Ranking all 32 NFL QB situations
[Editor’s note: This article was updated following the Jets’ re-signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, moving New York’s QB situation from No. 32 to No. 26 in the ranking.]
As we look forward to the 2016 season, the team of PFF analysts is going to determine exactly where teams are situated when it comes to their personnel. Quarterback is a strange position group because the emphasis is almost entirely on the starter. This is a league where many teams don’t have a starter they are happy with, never mind a backup, so the impact the second or third guy has on an overall situation has quite possibly never been so low.
With that in mind, we aren’t looking at every QB currently on the roster, but only at those that are likely to have something to say about the first two spots on the depth chart.
1. Green Bay Packers
Starter: Aaron Rodgers
Backup: Brett Hundley
Key stat: Rodgers completed 60.1 percent of his passes last season, down 5.1 percent from 2014, and 6.4 percent from 2013.
Things did not go well for Aaron Rodgers in 2015, but he is still the top quarterback in the league at his best, and pretty much everybody at PFF expects him to bounce back in the season to come now that he has his top target back in action (Jordy Nelson), and he can regain the trust he lost in his receivers over the year. In 2014, he was comfortably the best-graded passer in the league and there isn’t any reason he can’t get back to that kind of level. Behind him is Brett Hundley, a talented athlete that many are high on, but a player that did not “wow” in grading terms in his final college season.
2. New England Patriots
Starter: Tom Brady (suspended four games)
Backup: Jimmy Garoppolo
Key stat: Brady led the NFL with the lowest interception rate last season (1.1 percent).
Tom Brady is playing arguably the best football of his career—despite his advancing years—and put together a real case for MVP last season, given that the Patriots’ offensive line in front of him was not stellar, and he lost many key weapons around him throughout the year. He runs the offensive system as well as any quarterback in football, and is vital to its smooth operation. If his four-game suspension holds up, the Patriots will be starting Jimmy Garoppolo for that stretch, and will likely only be reminded of how integral Brady is to the success and efficiency of that system.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Starter: Ben Roethlisberger
Backup: Landry Jones
Key stat: Roethlisberger led the NFL in deep accuracy last season, with 50.7 percent of his deep (20+ air yards) passes catchable.
Ben Roethlisberger is another quarterback playing the best football of his career, despite beginning to get up there in years. He is now 34 years old, but completed 68.0 percent of his passes in 2015 and formed a nearly-unstoppable combination with WR Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger has developed into a quarterback capable of making all types of throws, but may not be quite as durable and capable of taking the hits he invites by extending plays as he was during his younger years. If he gets forced to miss time, the Steelers are not in nearly as good shape, with Landry Jones proven to be a major drop-off, and about the only thing that can slow down Brown’s dominance.
4. Carolina Panthers
Starter: Cam Newton
Backup: Derek Anderson
Key stat: Newton used play-action on 29.8 percent of passes, more than any other QB.
Cam Newton won the NFL MVP award last season, but it wasn’t a dominant campaign from start to finish. Instead, it was one in which he consistently improved throughout the year, ending the season absolutely on fire, and even playing pretty well against insurmountable odds in the Super Bowl game that will only be remembered for his failure to fall on a football. Newton is a unique package of passing talent, size, and athleticism that makes him a running threat unlike any other QB. If he can repeat his 2015 performance—or even hit the ground running at the level he left off—look out. Derek Anderson started two games in 2014, but hasn’t played for a significant stretch since 2010. He is capable of good performances, but the longer he is in, the less likely the result is to be positive for Carolina.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Starter: Russell Wilson
Backup: Trevone Boykin
Key stat: Wilson led the NFL last season with a passer rating of 105.5 on plays where the time to throw was 2.6+ seconds.
Russell Wilson has always been more than the game-managing quarterback his critics label him as. In 2015, he was the sixth-highest-graded QB in the league with an 85.5 mark and had excellent numbers across the board. When you add in his ability to make plays with his legs, both designed and when scrambling, you have one of the tougher players in the league to contain. Nowhere was that better illustrated than in the playoff game against Minnesota, whose defense suffocated Seattle virtually all game, but lost control of Wilson for just a few seconds and he punished them for a touchdown that was ultimately the difference. Long-time backup Tarvaris Jackson has departed, and rookie Trevone Boykin is currently the No. 2 QB on the Seahawks’ roster. Boykin earned the seventh-highest passing grade in the FBS last year.
