Russell Wilson and 31 other QBs

Last year a number of my friends turned from casual pigskin fans, into hardcore NFL fans. Meaning in a quiet pub in the South East of England it is not unheard of for a drunken argument to take place over a sport that is still considered underground in this country. Nearly every argument that I have had with friends over gridiron has ended up with one of them uttering these words that make my blood boil “Russell Wilson is the Elite QB the Seahawks need”. At this point I get flustered, growl and walk away mumbling about the skills needed to make it in the NFL and how this is Cutler’s year. So this morning I decided enough is enough. I will rank my top 32 QBs in groups and include reasonable arguments for why I am obviously right. If at the end this you disagree with me, then fair enough, but at least I will have said my piece and we can get on with discussing what happened in my awful Fantasy NFL performances last year. Anyway lets start at the bottom. I think I can say there is no argument with these first few choices.

The ‘Really….you’re starting the season with him’, group

32) Gabbert- Jags

31) Sanchez- Jets

30) Flynn- Raiders

29) Kolb- Bills

Would any team ideally want to go into the season with one of these guys? I think its important to point out a couple of things. Flynn is in the list simply because he is an unknown quantity that could surprise everyone especially with a Raiders receiving corps that’s beginning to find its feet. I think the list changes if the Jags go with Henne then they go above the Jets. The Jags are up against it with star receiver Blackmon out for the first 4 games after violating the leagues substance abuse policy. There is opportunity for change in the Jets and Bills with 2 rookie  backups that are expected to do big things. I would think we will see their appearance in the first 3 regular season games, if not the first.

The ‘They showed so much promise’, group

28) Palmer- Cards

27) Locker- Titans

26) Vick- Eagles

25) Smith- Chiefs

With the season we’ve been promised by anyone involved with these teams, we could see any of these shoot up this list. However I just can’t see it. Lets start with Palmer. He joins a long list of underwhelming Cardinals QBs that dates back to Kurt Warner’s retirement. There is obvious potential with a talent like Fitzgerald at WR and an Offensive minded Head Coach in Arians, but Palmer has never lived up to the potential promised after leaving college and I can’t see it happening now. The Titans really don’t know what to do with Locker. His accuracy issues have led the Titans to promise use of the ‘Read option’, more in a lack lustre offense. In my opinion this is mistake. He is clearly athletic, but do you really want to give him the option to move out of the pocket when he can barely hit a receiver whilst in the pocket. In truth Locker will be spending most of his time handing the ball to the running back tandem of Greene and Johnson, who also both have a massive amount to prove. There is a very good chance that Vick doesn’t finish the season as the starting QB for the Eagles and Noles takes charge of the offense. In truth no-one has a clue what Chip Kelly has planned for the NFL. All I will say is expect whoever is in charge to take some time to get a grip on a very different offense. Smith has had one good season with some average receivers. Now he has the likes of Dwayne Bowe to work with and I fully expect his season to be decidedly average. Whilst he can complete pass after pass, they very rarely tend to be further than a few yards. To get the most of Smith Kansas will need a ‘yards after catch’, receiver rather than a spectacular ‘catch a bomb in the endzone type’ like Bowe.

The ‘Did you see that awesome play from this dude, said no-one ever’, group

24) Weeden- Browns

23) Dalton- Bengals

22) Ponder- Vikings

21) Bradford- Rams

20) Freeman- Bucs

19) Schaub- Texans

Every team in this group has serious playoff potential…yes including the Browns (anyone that knows me will be sick of hearing about that). What we have here is a list of dull ‘game manager’ QBs. The only one who will be making a vast improvement on this list is Weeden and that’s only to move up to this group. However they all have an amazing supporting cast that could easily just rely on this list, to not turn the ball over. Bradford has an opportunity to make some waves this year but I’d imagine he’ll just stay on this list. Expect every single one of them to be on the same team, but also don’t expect pro-bowls from them.

