NFL

B/R NFL 1000: Top 65 Quarterbacks

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 17, 2014

B/R NFL 1000: Top 65 Quarterbacks

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Editor's note: This is the first installment in Bleacher Report's NFL 1000 for the 2013 season. This signature series runs through April 24, with NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller ranking the best players at every position. You can read more about the series in this introductory article. See the NFL 1000 page for more rankings as they are published.

    Throw away the past, the potential and the future. Look at just this year. Who was the best quarterback in 2013? Who was the worst? That’s what this ranking of signal-callers aims to identify. Throw out the narratives and the fantasy football stats and dig into the film. Then we’ll see who comes out on top.

    The B/R 1000 metric is based heavily on scouting each player and grading the key criteria for each position. The criteria are weighted according to importance for a possible best score of 100.

    Potential is not taken into consideration. Nor are career accomplishments.

    Quarterbacks are judged on accuracy (35 points), arm strength (15), decision making (30), mechanics (15) and mobility (5). 

    In the case of ties, our team asked, "Which player would I rather have on my team?" and set the rankings accordingly.

    Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.

    Each player was scouted by me and a team of experienced evaluators, with these key criteria in mind. The following scouting reports and grades are the work of months of film study from our team.

     

    All statistics from Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Players' heights, weights and seasons played from NFL.com.

65. Tyrod Taylor, Baltimore Ravens

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    18/35

    Tyrod Taylor (6'1", 215 lbs, three seasons) can make very difficult throws, but his ball placement on easier passes is a major concern. He forces too many difficult receptions for his receivers in situations where it’s not necessary.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Taylor has good arm strength, but his velocity is inconsistent. There are times when it appears that he trusts his arm more than he should and doesn’t put enough effort into his throwing motion.

    Decision Making

    22/30

    At this point in his career, Taylor should be expected to be reading defenses better. He doesn’t get past his first read without checking down or moving his feet to scramble. It’s tough to develop when you’re not playing, but he still needs to get better in this area.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Taylor has a quick, compact release, but his balance needs to improve as he lets the ball go. His agility and size appear to work against him when releasing passes down the field.

    Mobility

    4/5

    Taylor is elusive and has a lot of value running the read-option for the Ravens.

    Overall

    66/100

    The talent is all there, and he is still just 24, but it appears unlikely that Taylor will develop into a starter without getting more time on the field during the regular season.

64. Curtis Painter, New York Giants

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    20/35

    In throwing to the sidelines, Curtis Painter (6'4", 230 lbs, four seasons) rarely gives his receiver a chance to make a play on the ball, while his accuracy throwing over the middle typically takes away any yards-after-the-catch potential.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Painter doesn’t create velocity on his passes, and he struggles to push the ball down the field.

    Decision Making

    21/30

    When he keeps his eye discipline, Painter is able to make good decisions and find open receivers. However, too often he panics in the pocket and doesn’t keep his eyes on his receivers.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Painter’s release is fine, but he often struggles to settle on his feet in the pocket.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He is a pocket quarterback with just enough athleticism to execute rollouts into the flat.

    Overall

    66/100

    Painter is fortunate to have a backup job, and he may not have one for long if Ryan Nassib develops.

63. Matt Simms, New York Jets

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    14/35

    Matt Simms (6'3", 210 lbs, one season) doesn’t consistently throw an easily caught ball even when he is under no pressure and his receivers are wide open. His ball placement is poor, and he doesn’t throw to a spot where only his receiver can catch it. 

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Simms doesn’t have a huge arm, but he can create velocity on his underneath passes and push the ball down the field when he sets his feet.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Too often Simms stared down his first read and forced inaccurate passes to covered receivers. It was a recipe for disaster that should have resulted in more interceptions.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Simms has nimble feet with a quick, compact release. However, his throwing motion is awkward and appears to affect his accuracy. He needs to keep his elbow tighter to his body and drop the ball farther behind his head to get more purchase on his passes.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He showed some excellent acceleration when under pressure in the pocket, but Simms isn’t a dangerous athlete by any stretch of the imagination.

    Overall

    66/100

    Simms has a lot of work to do if he is to even be a long-term backup in the NFL.

62. Charlie Whitehurst, San Diego Chargers

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    18/35

    Charlie Whitehurst (6'5", 226 lbs, eight seasons) doesn’t complete many difficult throws. He has a high release that allows him to be accurate to underneath receivers, but his ball placement farther down the field isn’t impressive.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Whitehurst has a good enough arm to be successful at this level, but not an overly impressive one. He can create velocity on underneath passes, but that velocity is less consistent when pushing the ball down the field.

    Decision Making

    24/30

    Whitehurst is a smart quarterback who will go through his reads. He still makes bad decisions, but he appears to have the mental acumen to be a starter in the NFL.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Whitehurst has a quick and high release, but not a compact one. He has a looping throwing motion that is similar to that of Byron Leftwich. It is something that would be a major concern working against better edge-rushers in the regular season/playoffs as opposed to the preseason.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Whitehurst demonstrated in the regular season that he can be elusive behind the line of scrimmage and threaten to scramble in space.

    Overall

    67/100

    As a backup who isn’t expected to play, the spotlight is certainly not on Whitehurst. If he were asked to play, chances are his sloppy mechanics would become a major problem and ultimately cost him his job.

61. Dominique Davis, Atlanta Falcons

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    25/35

    Dominique Davis (6'3", 210 lbs, two seasons) shows a good understanding of how to lead his receivers away from contact. He isn’t a spectacular passer, but he can consistently make the right throws to different areas of the field.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    He creates enough velocity on passes underneath and can sustain it on his throws down the field. He loses some velocity to the sideline at times, but he has a strong enough arm to compete at this level.

    Decision Making

    17/30

    He doesn’t always make the right decision, but Davis does make an effort to read through his progressions. At 24 years of age, this is a good sign for his long-term development.

    Mechanics

    9/15

    Davis has a high release, but his feet are inconsistent. He needs to develop a quicker, more compact throwing motion.

    Mobility

    5/5

    Davis is a fluid quarterback. He seamlessly adjusts in the pocket and has the speed to threaten in space outside.

    Overall

    68/100

    There is obvious potential in Davis. He needs to continue working in the background since he is unlikely to get many opportunities in the spotlight behind Matt Ryan.

60. Josh Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Sharon Ellman/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    18/35

    Josh Johnson (6'3", 205 lbs, five seasons) throws a catchable pass, but he doesn’t lead his receivers away from tight coverage. He isn’t an anticipation thrower. He needs to see his receiver come open before he lets the ball go.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Johnson has a strong arm that allows him to create velocity on the ball down the field without much effort.

