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2017 NFL Quarterback Rankings

Every Monday for the next 10 weeks, we will rank the players at a position based on who we would want to win it all in 2017. We only used the projected starters for each team, so Teddy Bridgewater, for example, certainly would be on this list if we were including all players. To be clear, these are NOT fantasy football rankings, which will come later in the summer. Let’s get started with the quarterbacks. Feel free to discuss in the comments below after reading!


[Please note, a low ranking does not mean someone is a bad player. These players are the best of the best in the entire world, and these rankings can vary greatly—perhaps more interesting would be getting thoughts on coaches and executives in the NFL. The process of creating these rankings included composite rankings that were put together from people that actually watched these players play (not just ranking randomly without watching), but obviously there are many thoughts and opinions out there.]


1. Tom Brady, Patriots

There are a lot of awesome quarterbacks, but there is no way the greatest quarterback of all-time cannot be at the top of the list. Brady cemented his already-historic legacy when he led his team to a 25-point comeback in Super Bowl LI, and despite turning 40 in August, there is no better player to build around in 2017 (and beyond) than Brady.  


2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Rodgers “bounced back” from a “sub-par” 2015 (3,821 yards, 31 TD, 8 INT) with an MVP-worthy season last year, and has continued to show that he can do things on a football field that are simply unfathomable to anyone else. Rodgers has a career 297:72 touchdown-interception ratio; it would be surprising if he didn’t get another Lombardi Trophy before he’s done.


3. Matt Ryan, Falcons

Underrated since coming into the league, Matt Ryan forced the football world to respect him last season when he completed 69.9% of his passes for 4,944 yards, 39 touchdowns, and seven interceptions on his way to his first MVP award and Super Bowl appearance. Matty Ice can win at all three levels and has a deep ball that receivers rarely have to break stride for.


4. Andrew Luck, Colts

It’s a shame that Luck hasn’t had the protection or defense to support his greatness since being drafted first overall in 2012, but he remains one of the most talented players in the league, and has the toughness and competitiveness to go along with it. Putting Luck behind a quality offensive line or giving him a strong defense would lead to deep playoff runs for many years.


5. Drew Brees, Saints

After throwing for 5,000 yards for the fifth time in his career last season, Drew Brees proved he is still an elite quarterback at the age of 37. Even though Brees turned 38 in January, there is no reason to think his play will drop off anytime soon. Yes, Father Time is undefeated, but this future Hall-of-Famer should be in for another spectacular season this fall.


6. Derek Carr, Raiders

It would have been exciting to see the Raiders and Patriots face each other in the playoffs, but a broken leg suffered by Derek Carr on Christmas Eve all but ended those hopes. The 2014 second-round pick has quickly risen to become one of the league’s premier passers, particularly last season when he reigned in his cannon arm to throw just six interceptions. Carr has some gunslinger in him, but he’s thrown just 31 interceptions through three seasons.


7. Marcus Mariota, Titans

We have been higher than most on Mariota’s NFL prospects since he was lighting it up for the Oregon Ducks, and so far, he’s done the same for the Titans. There is still plenty of room to grow, too, as the emerging superstar doesn’t turn 24 until October (for comparison, Carson Wentz, who’s entering his second season, turns 25 in December). Mariota has the elite traits on and off the field, and anyone would be lucky to be able to build around him.


8. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Wilson won a Super Bowl in his second year in the league with a top-tier running game and all-time great defense on his side, but he proved over the past two years that he can carry a team himself. The dual-threat passer threw for a career-high 4,219 yards behind a bottom-tier offensive line last year while he fought leg injuries. Two seasons ago, Wilson threw for 34 touchdowns and just eight interceptions while Marshawn Lynch was ineffective and limited to seven games.


9. Philip Rivers, Chargers

Despite finishing with a career-high 21 interceptions in 2016, Rivers has a lot left to offer, and the Chargers are loading up on both sides of the ball to make a run for the playoffs (and playoff run). He’s been up-and-down throughout his postseason career with just one AFC Championship game appearance, but Rivers has been doing a lot without as much help as some other guys. A John Elway-like close to his career could certainly be possible for the 35-year-old quarterback.


10. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Yes, Big Ben can be dramatic at times, but he still has the size, arm strength, and toughness that helps keep the Steelers competitive every single year. The two-time Super Bowl champion talked retirement this offseason, but that should in no way impact his play in 2017. Roethlisberger will keep his team in the game even if the defense bleeds yards and points to the opposing team.


