Ranking all 32 NFL quarterbacks entering Week 6

Which NFL QBs have impressed this season? Steve Palazzolo ranks the league's signal callers top to bottom.

| 2 months ago
Patriots QB Tom Brady

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Ranking all 32 NFL quarterbacks entering Week 6


Through five weeks of the season, NFL quarterback play has been fairly solid across the board, though without the traditional elite play at the top. The QB season rankings will still fluctuate week-to-week due to smaller samples sizes, but using a combination of historical data and each quarterback’s current status entering Week 6, I’ve come up with my list of the top 32 starting quarterbacks in the league.

This ranking does not directly reflect PFF’s current 2016 season grades, as I’m using my own context to place each quarterback (taking PFF grades and data into account, of course). In addition, we’re going with the current starters who have enough of a sample size to place on this list, so quarterbacks like Trevor Siemian and Brian Hoyer are included in this iteration.

With all those factors in mind, here’s a look at the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL entering Week 6.

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

2015 grade: 94.3

2016 grade: 88.0

With only one game under his belt, Tom Brady was back to form last week against the Cleveland Browns, showing his usual intermediate accuracy and quick decision-making. The one area that stood out in his small sample size was the deep ball (passes traveling 20+ yards in the air), where he hit four-of-six attempts for 180 yards and a touchdown. Adding a more consistent downfield element to the New England passing game has always been a goal to complement an excellent short and intermediate attack, so hitting on a handful of extra deep shots will make the Patriots’ offense all the more dangerous.

2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

2015 grade: 93.5

2016 grade: 78.1

There are few offenses as scary as Pittsburgh’s, especially with the way Roethlisberger has thrown the deep ball the last two-plus years. He posted the top grade on deep passes (throws traveling 20+ yards in the air) last season, and is off to a great start again, leading the league with 528 yards and six touchdowns on the deep ball, while ranking fifth in adjusted completion percentage at, 58.6 percent. While Roethlisberger has the second-highest percentage of big-time throws among passers with at least 100 dropbacks, he also owns the seventh-highest percentage of turnover-worthy throws this season, as he’s been more careless with the ball than in years past. Despite the poor decision-making and misfires, Roethlisberger can create big plays as well as any quarterback in the league, and Pittsburgh is a Super Bowl contender with him at the helm of the offense.

Ben Roethlisberger 2016 season spider chart

Ben Roethlisberger spider chart

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

2015 grade: 91.7

2016 grade: 83.3

Russell Wilson has faced his usual diet of pressure behind the Seahawks’ offensive line this season, as he’s been under heat on 38.3 percent of his dropbacks, the fourth-highest rate in the league. That’s actually lower than his normal rate, and is playing a large part in his career-low 2.54 seconds from snap to throw—over 0.4 seconds quicker than last year’s 2.98 mark. Playing injured and not extending plays is likely a factor, but regardless, it’s led to quicker, shorter passes, and one of the league’s best grades in the short game. Wilson has still kept a high percentage of big-time throws while putting an average number of attempts into harm’s way, and he’s graded well under pressure. The one place he’s been below-average this season is against the blitz. While the stats look fine (91.2 passer rating), he got away with a dropped interception against the 49ers and an end-of-half fumble against the Rams.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

2015 grade: 90.7

2016 grade: 81.0

It’s hard to fault Drew Brees for the Saints’ slow start—again—as he’s being asked to play a near-perfect game every week while carrying the passing offense. The young New Orleans receivers have looked good in the early going, and Brees is not short on capable weapons to connect with. He’s still challenging the deep areas of the field as well as any quarterback in the league, while avoiding many costly mistakes. If there’s a complaint, he’s had some uncharacteristic misfires in the short game, and that’s where we’ve seen a number of his turnover-worthy throws (during the Falcons game, in particular). In short, Brees is still really good, and he’ll continue to put up monster numbers as the Saints play more Big 12-like, defense-averse games.