    Decision Making

    21/30

    Johnson’s biggest issue is his tendency to run. He is an athletic quarterback, but he can be too quick to take off, which gives his receivers fewer opportunities to make big plays down the field.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Johnson has a quick, compact release, but his accuracy could dramatically improve if he altered his throwing motion. He needs to set his feet quicker and lengthen his throwing motion slightly so he gets more control on the ball's trajectory. 

    Mobility

    5/5

    Johnson is an exceptional athlete who can skip away from defenders in tight spaces or sprint past them in the open field for big gains.

    Overall

    68/100

    At this point in his career, Johnson is what he is. He should remain a backup, but he always offers that threat as a runner if brought onto the field.

59. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    21/35

    Brandon Weeden (6'3", 220 lbs, two seasons) has enough arm strength to make every pass and has  his moments where he throws a perfect ball. But for the most part, he is a problematic passer. He doesn’t use ball placement to lead receivers away from contact or throw receivers open. He doesn’t throw with anticipation and can't consistently fit the ball into tight windows.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Weeden’s big arm is probably the only reason he was taken in the first round of the draft two years ago. He can easily create velocity on passes to the sideline and deep down the field.

    Decision Making

    18/30

    He shows no understanding of how to read or manipulate coverages and forces too many passes into tight windows. Weeden doesn’t read his progressions well and isn’t composed in the pocket. This is the biggest reason why he won’t be a starter in 2014.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Weeden has a clean, compact and relatively quick delivery. The only major concern with his throwing motion is his feet are sometimes too slow at times.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He is not decisive with his movement behind the line of scrimmage, so any athleticism that he does hold isn’t fully effective. He’s never going to be a big scrambler, but he does have the potential to be more elusive.

    Overall

    68/100

    Weeden played poorly as a rookie and didn’t develop in his second season. Falling behind Jason Campbell on the depth chart didn’t just take away his starting spot in Cleveland; it likely took away the only chance he’ll get to be a full-time starter.

58. Luke McCown, New Orleans Saints

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    19/35

    Luke McCown (6'4", 217 lbs, 10 seasons) consistently throws catchable passes to every area of the field. His ball placement is inconsistent, but he shows the understanding of how to lead his receivers away from contact.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    McCown has enough arm strength to be a starter in the NFL. He doesn’t create exceptional velocity on his underneath passes, but he can make throws to the sideline and deep down the field.

    Decision Making

    22/30

    McCown proved to be a smart quarterback during the preseason. He didn’t take big risks and understood where his checkdown was to evade pressure.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    McCown has a high release and creates a good base with his feet. However, neither his feet nor his throwing motion is quick.

    Mobility

    3/5

    McCown can get out and move in the flat when necessary. He’s not an exceptional athlete, but he throws comfortably on the run.

    Overall

    69/100

    Like his brother, Josh, Luke McCown is much too old to offer any franchise long-term starter potential. He should be relied upon as a good backup for Drew Brees in New Orleans.

57. Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Elsa/Getty Images

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    Matt Barkley (6'2", 227 lbs, one season) is an inconsistent passer. His deep accuracy isn’t there because of his underwhelming arm strength. His underneath passes can be excellent, but when he misses one, he is likely to miss two or three more. Barkley needs to get better at rebounding from bad throws, but he showed an understanding of how to lead receivers away from contact and throw with anticipation underneath.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Barkley’s deep ball is a major issue. His passes don’t carry velocity down the field, and that severely hurts his accuracy. However, on shorter passes over the middle of the field and to the sideline, he is able to create impressive torque on the ball.

    Decision Making

    20/30

    Barkley proved during his rookie season that he simply isn’t ready to compete at this level. His hesitation and inability to read coverages cost him during the regular season, while his preseason play wasn’t dramatically better.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Barkley’s footwork is solid, but he needs to speed up and tighten his throwing motion.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Barkley is a pocket passer. At best he will be able to replicate someone like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, who both refined their footwork to become outstanding movers within the pocket.

    Overall

    69/100

    Barkley is a project at this point in his career. Unless his arm gets stronger as he ages, he is unlikely to be a franchise quarterback. However, if he becomes more comfortable reading coverages, he should have a long career as a backup.

56. Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    20/35

    Derek Anderson (6'6", 240 lbs, nine seasons) throws well deep between the numbers. He loses some consistency when throwing to the sideline, and his ball placement is less reliable when trying to fit the ball to receivers underneath.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    He has a cannon arm that allows him to easily push the ball down the field. He creates exceptional velocity without throwing uncatchable passes. 

    Decision Making

    22/30

    Anderson understands how to read through his progressions and find open receivers. He can sometimes be too aggressive pushing the ball down the field, though.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Anderson’s feet need to be quicker in the pocket and when readjusting to read the field. He has heavy feet and a release that sometimes becomes too casual as he relies too much on his arm strength alone.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He is a big, tall quarterback who doesn’t look comfortable on the move.

    Overall

    70/100

    Anderson is a player with the ability to come in and start for a stretch with some degree of success. He isn’t a fully refined quarterback, but his arm talent alone allows him to make many throws that some starters in the league can’t.

55. Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    When he sets his feet and keeps his mechanics in order, Terrelle Pryor (6'4", 233 lbs, three seasons) can be an accurate passer. However, those passes were too few and far between during the 2013 season.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Although he is an excellent athlete, Pryor doesn't create much velocity as a passer. Too often his throws down the field float, and he can't consistently fit the ball into tight windows for his receivers.

    Decision Making

    18/30

    Pryor actually made good decisions to start the season. He made a few mistakes that weren't a major surprise, considering his lack of experience. The problem is, that was his peak. From that point onward, he left too many clean pockets and made too many bad coverage reads. Furthermore, he didn't see the whole field often enough, which cost the Raiders some big plays.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Even at his best during the season, Pryor's mechanics were obviously off. He made too many throws without his feet set underneath him, and his whole motion often looked loose and unstable.

    Mobility

    5/5

    He's possibly the best athlete in the NFL and more than likely the best athlete playing the quarterback position.

    Overall

    70/100

    His Week 1 performance against the Indianapolis Colts actually provided some optimism for Pryor's potential as a quarterback. However, he was exposed as the year went on and could be a candidate to change positions in the offseason.

