The quarterback position is the most important in sports. Either you have a guy who you believe can get you to the Super Bowl or you’re looking for the next guy. We ranked the projected NFL starting quarterbacks 1-32 and next are numbers 17-24. It’s possible that none of these guys will be starting quarterbacks by season’s end and this could be the last stop for some. We explain in the rankings why each of the quarterbacks are in their respective positions.
17. Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub is another quarterback who can be labeled “solid but unspectacular”. Schaub has the benefit of working with a great running game, one of the best offensive lines in football and a future Hall of Fame wide receiver in Andre Johnson. Schaub is a manager/distributor extraordinaire who has struggled in his playoff cameos and there is serious concern whether Schaub has already peaked.
18. Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford is somewhat of an enigma as nobody really knows whether he can play at a high level or not. After a very promising rookie season Bradford really seemed to regress and much of the regression can be blamed upon the porous offensive line and lack of weapons on the outside. Bradford now has a speedy set of young wideouts with a reinforced line so we should have an idea whether Sam can be a franchise guy. The Rams have bet big on him as they traded last year’s second-overall draft pick (Robert Griffin, III).
19. Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers is another tale of a team doing it’s franchise quarterback wrong. Former GM A.J. Smith took away each of Rivers weapons, one by one and expected his quarterback to get better. All it did was mess with Rivers head and force him to make plays that virtually no quarterback can, thus turning into a turnover machine. Rivers prognosis doesn’t appear to be better in 2013 as he still has a similar mediocre cast of weapons with Antonio Gates one more year older.
20. Alex Smith
If Andy Dalton is a game manager, Alex Smith is a game manager plus. Smith has some physical limitations (arm strength, hand size) that will keep him from becoming “elite” but with good coaching he’s learned to play to the best of his skill-set and it’s good enough to win with in the regular season. Smith will be an enormous upgrade over Matt Cassel in Kansas City and they should be the most improved team in football in 2013.
21. Ryan Tannehill
The Dolphins dynamic rookie was mostly overshadowed (and rightfully so) by the heroic feats of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson last season. Still, Tannehill has exciting upside as he’s deadly accurate on the run, has a strong arm and is more athletic than people think. Tannehill hit a rookie wall roughly halfway through 2012 and now he’s surrounded by significantly more talent on the outside to make his job easier. Tannehill should rise up this list by season’s end.
22. Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman is consistently inconsistent. He can play flawlessly for up to three weeks at a time and then look like the league’s worst quarterback for a similar stretch. Josh struggles with underneath accuracy, doesn’t utilize his athleticism enough (perhaps not his fault) and struggles to read defenses. 2013 will be the first season where he has had the same offensive system twice and he has some of the best surrounding weapons in the league. It’s certainly a make or break season as Freeman is entering the final year of his deal.
23. Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton is the ultimate game manager and that’s not a compliment. Dalton makes all the easy throws and some of the tough ones when playing against inferior competition. Dalton usually isn’t the entire reason when the Bengals lose, but nobody can say with any kind of certainty that he’s the reason why they win. He’s the perfect “don’t screw it up” type of quarterback but that just doesn’t cut it in the league right now. If Dalton doesn’t play better in big games this season the Bengals may look for an upgrade.
24. Mark Sanchez
Mark Sanchez is a lost quarterback who needs to find his way. Although it seems like a lifetime ago that Sanchez led the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games, it was only three years ago. Sanchez is still only 26 years old and has enough time to revive his career but it likely won’t be in New York. Seemingly no incumbent starter can fight off a highly drafted rookie and especially not one who struggled mightily a season ago, so much so that he was benched for Greg McElroy. Sanchez is still a talented guy but he desperately needs a change of scenery.
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