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

2015 grade: 93.9

2016 grade: 79.2

Right from opening night, Cam Newton has taken a pounding this season, and even when healthy, hasn’t played up to last year’s MVP standards. Playing against the Denver and Minnesota defenses certainly hasn’t helped his cause, but Newton has had some boom-or-bust style to his game, with the fourth-highest percentage of big-time throws, but also the sixth-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays. Other than a rushing grade that ranks among the best in the league, Newton has graded right around average in most other categories, while ranking 28th out of 34 qualifying QBs in adjusted completion percentage, at 68.9 (71.5 percent last season).

6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

2015 grade: 87.3

2016 grade: 75.5

There’s no doubting Aaron Rodgers’ talent, as few quarterbacks can match his combination of velocity, accuracy, athleticism, and pre-snap smarts. However, the Green Bay offense has been in flux for over a year now, especially when compared to the ridiculously-high standards Rodgers set from about 2008 to 2014. The 2011 and 2014 seasons featured some of the best quarterback play you’ll ever see, but Rodgers simply hasn’t been the same since early in 2015. While the special throws are still there, he owns the fifth-highest percentage of turnover-worthy throws in the league, a rare sight for Rodgers, who usually is among the best at protecting the football. On the bright side, the Green Bay QB has the highest percentage of positively-graded throws in the league, so if he can get back to his previous levels of decision-making and ball security, he’ll creep right back toward the top of the NFL’s quarterback rankings.

7. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

2015 grade: 86.7

2016 grade: 88.8

After taking a huge step forward last season, Derek Carr has continued his improvement here in 2016. He exudes confidence with his combination of quick decision-making and willingness to make tight-window throws, often putting them right on the money. Carr has shown a great feel for putting touch on the ball and allowing his talented receivers to run under it, whether it’s placing it on the back line of the end zone or throwing a fade right off the line of scrimmage. He and WR Amari Cooper have continued to develop chemistry on the fade route that could be one of the league’s most unstoppable throws right now. Carr has the league’s top grade both when blitzed and when under pressure, as he’s proving capable of handling all situations.

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

2015 grade: 86.8

2016 grade: 82.2

The league leader in yards, yards per attempt, and passer rating appears to be playing the best football of his career on paper, but he’s simply getting more help from his supporting cast this season. Last year we assured Atlanta fans that Ryan is still good, and that they needed to find a complement to superstar wide receiver Julio Jones, and that’s what they’re getting this season to turn Ryan’s solid play into great stats. Ryan has always been an efficient intermediate thrower, particularly over the middle, and that has remained constant in 2016; however, he has had his struggles outside the numbers in the intermediate level, as he’s completed 4-of-14 passes in that range, including a few interception-worthy passes. The big change for Ryan this season has been a more efficient deep ball, as he ranks third in the league in adjusted completion percentage on deep passes (20+ yards downfield in the air) at 63.2 percent, and second in deep-passing yards, with 482.

9. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings

2015 grade: 85.3

2016 grade: 86.4

One of the biggest stories of the season is Sam Bradford’s performance in Minnesota. He’s stepped right in and played the best football of his career, making big-time throws under pressure and running Norv Turner’s offense better than can be expected for a late-preseason signing. He’s faced the eighth-highest percentage of pressure, but has complemented it with the fourth-best adjusted completion percentage under pressure, at 74.3. Bradford has helped to change the face of the Turner offense that regularly features deeper drops and longer-developing plays, in turn leading to one of the slowest snap-to-release times in the league (usually 2.8 to 3.0 seconds). Bradford has bucked the trend with the third-fastest pocket time in the league, at 2.37 seconds, but he’s still grading among the league’s best at the intermediate and deep level. He currently leads the NFL with the highest percentage of big-time throws and second-lowest percentage of turnover-worthy throws—a winning combination for any quarterback.