6. Arizona Cardinals
Starter: Carson Palmer
Backup: Drew Stanton
Key stat: Palmer led the NFL in average depth of target last season, at 11.3 yards downfield.
Carson Palmer is ironically a question mark coming off the best season of his career and a truly staggering MVP-level performance. The question is whether or not he can come anywhere close to repeating that production level in 2016; last year was so far above his career baseline that you almost have to assume that it’s an anomaly, even if this offense in Arizona is perfectly-suited to his skills. His playoff implosion only further muddies the waters. Last season, Palmer completed 63.7 percent of his passes, despite leading the league with an average depth of target of 11.3, 3 yards higher than that of Tom Brady or Derek Carr. If he goes down, the Cardinals will turn to Drew Stanton, who floundered badly in 2014 when he started eight games.
7. New Orleans Saints
Starter: Drew Brees
Backup: Luke McCown
Key stat: Brees was second in the NFL in deep accuracy at 50.6 percent, just 0.1 percent behind Roethlisberger.
Drew Brees is still an excellent passer, even if he isn’t quite what he once was at his career-best. Last season, he was PFF’s fourth-highest-graded QB overall with an 87.6 mark, and was still one of the league’s most accurate passers, completing 68.3 percent of his throws and a ridiculous 73.9 percent when not pressured. Only Blake Bortles completed more deep passes than Brees, who was second in the league in deep accuracy, putting the ball where it needed to be on 50.6 percent of those passes. The Saints’ receiving corps has been eroded a little over the past few years, but if they can get a bit more help, then Brees could take a step back towards his best form. Luke McCown is a capable backup, but won’t soften the blow of losing Brees much should he be called upon.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Starter: Matt Ryan
Backup: Matt Schaub
Key stat: Ryan’s receivers recorded 37 dropped passes in 2015, more than all but three QBs.
Matt Ryan is a victim of the lack of nuance people want to treat player evaluation with. He is neither an All-Pro, nor is he garbage, but rather lives in the shades of gray in between. Ryan is a good quarterback that makes some bad mistakes, and has cost his team in some crucial situations. On the flip side, he has also dug them out of a hole at times, but because of his lofty draft status and the fact that he may never become the next Tom Brady, he will always be seen as a disappointment by some. Last season, he completed 59.0 percent of his passes even under pressure, and remains a quarterback few teams would pass over as an upgrade at the position.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Starter: Andrew Luck
Backup: Scott Tolzien
Key stat: Luck earned the lowest PFF passing grade in the NFL last season, at 43.6.
Even ignoring the injury, Andrew Luck was bad last season. The Colts had been relying on the strategy that he could paper over all the cracks on that offense, and for whatever reason, that stopped being true in 2015, and Luck became part of the bigger problem. He has never hit the heights of his draft status, but he has shown flashes of being that obscenely-good prospect, and stretches of play where he has single-handedly carried the team in a way few QBs can manage. The Colts hope to learn from last season, and have made steps to improve the surrounding talent, so if Luck can step back towards his best, this is where he belongs, with the potential to move higher up the list in the future.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Starter: Andy Dalton
Backup: A.J. McCarron
Key stat: Dalton led the NFL in passer rating (106.2) for the season.
Up until last season, Andy Dalton’s career had been characterized as the “Dalton-coaster”—seasons punctuated by massive highs and lows that ultimately jumped and sank to an average overall grade. 2015 saw a change in that; the highs were more consistent, and the lows were far less egregious. In the end, the Bengals ended up in the same place because an injury robbed him of taking his best form into the playoffs, but this version of Dalton was a good starting quarterback. Was this a sign of improvement, or just a good year? In his stead, A.J. McCarron showed flashes of ability, but was a disaster in the playoffs against Pittsburgh. At his best, he is a backup that can come in and win a couple of games before your starter returns, which is still an upgrade over most No. 2 QBs.
11. Oakland Raiders
Starter: Derek Carr
Backup: Matthew McGloin
Key stat: Carr jumped from the 38th-best graded QB in the league as a rookie to No. 10 in year two.
Derek Carr may be on the verge of great things. The step he made between his first and second seasons in the league was massive, and he ended 2015 with a top-10 PFF grade at the position. If he can take another step forward in his third season, he will jump immediately into the conversation with some of the better QBs in the game, and the Raiders are surrounding him with the kind of supporting cast to enable him to do that, both in terms of protection and passing weaponry. Carr made some of the best throws of the season last year, and his potential is exciting for a franchise that hasn’t had a legitimate stud under center since Rich Gannon.
12. San Diego Chargers
Starter: Philip Rivers
Backup: Kellen Clemens
Key stat: Only four QBs were pressured more than the 39.7 percent of dropbacks Rivers felt heat on last season.
Philip Rivers at his best is a fantastic quarterback, but is now 34 years old and has performed steadily worse over the past two seasons. The situation in San Diego has pretty much matched that decline, so it’s far from all on him, but the question remains of how good he can be this late in his career. The most worrying red flag about Rivers’ play is that when kept clean in the pocket in 2015, his play was not good. He had a passer rating of 100.8 on such plays, but much of that was due to work after the catch from his receivers; his PFF grade was actually below-average. This is the area of the game where even the worst QBs typically grade positively, and Rivers wasn’t excelling. When blitzed, his grade was extremely poor, and this again is an area where experienced QBs typically perform well. Right now, his performance is trending downwards, but the top of this list is full of QBs of the same age or older, so maybe he can turn it around.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Starter: Tony Romo
Backup: Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott
Key stat: Romo had a passer rating of 27.2 against the Panthers at the time he was knocked from the game and shut down for the year.
Tony Romo is one of the good-but-not-great quarterbacks, and another that is getting up in years, having turned 36 in April. Last season was a disaster between getting injured, playing poorly, and trying to come back only to get hurt again, but he is only a year removed from genuine quality play, and the Dallas offense is set up for him to be more of a passenger than ever before. The Cowboys have the best run-blocking line in football, and drafted a potential workhorse running back in Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4 overall. This is a team that should be able to pound opponents into submission and use Romo only for surgical aerial strikes off the back of that ground game. At this point, though, durability has to be a concern, and the options behind him are not good, with a developmental rookie, Dak Prescott, and Kellen Moore waiting in the wings.
14. Buffalo Bills
Starter: Tyrod Taylor
Backup: E.J. Manuel, Cardale Jones
Key stat: Taylor gained 566 rushing yards last season, 405 of which came on QB scrambles.
Tyrod Taylor was a revelation last season for the Bills, who entered camp with a QB competition involving Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel. Taylor was supposed to be an afterthought, but he won the job and was impressive during the regular season, making plays with his legs and hitting on some of the best passes thrown by any QB in the NFL. The question is whether that’s as good as he can get, or whether there is more development left in him after a year as a starter. If he can improve the intermediate efficiency of his game, Taylor can become an excellent QB, but there is no guarantee he can. Taylor is still too reliant on his legs for impact plays, with 566 rushing yards last season, 405 of which came from scrambles on passing plays. Those are obviously positive additions, but they illustrate a tendency to take off and a potential inability to make enough plays with his arm so far.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starter: Jameis Winston
Backup: Mike Glennon
Key stat: Winston completed only 58.4 percent of his passes last season, the 33rd-highest rate in the NFL.
If you take out the opening game, Jameis Winston’s grade would have threatened the top-10 last season in his rookie year. He had two more poor games against one of the league’s best defenses in Carolina, and outside of that, he looked like a very good player, with some extreme highs and not a lot else to dislike. Winston has always had the potential to have a bad day at the office, and I suspect those won’t ever entirely disappear, but if he can eliminate one or two of them over a season, he will quickly become a very good QB. Those three games account for more than half of his 15 interceptions on the year (eight), and he had seven games in which he didn’t turn the ball over. Mike Glennon was supposed to be hot trade property with Winston arriving, and while that hasn’t materialized, the reasons for it remain, as he has shown the ability to start and win games.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Starter: Teddy Bridgewater
Backup: Shaun Hill
Key stat: Bridgewater led the NFL in adjusted completion percentage last season, at 79.3 percent.
Minnesota’s situation may be the biggest example of scheme overriding talent in the NFL right now. In the right scheme, Teddy Bridgewater could be an excellent NFL QB, but the offense run by Norv Turner has so far been badly-tailored to his skill-set. In 2015, Bridgewater had the highest adjusted completion percentage in the NFL (after drops, etc., are taken into account, and in 2014, he was the most-accurate QB in the league under pressure. What he doesn’t do well is attack deep, with 22 QBs posting a better accuracy percentage than his 37.5 percent this past season. If the Vikings develop their offense to more suit Bridgewater’s strengths, he could drag them up this list quickly, but without it, he is likely mired in mediocrity overall.
