With the 2016-2017 NFL season well in conclusion and the NFL scouting combine on our way, a handful of teams are still scrambling around to build their team around a franchise quarterback. But what is the formula in finding a franchise quarterback? Take a look at the most recent Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady. With the Patriots’ Super Bowl 51 victory, Brady just picked up his fifth Super Bowl ring. However, the Patriots selected Brady in the sixth round at the 199th overall pick. Most quarterbacks taken in the sixth round struggle to make the roster, let alone win a Super Bowl. Taking a quarterback early in the draft does not always pan out for franchises either, take a look at Brandon Weeden, Matt Leinart, Sam Bradford and the list goes on. You can attempt to trade for or sign a free agent quarteback but a lot of the times you end up overpaying a guy, i.e. Brock Osweiler.
As the 2017 draft approaches, few teams are still searching for that franchise quarterback, others have aging quarterbacks and are looking for successors and the rest of the teams have both and can focus on getting better at other positions.
Since the quarterback position is the most valued in this era of football, why don’t we take a look at each team’s starting quarterback situation and rank them from worst to last. For teams who had multiple starters last season, we will go off of who started the most games.
32. Cody Kessler – Cleveland Browns
2016 Stats: 65.6% completion, 1,380 passing yards, 6 TDs, 2 Int, sacked 21 times
The Browns went into this season with Robert Griffin III as their opening day starter as he looked to make a revival in his career. But things did not pan out as he missed most of the season with a shoulder injury that led to a quarterback carousel in Cleveland. Josh McCown took over as the starter, but got hurt after 3 games, that forced Kessler into the starting role. It doesn’t help that Kessler played for the worst team in the NFL and ideally the Browns did not want their rookie to start right away. With the 1st overall pick, it will be interesting to see if the Browns take a quarterback first overall. They have a ton of needs everywhere else but getting a franchise quarterback at some point in this draft has to be their main priority.
31. Ryan Fitzpartrick – New York Jets
2016 Stats: 56.6% completion, 2,710 passing yards, 12 TDs, 17 Int, 44 QBR
After a career year with the Jets in 2015 where Fitzpatrick and the Jets came up just short of the playoffs with a 10-6 record, the following offseason did not go as smoothly for the two parties. Fitzpatrick wanted a long term deal and the Jets refused to do so. The two parties finally agreed to a contract, but it was well late into the preseason, and that greatly effected Fitzpatrick’s perfomance. The Jets mid-season decided to bench Fitzpatrick for Geno Smith, but he tore his ACL shortly and was done for the season. Look for the Jets to pursue a new quarterback via free agency or the upcoming draft.
30. Case Keenum/Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams
2016 Stats: 60.9%/54.6% completion, 2,201/1,089 passing yards, 9/5 TDs, 11/7 Int
Well, the Rams struggled offensively, their is no doubting that. Despite Keenum starting two more games than rookie Goff, I included both quarterbacks because the Rams benched Keenum and seemed ready to start the Goff era in Los Angeles. The Rams traded this year’s 1st round pick to draft Goff last year, so the Rams rebuilding process might take awhile. Hard to say how good Goff is at this point, because the Rams had zero weapons for him offensively. If Goff gets a better O-line and a serious threat at wide receiver, that trade made by the Rams might look like a good decision in the future.
29. Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos
2016 Stats: 59.5% completion, 3,401 passing yards, 18 TDs, 10 Int, sacked 31 times
Make no mistake, the Broncos made a smart decision in not paying Brock Osweiler tons of money to be the starter quarterback last offseason, but their backup plan was not much better. After Peyton Manning’s retirement, the Broncos were left in a tough bind and were forced to go with second year player Siemian. Siemian never saw the field, let alone make a pass attempt before the 2016 season and at times it showed. Denver was fortunate to have a loaded defense, but once the injury bug kicked in midway through the season, Siemian and the Broncos fell flat. Broncos still have a very good defense and with a good veteran quarterback such as Romo, the Broncos can return to the playoffs and their dominance we saw a couple years ago.
28. Colin Kaepernick – San Fransico 49ers
2016 Stats: 59.2% completion, 2,241 passing yards, 16 TDs, 4 Int, 468 rushing yards
The 49ers opened the season with Blaine Gabbert as their opening day starter but after struggling in the first handful of games, the team turned to ex-pro bowler Kaepernick. He had flashes of moments where he looked like the old Kaepernick that led the red and gold to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season. But Kaepernick was getting more media attention for his off the field protests and his kneeling during the national anthem than what his production on the field. Does he still have talent? Yes, but it seems like he’s reached his ceiling and the good defenses around the league have figured him out. With his contract expired, look for the 49ers to draft a quarterback or two in the draft and Kaepernick to be wearing a different uniform.
27. Matt Barkley/Brian Hoyer/Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
2016 Stats: 59.7%/ 67%/ 59.1%, 8/6/4 TDs, 14/0/5 Int, 46.3 combined QBR
Similar to the Browns, the Bears had a carousel at the quarterbak position last year and it was atrocious to watch. Cutler was the opening day starter but got hurt a few weeks in, backup QB Brian Hoyer got hurt after a handful of starts and that led to Barkley receiving most of the playing time later in the season as he started six games, the others five a piece. The Bears’ contract with Cutler might be one of the worst in NFL history and the Bears will pay for it dearly the next few years. Neither passer could eclipse 1,700 passing yards on the season. But hey, at least Chicago has the Cubs.
26. Brock Osweiler – Houston Texans
2016 Stats: 59% completion, 2,957 passing yards, 15 TDs, 16 Int, 63.9 QBR in 2016 playoffs
The fact the Texans have consistently made the playoffs the past few years with different mediocre quarterbacks is truly a testament to how good their defense is. After signing a 4-year $72 million contract in the offseason, Osweiler definitely fell short of the Texans’ expectations. Fortunately for them, only the first two years on the contract were fully guaranteed so Houston can move on from Osweiler after this year if they choose too. Poor decision making and missing wide open wide receivers led to Osweiler’s benching late in the season to backup Tom Savage. But Savage’s injury right before playoffs led to Osweiler starting for Houston again. If there is any positive to take from Osweiler’s season is that he played much better in the playoffs than he did all of the regular season.
25. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
2016 Stats: 58.9% completion, 3,905 passing yards, 23 TDs, 16 Int, 48.9 QBR
After having an impressive 2015-16 season, the hopes were high for Bortles and the Jags prior to the season’s start. Jacksonville brought in a lot more talent on both sides of the ball and it look like they hard the formula to compete in the AFC South…guess again. Bortles got off to a terrible to the season throwing six interceptions in the first three games. The Jaguars offense looked so bad this season that in December the front office decided to fire head coach Gus Bradley. The good news: Bortles and the offense seemed to run smoother under interim head coach Doug Marrone and Marrone was hired full time to keep the position.