Sam Bradford 2016 season spider chart Sam Bradford spider chart

10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

2015 grade: N/A

2016 grade: 90.4

Even the biggest Carson Wentz fans have to be impressed with the rookie’s debut, as he’s shown great command of the Eagles’ offense and exceeded even the loftiest of expectations through four games. Wentz deserves plenty of credit, but so does the Philadelphia coaching staff that has eased his transition and put him in position to succeed. They’ve mixed in movement passes and some run-pass options to make things easier on Wentz, but even if the offense has been simplified, the former FCS star’s ability to protect the ball has been outstanding. He had only one turnover-worthy play heading into Week 5, and while he did get careless with three against the Lions, his ball security and general lack of negatively-graded throws (second-lowest percentage in the NFL) have been a big part of his early-season success and league-high overall grade.

11. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

2015 grade: 81.4

2016 grade: 78.3

Philip Rivers is still going strong for the Chargers, and he’s at least getting protected better than he did last year, when he was seemingly throwing over or around multiple offensive linemen on every play. He ranks fifth in the league in adjusted completion percentage, at 78.2, while showing particularly well against the blitz, where he’s earned high grades and boasts a passer rating of 115.6. The overall numbers are slightly inflated, as his 108.9 passer rating is powered by 701 yards after the catch, which ranks third in the NFL. Rivers has generally been a top-10 performer when it comes to big-time throws and avoiding turnover-worthy attempts, and the only things keeping him from that same status are a few questionable decisions this season, including a couple of glorified arm punts against the Raiders.

12. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

2015 grade: 44.9

2016 grade: 87.1

Only two quarterbacks have been under pressure more than Andrew Luck this season—he’s been under heat on 40.0 percent of his dropbacks—but no quarterback has graded better than Luck when given a clean pocket. Of course, while the offensive line deserves plenty of blame, the Indianapolis QB’s playing style and the Colts’ scheme does invite more pressure than most, as Luck has taken more seven-step (deep) drops than any quarterback in the league. The interesting part of Luck’s game this season is the lack of boom-or-bust plays that he’s been known for previously. If we call 2015 a disastrous outlier and go back to 2014, Luck ranked sixth in the league in percentage of big-time throws, but also 32nd in turnover-worthy throws, as his big plays often coincided with questionable decision-making. This year, he’s only 17th in the league in big-time throws, but seventh-best in avoiding turnover-worthy attempts, so he’s been going about things differently to this point. It’s something to watch, as the special throws are still in there, but will it be at the expense of a few risky throws as well?

13. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

2015 grade: 93.0

2016 grade: 48.1

Regression has been rough for Carson Palmer, as it still remains to be seen if last year’s outstanding regular season is simply an outlier in an otherwise above-average career. He played incredibly well in 2015, throwing with precision to the intermediate and deep levels like no other quarterback in the league; however, a late-season slide (perhaps due to a finger injury) has carried over into 2016, and he’s been far more likely to throw an interception-worthy pass (highest percentage in league) than he’s been to make a big-time throw (17th in league). If he can get even remotely close to last year’s level, the Cardinals will once again become a contender. If Palmer continues his careless play with the ball, though, they’ll be in trouble in the NFC West.

Carson Palmer season grades

14. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

2015 grade: 76.9

2016 grade: 84.8

It’s been an impressive turnaround for Matthew Stafford since the middle of last season, as he’s taken better care of the ball while sprinkling in the usual big-time throws that make him such an intriguing quarterback. When at his best, he can throw receivers open and create big plays on tight-window throws, but balancing those plays with careless decisions and overall inaccuracy throughout his career has been his biggest issue. He’s creeping back toward that balance, in part due to the third-lowest average depth of target in the league, at 7.5 yards, and one of the best grades on short passes in the NFL. Stafford has been right around the league average in terms of big-time throws and turnover-worthy throws this season, while his grade against the blitz has been among the NFL’s best.

15. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

2015 grade: N/A

2016 grade: 83.8

Much like Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott has exceeded expectations this season. Doing so as a fourth-round pick makes for an even bigger story, however. The rookie continues to play well, and it’s bringing into question whether or not Tony Romo will ever regain his starting job upon his return from injury. Coming out of Mississippi State, accuracy and decision-making were question marks for Prescott, but he’s thwarted those in the early going, showing well in both areas. He’s taking care of the ball better than any quarterback in the league, as he has the lowest percentage of turnover-worthy plays, and his interception-free play is a true indicator of his ability to keep the ball out of harm’s way to this point. Of course, Prescott hasn’t made many special throws, but he’s done a nice job of finding the open man and getting just enough to move the chains. The Dallas quarterback has only completed two passes beyond 20 yards in the air on his nine attempts, and those deep targets have only made up 5.8 percent of his attempts, by far the lowest rate in the league. So, while there will be a point where Prescott will have to make game-changing, downfield throws, for now he’s been well-protected by the Cowboys’ commitment to the run game, dominating at the intermediate level.

Dak Prescott 2016 season spider chart

Dak Prescott spider chart

16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

2015 grade: 87.4

2016 grade: 83.3

Losing WR Marvin Jones to the Detroit Lions and TE Tyler Eifert to injury has taken its toll on Dalton statistically, though his play hasn’t dropped off much from last year’s career high. He’s taken care of the ball with the third-lowest percentage of turnover-worthy plays, but just hasn’t complemented them with the big-time throws he was making last season. The one other area of regression is his taking sacks on 25.8 percent of his pressured dropbacks, the highest rate in the league and well above the 15-18 percent range that Dalton’s been in the last three seasons. The Cincinnati QB is still looking for a consistent secondary option behind star WR A.J. Green entering Week 6.

17. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2015 grade: 78.3

2016 grade: 68.2

Jameis Winston carried the Buccaneers to victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, making two of the best throws of the season up the seam for long touchdowns. However, he hasn’t been the same since, as he ranks 28th in big-time throws and is one of 11 quarterbacks to have fewer big-time throws than turnover-worthy throws this season. Winston has always had some boom-or-bust style to his game, whether on a game-to-game basis or even season-to-season, as we saw from his incredible Heisman campaign at Florida State compared to his subpar play in his draft year (2014). A lack of playmakers beyond WR Mike Evans certainly isn’t helping matters, and his 10.6 average depth of target is the fourth-highest in the league—not conducive to an efficient passing game. There will be a point in his career where Winston will play like a top-5 or top-10 quarterback, but there will also be times where he settles in closer to the 30 range. So far in 2016, he’s closer to 30 than he is to 10.

18. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

2015 grade: 81.7

2016 grade: 75.6

We’ve seen a standard season from Alex Smith to this point, as he hasn’t stood out in any one area other than avoiding turnovers. Smith is once against among the league’s best at taking care of the ball (eighth-lowest percentage of turnover-worthy plays), but also ranks 27th in the league in big-time throws. He’s attempted the second-lowest percentage of deep (20+ yards in the air) throws, hitting on 3-of-13, one of which was dropped, good for an adjusted completion percentage of 30.8 percent (26th in the league). While the deep ball has never been a part of Smith’s game, he’s grading above-average in most areas, and his risk-averse style will protect the ball and keep the Kansas City in most contests.

19. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

2015 grade: 72.5

2016 grade: 78.1

While he often gets touted for a big arm and great deep ball, Joe Flacco is posting his best grades in the short-passing game; meanwhile, his deep grade is among the league’s worst. Flacco’s adjusted completion percentage on the deep ball (passes traveling 20+ yards in the air) is 31.8 percent, 25th in the NFL, and he owns the third-lowest percentage of big-time throws among the top 38 qualifiers. That’s an alarming number for a quarterback who has shown the ability to make the throws necessary to win games, but an average depth of target of 8.3 yards is well below his 9.0- or 10.0-yard average from 2013 and 2012, respectively. As has been the case the last few years, Flacco’s play drops off more than most when pressured, though he’s done a fine job handling the blitz this season.

Joe Flacco versus pressure

20. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

2015 grade: 88.3

2016 grade: 69.4

Last season, Taylor burst onto the scene in his first year as a starter, bringing a dynamic threat to Buffalo’s run-first offense while sprinkling in one of the best deep balls in the NFL. Taylor was usually good for at least one pinpoint deep shot every game, and that made him a dangerous threat to change shift the momentum at any time. Most of his best work came outside the numbers, as he rarely worked the middle of the field, especially at the intermediate level. Taylor has the league’s highest average time to throw for the second season in a row, and his 3.13 seconds from snap to throw leads to more pressure, as he’s been under heat on 38.5 percent of his dropbacks, the third-highest rate in the league. So far this season, Taylor has performed below average against both pressure and the blitz, and that deep ball has not been nearly as effective aside from a handful of attempts. His adjusted completion percentage on the deep ball is down to 29.4 percent (27th in the NFL), after he ranked ninth in that area a year ago (44.9 percent).

21. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

2015 grade: 78.9

2016 grade: 75.6

We’re in year No. 5 of Ryan Tannehill’s career, and are still waiting for him to take the next step in his development. Pairing with new head coach Adam Gase was supposed to help the cause, but with a league-high 43.3 percent of Tannehill’s dropbacks resulting in pressure, he hasn’t had much chance to get started. Still, Tannehill deserves blame for his lack of development after two promising seasons to kick off his career. He’s done a better job of taking care of the football this season, as he got sloppier the last two years, and has settled in as an average deep-ball thrower, despite the yearly angst from Dolphins fans. Tannehill has either exceeded or underwhelmed your expectations, but he’s still a strong intermediate passer who can put up strong numbers with a better supporting cast around him.

22. Eli Manning, New York Giants

2015 grade: 74.7

2016 grade: 49.5

There haven’t been a lot of positives for Eli Manning this year aside from a strong Week 2 game against the Saints. He has four interceptions, though his 12 turnover-worthy throws (and third-highest percentage of turnover-worthy pass attempts) tell a different story. Manning has been the league’s worst against the blitz from a grade standpoint, and he has the 35.8 passer rating to back it up (one touchdown, four interceptions); he’s also been among the league’s worst under pressure, where he’s averaging 3.9 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 50.4.

Eli Manning versus pressure

23. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

2015 grade: 80.1

2016 grade: 59.5

It’s been a disappointing step back for Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in 2016 after showing promise in his second season. In 2015, he led the league in deep-passing yards, with 1,330, and ranked seventh in adjusted completion percentage, at 46.9; this season, his 11 deep-passing yards rank 27th (hurt by the bye week), and more importantly, his 26.3 percent adjusted completion percentage ranks 27th. His grades at the deep and intermediate level have been well below the league average. Beyond that, Bortles is still making bad decisions with the ball, as he has the seventh-most turnover-worthy plays after leading that category and ranking sixth-worst from a percentage standpoint a year ago. On the plus side, Bortles is showing well in the short game, as he has the ninth-best grade and second-best adjusted completion percentage on throws between 1–9 yards.

24. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

2015 grade: 72.1

2016 grade: 42.7

Year two was supposed to be a big step forward for Marcus Mariota, but that hasn’t been the case to this point. He’s not equipped with the best group of receivers, but Mariota has shown hesitation in the pocket and doesn’t really have the zip to fire the ball into tight windows outside of the flow of the offense. He’s thrown too many risky passes, and the grades are not kind at any level of the field, though he’s performed well under pressure compared to his peers. Against the blitz, Mariota has one of the lowest grades in the league to go with 4.7 yards per attempt and a 64.4 passer rating. While taking care of the ball is supposed to be one of his strengths, though, the Tennessee QB has the 10th-highest percentage of turnover-worthy throws this season.

25. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

2015 grade: 81.5

2016 grade: 50.2

Last year, Kirk Cousins did not play as well—as his stats would indicate—and we had him graded closer to the middle of the pack, which was a better representation of his play than his 101.6 passer rating that ranked fifth in the league. This year, he’s continued his questionable decision-making—currently tied for seventh in turnover-worthy throws—just as he did last season. The difference this season is that a higher rate of those bad decisions have turned into interceptions, and he’s gone from having the second-lowest percentage of negative plays last year to 22nd-lowest in 2016. Cousins’ grades are below the league average against the blitz, and he’s been one of the league’s worst when throwing to the intermediate level and while being pressured.

26. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

2015 grade: 73.7

2016 grade: 42.2

After years of touting Ryan Fitzpatrick as being better than people think (most see Fitzpatrick as a fringe starter), we were banging the drum the other way last season, as he put up strong numbers with 31 touchdowns and an 87.9 passer rating, but he only finished 27th in our overall grading. Fitzpatrick recorded the third-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays last season, and ranks second in that department early in 2016. He took advantage of strong receiver play last year, as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were good fits for his aggressive style that allows his playmakers to make catches in tight coverage. That strategy hasn’t worked nearly as well this season, aside from a dominant outing against the Bills on Thursday Night Football. Fitzpatrick must cut back on the poor decisions if the Jets are going to make a move in the AFC East.

27. Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos

2015 grade: N/A

2016 grade: 70.7

Siemian was off to a solid, yet safe, start as Denver’ starting QB before injury sidelined him for parts of Week 4 and all of Week 5. Denver has protected him behind the fifth-lowest average target depth in the league, at 7.6, but he showed off the deep ball in Week 3 against the Bengals and, despite missing his fair share of throws, was showing an improved comfort level within the Broncos’ scheme. The safer passing game led to Siemian ranking 20th in big-time throw percentage, but also 12th-best in terms of turnover-worthy throw percentage. Taking care of the ball has to be the No. 1 priority in the Broncos’ offense, especially when armed with such a strong defense on the other side, and Siemian has done that well to this point.

28. Brian Hoyer, Chicago Bears

2015 grade: 66.8

2016 grade: 84.2

It’s been a great start for Brian Hoyer, who is running the Bears’ offense efficiently. However, his track record shows there may be some regression in his future. For now, Hoyer has taken care of the ball, recording the fourth-lowest percentage of turnover-worthy plays to go with better-than-average short and intermediate grades. Hoyer’s adjusted completion percentage of 78.8 percent ranks fifth in the league, and he’s seen little drop-off to his game when pressured. Again, he’s one year removed from throwing the 14th-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays, and two years removed from him throwing the eighth-highest, so it’d be an impressive feat if he can buck the trend, but the early returns have been strong for the Bears.

29. Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans

2015 grade: 75.5

2016 grade: 45.0

After a promising opener against Chicago, new Houston QB Brock Osweiler has struggled mightily in recent weeks. He’s always been streaky, and we saw that numerous times last season, but this slump has Osweiler ranking fourth in turnover-worthy throws and grading poorly across the board. He does, however, rank seventh in big-time throws, and that’s one of the issues when watching the Texans’ quarterback. Whether it’s dropping a deep ball in the bucket on the outside or leading a tight end away from coverage up the seam, Osweiler will flash potential on handful of plays—before following it up with disastrous throws into coverage. His seven interceptions are no fluke, and Osweiler has to play with more control within the system in order to succeed.

30. Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns

2015 grade: N/A

2016 grade: 71.7

Thrown into the fire much earlier than expected, Cody Kessler has been exactly what we thought he would be to this point in his young career. He would be the league leader in adjusted completion percentage if he had enough snaps to qualify (81.4 percent), but that numbers is aided by a league-low 6.4-yard average target depth. Kessler owns the lowest percentage of big-time throws out of 38 qualifying quarterbacks, though much like he did at USC, he has a low percentage of negatively-graded throws, ranking fifth-best in that department.