11. Cam Newton, Panthers

The 2015 NFL MVP had a serious Super Bowl hangover last year, as he had the worst season of his career and the Panthers failed to make the postseason. It was not all on him, though, and a bounce back should be coming for Cam and Carolina. Newton still has work to do as a passer, but he—as a quarterback—is one of the most gifted goal-line runners in the league to go along with his cannon arm. If Newton can be more consistent with his accuracy like in his MVP season, he would surely climb these rankings.


12. Alex Smith, Chiefs

Call Alex Smith what you want, but the dude wins games. After a rocky start to his career on a talent-deficient Niners team, Smith has gone 60-25-1 (.703 winning percentage) since 2011 with San Francisco and Kansas City, including 11-win seasons in three of four years with the Chiefs. The former #1 overall pick can move an offense with his arm or his legs.


13. Sam Bradford, Vikings

All Bradford did after getting traded to Minnesota shortly before the regular season was break the NFL single-season completion percentage record (71.6%), throw for almost 4,000 yards, and have a touchdown-interception ratio of 20:5. And all of that was done with barely any time to learn the offense and one of the worst offensive lines in recent memory protecting him (along with one of the worst running games in history). Bradford has elite arm strength, elite accuracy, and elite intelligence, plus underrated mobility and toughness.


14. Joe Flacco, Ravens

Playoff Flacco is definitely elite, and there is no arguing that. In 2012, when the Ravens won it all, Flacco went 282/2/0, 331/3/0, 240/3/0, and 287/3/0 through the postseason, making clutch play after clutch play. Overall, Flacco is 10-5 in the playoffs, and he played well enough to win a few more games, including in 2014 against the Patriots when he threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns in duel with Tom Brady that Baltimore lost 35-31.


15. Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Prescott was sensational as a rookie, leading the Cowboys to the #1 seed in the NFC before Aaron Rodgers happened in the Divisional Round. Throwing for 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions is no small task, but Dak did have an awful lot of help. Still, he showed poise and accuracy all year, and it’s easy to forget that he was clutch in the playoff loss to Green Bay. Prescott looks like the real deal as the next great Cowboys quarterback.


16. Kirk Cousins, Redskins

The reason the Redskins seem hesitant to commit to Cousins with a long-term deal is that they feel Jay Gruden’s offense is responsible for a lot of the numbers the quarterback puts up. While that may be true, Cousins is a great competitor that has made some big-time throws over the past two-plus seasons. He needs to avoid the careless plays, but Cousins is one of the better quarterbacks in the league.


17. Matthew Stafford, Lions

A breakout, 5,000-yard, 41-touchdown campaign in 2011 showed that Stafford was for real, but he has only thrown for more than 30 touchdowns just once since then. He has matured as a passer, though, and will try to cut down on the interceptions again after throwing just ten in 2016. Like Derek Carr and others, Stafford will always have some gunslinger in him, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing if he can keep it reigned in.


18. Deshaun Watson, Texans

Watson needs to prove it in the league, but he’s got the total package as a player and person to be almost as great as he was at Clemson. The 12th overall pick brings leadership and a winning prestige to the Texans, and can take them from one-and-done playoff team to perennial Super Bowl contender. Watson has very similar traits to Dak Prescott.


19. Tyrod Taylor, Bills

After backing up Joe Flacco for four years in Baltimore, Tyrod signed with Buffalo and has been very good for them over the past two seasons. Taylor has thrown just six interceptions in both years as the starter while spending a lot of time without his star receiver Sammy Watkins to throw to. Not only does Taylor have one of the prettiest deep balls in the league, but he also can scramble to make a play as either a passer or runner.


20. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

The responsibility of being the face of the franchise hasn’t affected Winston, and he’s definitely matured since entering the league. Jameis has always had a bright football mind, and it will be fun to watch him on Hard Knocks this summer. Having just turned 23 in January, there is plenty of time for Winston to turn into the upper-echelon quarterback many thought he would be coming out of Florida State.


21. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

Palmer looked like a completely different player in 2016 after being a legitimate MVP candidate in 2015, but John Brown was dealing with issues all year and Michael Floyd wasn’t even on the team by Christmas. Over 2014 and 2015, Palmer went 19-3 with the Cardinals, and for all his struggles, he did throw for 4,233 yards and 26 touchdowns last season; Palmer can be successful in his age-38 season.


