As teams prepare for OTA’s and training camp, we check in with our rankings of each position for 2017. First up is the quarterback position.
Leading up to the 2017 season, there is sure to be movement in the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks. There are a few veterans we can count on being among the very best at the most important position in football. There are also the younger signal-callers that are ascending, as well as a few older guys on the decline. The big questions will surround those that had down years in 2016 and are looking to rebound.
Here are my rankings for the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, as well as a few wildcards and rookies who may crack the top 32 before season’s end.
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Tom Terrific is coming off his record-setting 5th Super Bowl victory and has firmly entrenched himself in the GOAT conversation. The man is getting better with age, it seems. Adding Brandin Cooks to the mix will be dangerous.
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: There is nothing Rodgers can’t do from the quarterback position. With WR1 Jordy Nelson healthy, Rodgers should be even better in 2017.
- Ben Roethliseberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Ben made the best of a 2016 that featured Antonio Brown and The Pips at receiver. In 2017, Roethlisberger welcomes the return of Martavis Bryant, the league’s best deep threat.
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: The reigning NFL MVP hopes to be even better in 2017…if that’s possible. With a talented receiving unit that features Julio Jones, Ryan has complete command. However, I expect a slight drop-off with the exit of OC Kyle Shanahan.
- Derek Carr, Los Angeles Raiders: Carr saw his season — as well as the Raiders’ championship hopes — go out the window after breaking his leg in late December. Expect Carr to be fully healthy and on a mission in 2017.
- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees is on the back-9 of a career that will end up in Canton and he’s still performing at a very high level. His league-leading 5208 passing yards in 2016 can attest for that.
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Stafford’s name is rarely mentioned among the elite quarterbacks in this league, but he should be. After losing one of the best receivers in league history (Calvin Johnson), Stafford stepped up his play and his leadership.
- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Cam endured a 2016 season rife with inconsistency, injuries and lack of offensive support. The Panthers have added talent to the offensive side of the ball and Newton will benefit. Off-season shoulder surgery may hinder Newton early.
- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson threw for 4219 yards and 21 TD in 2016. However, his 11 INT were a career high. The addition of Eddie Lacy and the health of Thomas Rawls should take some of the stress off of Wilson in the offensive playmaking duties.
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Due to shoddy line-play, underachieving surrounding talent, and some of his own doing, Andrew Luck has regressed. I expect luck to take steps back towards the elite status expected of him in 2017.
- Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: Rivers is the veteran on a relatively young Chargers’ offense. He lost his WR1, Keenan Allen, early in 2016. Allen is back healthy and Rivers has a shiny, new toy in first-round WR Mike Williams. Expect more big-time productivity from Rivers in 2017.
- Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Entering his third NFL season, Winston is ready to ascend into the top-shelf passers in the league. His leadership arm talent are among the best in the NFL. He also has a solid group of pass catchers.
- Eli Manning, New York Giants: Manning has suffered a few up-and-down seasons over the past few years. But, outside of All-World WR Odell Beckham Jr., there hasn’t been much for Eli to work with. The addition of TE Evan Engram will go a long way towards stabilizing Manning’s play in 2017
- Kirk Cousins, Washington: Ever the underdog, Cousins has carved out quite a name for himself in D.C. He may never be the kind of QB that can lead a team to a title, but he’s serviceable and still improving. Will he do enough in 2017 to convince Washington to lock him up long term?
- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: New weapons are in place, designed to take Dalton and this offense to another level. I think Dalton has hit his ceiling, however and has taken this team as far as he can at this point.
- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: The “Is Joe Flacco elite?” questions are long past answered. Flacco is a middle-of-the road quarterback with a dearth of talent surrounding him on offense.
- Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys’ fans may skewer me for this ranking, but Dak still has a lot of growing to do as a passer. He is ascending and has shown the ability to lead a successful offense.
- Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: Wentz showed flashes, especially early in 2016. He has to be more willing to take shots down the field if he’s going to become and impact quarterback in this league. Better weapons at his disposal should allow for growth in 2017.
- Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: If 2016 is any indication, Palmer has fell of the proverbial cliff. He threw 14 INT in 2016 and injuries are mounting. He’ll turn 38 during the 2017 season and is nearing the end.
- Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs drafted Smith’s future replacement during the 2017 NFL Draft. But, Smith’s time is not up yet. He’s a safe quarterback that has never taken many chances and that doesn’t figure to change now.
- Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
- Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
- Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
- Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
- Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
- Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns
- Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers
- Mike Glennon, Chicago Bears
- Tom Savage, Houston Texans
- Christian Hackenberg, New York Jets
- Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
- Colin Kaepernick, Free Agent
- Matt Barkley, San Francisco 49ers
- Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns
ROOKIES WITH A CHANCE TO RANK IN 2017
- Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
- Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans