This is the first of a three part series of ranking NFL starting QBs. All rankings are relatively 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. Last year’s rankings are in bold after their name.
32 EJ Manuel/Matt Cassell (30)
Are the Bills really going to do this again for the third season in a row? The combination of EJ Manuel and a 30+ journeyman just doesn’t work. For the last two years the Bills should have been able to reach the playoffs but Manuel has held them back their ferocious defence with poor play and just a clear lack of aptitude to be a NFL quarterback. The trade for Sammy Watkins will continue to be a waste until the Bills have a competent starting quarterback, just look at Josh Gordon’s record breaking run last year, he had 700 yards in 4 games but the Browns lost all 4 games because of Brandon Weeden. Cassell played well enough last season in a bad situation so don’t wait two games and then change, make Cassell the starter in training camp and at least give yourself a chance this season.
31 Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick (31)
2013 was such a terrible quarterback class, it’s not even funny. Smith was the better of the two and should have been chosen first but really both were going to be backups or borderline starters at best. Smith could still progress somewhat this season with a decent receiving corps of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Jace Amaro but at the same time could be benched after two games for insanely frustrating Ryan Fitzpatrick who seems incapable of throwing a touchdown without throwing an interception to cancel it out. Regardless of who starts they’ll be holding back Todd Bowles and his defence they same way Rex Ryan was held back. Rex shouldn’t have been fired for John Idzik terrible management, is there anyway we can bring Rex?
30 Robert Griffin III (21)
I actually don’t know if Robert Griffin even has legs anymore because last time I saw them was in 2013. Without that game-changing speed, Griffin isn’t all that special and certainly wasn’t worth three first round picks and more that Dan Snyder thought he was. All of Griffin mechanics need work, his attitude stinks and his closeness to the owner is going to hurt Washington. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy aren’t the answer. Although a weird part of me wants McCoy to succeed there to show the Browns that he deserved more time. Anyway replace RGIII and CHANGE YOUR GODDAMN NAME, WASHINGTON, IT IS NOT OK TO USE A RACIAL SLUR AS A FRANCHISE NAME.
29 Brian Hoyer (27)
Man, I wanted Hoyer to work in Cleveland and it did for the half of the season but after Alex Mack’s injury and the subsequent lack of run game, it was clear it wasn’t going to. What the Browns wanted was a veteran with starting experience who was willing to mentor Johnny Manziel and eventually make way for him. Hoyer was neither and the Browns opted to not resign and let him walk. I have a feeling that he could do very well with Bill O’Brian as his head coach having worked with him before in New England but he will have a very short leash with Ryan Mallet waiting in the wings.
28 Blake Bortles (NR)
Bortles had a rough first year as Jacksonville opted to play him rather than keep him behind Chad Henne for a year as originally planned. Bortles showed more of the same inaccuracy he showed at Central Florida, particularly under pressure, which he faced a lot. Bortles was sacked a league high 55 times last year but the Jags have gone all out to give Bortles the best chance at succeeding signing Julius Thomas and drafting Allen Robinson and Marquis Lee. It might be unpopular to say this but if you look at Denver circa 2010 with a certain Mr Tim Tebow under center and Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker out wide, there’s a lot similarities, just Tebow was hyped out of all proportion. Both were big, raw, mobile quarterbacks with bad footwork who struggled under pressure.
27 Josh McCown (24)
I’m giving Josh McCown a bit of slack because he faced a ton of pressure last season and that team was pretty bad, going 2-14 and I think he is capable of bouncing back to Chicago days. McCown will be playing behind arguably the best line in the league and will be reunited with John DeFilippo who was his quarterback coach in Oakland in 2007. The Browns are a lot better than most people think and if McCown can be a solid game manager and avoid turning the ball while continuing to groom Johnny Manziel to potential start in the future they could have a winning record this year.
26 Zach Mettenberger/Marcus Mariota (NR)
This should be an interesting camp battle in Nashville with Mettenberger going in with the experience from last year and Mariota being this front office’s poster child. I feel that as of now that Mettenberger is better and more ready to because it is essentially his fourth season in a pro system after playing in OC Cam Cameron’s offense at LSU. Mariota is the more likely of the two to be under center at the start of the season as the number two pick from this year’s draft but still has yet to sign his rookie contract.
25 Jameis Winston (NR)
It’s hard to judge how any rookie will play in their first season, let alone a number one pick with this much hype and off-field baggage. Winston should be capable of having some success in Tampa provided the Bucs can sort out a line that gave up the second most quarterback pressures last season. Winston has a receiving corps which is ideal for any rookie with two 6-4 receivers with massive catch radii in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It will interesting to see Winston reaction as this Bucs team will be losing plenty of games as they try to rebuild given how badly Winston took Florida State losing to Oregon last year in the Rose Bowl getting into a fight with coach Jimbo Fisher on the sideline.
24 Derek Carr (NR)
Derek Carr rookie season was surprisingly good when you consider how devoid of talent Oakland was. Carr was the best natural thrower in the class and showed it last season in the Raiders. Whether the Raiders will be better or not this year is tough to know but Carr should continue to improve as the Raiders try to build around him.
23 Jay Cutler (8)
I am done with Jay Cutler. He is an injury prone turnover machine who seems to be indifferent to whether Chicago win or not. Hell, I can picking him here alone on the fact that he got benched for Jimmy Clausen at one point this season. Cutler is 30 and will surely not improve even though Chicago tried hiring up and coming OC Adam Gase after their offense regressed in Marc Tresstman’s last season. With his favourite receiver, Brandon Marshall, traded to the Jets and Matt Forte unable to continue to carry most of the offensive load, it could get a lot rougher in Chicago for Jay Cutler.
22 Teddy Bridgewater (NR)
Teddy continued from where he left off at Louisville and had a surprisingly impressive rookie season when you consider that the Vikings best player Adrian Peterson sat out all but one game last season as he dealt with legal issues. Bridgewater should continue to improve and has a new deep threat to occupy defences in Mike Wallace. If only the Browns had taken the advice of their $100,000 QB research project and drafted him over Manziel when they had the chance.
21 Andy Dalton (13)
Andy Dalton really, more than anything else, is holding back this Cincinnati team from competing for a Super Bowl. The Bengals have done everything to put him in a position to succeed on a very talented team but he continues to be wildly inconsistent and unreliable. He was the least pressured quarterback in the league last year and still managed to have a game where he had a passer rating of 2.0 and threw 14 less touchdowns than the previous year. Until the Bengals replace him there is no way they can win the Lombardi Trophy.
QBs 20-11 coming next week