31. Case Keenum, Los Angeles Rams

2015 grade: 73.6

2016 grade: 54.6

Expectations were not high for Case Keenum coming into the season, and the Rams have managed to win three games despite his subpar play at the position. He’s posted below-average grades across the board, though his five interceptions are inflated, as he’s ranked higher in avoiding turnover-worthy plays than that number would indicate. On a play-by-play basis, the problem is that only eight quarterbacks have a lower percentage of positively-graded throws than Keenum, and only six quarterbacks have more negatively-graded throws; simply put, he has been unable to make the necessary plays to sustain the offense. The one bright spot has been his deep-passing grade, and the numbers bear that out, as his adjusted completion percentage on deep attempts (throws traveling 20+ yards in the air) is tied for seventh, at 53.3 percent.

32. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers

2015 grade: 74.9

2016 grade: 39.1

After the slightest rejuvenation to his career last season, Blaine Gabbert has been the worst quarterback in the league once again in 2016. Head coach Chip Kelly’s system has turned average quarterback play into statistical gold in the past, but that hasn’t been the case with Gabbert, who has struggled in all phases and will now turn his job over to Colin Kaepernick. In Gabbert’s defense, he hasn’t been working with much of a supporting cast, either at receiver or along the offensive line, but at this point in his career, we have a good feeling that he’s little more than a backup.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • KingCheese

    The Patriots dick riding has to stop.

  • crosseyedlemon

    That photo of Kaepernick is deserving of a caption…how about
    “Tell coach Kelly I’ll be ready to start as soon as I’m back from the Sly & The Family Stone concert”

  • Frank Yi

    Fitzpatrick at 26? Isn’t that about 3-4 spots too high?

  • Always Right

    this site claims to be some sort of authority on football yet proves on a weekly basis that they are inept. Carson wentz a top ten qb? do we even need to go over how ridiculous that is? Cam newton & russel wilson in the top 5? Wilson had 2 tds in his first 3 games, and cam newton just blows this year.

    • Dale GoDawgs McLerran

      Right! Because everything that goes right or wrong on offense is ALWAYS due to QB play. Offensive efficiency doesn’t depend on, say, how good or how bad a given team’s O-line is. You realize that the Seahawks entered the season with the lowest paid O-line in football. Salary for their entire O-line was less than the top-paid offensive lineman on most teams. And the Seahawks O-line lived up (or is that lived down) to expectations while going against the Miami Dolphins and LA Rams D-lines, two of the best in the NFL. BTW, just days before the season started, the Seahawks lost their rookie RG who was supposed to be a cornerstone for their O-line.

      But I see why you believe that the Seahawks offensive struggles in their first two games were due to Wilson and why you believe Wilson is nothing more than an overrated scrub.

      • Robert Anasi

        Had you removed your homer goggles before you read the piece, you would have seen that Wilson is rated quite highly, while injuries and terrible O-line play are seen as contributing to those areas in which he is struggling.

        • Dale GoDawgs McLerran

          You weren’t tracking very well, were you. The top poster, to whom I was responding, complained that Wilson was ranked too high on the list. I was telling him why he is wrong in complaining that Wilson was ranked 3rd.

          Reading comprehension 101.

    • eYeDEF

      *yawn* You see that link at the bottom of the page titled “How We Grade”? You should read it since you seem unfamiliar with how they grade. They grade every single snap, with the grade reflective on how well the player executed regardless of the outcome of the play. Yours is a typical rookie mistake of people coming here thinking grades are always going to be reflective of the traditional box score stat line. Nope. That said, not really sure why you’ve got a problem with Wentz rating 10th. He’s performed well beyond his rookie pedigree while other seasoned QBs have played worse.

      • Always Right

        Im very well aware of how they claim to grade but its rarely ever complimented with common sense or an eyeball test. being considered a top QB should take a body of work that is statistically significant. Saying a guy that has 4 games in his professional career is top ten is absolutely laughable.