54. Case Keenum, Houston Texans

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

     

    Accuracy

    20/35

    As a former undrafted prospect, Case Keenum's (6'1", 205 lbs, one season) physical ability to throw the ball was a pleasant surprise. In particular, his deep accuracy proved to be impressive. He needs to develop more consistency in this area, though.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    When Keenum stepped into the starting role, he provided the Texans with a new dimension. His arm strength allowed him to consistently find receivers down the field. Most impressively, he was able to throw the ball across his body to the other side of the field with ease after bootleg play-action to the opposite sideline. He needs to create better velocity on the ball when throwing underneath and to intermediate routes.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Keenum forced too many passes to receivers underneath and showed no ability to react to blitzes or disguised pass rushes. His inability to manage the pocket was what brought him back to the bench late in the season.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Keenum's lack of consistency is his greatest issue in terms of mechanics. There were too many occasions when he threw the ball without his feet set. When his mechanics were good, they were very good, but they needed to be better on a snap-to-snap basis.

    Mobility

    4/5

    He's a quarterback who proved to be adept at escaping the pocket and making throws on the move.

    Overall

    71/100

    This was essentially Keenum’s rookie season. He played well considering the circumstances and clearly has enough physical talent to be a starter. But there was no development from week to week. Keenum’s flaws were fatal and will continue to be unless something dramatically changes.

53. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    20/35

    Matt Hasselbeck (6'4", 235 lbs, 15 seasons) is a limited passer at this stage of his career. Although he can’t throw to every area of the field, he still understands how to throw receivers open and lead them toward space. 

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Hasselbeck still has enough arm strength to be effective at this level, but he’s not going to consistently sustain velocity deep down the field.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    A veteran who has seen everything at this stage of his career, Hasselbeck is able to consistently get rid of the football under pressure and quickly diagnose coverages.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Although he has a tendency to squat somewhat as he releases the football, Hasselbeck has a controlled and effective throwing motion. He has a quick, compact release and sets his feet well to create a strong base.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Hasselbeck was never the most impressive of athletes, and at this stage of his career he is nothing more than a pocket passer.

    Overall

    71/100

    Hasselbeck was essentially signed to be an adviser to Andrew Luck. He isn’t expected to play, but he would likely have been ready to if asked in 2013.

52. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

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    Accuracy

    18/35

    Kirk Cousins (6'3", 209 lbs, two seasons) threw seven interceptions in his five starts, but he should have had many more. He regularly overthrew his intended targets when throwing deep down the field.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Cousins is an effort thrower whose passes floated too often. He has the ability to hit receivers in stride down the field, but there weren't enough examples of that.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    On too many occasions, it appeared that Cousins was making throws that he predetermined before the snap. He also showed the ability to adjust after the snap and go through his progressions, but there wasn't enough consistency.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    His mechanics are clean and crisp for the most part. However, he quickly developed a tendency to fall backward while letting the ball go, and that undoubtedly contributed to his inaccuracy.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Cousins could move enough to run the heavy play-action plays in Mike Shanahan's playbook, but he is far from an impressive athlete.

    Overall

    72/100

    His hype is dying down, and there's little evidence to suggest it will return.

51. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    25/35

    While Matt Schaub's (6'5", 235 lbs, 10 seasons) season got worse as it went on, his passing accuracy wasn't the reason why. He still showed an ability to fit the ball into tight windows and find his receivers early on in the season. But when he returned after being benched, his confidence appeared to be shot.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Schaub's velocity and control on intermediate and underneath passes were fine, but he didn't consistently push the ball down the field. When he did try, his accuracy and timing suffered.

    Decision Making

    22/30

    Schaub had way too many interceptions and didn't get the most out of the weapons around him. Despite the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, Schaub still went through too many stretches when he forced passes to Andre Johnson or checked down to his tight ends too quickly.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Schaub’s mechanics were inconsistent in 2013. He made too many throws when he sacrificed the integrity of his stance to make sure he avoided contact.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Schaub has to be able to move somewhat because of all the bootleg passes he attempts, but he doesn't extend plays or scramble well.

    Overall

    72/100

    At just 32 years of age, Schaub looked like the oldest quarterback in the NFL last season. A lack of confidence appeared to be the greatest issue, as he was often too tentative running the offense.

50. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Ryan Fitzpatrick's (6'2", 223 lbs, nine seasons) inability to throw the ball down the field with consistency is a major problem. He underthrows, overthrows and simply misses open receivers on a regular basis. His accuracy underneath isn’t enough to overcompensate for his overall limitations.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    Even though he has good velocity on his underneath passes and to the middle of the field, Fitzpatrick's arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. His passes down the field float too often, and he can't find receivers down the sideline without huge effort.

    Decision Making

    18/30

    The biggest reason Fitzpatrick is a backup quarterback is his propensity for turnovers. He threw many, many passes that should have been intercepted on top of those that were. Furthermore, Fitzpatrick drops his eyes too quickly when his first option isn't there. 

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Fitzpatrick has a quick, compact release and normally puts his body into his throws with a strong base beneath him. There are times when he doesn't step into throws under pressure, instead choosing to fade backward while releasing the ball.

    Mobility

    3/5

    He's an agile quarterback with the long speed to scramble for first downs. But too often Fitzpatrick's mobility works against him because he becomes unsettled in the pocket and looks to run.

    Overall

    72/100

    Inconsistency kills any potential value in having Fitzpatrick on the field. Too often he killed drives with bad decisions despite connecting well with his receivers before that point.

49. Geno Smith, New York Jets

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    20/35

    Geno Smith (6'2", 221 lbs, one season) has the ability to make throws that your average NFL starter cannot. He showed that off on a number of occasions in 2013, but he also exhibited an incredibly frustrating inconsistency with his accuracy. Smith's ability to find receivers deep down the field is impressive, but he needs to show a better understanding of ball placement when throwing to receivers running short or intermediate routes.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    The ball flies out of Smith's hand. He creates velocity on his arced passes down the field that many quarterbacks can't create when throwing the ball on a rope to receivers running shorter routes.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Smith was smarter than his statistics suggest during his rookie season. Again, like everything with the young quarterback, he simply wasn't consistent enough from week to week. He proved he has the ability to diagnose coverages quickly and throw to open spots before they appear.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    His release is compact and quick, and his feet and posture in the pocket are both excellent. However, Smith needs to be more consistent stepping into his throws and throwing the ball with his body instead of just his arm.

    Mobility

    4/5

    Smith's mobility is more about evading defenders behind the line of scrimmage than breaking off big gains. Even though the Jets used him on many option runs, Smith would be better off as a pure pocket passer.

    Overall

    73/100

    As a rookie, Smith obviously struggled, but he also proved that he has the physical talent and mental acumen to be a franchise quarterback. He just needs to become more consistent.

48. Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Accuracy

    26/35

    Tarvaris Jackson (6'2", 225 lbs, eight seasons) can throw accurately to any area of the field. He has the arm strength and control of the football to fit it into tight windows down the sideline. However, his consistency isn’t fully there. Too many passes get away from him.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    His arm strength isn’t overwhelming, but Jackson comfortably creates enough velocity on the football to find receivers deep down the field. Sometimes his biggest issue is taking some velocity off his underneath passes.

    Decision Making

    20/30

    Jackson is an excellent fit in Darrell Bevell’s offense. He seamlessly rolls out of the pocket and is able to make quick decisions on the move.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Jackson needs to be more uniform with his mechanics. His feet are good, but his release point needs work. 

    Mobility

    4/5

    Even in the latter stages of his career, Jackson is still able to move. He is a scrambling threat and elusive behind the line of scrimmage.

    Overall

    73/100

    He likely will never receive another opportunity to be a full-time starter, but Jackson looks like he has found a perfect home as a backup to Russell Wilson in Seattle.

47. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans

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    Patric Schneider/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    T.J. Yates (6'4", 217 lbs, three seasons) throws a catchable pass and understands how to lead his receivers away from contact. Even though he doesn’t have an exceptionally strong arm, he can fit the ball into well-covered receivers down the field by throwing with anticipation.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    Yates can create impressive velocity on the ball when he is clean in the pocket and can step into his throws. When on the move or under pressure, his passes quickly become inaccurate and lose velocity.

    Decision Making

    20/30

    Yates needs to become better after his first read. He forced too many throws during his short time on the field and didn’t show the awareness he needs to anticipate coverages. 

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Yates will make perfect throws with good footwork and a clean, quick release. However, his consistency isn’t there. He becomes uncomfortable the longer he holds onto the ball.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Yates can adjust in the pocket and escape into the flat behind the line of scrimmage, but he is no real scrambling threat.

    Overall

    73/100

    Although he is still young enough to develop into a starter at 26, the odds are stacked against him right now. It’s unclear how he will fit with the Texans under Bill O’Brien.

46. Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots

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    Accuracy

    20/35

    Ryan Mallett (6'6", 245 lbs, three seasons) doesn’t have precise accuracy. His ball placement won't lead receivers to space or away from contact. Instead, he forces his receivers to make more difficult catches than are necessary.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    Mallett has a huge arm and can spray the ball to any area of the field with sustained velocity. He doesn’t need to put much effort into any of his throws.

    Decision Making

    24/30

    Mallett knows how to locate the open receiver by reading the coverage and throwing the ball on time. Sometimes he is too quick to move his feet, though, which is a problem for a player of his size.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    For such a tall quarterback, Mallett’s release point appears much lower than it should be. He has a relatively quick release, but his feet are also a little on the slow side. Mallett will likely never speed up his feet because of his size, but he can elevate his release point slightly.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Mallett doesn’t have the athleticism to escape the pocket consistently and never looks comfortable when contorting his body to throw on the move.

    Overall

    73/100

    There is a lot of hype surrounding Mallett because of the team he plays for, but he does little to suggest that he can be a full-time starter in the NFL.

45. Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins

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    Accuracy

    22/35

    Matt Moore’s (6'3", 216 lbs, seven seasons) accuracy is unreliable. He can miss wide-open receivers and throw terribly placed passes into coverage but also make impressive timing throws. He needs to be more consistent at the very least, and he could stand to improve in multiple areas throwing the ball. 

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Moore has a strong arm. He doesn’t necessarily have impressive deep accuracy, but he can create sustained velocity on his throws deep and to the sideline.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Moore understands how to read through his progressions and make good decisions when throwing the ball. However, sometimes he is too quick to check the ball down, while on other occasions he drops his eyes. He needs to find a greater balance between aggression and caution.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Moore’s mechanics are fine. He has a quick and clean release. He typically throws off a good base, but sometimes he fades backward as he releases the ball, and this affects the integrity of his footwork.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Moore can scramble when space opens up in front of him, but he is not elusive or quick. He is better suited to be a full-time pocket passer.

    Overall

    74/100

    Moore had a strong stretch as a starter in the past, but he now appears resigned to being a backup in the NFL.

44. Seneca Wallace, Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Seneca Wallace's (5'11", 205 lbs, 10 seasons) accuracy is unreliable. He threw some excellent passes in 2013, but too often he missed open receivers on relatively easy throws because of poor ball placement.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Wallace can create velocity on the football, but not consistently, and too often his passes arced unnecessarily.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Wallace made a number of bad coverage reads, but it was his management of the pocket that was the biggest concern. He is a good athlete, but that athleticism was often negated because he didn't understand how to adjust to pressure.

    Mechanics

    10/15

    Wallace's throwing motion isn't a major concern, but his lower body appears to be too loose in the pocket. He would be a more accurate quarterback if he squared himself to the line of scrimmage and his receivers.

    Mobility

    4/5

    Wallace's strongest physical traits are his agility and acceleration. He doesn't have great long-distance speed, but he can be elusive in space.

    Overall

    75/100

    Wallace struggled in relief of Aaron Rodgers initially. He made a strong start to his second game of the season, but injury brought that to a premature end.

43. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    18/35

    Michael Vick's (6'0", 215 lbs, 12 seasons) ball placement is a major issue. He routinely forced his receivers to make unnecessarily tough catches because of poor accuracy. He also doesn't throw with anticipation, so he has to see the receiver open before he lets the ball go. Vick played in an offense that allowed him to throw to a lot of wide-open receivers, but even that couldn't mask his accuracy issues.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    The velocity that Vick can put on the football is frightening at times. That velocity sustains itself to any area of the field. His only real issue is that he can throw some passes too hard when looking for receivers underneath.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Vick's decision making wasn't a major concern when he started for the Eagles. He more often than not found the right receiver, but his execution getting the ball there was his biggest issue.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Too many of Vick's passes come from a sideways release. Letting the ball go so far away from his body appeared to dramatically affect his accuracy. He regularly didn't step into throws.

    Mobility

    5/5

    Even at this point of his career, he is still a freakish athlete.

    Overall

    75/100

    Vick's biggest issue as a starter was his accuracy. In Chip Kelly's quarterback-friendly scheme, that is a bad sign moving into 2014.

42. Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Scott Tolzien's (6'3", 208 lbs, three seasons) accuracy was inconsistent, but that was largely because of his mechanics and arm strength. He showed off the ability to fit the ball into tight windows where only his receivers could make a play. 

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Tolzien doesn't consistently create velocity on his underneath passes, while his throws down the field often fell limp before reaching their intended targets.

