Ranking NFL Quarterbacks, Part One

There isn’t a sports fan in the world who doesn’t like to rank the best players at their position. A natural starting point for this discussion in terms of football is quarterback for obvious reasons. For the next couple of days, I’ll rank the starting quarterback of all 32 NFL teams, starting with the bottom third of the league.

  1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns.

I’m tempted to give the last spot to other QBs in the NFL because I think Manziel has worked really hard this offseason. But for JFF, it comes down to this- he completely, utterly sucks. He’s made a few nice plays in his career (mostly in preseason or against second stringers), but the only two times he’s had significant playing time, he got shut out by Cincinnati and dominated by the Jets. After his three turnover performance in the Meadowlands during the first week of the season, he tarnishes the slimmer of hope Cleveland’s Dawg Pound had for this season.

  1. Whichever QB they decide to start any given Sunday, Houston Texans.

You would think after spending time with the Messiah of Quarterbacks in Foxborough, either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett would have inherited some insight from TB12. But here we are entering week two of the season; Hoyer has already been run out of Cleveland for being the main cause of their collapse (is it really a collapse if it’s expected…?) and he has already lost the starting job to Mallett in the Lone Star State. The only problem is that Mallett hasn’t shown anything in his limited time either. But either of them would still start over Manziel in Cleveland right now.

  1. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins.

Cousins’ big claim-to-fame is that he ‘earned’ the starting job in our nation’s capital over the former second overall pick Robert Griffin III. Sure, he earned it by default, due to RGIII’s knack for getting hurt and inability to perfom when he’s on the field. It also helped that Jay Gruden actually hates RGIII (typically if you like your quarterbacks, you don’t have them play scout team safety in practice). But either way he earned it. A turnover machine with 21 career picks in 19 games, the only reason he’s above Johnny Football and the duo from Houston is because he has (somehow) won games before.

  1. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders.

It kind of sucks that Carr is ranked this lowly on a completely unknown college student’s blog. Oakland isn’t good anyways, but Carr has done better than most expected since being drafted.  Following up a 3,200 yard, 21 touchdown rookie campaign with a 58 percent completion percentage, things were looking up, especially with the addition of rookie phenom Amari Cooper.  Unfortunately, Carr hurt his hand in Sunday’s blowout against Cincinnati, and while he wasn’t lighting it up, the Raiders’ offense looked better with him in there.

  1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars.

I really like Bortles’ tools, and I think that he has the makings to become a really good quarterback in the NFL.  But that’s looking into the future, and this blog focuses on the here and now. While his first season under fire was tough (17 picks, 7 fumbles though only losing one), keep in mind that he was playing for Jacksonville.  While Jacksonville is arguably still the worst team in the league, they’re better, and I can see him getting better.

  1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets.

Fitz has performed in the NFL before, and while you shouldn’t be comfortable if he’s your team’s starting signal caller, you could do worse. But that being said, you can’t do that much worse.  On the bright side, he’s a nice guy who pays teammates back and doesn’t stick his finger in your face.

  1. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Let’s get this straight before you ever read any of my other articles- I HATE JAMEIS WINSTON. He probably finds his way into my top five for least favorite athletes ever (even if there’s a fire). While he turns the ball over A TON (see his first career pass). But they’re no denying his leadership ability, his arm strength and his football IQ. If he can stay out of trouble’s way, he’ll be good someday. But today is not that day.

  1. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans.

Going into the draft, I figured Winston would be better. I have never found Mariota to be that good. I don’t care what college trophies he has in his house or what his TD-INT ratio was at Oregon. At the end of the day, Winston has tools that are more equipped for football at the highest level. However, in his only game, he lit it up. Granted, it was against the lowly Bucs, but let’s not pretend Tampa Bay has an awful roster, because they don’t. Mariota probably won’t have another game like that for the rest of the season, but his performance is enough to jettison himself above his fellow rookie counterpart.

  1. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles.

You’ve gotta love Chip Kelly. In the offseason he chose to trade a better quarterback in Nick Foles for Sam Bradford straight up. Granted, in two seasons of 16 games, his numbers have been respectable for a game manager (18 TDs as a rookie, 21 TDs and 13 picks in 2012), which is exactly what his role in the City of Brotherly Love is. The problem here is he’s only been average in two of his four full seasons in the NFL- the other two he’s missed significant game time. Bradford has to really bust his ass to not be labeled a bust, and Philly is a nice, fresh start. But either way, he’s a below average NFL QB right now.

  1. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills.

I’m actually really excited for Tyrod Taylor. Even though I hated him while at Virginia Tech, he was exciting to watch and he was a real winner. An understudy to Joe Flacco to this point, Taylor really needed time to learn how to play in the NFL. He only has one career start at the time of this being written (kind of, he didn’t technically qualify for it) and he looked solid. Buffalo was careful not to challenge him with anything he couldn’t handle, and Rex Ryan loves his leadership. But he’s small, and he has a small sample size. I think I’m being generous with his ranking, but he has the potential to move up in my eyes.

  1. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs.

Alex Smith’s quarterbacking skills are about as average and basic as his name. He won’t turn the ball over a lot (76 interceptions in 111 games), but he won’t light it up either.  Even though he’s the epitome of a game manager, I don’t think that Smith gets enough credit for keeping his team competitive and being in games. He’s mentally tough too- I’m shocked that his San Francisco experience didn’t completely derail his career.

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings.

Bridgewater’s first game of the 2015 was really crappy considering the expectations he has from Vikings fans for this season. Minnesota had a really weird situation last year, and their offense doesn’t have great weapons. So despite the Great Gloved One’s almost 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio, he has tools. And the Vikings staff loves him. I’d take Bridgewater over any of these guys already listed.

20-11 will be posted soon. I actually had a tough time setting up this list. I thought about listing some of these guys higher, and I think many are interchangeable in their rankings week to week.

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