The Wildcard’s 2017 NFL Quarterback Rankings - Part One (#40-21)

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You know the NFL season is just around the corner when the QB rankings come soaring in and, guess what, here they are. Fifth year in a row and everything, it’s officially a tradition. Nothing dramatic. Just chucking the top 40 quarterbacks in a list based on their current ability. Age and fitness and last year’s stats and a few other things all matter but there’s no strict criteria and the whole thing is subjective to my own whims. I’ll try justify them as a go along but, you know… take it easy.

 

Dumb Muppets Who Are No Longer Ranked

Robert Griffin III (35th in 2016) – No explanation necessary.

Case Keenum (33) – He’s backing up in Minnesota these days. Good for him.

Blaine Gabbert (29) – Third choice QB for the Arizona Cardinals. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Brock Osweiler (27) – It’s been a long way down for this bloke. So much so that he got salary dump traded and that never happens in the NFL. There’s a rookie starting ahead of him in Cleveland.

Teddy Bridgewater (21) – Apparently there’s a “possibility” that he returns from that knee injury this season. But… yeah.

Tony Romo (14) – Long live Antonio Romo. Once king of the gridiron and now king of the commentary box. Seriously, he’ll go good there.

 

Last Year’s Rankings

 

2017 Rank (2016 Rank)

40 (NA) DeShone Kizer – Cleveland Browns

The rule is that rookies come in first. Gotta get those points on the board before you rise up these rankings, mate. Especially - *especially* - when you play for the team most famous for turning up and out quarterbacks like those quarterbacks churn out interceptions plying for them. Kizer’s coming in as 52nd overall pick and his preseason play was definitely patchy but he did enough to fend off Ozzy and Cody Kessler. Warning though: the last rookie to start opening day for the Browns was Brandon Weeden.

39 (NA) Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears

They booed him when he was drafted. They said he’d sit the whole year as he worked on his game. But Trubisky looked pretty sharp in his first preseason game as he completed his first ten passes. Glennon will start ahead of him but Mitchy Boy could supplant him before the year is over, stay vigilant.

38 (NA) Matt Barkley – San Francisco 49ers

Did some pretty average things with the Bears last season now he’s on the depth charts with San Fran. I still kinda rate him to do some things one day but… hope is fading.

37 (40) Paxton Lynch – Denver Broncos

Definitely still backup to Siemian in Denny, although he’s got that long term in mind so no worries. Edges up three spots because there are new rookies to prop him up. Had his chance to win that starter’s role and blew it though, that’s not ideal.

36 (NA) Geno Smith – New York Jets

Because it’s important that people understand that Geno remains in the league. These days he fighting just to hold onto the backup role in The Apple.

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35 (26) Ryan Fitzpatrick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Richard Sherman, Aug 3: “Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now – whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible – have jobs.”

Look, he’s not the worst QB out there. It’s just getting harder and harder to justify why.

34 (NA) Tom Savage – Houston Texans

Savage outplayed Deshaun Watson in preseason and should get the starter’s gig from that. He’s got DeAndre Hopkins’ vote at least. The two are maybe interchangeable – Savage has two years’ experience but neither has thrown a touchdown in the big leagues – but Savage seems the likely choice at this point which is why he gets to slide in here.

33 (36) Jimmy Garoppolo – New England Patriots

It’s a small sample size but 43/63 passing for 502 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs at a rating of 113.3 was rather exciting filling in for Tom Brady in a couple games in 2016. Yeah, they protected him plenty. Yeah, it was a Super Bowl winning roster around him. But if you think some jokers aren’t gonna offer him an Osweiler contract the second he’s available then you probably took a few too many intentionally undiagnosed concussions in order to stay on the field and make the NFL more money.

32 (24) Jay Cutler – Miami Dolphins

I mean, he was basically retired. He was about to do a Romo and go into the broadcast booth. But just when you think you’re out they go and pull you back in…

(Godfather Three was terrible but whatever, at least there was one good line.)

Anyway. Cutler’s got a good gig here. He reunites with Adam Gase who was the last offensive coordinator to get anything from him but left to coach the Fins. Plus, with Ryan Tannehill done for the season it means Cutler gets to start again. He was awful in Chicago last year but I’ll keep him around to see how the change of scenery goes.

31 (31) Josh McCown – New York Jets

Haha, really? This is the plan for the Jets? Eight teams in fifteen years, combining for 60 starts and he was not good for the Browns last season, not good at all. Granted the Jets starting QB gig these days is a poisoned chalice so it doesn’t really matter who gets it.

30 (32) Colin Kaepernick – Free Agent

You can’t tell me that there aren’t worse quarterbacks with starting gigs than Kap, you can’t tell me that there are very many better backups. That’s all I’ll say on this one, moving on now.

29 (37=) Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

The number one pick in the 2016 draft was often lumped in with the number two pick (Carson Wentz). Both the two standout QB prospects, pretty much a toss of a coin back then. Goff went first but Goff also had to start on the bench while Wentz went(z) out there and chucked a bunch of pick-free passes all in a row. Wentz also reverted back towards something more expected but Goff, once he finally got in there in the second half of things, was terrible. Lost all seven of his starts and had more turnovers than touchdowns. But who really knows at this point?

28 (17) Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars

Last year I gave Bort (“No, my son is also named Bort!”) some benefit of the doubt with his top-20 placing. They’d kept him handcuffed in his first season before he flexed a proper arm in his second… but the extra freedom came with a whole lot of interceptions. And, erm, if 2016 was supposed to be a breakout season then a 23/16 TD/INT ratio at a completion rate of a mere 58.9% adding up to three wins probably destroys any notion that 2017 might be much different. Doug Marrone kinda hinted already that the main reason Bort is still starting is that their offensive line has been crap and Chad Henne’s too immobile.

27 (NA) Mike Glennon – Chicago Bears

Things got weird here. The Bears gave Glennon – a man who hasn’t started a game in the NFL since 2014 – a three year contract on decent cash and then straight away drafted a quarterback by trading up and everything. But Glennon, to his credit, has looked alright in preseason and he’s won that job fair and square. Trubisky’s saying nice things about his leadership, everything’s falling into place nicely for him.

Oh wait, except he plays for the Bears. Guts bro.

26 (28) Brian Hoyer – San Francisco 49ers

Hoyer’s arguably the best of the Tom Brady Back-Up Brigade. Matt Cassell got the money but Hoyer’s carved a nice little career out of his talents. Did better things than most in Cleveland, looked decent in Houston even though they pissed him around a tad and now here he is gonna start in San Francisco where wins are rare and steady quarterbacking even rarer these days. Should be good.

25 (25) Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins

If he were healthy then he’d be a whole lot higher up. Coming into a crucial season for his reputation, Tanny delivered rather nicely. Still needed to cut a few picks, still needed to boost that yardage – though both would come with better receivers. Thing is, he’s injured. So it doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Nothing matters at all. The Night King is coming for us all and he throws a deep ball better than anyone.

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24 (39) Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos

This bloke was a bit of a surprise replacement for the retired Peyton Manning even with Paxton Lynch on the roster. He did fine, showed enough confidence and ability to hold that job for most of the season despite Lynch getting to turn the arm over a few times towards the end. Gary Kubiak then retired and John Elway used that as an excuse to shake-up the whole offensive system… which some suggested was meant to give Lynch a better chance of success. Except Siemian comfortably outplayed him in preseason and the job is his again. What do ya know?

23 (37=) Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles

Wentzy started so damn well that he immediately launched himself into franchise saviour status. Now, that doesn’t always take a lot to achieve – four good games and bingo. But as the season progressed we did see the rookie in him emerge and the interceptions began to follow.

Wentz, Games 1-4: 67.4% COMP | 252 Y/G | 7 TD | 1 INT | 103.5 RATE

Wentz, Games 5-9: 63.1% COMP | 223 Y/G | 2 TD | 4 INT | 75.3 RATE

Wentz, Games 10-16: 59.8% COMP | 237 Y/G | 7 TD | 9 INT | 70.5 RATE

You can see in that final stretch that despite the decreasing completion stats he was still able to push the ball but that came with more picks too – those last seven games also include a five game losing streak. There was a three-pick game against Cincy in there and the 245 yard 2 TD/0 INT match against the Cowboys in the final week was against a Cowboys team resting plenty of their starters for a playoffs that the Eagles didn’t make. He was a rookie though, no dramas. Should be on the up in 2017.

22 (22) Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills

Strangeness abounds with Tyrod. For a while there they were talking about trading him and there was that stuff with his ‘restructured’ contract. Then they traded Sammy Watkins and now Taylor’s back in the concussion protocol during preseason. Let’s not forget Anquan Boldin’s retirement either. This was never the flashiest offence and now it almost looks like Taylor’s getting sabotaged. He’s not… but it’s gonna be bloody hard to do anything with this lot and for a team that obviously doesn’t rate him all that highly.

21 (19) Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans

He’s dropped a couple places which is all kinds of harsh but that’s more to do with guys like Dak Prescott getting a lot better than Mariota getting any worse. In fact, last season built nicely on a decent rookie campaign – no spectacular leaps but plenty of battlers have fallen away in their second season before. Coming off a broken leg, he seems back to full fitness these days and with the Titans potentially primed for a winning season this could be a big one for Mariota. You’d hope so anyway.

 

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO (#20-1)


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