        • eYeDEF

          Your cursory “eyeball test” is useless when pitted against the comprehensive snap by snap eyeball test of grading every play. That’s the point of having deeper analysis. Your argument about statistical significance is actually what is laughable. No one’s saying 5 games is representative for the entire season. 5 games is only representative of 5 games. That’s still hundreds of snaps for each starting quarterback that can fairly and objectively evaluated within the framework of 5 games of play. Your idea that instead they should be giving some nebulous degree of preferential treatment to ‘entire body of work’ outside of that 5 game framework goes against everything objective performance evaluation should stand for. I’m not saying PFF is going to always be right, but your specific criticism is very very wrong here and quite ludicrous really.

          • David Stinnett

            Or if either of you 2 had read the introduction, maybe the first guy doesn’t say what he says, and if he does, maybe the second guy just says simply “this is just based on 5 games- see above.”

          • eYeDEF

            That’s not on me. You’re replying to the wrong guy, I was fully aware of that and even said so. Here, I’ll even help you out by quoting myself:

            No one’s saying 5 games is representative for the entire season. 5 games is only representative of 5 games.

          • David Stinnett

            The way I meant it was that you could say It simply, like my example, instead of that huge paragraph. I missed nothing. Quote not necessary.

          • eYeDEF

            Nah you’re just a whiner whose reading comprehension is highly lacking and you just made yourself look like a tool by trying to BS like you didn’t miss a beat. But you clearly did when you didn’t recognize that the OP’s multiple points weren’t addressed by just pointing out the 5 games they’re grading on, which is the reason for my inclusion of additional info to refute his general ignorance of grading.

            Instead of acting so lazy and crying about it, you should be grateful I gave you a few additional sentences to read. You clearly need the practice as it’s obvious you need to brush up on your English literacy … big time.

          • David Stinnett

            It’s ok if you disagree with my thought that you could have answered him simply, but being insulting shows you’re an ass. Fortunately I’m so highly intelligent that your bullshit doesn’t affect me. What a fool.

          • David Stinnett

            You’re an ass, quite simply. You would be shocked at my IQ. This is comical

          • David Stinnett

            I did erroneously include you in not having read something. My apologies. You are as wrong as can be about my literacy, but I do understand your anger. Peace.

          • Always Right

            This list isn’t based off of the 2016 grades you jackass, the writer says it right there that he takes it into account as part of it. So yes, you should assign preferential treatment to a carson palmer or philip rivers who have played for a decade and proved they can be effective in the league. putting the rookie at 10 is a joke. Otherwise why would tom brady be at number 1 when playing only 1 game this year vs the worst team in the league? might wanna think a little bit harder about your own argument next time and see if it even applies

          • eYeDEF

            What? Ok then you’re just being inconsistent. You’re saying Wentz doesn’t have a past body of work so doesn’t deserve to be 10th, but you’re exclusively judging Wilson as not deserving to be top 5 based on 3 games of only throwing 2 touchdowns when he finished the highest rated passer last year. So my point still stands, your arguments are no less coherent and self serving just because your guy isn’t as high as you want him to be.

  • TheFootballGuy

    Would have loved to see one of those spider charts with every player.

    • James Winslow

      You got to pay for the spider chart.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    i’d take derek carr over super-cam right now in a draft

    • crosseyedlemon

      Or you could just reclaim Jay Cutler and give all us Bear fans a reason to smile.

      • Shoutout to all the guest

        still cant believe the bears gave him a $100m contract

  • Adam

    I’d love to see the inner workings of a grading system that has Flacco and Roethlisberger graded identically.

  • sandbun

    What’s the point of having grades if even your own writers don’t think they reflect how a QB is playing and ranks them randomly based on what he thinks they should be? The whole reason for going to analytical scouting site is that you use actual grades to determine how good someone is, not feelings about ‘hey this guy was great, he’s a big star, so I’m going to assume he’s still great’.

  • Rolo Tomassi

    The grade are the grades.
    This article was paid for by Aron Rogers