    Decision Making

    20/30

    Tolzien is a first-read thrower who too often forced the ball into his receivers. The Packers schemed well to allow him to be somewhat productive, but his limitations were obvious.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Tolzien's footwork needs to improve dramatically. He consistently plants his feet, but he can't step into his throws because he doesn't point his feet in the direction he is throwing.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Although he can escape the pocket and throw from the flat, Tolzien is a limited athlete.

    Overall

    75/100

    Tolzien had a chance in Aaron Rodgers' absence, but he remains a work in progress for any team that employs him.

41. Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    22/35

    Chase Daniel's (6'0", 225 lbs, five seasons) ball placement is a major concern. In Andy Reid's offense, he was able to be productive with quick passes into the flat and safe screen plays. But when he pushed the ball farther down the field, he was forcing his receivers to attempt difficult catches too often.

    Arm Strength

    10/15

    Reid's offense doesn't put an emphasis on arm strength, so Daniel is a good fit in Kansas City. He attempted a handful of deep passes in 2013; one was thrown too hard and wild, while the others began to float long before they reached their destination.

    Decision Making

    24/30

    For a player who played so little in a quarterback-friendly offense, Daniel had too many dangerous passes that could easily have been intercepted.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    The most notable positive for Daniel in 2013 was his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. On more than one occasion, his quick release got the ball out before a free defender took him down. Daniel created a strong base to throw from with his feet and was quick to shift his weight in the pocket.

    Mobility

    4/5

    He's an impressive athlete who used his strength to break tackles and his acceleration to scramble for big gains.

    Overall

    75/100

    Daniel should be better than he is, and maybe he would be with more time on the field. His mechanics are solid, but his accuracy and decision making let him down. He will likely always be limited by his arm strength, but it's clear he fits in Reid's offense.

40. Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Matt Flynn (6'2", 230 lbs, six seasons) has a tendency to underthrow his passes. This becomes worse the farther the pass goes from the line of scrimmage. He doesn't lead his receivers away from defenders when they're running in space, but he did show off the ability to put the ball in a tight spot where only his receiver could catch it.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    Flynn creates little velocity on his passes. He can push the ball down the field, but any passes that travel more than 20 yards become noticeably limp.

    Decision Making

    21/30

    If Flynn holds the ball long enough in the pocket, a mistake becomes almost inevitable. He is good at making quick decisions, but once he has to survey a defense for more than a second, he makes too many bad coverage reads and runs into sacks.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Flynn’s release isn’t exceptionally quick. It is compact, and he has good control of the football with solid footwork, but he is too slow. Holding the ball higher while in the pocket could dramatically improve his quickness in getting rid of the ball.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He's not a statue, but he doesn’t show much speed when he does move.

    Overall

    76/100

    It's easy to see why Flynn never became a starter despite multiple opportunities with different franchises. He should stay in Green Bay to compete for the backup quarterback spot.

39. Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    22/35

    Shaun Hill (6'3", 220 lbs, 12 seasons) has good, not great accuracy. He consistently throws a catchable pass, but his ball placement is erratic. He appeared to make an effort to lead his receivers to space, but he misplaced the pass on a few too many occasions. 

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Hill has enough strength to throw the ball to any area of the field, but his passes always loop somewhat. He can create velocity on underneath passes with a lot of effort.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Hill is a smart quarterback, but sometimes his eyes dropped to the line of scrimmage too quickly. There were a number of occasions when he appeared to expect his receiver to run a different route, but that was to be expected considering who he was throwing the ball to at the time.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    There are times when Hill allows his elbow to get too far away from his body, and that leads him to throw the ball at an uncomfortable angle. However, his footwork is good and his release, while not looking completely natural, appears to be effective.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Hill isn’t a scrambling threat and doesn’t play with any notable quickness behind the line of scrimmage.

    Overall

    76/100

    Hill is a solid backup quarterback who has proven that he can be effective with the Lions’ supporting cast.

38. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    Brock Osweiler (6'8", 240 lbs, two seasons) understands how to lead his receivers to space with his ball placement. He can find receivers down the field, but he needs to show better accuracy on his passes to the sideline.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Osweiler is a big, strong-armed quarterback who can easily throw the ball down the field and create velocity on shorter passes.

    Decision Making

    24/30

    Osweiler needs to improve after his first read. Too often when his first read was covered, he began to move his feet, and that led to him dropping his eyes. 

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Being so tall, it's no surprise that Osweiler has an elongated release and is somewhat slow with his feet in the pocket. He can improve by getting rid of the hitch in his throwing motion, but a quarterback of his size is unlikely to ever be a quick passer.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Osweiler isn't quick, but he is fast enough to be an effective scrambler.

    Overall

    76/100

    Osweiler showed off some potential during the preseason and his short time on the field during the regular season. He has to get rid of the hitch in his throwing motion and become more comfortable reading defenses, but the physical ability to throw the ball is evident.

37. Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals

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    JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    25/35

    Drew Stanton (6'3", 243 lbs, seven seasons) consistently threw catchable balls while attempting low-percentage passes during the preseason. His throws to intermediate routes over the middle of the field were particularly impressive as he often fit the ball past defenders or led his receivers away from contact with precise ball placement.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Stanton has a cannon. He can create velocity on the ball without setting his feet and comfortably finds receivers down the field.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Stanton made a number of good decisions, but he also got himself in too much trouble by holding the ball in the pocket or trying to make plays with his feet at the wrong times.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    His footwork is good, and his release is clean, but it's not exceptionally quick.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Stanton was able to evade defenders in space at times. He's not a special athlete, but he is quick when adjusting in the pocket.

    Overall

    77/100

    If Stanton were younger and consistently playing like he did during this preseason, he'd likely be at the center of trade talks. However, at 29 years of age, he has likely hit his ceiling as a good backup.

36. Kyle Orton, Dallas Cowboys

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Kyle Orton's (6'4", 228 lbs, nine seasons) timing with his receivers was off during his lone regular-season start in 2013. He repeatedly threw behind his receivers and was punished. He delivered mostly catchable passes, but his ball placement needed to be better.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Orton doesn't have an exceptionally strong arm, but he can create impressive velocity on short and intermediate passes.

    Decision Making

    21/30

    Orton is a smart quarterback, but a small sample size and one major mistake against Philadelphia hurt him. He misread the Eagles' coverage and threw an interception that ended the Cowboys' season.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Orton's mechanics are highlighted by an exceptionally high and quick release. 

    Mobility

    3/5

    He is athletic enough to escape the pocket and throw on the move, but he is not a scrambling threat.

    Overall

    77/100

    Orton remains one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL.

35. Colt McCoy, San Francisco 49ers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Colt McCoy (6'1", 215 lbs, four seasons) throws a catchable pass and understands how to lead his receivers to space. While his velocity is lacking, his placement isn't, and he can find receivers down the field in the right situations.

    Arm Strength

    10/15

    McCoy's biggest obstacle to becoming an NFL starter is his arm strength. He can work underneath routes and the middle of the field, but he won't push the ball down the sideline or deep with much success.

    Decision Making

    22/30

    McCoy is too quick to leave the pocket and drop his eyes from his progressions. His lack of arm strength makes him a timid passer who turns down risk-reward throws.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    McCoy has quick feet and a fast release. There are times when his motion isn't compact enough, but more often than not he is clean with his mechanics.

    Mobility

    3/5

    McCoy is quick within the confines of the pocket and can escape into the flat to extend plays. However, he doesn't have enough speed to consistently punish the defense as a scrambler.

    Overall

    77/100

    McCoy will likely never be a starter again, but he is a valuable backup for the 49ers.

34. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    25/35

    Matt Cassel (6'4", 228 lbs, nine seasons) is capable of consistently fitting the ball through tight windows and finding his receivers in stride. There were times when he showed off excellent ball placement that led receivers away from potential big hits or toward space for yards after the catch. However, he was inconsistent and threw as many poorly placed passes as he did accurate ones.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    There are times when his passes down the field float, but Cassel showed off the ability to throw the ball while on the move with sustained velocity. He has enough velocity to fit the ball into tight windows over the middle of the field, but not consistently from week to week.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    The most notable aspect of Cassel's play was his throwing down the field. He repeatedly just heaved the ball and hoped his receiver would win at the catch point when well covered. It was as if he thought he was still throwing to Randy Moss. Outside of that, he threw too many interceptions and passes that should have been intercepted because of bad coverage reads.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    He doesn't have a hitch in his release and always sets his feet before he throws the ball. Cassel does everything he should, he just doesn't do it fast enough.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Cassel may be awkward-looking at times on the field, but he is quick moving around the pocket and has enough speed to exploit space past the line of scrimmage.

    Overall

    77/100

    He definitely looks the part and has all the physical tools to be a good quarterback, but mentally the game seems to be beyond Cassel's grasp at this stage.

33. Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    24/35

    Jason Campbell's (6'5", 230 lbs, nine seasons) ball placement was erratic. He could consistently find open receivers underneath, but most of his success throwing down the field went to wide-open receivers or on plays when Josh Gordon and Greg Little outfought the defensive back for the ball.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Campbell barely has enough arm strength to be successful at this level.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Campbell threw more touchdowns than interceptions, but that didn't make him a good decision maker. His main problem was that he checked down too quickly and too often.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Campbell has a compact release and consistently sets his feet to turn his body into his throws. He could be quicker, but for the most part he was clean with his mechanics in 2013.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Campbell is comfortable throwing on the move outside of the pocket, but he's not a great athlete.

    Overall

    78/100

    His play in 2013 suggests that he is best suited to a backup role for the rest of his career.

32. Christian Ponder, Minnesota VIkings

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    Christian Ponder (6'2", 229 lbs, three seasons) doesn't fit the ball through tight windows or consistently put it in a spot where only his receiver can make a play. However, he does consistently give his targets a chance to catch the ball.

    Arm Strength

    9/15

    His arm strength is the biggest hurdle stopping Ponder from being a franchise quarterback. He doesn't throw with velocity past five yards down the field, and his deep passes become 50-50 balls unless his target was already wide open when he was letting the pass go.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Too often he forced the ball into tight coverage. Other quarterbacks could get away with these decisions, but Ponder's lack of arm strength doesn’t allow him to. He was also too quick to escape into the flat instead of stepping up in the pocket. This cut down his options and forced him to scramble or check the ball down more often.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    With a clean and crisp delivery, Ponder squares his shoulders to his intended target and is adept at throwing on the move.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Ponder is able to scramble for first downs and is athletic enough to extend plays behind the line of scrimmage. 

    Overall

    78/100

    This was probably Ponder's last opportunity to establish himself as a long-term starter. He is good enough to have a long career as a backup.

31. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    EJ Manuel (6'4", 237 lbs, one season) was inconsistent with his accuracy during his rookie season. He checked down a lot and often underthrew or overthrew receivers when he looked to push the ball farther down the field. There were also many throws that were perfectly on point, but those were certainly in the minority.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    It's easy to understand why Doug Marrone feels he can craft Manuel into a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. He has all of the physical tools required to be a good passer.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    He was overly cautious as a rookie and made too many throws that should have resulted in interceptions. He did show an ability to read the defense and find the right receiver. But more often than not, he just threw to his first read or checked the ball down to a running back.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    This is where Manuel can make massive strides. He threw too many passes last year that had none of his body weight behind him. He doesn't rotate his hips, often looked off balance and has shown a tendency to lean too far forward during his release at times.

    Mobility

    5/5

    He doesn't break off huge runs like Colin Kaepernick, but he does have impressive all-around athletic ability. Most of that ability was used behind the line of scrimmage. He showed an impressive ability to manage the pocket.

    Overall

    78/100

    The Bills must have understood when they drafted Manuel that he was going to take a year or two to develop. If this was what he looked like after three seasons, it would be a disastrous choice, but he still has time to develop into a quality NFL starter. Fixing his mechanics would likely go a long way toward helping his accuracy, which would greatly increase his ability to produce on the field.

30. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    21/35

    Playing behind a leaky offensive line and without a reliable running game, it's no surprise that Eli Manning (6'4", 218 lbs, 10 seasons) had to make so many tough throws in 2013. He made a number of outstanding passes, but too often he couldn't fit the ball into tight windows or find his receivers down the field.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Manning's arm strength isn't fading. He still creates a lot of velocity on his passes when under pressure and can throw the ball on time to any spot on the field.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Manning threw 27 interceptions, but a large portion of those came on wide receiver-quarterback miscommunication or in tough situations. It's no surprise that there was never a thought to replace him in 2013.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    Even though he regularly threw from tight, collapsing pockets, Manning consistently kept his mechanics clean. He has a quick, tight release and is adept at transferring his weight into his throws when he is not under too much pressure.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Manning can move in space, but he's never going to be a scrambling threat, and he's not exceptionally quick moving around in the pocket.

    Overall

    78/100

    It was definitely a season to forget for Manning, but there is no question about his status as the Giants' starting quarterback.

29. Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    Kellen Clemens (6'2", 221 lbs, eight seasons) consistently threw well-timed, catchable passes after replacing Sam Bradford as the Rams starter. However, few of his passes came with any degree of difficulty, and his ball placement often forced unnecessarily difficult catches.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Clemens has enough arm strength to be effective at this level. He can find receivers down the field, but he doesn't consistently create velocity on the ball when throwing to the sidelines.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Clemens threw too many interceptions, but he did show off the ability to adjust in the pocket and read through progressions.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Clemens' release is quick and compact, but he appears to lose his balance at times when trying to create torque on the ball. 

    Mobility

    3/5

    He moves well behind the line of scrimmage and can scramble into open space, but he's not an overly impressive athlete.

    Overall

    79/100

    Clemens allowed the Rams to remain competitive, but most of the team's success on offense came about because his teammates elevated their level of play after Bradford was injured.

28. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    Chad Henne (6'3", 230 lbs, six seasons) can make every throw, but his consistency is a major problem. There were times when he threw perfect passes on difficult back-shoulder throws down the sideline, but too often he missed passes that should have been routine.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Henne has a strong arm, but not an arm that jumps off the screen when he throws the ball down the field. In Jedd Fisch's offense in 2013, the majority of his throws went underneath or to wide-open receivers after play-action.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    This is the one trait that may be preventing Henne from being a starting quarterback in the NFL for the long term. Too often he sold out his receivers by leading them into big hits or missed open targets entirely. 

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Henne stands tall in the pocket and establishes a good base beneath him when given the opportunity. He rotates his body into his throws, giving him impressive control and torque on the football. Like most things with Henne, his consistency is the biggest issue.

    Mobility

    2/5

    He often shows slow, heavy feet in the pocket and isn't a threat as a runner. He made some runs on read-option plays in 2013, but he never showed off impressive athleticism.

    Overall

    79/100

    There is obvious physical talent in Henne, but his mental grasp of the game has never been strong enough for him to sustain success as a starter.

27. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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    Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    23/35

    Joe Flacco (6'6", 245 lbs, six seasons) doesn't throw with anticipation, and his ball placement is inconsistent. Without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta to rely on in 2013, his poor accuracy was exposed on a more regular basis.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    During his worst game of the season, a Week 4 outing against the Buffalo Bills, Flacco completed a 74-yard pass to Torrey Smith that saw the ball travel 60 yards in the air without losing velocity. That is the type of arm that Flacco has. He can comfortably throw to the sidelines or deep down the field without seeing the ball float.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Flacco doesn't see the field well and forces too many inaccurate passes into tight coverage. There was a lot of pressure on him in 2013 because of the team's ineffective offensive line, but he still made too many mental mistakes independent of his supporting cast.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    His release is labored and too wide, but it's not exceptionally slow. He consistently sets his feet and turns into his throws. However, his mechanics lose integrity under pressure as he fades away from contact too often. Flacco is often flat-footed in the pocket, meaning he has to adjust before he starts his throwing motion. This adds to a process that is already too long.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Flacco is fast enough once he is working outside of the pocket or stepping up in a straight line. However, his feet are too heavy when he is looking to maneuver behind his blocking.

    Overall

    79/100

    The Ravens are probably regretting that massive contract extension they gave Flacco last offseason. He didn't have much help in 2013, but he was also a part of the team's problem on offense.

26. Thaddeus Lewis, Buffalo Bills

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    Thaddeus Lewis' (6'2", 200 lbs, two seasons) accuracy gets better the farther the ball goes down the field. His ball placement on underneath throws can be inconsistent. On deeper passes, he not only puts the ball in the right spot more often, but he consistently throws with anticipation. His passes to the sideline in particular stand out.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Sometimes the ball would float on Lewis when he threw the ball down the sideline. However, outside of that inconsistency, he showed off excellent velocity throwing to every area of the field. He has the ability to fit the ball into tight windows over the middle and find receivers down the field while under pressure in the pocket. 

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Lewis is a smart quarterback. He understands when to hang in the pocket and when to scramble. He reads through his progressions and makes the right decisions. When there are shots to take down the field, he is aggressive, and when his receivers are covered, he checks down. Lewis threw three interceptions on 184 dropbacks; two appeared to be miscommunications with receivers, and one came when he was hit as he released the ball.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Lewis has a quick release, but too often he drops the ball to his waist when throwing down the field. There are also times when he doesn't set his feet properly on shorter throws.

    Mobility

    4/5

    He doesn't have exceptional straight-line speed, but Lewis has enough escapability to evade defenders behind the line of scrimmage and be effective on read-option plays.

    Overall

    81/100

    Although he wasn't the starter, Lewis was clearly the best quarterback in Buffalo.

25. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns

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    David Richard/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    27/35

    Brian Hoyer (6'2", 215 lbs, five seasons) excels at leading his receivers away from defenders and into space. This allows him to connect with targets who are seemingly well-covered. This also puts his receivers in better position to gain yards after the catch.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Although he doesn't have a huge arm that stands out on every play, Hoyer repeatedly showed the ability to find receivers down the field. The velocity on his passes deceived defenders on a number of occasions when he pushed the ball past them in the flat.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    The sample size for Hoyer in 2013 is small. He mostly made good decisions and diagnosed coverages well, but he had a few bad decisions. There were also a number of plays when he threw to the wrong spot or a receiver ran an incorrect route, but that was expected considering he only became a starter during the season.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Hoyer looks a lot like his former teammate Tom Brady. His feet are quick, and he bounces off his back foot while surveying the field. He has a quick, compact release and pushes his body weight through his throws.

    Mobility

    3/5

    He's not a scrambling threat, but he is quick with everything he does in the pocket.

    Overall

    82/100

    Hoyer showed enough to suggest that he should be competing for the Browns' starting spot next season.

24. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    Robert Griffin III's (6'2", 217 lbs, two seasons) accuracy wasn't the problem in 2013. He understood how to throw receivers open and protect his receivers from big hits. He also showed off the ability to hit receivers in stride underneath to maximize any potential yards after the catch. His deep accuracy suffered, but that was a result of poor mechanics rather than physical throwing ability.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    The ball flies out of Griffin's hand, and he can create a lot of velocity on it even when being hit. As far as pure arm talent goes, Griffin is up there with the best in the NFL.

    Decision Making

    23/30

    Comfort was a big issue for Griffin in 2013, and a lack of it appeared to affect his decision making. The combination of his knee injury and defenses adjusting to Kyle Shanahan's scheme forced Griffin to make more coverage reads. As a second-year quarterback, it was no surprise that he made too many bad decisions throwing into coverage.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    Very loose. Very inconsistent. Very uncomfortable. Griffin was obviously affected by his knee brace entering the season, and he never really improved to the point that he was 100 percent comfortable. He made too many throws without confidently stepping into his throwing motion.

