Rating the Backup Quarterbacks – AFC Edition
Heading into the regular season, most teams feel that with the new year, comes a new opportunity to make a Super Bowl run. Every potential champion, however, is often only as good as the quarterback who leads the team. Each team is painfully aware that their starting QB is often only a play away from a season ending injury. Should something happen to the starter, a team will have to rely on their backup, whether they be a young gun, a journeyman, or an aging veteran at the end of an productive career.
In this article I try to rank each of the backup QBs, but do is based on their respective level of experience. For purposes of categorization, I have broken the backups into three groups, as mentioned above – Young Guns, Journeymen, and Veterans. I use these rather loosely as there is some overlap. But a Young Gun is generally a QB with under 3 years of experience that has potential but needs grooming. A Veteran is, as you’d expect, a QB who is in the twilight of his career as serves as an experienced second-stringer in the event the starter is hurt. The Journeyman category is a little harder to define, as it generally is a guy who has jumped around from roster to roster. However, it may also include a guy who is too old to really groom, but hasn’t had significant experience. We actually don’t have a lot of veteran QBs who have a lot of experience, so for the sake of this article, I’ve placed a few 30+ QBs in the ‘Veteran’ category who could also be described as Journeymen. No biggie.
In putting together these rankings, I’m not really looking at their actual statistics, but mostly their attributes. We’ve all seen guys who play above and below what we’d expect from their Madden numbers, but as there are no actual ‘intangible’ qualities to these computer generated field generals, I’ve focused mostly on their AWR, THP, and THA. I may take into account other factors, but these three are the ones I’m relying on mostly. So please don’t start arguing about how that guy I ranked above your guy is a scrambler and too short and all that – just sit back and enjoy the read.
One last note – I saw several teams with only 2 QBs on their roster, so that’s what I worked with. If you are about to finalize a free agent signing and it’s not represented here, well, wait for the 2015 edition.
What that, I give you the Rankings:
1. Carson Palmer, Jaguars. You can get a much better back-up than Carson Palmer. He’s lost a step and some steam on the ball, but is reliable and steady.
2. Matt Leinert, Steelers. Of the backups out there, you can’t get a much better mix of accuracy and power.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ravens. Fitzpatrick doesn’t put a lot on the ball, but he’s got decent awareness.
4. Trent Edwards, Titans. Average awareness and accuracy, but below average arm.
5. Byron Leftwich, Colts. Even at 34 years old, Leftwich has a cannon for an arm. Though not sure if that cannon could hit the side of a barn.
1. Russell Wilson, Dolphins. Yes, he’s undersized, but of the younger guys, he’s got the best combination of skills, right now.
2. Ryan Mallet, Broncos. With 98 THP, he gets your attention. If he can get his AWR up he’ll be a franchise QB.
3. Collin Klein, Bengals. Everybody loves this kid’s smarts and accuracy. But that arm is weak. Then again, he may wind up the starter.
4. Denard Robinson, Raiders. He’s a tad short, but has potential if the Raiders are willing to groom him.
5. Matthew Tebow, Chiefs. The Chiefs aren’t that good with Luck in there, with Tebow, look out.
6. Tyrod Taylor, Patriots. He’s got a monster arm, but how much grooming does it take to raise an AWR of 48?
1. Kevin Kolb, Jets. Kolb’s nice little skill set has never translated to much success (62 TDs-62 INTs) but he can hold down the fort for a few weeks.
2. Terence Bennett, Texans. At 26, Bennett may be better labeled a Young Gun, and his mix of attributes means he has some solid potential.
3. Matt Moore, Browns. Moore’s attributes are the kind you’d like to see on a QB who is 23, not 30.
4. Kellen Clemens, Bills. A decent arm, but not much else should RGIII go down.
5. Pat Devlin, Chargers. Although he’s 26 and has some time to develop, his 72 THA means that he likely never will.