17. Washington Redskins
Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backup: Colt McCoy
Key stat: Cousins led the NFL in completion percentage last season, at 69.8 percent.
2015 was a year of QBs coming from seemingly nowhere to have very strong seasons. Kirk Cousins stepped out of the RG III shadow in Washington and led the league in completion percentage, at 69.8 percent. He was aided by having one of the lower average depths of target, at 8.2 yards per throw, just behind Tom Brady at 8.3, but accuracy and efficiency were the hallmarks of his year. Even adjusting for drops, etc., Cousins trailed only Teddy Bridgewater for completion percentage, and while his turnover rate had been colossal before 2015, his interception percentage dropped to a far-more-reasonable 2.0 percent from above 4.0 in every previous year. There were still enough question marks that Washington can’t be sure he’s a stud going forwards, which is why he was franchise tagged, but the signs from 2015 were certainly good. Colt McCoy is seen as an able backup, but realistically is unlikely to play well if given the chance (based on his career history).
18. Jacksonville Jaguars
Starter: Blake Bortles
Backup: Chad Henne
Key stat: Bortles has yet to top 60 percent in completion percentage in the NFL over a season.
Blake Bortles took a huge leap forward in his second season, much like Derek Carr, but while his improvement may have actually been greater, his overall play wasn’t as good at the end of it. Bortles made some big plays, but was an average passer overall in year two, completing just 58.6 percent of his passes and leading the league in interceptions. His best work actually came with his legs, where he averaged 9.3 yards per scramble and seemed to pick up a first down every time he took off. Bortles took such a big step forward in his play between years one and two that his ultimate ceiling is still undefined, but if he can develop even more this season, he will drag the Jags higher up this list. Chad Henne is likely occupying a roster spot purely through familiarity with the system, because the last time he saw the field, he was bad enough to be pulled for a rookie Bortles that the team knew wasn’t ready and wanted to sit the whole year.
19. Kansas City Chiefs
Starter: Alex Smith
Backup: Aaron Murray
Key stat: Smith recorded the league’s fourth-best interception percentage last season, at just 1.5 percent of pass attempts.
There may be no more game-managing QB in the league than Alex Smith. This is often thrown at players as a derogatory term, but in reality, if you have that kind of consistent ceiling and floor, you can at least plan and build around that, and the Chiefs have been able to win a lot of games that way. Last season, Smith had two very bad games—one against the league’s best defense, Denver—but was otherwise consistently above-average almost every single week. He also made better use of his athleticism than he had in the past, with 435 rushing yards coming on scrambles, at 7.6 yards per scramble.
20. New York Giants
Starter: Eli Manning
Backup: Ryan Nassib
Key stat: Manning had eight potential interceptions dropped by opponents last season to go along with 14 that were actually picked off.
Statistically, last season was arguably Eli Manning’s best, but the tape doesn’t paint nearly as pretty of a picture. He still made a lot of awful decisions, with only five QBs throwing more interceptions over the year than Manning’s 14, and he had eight more turnover-worthy throws that were dropped by defenders. When he was playing his best football in 2011, his play under pressure was incredible, but this past season it was poor, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for only 6.0 yards per attempt, down 1.7 yards on his passes from a clean pocket. His backup is Ryan Nassib, whose career is 25 snaps old, so at least he is under no pressure for his job.
21. Miami Dolphins
Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Backup: Matt Moore
Key stat: Tannehill completed 61.9 percent of his passes in 2015, down 4.5 percent from the season before.
At one point, it looked like Ryan Tannehill could rival any QB from his draft class—a class that included Andrew Luck—but he has regressed since then, and last season was distinctly mediocre (at best). He had one excellent game against the Titans, but outside of that, he was more consistently bad than good, and was particularly inefficient underneath, despite having a weapon in Jarvis Landry that excels in that area. Tannehill has shown the ability to be far better than this, but right now, his play is heading in the wrong direction. Matt Moore was once one of the league’s best backup QBs, but he hasn’t played meaningful snaps since Tannehill was drafted, so it’s impossible to stay if he is still at that level.
