. This was looking less like a professional quarterback and more like a high school quarterback imitating a professional quarterback.

Bortles was already bad enough with sloppy footwork, bad accuracy, and slow reads, but his massive throwing motion has been the official nail in the coffin. The motion pretty much kills every play because of how long it takes to get rid of the ball, thus making it impossible for the Jaguars to run any play on the field without a defender getting in the way.

His 2016 season was a whole new level of atrocious, though even then a few are chalking it up to injuries. I do not put stock into that. Bortles couldn’t throw with precision or read a defense healthy to begin with, and this is pretty much who he is now.

Pros

-Makes any other starting QB look better by comparison

Cons

-Long, unpleasant throwing motion

-Can’t read defenses

-Accuracy is awful

-Pocket movement doesn’t exist

-Mechanics are sloppy

-Process doesn’t exist

-Is Blake Bortles

 

30. Jared Goff: Los Angeles Rams

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Jared Goff being selected with the #1 pick in the 2016 draft has been subjected to controversy. Mainly because he’s not good at all.

Frankly, from watching his tape, I’m not sure how Goff was anywhere close to resembling a first round pick. He plays with a complete lack of composure, never settling his feet while constantly making off balanced throws, and checks down to covered receivers even if they’re nowhere near the first down marker.

Looking back, this looks like the tape of an undrafted QB. If Goff has any hope, it’s that the coaching should improve and he has a couple of new pieces added. Otherwise, the Rams have a massive hole to fill at QB.

 

Pros

-Is young

Cons

-No accuracy

-Terrible footwork that never settles

-Limited field vision

-Extremely hesitant

-Zero composure

-Should not have been close to being a #1 overall pick.

 

29. Josh McCown: New York Jets

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Josh McCown keeps getting starting jobs despite being Josh McCown. He disguises himself as a great mentor because that’s basically all he is.

The truth is, any QB can be a mentor to a younger player. For some reason, people highlight this and ignore that McCown can’t throw or read coverages at all. For the last 2 years in Cleveland, Josh McCown was in QB friendly offenses that managed to give him easy reads and decisions with quality pass protection, and even then his play was abysmal.

I suppose McCown has some purpose for the Jets because he’s secured the #1 pick for the Buccaneers and Browns when he played with both of those teams. As a quarterback, though, he’s one of the last options you’d want.

Pros

-Great con artist

Cons

-Everything

 

28. Brian Hoyer: San Francisco 49ers

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It’s clear that the 49ers are in phase 1 of rebuilding, much like the Browns were a year ago. Also like the Browns, team has done well to prepare for the future even if the present looks bleak.

Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback for the 49ers in 2017. As a backup, he actually isn’t that bad. When given a strong system and easy situations, he can play efficiently, which is something Josh McCown can’t even do. In Chicago, his 6 TD and 0 INT were the result of playing well in a scheme that asked very little of him.

As a starter, Hoyer is atrocious. His accuracy is extremely lacking and he makes decisions without any clear thought. This was clear when he played in Cleveland and Houston, but in Chicago the offense was extremely watered down in the absence of Jay Cutler, allowing him to put up respectable numbers.

Hoyer is familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offense from the time spent with the Browns. Shanahan will provide Hoyer a QB friendly environment even with very little offensive talent around him. The question is will Hoyer be able to use that to his advantage? When it comes to winning games, I doubt it, but he might be able to rack up a high draft for San Francisco.

 

 

Pros

-He has pros?

Cons

-Brian Hoyer

 

27. Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens

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I would say that Joe Flacco devolved from a Super Bowl MVP to someone resembling a rookie drafted in the 4th round, but Dak Prescott actually had a quality debut. What’s Flacco’s excuse?

Flacco’s traits have all regressed since he got paid. His footwork has zero discipline, his play under pressure is reliant on his receivers to make plays due his accuracy being straight 50/50 (even without defenders in the way). He is incapable of reading defenses, but how about that arm?

This is a QB that is sometimes called average when he isn’t deserving of that label. He’s one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league, and his lack of care for his mechanics or accuracy have plagued the Ravens offense.

Pros

-Arm strength

Cons

-Mechanics are gone

-Precision is gone

-Footwork is cardboard cutout

-Highly depends on lucky outcomes due to floaty passes and 50/50 shots

-Not elite

 

26. Carson Wentz: Philadelphia Eagles

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Eagles fans generally believe Carson Wentz is a franchise quarterback and were impressed by his rookie season. I wasn’t.