22. Eli Manning, Giants

Ben McAdoo being promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach was supposed to allow the Giants offense to really takeoff, but Eli and company took a step back in 2016. After throwing 16 interceptions last year, Manning has now thrown at least 14 picks in every season as a starter except for in 2008 (when he threw 10). Now 36-years-old, Eli needs to be more consistent with his accuracy and decision-making, especially with all the weapons surrounding him.


23. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

A knee injury kept Tannehill out of the last three regular season games and the playoffs in the first-year of the Adam Gase era, and hopefully he will be better with more of a grasp on the system in 2017. Tannehill did a nice job moving the offense and made some key plays for Miami, but his interception percentage was a career-high 3.1%. He did improve his deep ball last year, and Tannehill will need to make more strides as he enters his sixth season.


24. Jared Goff, Rams

It’s lazy to characterize Goff as a bust after one season, as he had the pressures of being the first overall pick, being on Hard Knocks, playing the Rams first season back in LA, and having his head coach get fired, not to mention a poor offensive line and weak skill position players to support him. Also, Goff faced a transition after playing in Cal’s spread offense. New head coach Sean McVay should be able to unlock the potential that we know is there for Goff.


25. Andy Dalton, Bengals

Dalton has been in the playoffs four times since being drafted in the second round by the Bengals in 2011, and they have been one-and-done each time. In those games, Dalton is throwing for just 218.3 yards per game and has a touchdown-interception ratio of just 1:6. He’s been better in the regular season over the past two seasons, but the Bengals need more out of Dalton when it matters if they want to break their playoff-win drought.


26. Carson Wentz, Eagles

After starting off his rookie year 3-0 and throwing for five touchdowns and not turning the ball over, Wentz and the Eagles went 4-9 the rest of the way as the talented passer saw his mechanics break down and his decision-making wane. Defenses might have caught up to Wentz, but he is clearly a really talented player and guy, and hopefully cleaned up some things and does a better job reading the defense in 2017.


27. Cody Kessler, Browns

Kessler went 0-8 and was oft-injured in his rookie season, but he played really well on a one-win team. The third-round pick completed 65.6% of his passes, throwing for six touchdowns and just two interceptions, and will have a chance to prove himself as he heads into training camp as the starter for the Browns. Kessler might not have the big-time arm or elite athleticism, but he’s accurate, intelligent, and plays within the offense.


28. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

Bortles broke out in 2015, throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns, which trailed only Tom Brady’s 36. However, he also threw a league-high 18 interceptions, and his play took a step back in 2016. Bortles was dealing with a shoulder injury (both shoulders, actually), so maybe his decline in play could be contributed to that, but he needs to be better either way in 2017. The Jaguars are ready to make a big jump, and quality quarterback play is required.


29. Josh McCown, Jets

When McCown suits up for the Jets this September, he will have played for 25% of the league, as New York is his eighth destination. The veteran journeyman has shown flashes of solid play, particularly in 2013 when he stepped in for Jay Cutler and threw for 13 touchdowns and just one interception. The Jets will rely on him for veteran mentorship in what looks like a lost season, but you never know in the NFL.


30. Trevor Siemian, Broncos

Siemian was a nice surprise in 2016, winning the starting job and going 8-6 as the starter for Denver. The former Northwestern quarterback will have to hold off 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch for the job, but he is probably the favorite to start. Siemian—if he wins the job—will need to play well in Mike McCoy’s offense with good weapons around him to stay in the lineup.


31. Brian Hoyer, 49ers

Over the past two seasons with Houston and Chicago, Hoyer has been efficient operating the offense, completing over 62% of his passes with 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. It is hard to forget how his time with the Texans ended, though, as a disastrous four-interception game led to a shutout loss against Kansas City in the playoffs—and the game wasn’t even at Arrowhead. Hoyer will be a steady triggerman as the bridge quarterback in Kyle Shanahan’s offense in 2017.


32. Mike Glennon, Bears

Glennon has put up good numbers in his 21 career games (4,100 yards and a 30:15 touchdown-interception ratio), but has now seen the Bucs select Jameis Winston and the Bears select Mitchell Trubisky, both in the top-five, when it looked like he’d get a chance to be the starter. On the surface, it looked like Glennon was paid as a starter, but Trubisky should be making starts sooner rather than later. 


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