This is the first of a three part series of ranking NFL starting QBs. All rankings are objectively done by me and reflect my opinion and if you disagree leave your thoughts in the comment section below. First up is 32-21, with 20-11 next week and the final 10 the week after.
32. Tom Savage/Ryan Fitzpatrick (Houston Texans)
I think it’s a toss-up between these two as to who starts but I think Fitzpatrick wins the job in training camp but is replaced after a couple of games by Savage, Fitzpatrick has a habit of throwing back breaking interceptions at crucial times and a QB guru like Bill O’Brien might be able to fix this but I think this cause him to benched in favour of the raw Savage but O’Brien precedent with this, starting True Freshman Christian Hattenberg last year at Penn State. With a combination of these two throwing to him it is easy to see why Andre Johnson wants out of Houston.
31. Geno Smith (New York Jets)
At times last year Smith looked like the second coming of “Broadway” Joe Namath, both in good ways and bad. Showing early promise Smith regressed as the season went on including having a game with a single figure passer rating but showed plenty of potential. The logical thing for the Jets to do this year would be to declare him to be “their man” and let him keep improving but instead they signed the troublesome Michael Vick who will have the fans calling for Smith’s head the second he has a bad game. It’s not like the Jets have signed a famous scrambling QB to be their backup behind their supposed future franchise QB.
30. EJ Manuel (Buffalo Bills)
The first QB taken in last year’s draft hasn’t lived up to those expectations yet but is generally regarded as a bit of a project so it is not that big of a surprise. Expect a marked improvement from him this year though with an upgraded receiving in Mike Williams and fellow first rounder Sammy Watkins. The Bills clearly believe he is the future with they gave in order to try and end the NFL’s longest playoff drought and get into the playoffs but they may end up regret trading away a potential top 10 pick if the season is a disaster and Manuel ends up not being the long term solution.
29. Chad Henne (Jacksonville Jaguars)
A solid, veteran presence that you’d prefer to have as a backup rather than as your starter. This is his 3rd year down in Jacksonville so he’ll know the system like the back of his hand. I believe he’ll start this year ahead of Blake Bortles to let him adjust to the NFL and he may surprise some with plenty of weapons with Ace Sanders, Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee. This team will surprise some with their strong defence and don’t be surprised if they finish ahead of Tennessee and Houston in their division.
28. Matt Schaub (Oakland Raiders)
Overrated before last year and underrated after last season, Matt Schaub is a tough one to predict as he could show some of that Probowl form from two years ago but it is tough to imagine with a receiving corps of James Jones and Greg Little. Don’t expect Schaub to stink up the joint as badly as he did last year in Houston especially with Derek Carr waiting in the wings.
27. Brian Hoyer (Cleveland Browns)
Came into last year as the Browns 3rd string QB but got his opportunity after Brandon Weeden was benched two games into the season and managed to lead the Browns to comeback victory over the Vikings and a win over division winner Cincinnati Bengals. He got off to a good start against the Bills before tearing his ACL. Expected to start this year ahead of Johnny Manziel, Hoyer could surprise people despite missing star wide out Josh Gordon.
26. Matt Cassel (Minnesota Vikings)
An undrafted free agent who never played in college, backing up Carson Palmer at USC Cassel has pretty much been a starter ever since Tom Brady broke his leg back in 2008. Never quite a star Cassel is a capable starter who can be an elite backup and had a passer rating of 81.6 in a relief role. He will also be an invaluable mentor for Teddy Bridgewater as he adjusts to the NFL.
25. Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)
Palmer is a tough one to place, struggled a bit at the start and threw quite a few interceptions but as he got to know the system he improved and we saw him really connect with receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. With a second year in Bruce Arian’s scheme which suits him to a tee Palmer could start to return to the level he was at before his retirement.
24. Josh McCown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
McCown came into last season as Jay Cutler’s backup in Chicago and excelled when given the opportunity after Jay Cutler got injured. McCown took full advantage of this chance, recording a passer rating of 109 and got rewarded with a new contract and reunion with former head coach Lovie Smith in Tampa. I don’t expect that McCown to replicate the same numbers he had in Chicago with a new playbook to learn although there is plenty of targets in big receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. HC Lovie Smith has proclaimed him starter despite Mike Glennon playing very well as a rookie, throwing 18 TDs to only 8 INTs, this is to let him mentor Glennon with Glennon being being their long term plan at QB.
23. Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)
The Titan’s recently turned down the fifth year option on Locker’s rookie contract so this might be his last year in Tennessee but if it is it will be because of injury rather than being a bust. Locker is a talented QB who can use his athleticism to escape the rush when needed and has the ability to improve this year under QB guru Ken Whisenhunt who helped to resurrect the career of Phillip Rivers.
22. Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)
Tannehill may have been overshadowed by the other QBs in his class but he has quietly become a competent starter in this league with a +8 TD-INT this season and could potentially become a star in a couple of years. Tannehill has an overpaid but strong trio of receivers in Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Jarvis Landry and got a nice check down option in Knowshon Moreno as Miami looks to improve on last year’s 8-8 season.
21. Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
Some might feel this is a bit harsh on Griffin after an electrifying rookie season but I just didn’t see enough from him last year to justify a spot higher than this on the list. He did suffer from a fall out with the Shanahan’s but he still seemed to regress a bit last season showing how poor his mechanics and decision making skills were after he was no longer a running threat. With the knee brace and the Shanahan’s gone and a new best friend in Desean Jackson, Griffin could be primed for a big year and new HC Jay Gruden has stated he wants to keep him from running too much to avoid a reoccurrence of the knee injury.
QBs 20-11 coming next week