22. Chicago Bears
Starter: Jay Cutler
Backup: Brian Hoyer
Key stat: Cutler’s 11 interceptions in 2015 comprised the second-lowest season total of his career.
Jay Cutler is one of those quarterbacks that probably ends up as an average overall player, but will rarely be average in the process of getting there. He still makes some staggering throws, and still makes the kind of bonehead plays that have blighted his career and would frustrate the coach of a rookie QB. 10 of his 16 starts last season were graded either firmly in the green or firmly in the red, with only the remaining six somewhere in the middle as average outings. Brian Hoyer is an interesting player as a backup, because his play seems to turn into a pumpkin consistently around Week 10 of an NFL season. If the Bears need to call on him before that point, they’re likely in good shape, but if it’s after, you won’t find many worse QBs.
23. Detroit Lions
Starter: Matthew Stafford
Backup: Dan Orlovsky
Key stat: Stafford completed just 48.3 percent of his passes under pressure last season, the 21st-best rate in the NFL.
It sounds illogical, but losing Calvin Johnson may be the best thing to happen to Matthew Stafford’s career in a long time. Johnson was such a physically-dominant presence that Stafford understandably leaned on and would force the ball to. Without that crutch this season, Stafford will be forced to spread the ball around more and use the uncertainty of where the ball is going to go to open things up for everybody, including himself. It just might be the making of a quarterback who has shown the ability to be very good in the past. He is now coming off two straight seasons of sub-par play, but last season he was under assault due to his offensive line; when he was kept clean, he actually completed 75.2 percent of his passes and ended the year on a strong note.
24. Philadelphia Eagles
Starter: Sam Bradford
Backup: Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel
Key stat: Bradford led the NFL in accuracy percentage under pressure last season, with a mark of 74.6 percent.
Carson Wentz is the QB of the future. The only question is how far away that future is, and whether Chase Daniel will keep him as the No. 3 guy for a stretch in the meantime. Teams often intend to bring their rookie QB along slowly, but it so rarely works out that way if the starter struggles or, maybe more likely in Bradford’s case, gets hurt. Both Bradford and Daniel are receiving significant money, so the Eagles are financially incentivized to get use out of them before they turn to Wentz, and Bradford actually played pretty well last season. In an ideal world, this is a great QB situation, but the chance Bradford plays well enough to keep the QB controversy at bay is small in a town like Philadelphia, where the fans will voice their displeasure quickly. This has the potential to become pretty chaotic pretty quickly.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Starter: Joe Flacco
Backup: Ryan Mallett
Key stat: Flacco threw just one deep touchdown all of last season (20+ air yards), tied for fewest in the NFL.
Joe Flacco’s career is a study in the importance of timing. He managed to string together the best run of his career to take the team to the Super Bowl, and ultimately parlayed that into a big-money contract that he hasn’t been close to justifying since. Flacco has talent, but more than many QBs, he needs to be surrounded with the right supporting cast to excel, and even then you are at the mercy of his greater-than-average variance in form. 2015 was arguably the worst season of his career, and saw him complete fewer than 50 percent of his passes when pressured and throw twice as many interceptions (eight) as touchdowns (four) on those plays. This was a big reason the Ravens looked to the O-line early in the draft. Behind him, Ryan Mallett has had brief opportunities in his NFL career so far, but has yet to look like a viable NFL QB.
26. New York Jets
Starter: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Backup: Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
Key stat: Fitzpatrick tied Johnny Manziel for the eighth-lowest adjusted completion percentage among 37 qualifying QBs in 2015.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has re-signed with the team, but last season, he was PFF’s 30th-ranked quarterback overall, and his marginal arm talent looks to be more of an issue than ever before. Fitzpatrick is a good fit for this Jets’ offense because he will take chances and put the ball in the air more than most quarterbacks, giving receivers like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker a chance to make plays over defensive backs. That tendency also causes some horrendous plays along the way, however. Geno Smith has the most physical talent among the Jets’ QB group, but may not have the mental skills necessary to succeed at the NFL level, and rookie Christian Hackenberg (Penn State) is basically a lottery ticket that no tape suggests is ever likely to pay out.
27. Tennessee Titans
Starter: Marcus Mariota
Backup: Matt Cassel
Key stat: Mariota recorded the lowest accuracy percentage on deep (20+ air yards) passes in the NFL last season, at 20.4 percent.