I’m not one to deny that Wentz can become a good quarterback, but in his rookie season he was just bad. In his first 3 games he played very well, but benefitted from playing against poor defenses. Since then, his play dropped severely, showcasing a giant amount of flaws.

Alarming traits include poor short accuracy, being too high on his throws, a hitch in his throwing motion, staring down receivers and not anticipating route openings, and playing scared under pressure.

People who are pro Wentz will bring up the play of his receivers, but just as big if not bigger was that he forced his receivers into bringing in bad passes throughout 2016. He also plays in a QB friendly offense provided by head coach Doug Pederson, who emphasizes short passes and receivers schemed open.

Bottomline, Wentz has a lot to work on if he wants to have a long career in Philly.

Pros

-Mobile

-Pocket movement got slightly better as rookie season progressed

Cons

-Extremely hesitant under the slightest bit of pressure

-Hitch in throwing motion

-Deadly inaccurate on short and long throws

-Sloppy footwork

-Stares down receivers way too much

 

25. Kirk Cousins: Washington Redskins

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Kirk Cousins’ massive numbers mask a bunch of flaws that have hindered the Redskins’ offense.

First and foremost, his accuracy is terrible. It constantly needs to get fixed by receivers making adjustments on the ball. Second, his vision and processing are both limited and late, so he doesn’t see a route opening until it actually happens, making it easy for defenses to make a play on the ball. Third, his arm talent is minimal, so his passes consistently float downfield.

At the very least, Cousins became semi competent in 2016, but he’s still holding back the Redskins offense.

Pros

-Decent downfield passing

-Provides some competence on occasion

Cons

-Limited vision

-Poor play under pressure

-Late process

-Accuracy needs to be bailed out by receivers

-Needs reads to be easy and instant

 

24. Trevor Siemian: Denver Broncos

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Trevor Siemian is an enigma. He’s not a good quarterback by any means but is fascinating nonetheless. As a 7th round pick, it’s cool to see him get the most out of a limited skill set by trying to maximize every play.

Siemian does a lot of things poorly, but his work buying time sort of makes up for it. He’s basically a backup QB playing a starting quarterback. He’s a bit of a guilty pleasure at times, and isn’t the worst QB on this list.

Pros

-Does damage on broken plays

-Maximizes every play to the best of his ability

Cons

-Very limited skill set that depends on good surrounding cast to mask it.

-Small arm

-Late passing

 

23. Cody Kessler: Cleveland Browns

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The Cleveland Browns were the worst team by record in the NFL last year, and a large part of that had to do with the QB position (as usual).

With that said, Cody Kessler has been somewhat of a step up from what the Browns have had at the position. He’s capable of good stretches of pocket movement and like Trevor Siemian, can maximize the most out a limited skill set.

The problem lies in Kessler’s inconsistent processing and lack of arm strength. The former was responsible for half his sacks despite what many Browns fans will tell you, and the latter helped disrupt many passing plays.

As far as backups go, Kessler is a good one. As a starter, he’s below average, with plenty of room to improve.

Pros

-Fits Hue Jackson’s scheme

-Flashes great pocket movement

-Maximizes skill set

Cons

-Weak arm

-Limited vision prevents him from offering subtle movement to escape defenders

-Takes too many bad sacks

 

22. Alex Smith: Kansas City Chiefs

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With the decision to trade up and draft Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech, the Chiefs have told Alex Smith that 2017 will be his last year.

Alex Smith may not be the worst quarterback in the league, but he’s the most frustrating to watch. His achilles heal is his hesitation. This results in him constantly ignoring open receivers, checking the ball down to covered receivers short of the first down marker, and throwing without any precision.

When he isn’t hesitant, Smith provides flashes of good play. He is a decent downfield passer, and his mobility also makes him a running threat.

Still, Smith’s flaws have made him a bad QB, one whose hesitation masks what would be good QB play.

Pros

-When aggressive, flashes good play

-Running threat

Cons

-Extreme hesitance prevents him from seeing open receivers

-Checks down entirely too much

 

21. Andy Dalton: Cincinnati Bengals

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Andy Dalton is incredible. He’s had plenty of weapons and strong supporting casts in his first 6 seasons, yet his flaws still manage to hold the offense back.

Dalton’s greatest sin is his accuracy, which like Cousins has to get bailed out by great receiving play. With Mohamad Sanu and Marvin Jones gone in 2016, Dalton exposed his true colors, instead offering up and down roller coaster play combined with bad play under pressure, late reads, less poise, and overall bad play in general.

Dalton is certainly capable of great throws, but those seem few and far in between when looking at how inaccurate he is. He may have a better cast in 2017, but by now most of us know who he is and what he needs to look good.