The ‘Wow did you see that awesome play from this dude….oh did you see that awful play from this dude’ group

18) Tannehill- Dolphins

17) Rivers- Chargers

16) Wilson- Seahawks

15) Romo- Cowboys

14) Cutler- Bears

So a lot to talk about here. Firstly, yes this is as good as I think Wilson is. But we’ll get to that later. Secondly anyone that knows me will know I whinged when Cutler was ranked 16th on a poll of QBs and I’ve listed him at 14….so I do apologise for previous outbursts. Anyway all of these guys have massive potential to have an incredible season and drag their teams kicking and screaming into the playoffs. All of these QBs have potential to make the pro bowl and a lot of them are backed up by incredible receiving talent. ‘Wilson at 16?’ I hear you ask, it does seem he is the one player the rest of the world loves and I’m seemingly ‘meh’, about. So lets start with his height. On its own, not a problem I get it. However to even see over his linemen he needs to make a 5 step drop, couple that with a low release and seeming an inability to get height on the ball we’re looking at a problem. Also as every Defensive Coordinator has been working hard at eliminating the read option, he probably wont even have that to fall back on. It is also worth noting that he only had one game where he threw for over 300 yards last season. However in his favour adding a  player like Harvin, who you can line up anywhere and gets yards after catch will always help. Finally with a dominant D like the Seahawks have, he probably won’t have to throw deep too often. I’m fully prepared for Wilson to lead the Seahawks to the playoffs and I will hold my hand up if I’m wrong, but I don’t see him setting the world on fire. Every one else on this list has a lot to prove. The Dolphins and the Bears have added some serious talent to the offense and now the QBs have no excuses. As for Romo and Rivers, they just need to repay the faith that’s been shown in them.

The ‘How did he do that???’, group

13) Stafford- Lions

12) Newton- Panthers

11) Ryan- Falcons

10) Roethlisberger- Steelers

Fans from every one of the above teams have witnessed some amazing feats and are looking at a QB who will probably not be replaced any time soon. I expect Newton to recover from a disappointing season after he began to pick up his game towards the end. What I like about Newton is his ability to throw a bomb. Something that will come in handy as Defensive Coordinators get to grips with stifling QB running plays. Roethlisberger has been plagued by injuries, but there is no doubt that when he’s hot….he’s really hot. Ryan and Stafford have the weapons to make it to the playoffs and have proved themselves ‘clutch’, in tough situations. If any of these guys has a great season they have the chance to move up the list.

The ‘Young and the Restless’, group

9) Kaepernick- 49ers

8) RG3- Redskins

7) Flacco- Ravens

6) Manning E- Giants

5) Luck- Colts

There is no doubt about how talented the 5 names above are. Each one of them has had to prove themselves and come through that relatively unscathed. Each one of them has proved how well they handle pressure. So lets look at Kaepernick. Here we have a QB that stepped out of the shadow and proved he had a unique skill set that led the niners all the way to a superbowl. What I like about Kaepernick is his arm strength. The man can launch a bomb and has the mobility to move around in the pocket. I’ve mentioned before about how I think the Read option will be less of a factor this year and think Kaepernick can handle settling down to become a mobile pocket passer. Also take his play in the superbowl. If you’re given that much to think about, then things go wrong. If you put a mobile QB up against a half decent safety then you’ll have to expect being picked off more than once. Same could be said for RG3, he will need to become a pocket passer just to make sure he doesn’t suffer another injury like last season and can have a long successful career. Both have proved they can do and both could actually improve as a QB if they dedicate themselves to becoming almost a pure passer. Both Flacco and Manning are superbowl winners and have proved they deserve to be high up on any QB rankings. Finally Luck in my opinion is close to being included on the next list. He has shown he is ready to take the next step, just needs to get the amount of interceptions down. If what we’ve heard is true, a run first mentality in Indianapolis should improve his play.

The ‘Best of the Best’ group

4) Brees- Saints

3) Manning P- Broncos

2) Brady- Patriots

1) Rodgers- Packers

So this is the top 4 QBs and there really is no surprises. Brees, Manning and Brady are beginning to get up in age but still retain the top spot for at least a few more years. There really is very little to say about how talented each of these players is with 6 superbowls between them. As for Rodgers, there really is very little you can say. He has perfect pocket presence with an average O-line and with a revolving door of receivers. He can run when he needs to, he has perfect accuracy and always stays cool under pressure. This is more than high praise coming from a Bears fan.

Anyway that’s my list, feel free to let me know your opinions on my list, but I promise you wont change my mind about Russell Wilson.