Last season, injuries robbed us of a clearer understanding of what Mariota is capable of at this level. One of the most efficient college passers in an offense that caused wide open shots all the time at Oregon, Mariota was up and down as a rookie and remains something of a question mark. He had excellent games as well as a couple of poor ones, but overall was only really good when he was kept clean in the pocket, completing 66.5 percent of his passes when under no pressure and earning a positive grade. When heat was applied, or even just when he was blitzed, that performance dipped significantly. If the Titans need to turn to the bench at all in 2016, they are likely to suffer some very poor play from Matt Cassel, who hasn’t performed well in a long time.
28. Los Angeles Rams
Starter: Jared Goff
Backup: Case Keenum
Key stat: 58.8 percent of Goff’s yards gained last season came in the air rather than after the catch, a figure that would have ranked in the top 10 in the NFL.
Jared Goff is the QB of the future for L.A. The only question is how long Rams fans have to wait to see it. He was the highest-graded QB in the nation last season, and even when pressured, had an NFL passer rating of 87.1, but his college offense was not exactly pro-style, and there may be an adjustment period before he is ready to start. If he isn’t, Keenum will get a chance to add to a career that is only 942 snaps old, but has seen some bright spots. Last season, he started five games, and outside of a poor first start against the Ravens, graded well.
29. Houston Texans
Starter: Brock Osweiler
Backup: Tom Savage
Key stat: Osweiler’s career is only 642 snaps old, and he was just handed $37 million guaranteed.
Maybe Brock Osweiler justifies the faith the Texans have in him and hits heights this season that he hasn’t yet shown, and if that happens, Houston will be far better than this ranking, but at the moment, they are turning the keys over to a QB that has seven starts to his name and got benched for a QB that finished the year as PFF’s 32nd-ranked signal-caller. Under pressure, his passer rating dropped almost thirty points, and his completion percentage fell by 14.3 percent. Osweiler has physical talents, but he is almost entirely unproven, having been very average over his seven starts.
30. Denver Broncos
Starter: Mark Sanchez
Backup: Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian
Key stat: Mark Sanchez has never earned a positive grade over a season in which he played more than 175 snaps.
If there is one legitimate wide open QB competition in the league right now, it’s Denver, where Sanchez, Lynch, and Siemian appear to be in a genuine competition for depth-chart order. Logic suggests that Sanchez will have the inside track for the starting job given his experience, while Lynch is the guy for the future, though he needs some development. With a legitimate competition though, anybody that has a good run in camp could suddenly find themselves in the starting role. Siemian’s NFL career to date consists of 74 preseason snaps, where he completed 23 of 40 pass attempts for 283 yards, two scores, and an interception. He also had three dropped passes, three batted at the line, and was sacked four times, illustrating the kind of football that gets played with the third-team in preseason.
31. Cleveland Browns
Starter: Robert Griffin III
Backup: Josh McCown, Cody Kessler
Key stat: The last positively-graded game from RG III came in Week 2 of the 2014 season.
The Browns look set to try and rediscover the best of Robert Griffin III, and if they can find that player, they are a lot better off than this ranking, but I think there is far more work involved than one offseason. They have found themselves a legitimate superstar-reclamation project, but will essentially need to rebuild RG III’s game from the ground up. The last time he was playing—back in 2014—he was completing just 50 percent of his passes under pressure for a passer rating in the 50s. Josh McCown has been a below average starter who had one freak-season of excellent play in Chicago back in 2013, and even that year was only 427 snaps worth of action. Cody Kessler is an intriguing guy for the future with excellent accuracy, but he may only see the field if and when the other two fail.
32. San Francisco 49ers
Starter: Blaine Gabbert
Backup: Colin Kaepernick
Key stat: 2015 was by far the best season of Blaine Gabbert’s career, and still saw him grade below average, with a passer rating of 86.2.
The 49ers will be hoping Chip Kelly can work his magic on their quarterbacks, because on paper, neither Gabbert nor Kaepernick has been able to perform well going back for several years. Kaepernick has at least had a stretch of play at this level where he looked legit, but Gabbert has never justified his first-round selection on the field. Kelly’s system was able to make Nick Foles look like a superstar and Sam Bradford have a fine year despite a faltering running game, so there is a chance that whoever earns this job has the best season they have had in some time if the same thing happens in San Francisco.