By: Denery Noone
I spent some time in the film room and broke down the top QB's for the upcoming year. Here is 18-10.
Honorable mentions: Nick Foles, Jay Cutler, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, and Alex Smith
18. Carson Palmer 2014: 11-5 TD: 11 INT: 3
Before his devastating ACL injury, Palmer was solid for the Cardinals last season. He put up good numbers, minimized his mistakes, and did not try and do too much. Before the injury, he lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 record. Had he remained healthy, they definitely would’ve had a better seeding in the playoffs and probably could have gone deeper into the playoffs. His age is a question, along with his surgically repaired knee, so will be interesting to see how Palmer moves around considering his mobility was already limited before the injury. Look for Palmer to be solid again with Fitzgerald, Floyd, and Ellington all as useful weapons for him to use.
17. Jameis Winston Rookie
Yes I am putting the rookie Jameis Winston on this list despite the fact that he has yet to play a game in the NFL. Winston is one of the top prospects coming out of college in recent memory. He is great at reading defenses and came out of a pro-style system at Florida State, the easiest offense to transition from to the NFL. He knows how to run this offense, knows blocking schemes, and he has a lot of talent. Winston was 26-1 in college, won a national championship and a Heisman trophy. On the Bucs, Winston has Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson who can bail him out if necessary. Winston will have a lot of growing pains but expect Winston to have a solid rookie year.
16. Colin Kaepernick 2014: 8-8 TD: 19 INT: 10
Colin Kaepernick has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career thus far. However, Kaepernick has an incredible amount of raw talent. He has one of the strongest arms in the NFL and is arguably the fastest and best running quarterback in the league. His biggest flaw so far has been his decision making, but as he continues to mature, he will improve that aspect of his game. He has a lot of great weapons in Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, and the newly added Torrey Smith, so expect solid numbers from Kaepernick in 2015.
15. Philip Rivers 2014: 9-7 TD: 31 INT: 18
Rivers, 34, has been a solid quarterback during his 11 career, but his age is catching up with him and all signs are pointing towards his decline. He has had high interception numbers thoughout but he has been able to throw a lot of touchdowns and win some games for the Chargers. Rivers’ biggest knock in his career has been his inability to win the big games and I predict that will continue in 2015 in a tough AFC West. He does have solid options in Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, and Antonio Gates (once he returns from his four game suspension for PED use). Expect Rivers to put up similar numbers this year.
14. Ryan Tannehill 2014: 8-8 TD: 27 INT: 12
I am officially jumping on the Ryan Tannehill hype train! Despite his inability to make the playoffs up to this point in his career with that talented Dolphins roster, he has continued to improve as a leader and a passer in a division that has been dominated by the patriots for the last 15 years. Tannehill is catching up to the speed of the game. He has improved his ability to read defenses and exploit their weaknesses, as you can see by his lowering interception numbers. He has the ability to tuck the ball and run for a first down when there is nothing available and he is recognizing when to do so more and more. The one concern I have for Tannehill is his ability to play in the cold. He has not proved he can do so and if he wants to be a playoff quarterback it is imperative that he learns how. Although the Dolphins might not be playoff ready yet, he has solid options in Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and the rookie Devante Parker out of Louisville. Expect Tannehill to continue improving and put up solid numbers again this year.
13. Matt Ryan 2014: 6-10 TD: 28 INT: 14
Matt Ryan has been a very solid quarterback for the Falcons since he was drafted in 2008. He has been very consistent statistically and has put the Falcons in positions to win games, though he has not always come through at the end of games when it matters. It seems that every other year Ryan puts the Falcons in the playoffs, but we are still waiting for him to string a couple playoff appearances in a row. He has one of the best receivers in the league in Julio Jones, who will help Ryan will put up solid numbers again this year.
12. Matthew Stafford 2014: 11-5 TD: 22 INT: 12
Stafford has been improving greatly every single year and I expect him to do the same thing this year, as the Lions will try and top the Packers in the NFC North. He has great zip on the ball, he can throw on the run, and his decision making is getting better and better each year. The one thing that concerns me is a player with his talent should be putting up bigger stats, especially when he has a wide receiver like Calvin Johnson. This offseason, the Lions lost Reggie Bush, who was big in the receiving game when he was healthy. If Stafford wants to crack the top 10, he needs to put up bigger numbers, which he is capable of doing.
11. Eli Manning 2014: 6-10 TD: 30 INT: 14
Yes, the historically inconsistent Eli Manning is inching his way towards the top 10. In 2015, that inconsistency will come to an abrupt stop. Manning put up great numbers in 2014 with a receiving corps lead by Odell Beckham. Manning was accurate and consistent with his deep ball and he stopped forcing bad throws and creating unnecessary turnovers. Manning will be getting a healthy Victor Cruz back and a more experienced Odell Beckham. They even added receiving back Shane Vereen from New England who will provide a comfortable check down for Manning and reduce his interceptions even more. Finally, they fired defensive coordinator Perry Fuel and added Steve Spagnuolo who should sure up that questionable defensive. This will take pressure off Manning and allow him to play with more comfort which should help his numbers.
10. Joe Flacco 2014: 10-6 TD: 27 INT: 12
Flacco was highly underrated last year as he posted 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Flacco is an extremely talented quarterback with tremendous arm strength and deep ball accuracy. He has great leadership qualities and loves flying under the radar. Additionally, Flacco is nowhere near his best during the regular season. Enter playoff Joe Flacco: Poised, determined, and not afraid of the moment. When the playoffs come around, Joe Flacco raises his game to an extreme level. Flacco went into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers and then threw four touchdowns in a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots in Foxboro in the divisional round. With most of their core besides Torrey Smith returning, look for Flacco to have a big year and to lead the Ravens deep into the playoffs.
Part II Coming soon!