Pros

-Good arm strength

-Offers surprisingly good play on occasion

Cons

-Horrible accuracy

-Poor play under pressure

32-21  20-11  10-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Kaepernick: Underrated Postseason Quarterback

There’s a certain quarterback out there that’s been constantly getting bashed despite clearly having solid arm strength, a bold personality, a Super Bowl appearance, and excellent postseason criteria.

You might be thinking that the QB I’m referring to is Joe Flacco. It’s not. I’m really referring to Colin Kaepernick.

Yes, Colin Kaepernick, entering his 5th season in the NFL, is one of those “love or hate” players. People who love him usually point out his incredible ability to throw Randy Johnson-esque fastballs 20-30 yards across the field, as well as highlight his experience as a dynamic runner. Those who hate him cite his inability to make multiple reads and downright-at-times bad accuracy. I agree with both sides.

With that said, here’s my case; I think Colin Kaepernick is a really good postseason quarterback on the same level as active guys such as recently crowned playoff god Joe Flacco. Naturally, however, I’m not satisfied with simply saying it, and watched the film of all 6 of Kaepernick’s playoff games. What I discovered is listed below.

The Raw Statistics Are Extremely Misleading

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Let’s get this out of the way quickly. I’m sure a lot of you are pointing to the box score for Colin Kaepernick’s postseason stats. And it’s true, his raw stats do not look like anything a great postseason quarterback would put up. He’s 94 of 162 (58.02 CMP%) for 1,374 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT, and an 87.3 passer rating in his 6 career playoff games. 7 touchdowns in 6 games? 5 interceptions as well? What’s so great about that.

Well, there’s something you should know; Never write off a quarterback’s performance based on the results displayed in the box score. But before I get to what Kaepernick did in the eye test, take a look at the below chart.

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This is a chart of the highest average postseason QBR since 2010 (Note that guys like Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, and Cam Newton all have less than 4 games of postseason play in the 2010s’, and therefore cannot qualify for this list.). Surprised? Yes, Kaepernick has been highly regarded by ESPN’s QBR statistic, and the same can be said as well for Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning (the latter of which is still hanging on that 2011 postseason run). Don’t even get me started on whatever Andy Dalton’s been doing.

Also via ESPN, Kaepernick was 2nd in expected points added (EPA) in the 2012 postseason (20.8, behind Joe Flacco’s 26.1) and 1st in 2013 (18.1). I know what you’re thinking; is that mostly because of his running ability? Yes and no. During the 2012 playoffs, he was 6th in Pass EPA (8.3), and 2nd in 2013 (11.6). As you can probably guess, he was easily 1st in Run EPA in both postseasons (15.5 in 2012, and 10.4 in 2013).

To be ahead of guys like Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady in average postseason QBR since 2010 would be extremely impressive, and that’s precisely what Colin Kaepernick has done.

Colin Kaepernick’s Got A Few Records He’ll Remember For A Lifetime

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It’s obvious that Kaepernick’s dual threat ability is reminiscent of Steve Young (though not as efficient). Speaking of, Young has the record for most rushing yards in the postseason by a quarterback in NFL history (594). Guess who’s 2nd with 507 yards? Colin Kaepernick.

And there’s one key difference as well; Kaepernick’s done it in less games.

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It might sound ridiculous to compare Kaepernick to a HOF QB like Young who was clearly far better in his era, but when it comes to postseason rushing stats, there’s a bit that can be compared. Even if we only include the games Young started in, that’s still 516 yards in 14 games, or 36.9 yards per game, well short of Kaepernick’s 84.5. Insane start.

Kaepernick also holds the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason game, and it should be obvious that it’s the 2012 NFC Divisional matchup against the Packers, where Kap ran for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s also one of 6 quarterbacks to make the Super Bowl in his sophomore year (Dan Marino, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger accomplished this before him, and Russell Wilson accomplished this after).

Not bad for a QB many considered overhyped by Ron Jaworski.

Colin Kaepernick Passes The Eye Test In The Postseason

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There’s no sugarcoating here; I think Colin Kaepernick has had some of the greatest postseason performances in recent memory, and all 6 of his games have been quality. No bad games here.

It’s often said that the playoffs are all about big plays, and Kaepernick has made plenty of them during his time come January. In fact, I took the liberty of watching each postseason game. Below are the notes I took on each game.

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2012 Divisional Round Vs. Green Bay: While he started off ugly with a bad throw resulting in a Sam Shields pick six, Kaepernick put that completely behind him in one of the greatest postseason performances of the decade. With a sustained balance of scrambling and firing high velocity passes, consistently making good decisions and making some excellent throws, such as the one to Vernon Davis for 44 yards (1:26 3Q). In addition, Kap was an insane 7/11 on 3rd down conversions.

And yes, who could forget the 56-yard touchdown run? Excellent playoff debut.

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2012 NFC Championship at Atlanta: This game was a perfect summary of Kaepernick in general: He doesn’t always connect, but when he does, he makes it look perfect, such as the pass to Vernon Davis on the left side for 31 yards (7:33 3Q). His fastball pass to Walker (12:10 3Q) was also a beauty. Overall, while the gaudy rushing stats were missing, Kaepernick again played an insanely sharp game, staying on target while avoiding big mistakes. Another solid performance.

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2012 Super Bowl Against Baltimore: 5 yards away from giving the 49ers their 6th Super Bowl and capping off (no pun intended) an incredible 11-game run from Kaepernick. Despite throwing a pick late in the first half, Kap was impressively sharp in the 2nd half, where he lead a near comeback from a 28-6 deficit. His pass to Moss for 32 yards was beautiful (11:54 4Q), as was his fastball to Walker (1:06 2Q). This was a perfect example of Kap showcasing his outstanding arm strength, and he picked apart the Ravens defense in crunchtime before a goal-line stand ended the 49ers’ Super Bowl hopes. Nevertheless, Kaepernick led a valiant comeback effort, and an overall very good performance.

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2013 Wild Card Round at Green Bay: It seems like the Packers and 49ers always meet in the playoffs. After all, that’s what happened when Steve Young and Brett Favre were both on the field. And it seems like Kaepernick always plays really well against Green Bay. Such is the case here, where Kap once again showcased his scrambling abilities (4:16 2Q, 11:07 4Q, 1:07 4Q) and made impressive throws when it mattered, such as threading the needle to Davis for a 28-yard touchdown (10:32 4Q), or his deep pass to Crabtree for 31 yards (9:59 1Q). Another excellent job of picking apart the Packers defense.

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2013 Division Round at Carolina: The raw stats do not show it, but Kaepernick played amazingly against the Panthers, with plenty of gorgeous throws (13:43 1Q, 2:26 2Q, 12:43 3Q, 10:12 3Q) and superb decision making (12:37 1Q: 0:08 2Q, 8:53 3Q) at his disposable. Other than the occasional accuracy issues, Kap’s connections with his receivers and his scrambling were near flawless.

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2014 NFC Championship Game at Seattle: Another game where the raw stats do not do Kaepernick any justice. Sure, he threw 2 picks in the 4th quarter (his first one was abysmal), but he played a very strong first 3 quarters, constantly extending the play (13:08 2Q, 12:15 2Q, 6:30 3Q), as well as making the big-time throws (8:26 3Q, 13:30 3Q, 0:59 4Q). His 4th quarter performance was a mixed bag, but at least he was able to lead the 49ers inside the red zone on the final drive, which included a game saving throw across his body to Gore on 4th and 2 for 17 yards (1:54 4Q). And besides, this is the LOB we’re talking about. Kaepernick looked very impressive against the #1 defense for the most part, and it’s unfortunate it had to end in an interception in the end zone.

Conclusion

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Let me be clear; I’m not saying Colin Kaepernick is the greatest postseason quarterback of all time. I’m not sure if he’ll ever be in the discussion. I’m not sure if he can lead his team back to the playoffs, and if he does, I’m unsure if he can sustain what he has done in his first 6 postseason games.

What I am saying is that Kaepernick is very underrated when it comes to the postseason. After taking a long look at the film, I think his performances are up there with the likes of Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, or Tom Brady as far as the 2010s’. So while some 49ers fans continue complaining about bringing Alex Smith back, they should appreciate what Kaepernick has done for them come the postseason.

Perhaps it’s his personality that makes him an easy target, but for whatever reason, people just forget the excellent postseason performances or remain completely unaware of them. A guy like Kap gets bashed and criticized for not winning a Super Bowl, while a “winner” like Alex Smith gets a free pass for not taking San Francisco as far as Kaepernick did, and with less impressive results and style to boot.

There are enough guys that I would take in the playoffs to prevent Kaepernick from being considered a guy I would want to lead me to the playoffs. However, based on performance alone, he is indeed top 5. And to quote Ron Jaworski, I truly believe Colin Kaepernick has put up some of the greatest playoff performances in recent memory.

Who knows if Kaepernick can improve his flaws or get his team back to the playoffs? What should be obvious is that, for a time, during an era, he was one of the best active quarterbacks in the postseason.