    Mobility

    5/5

    He was obviously affected by injury and wearing the brace, but Griffin was still fast and moved well within the pocket.

    Overall

    82/100

    It was a season to forget for Griffin. Not much can be used to analyze his long-term outlook. If fully healthy, Griffin should be a completely different player in 2014.

23. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Carson Palmer's (6'5", 235 lbs, 11 seasons) accuracy was inconsistent in 2013. In Bruce Arians' offense, he was asked to throw the ball down the field a lot. He was able to execute those throws, but too many of his passes floated away from their intended targets. Palmer is a reliable underneath passer.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Palmer's arm strength appears to be fading. The velocity on his passes underneath and deep down the field is still evident at times, but the consistency isn’t. Too many of Palmer’s passes floated, forcing previously open receivers to compete for 50-50 balls.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Palmer was playing in difficult circumstances because of the system and how poor the team's offensive line performed. That doesn’t excuse how many interceptions he threw, but it does qualify them. His main issue was forcing the ball to receivers who weren’t open.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    For a quarterback who was hit so often and played under so much pressure, Palmer's mechanics were consistent. He maintains his balance and steps into throws with a quick, compact release.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Palmer has been called a statue throughout his career, but he showed an ability to avoid pressure in the pocket in 2013. He's still not very mobile, but it did help lessen the impact of the team's failing pass protection.

    Overall

    82/100

    Palmer doesn't have many years left as a starter. For the price the Cardinals paid in the offseason, he proved to be an excellent value. He wasn't one of the better players under center in the league, but he did solidify the position for the franchise.

22. Josh McCown, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Had Josh McCown (6'4", 213 lbs, 11 seasons) played for another team, his inaccuracy would have received much more attention. He regularly overthrew, underthrew and simply missed his receivers, but often those passes still resulted in completions because of the outstanding ball skills and size of his targets. On a number of occasions, McCown's poor accuracy should have led to interceptions, but a combination of penalties and bad defensive play let him off the hook.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    McCown doesn't have a strong arm. He can put enough on the ball to get by, but his passes don't carry their velocity down the field, and he can't fit the ball into tight windows on a regular basis.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    The veteran quarterback deserves a lot of credit for his awareness and obvious comfort level on the field in relief of Jay Cutler. It's not easy for backups to step in and allow the offense to not miss a beat. The biggest reason for McCown's success was his patience in the pocket and his ability to diagnose coverages quickly.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    McCown keeps the ball high, has a quick, compact release and understands how to set his feet quickly. He can comfortably find receivers down the field while on the move outside of the pocket because he keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and understands how to properly set his feet for balance.

    Mobility

    3/5

    McCown won't keep up with some of the top athletes playing the quarterback position in today's NFL, but he is quick and agile in the pocket. He is able to subtly step away from pressure or escape from a collapsing pocket with relative ease.

    Overall

    82/100

    McCown is in the perfect spot in Chicago. In another offense with a different supporting cast, his poor accuracy would likely be his downfall.

21. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    Jake Locker (6'3", 223 lbs, three seasons) took a big step forward as a passer in 2013. He was still inconsistent throwing the ball to receivers underneath, but he made strides as a deep passer while throwing under pressure. Most importantly, Locker showed the ability to throw with anticipation and perfect timing.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Locker's athleticism was always what made him attractive to the Titans. Part of that athleticism is a strong arm that is capable of making every throw in the book.

    Decision Making

    25/30

    Locker showed the ability to read through progressions and make smart decisions in 2013. Before being affected by injuries, he hadn’t thrown an interception in 111 attempts. After his first injury, Locker’s decision making became less reliable as he looked less comfortable in the pocket.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Locker had greater control of the ball and balance in the pocket in 2013 because his footwork improved. Combining that with his quick release and compact throwing motion made him a much better passer.

    Mobility

    5/5

    He is a fast scrambler with eye-popping acceleration at times. The ease with which he rolled into the flat or executed wide handoffs in the running game made him a perfect fit in the Titans offense.

    Overall

    83/100

    If Locker had played a full 16 games at 100 percent health, he likely would have established himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Working with Ken Whisenhunt next season should only make him better.

20. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Ryan Tannehill (6'4", 222 lbs, two seasons) is an impressive, although not spectacular passer at this point in his career. He enjoys stretches where he is close to perfect throwing the ball to intermediate routes, and he is more than proficient finding receivers underneath. His greatest concern is the inconsistency of his accuracy when throwing the ball deep down the field.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Although his accuracy on his deep passes wasn't overly impressive, Tannehill's ability to push the ball down the field was. His passes never travel on a rope; instead they take on a flight path that is similar to the shape of a rainbow. In spite of this, he still creates a lot of velocity and is able to fit the ball through tight windows.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    As a second-year quarterback playing behind what was likely the worst offensive line in the NFL last season, it's no real surprise that Tannehill made some bad decisions. There didn't appear to be one specific, recurring issue. He's just not at the point of his career when he can overcome all of the flaws of the offense around him.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Tannehill's mechanics are clean. His feet are much quicker than you'd expect from a quarterback of his size, and his release allows him to get rid of the ball quickly. Even as he continued to take a beating behind the Dolphins offensive line, Tannehill was consistently stepping into his throws and not forcing off-balance passes.

    Mobility

    4/5

    The former college receiver is an impressive athlete. Not only does he have the physical ability to move, but he shows excellent pocket awareness and the ability to make subtle movements to evade pressure. His being sacked 58 times on the season says more about his protection than him.

    Overall

    83/100

    The future appears to be bright for Tannehill, unless Miami's offensive line derails his development. With just a few flaws to iron out, he is already a good NFL starter.

19. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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    David Kohl/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Andy Dalton’s (6'2", 220 lbs, three seasons) ability to find receivers underneath and over the middle of the field is excellent. However, his deep passing is a major concern, and he struggles to find receivers outside of the numbers.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    A big reason for Dalton’s poor deep accuracy is the effort he has to put into throwing the ball down the field. He has enough arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows underneath and over the middle of the field, but his passes lose velocity when thrown to the sideline.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Dalton threw too many bad interceptions in 2013. Too often he made bad coverage reads or left clean pockets too early to get the most out of the weapons around him.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Clean and crisp, Dalton has impressive mechanics. He sets his feet, rotates his hips and keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. The only inconsistencies come when he is throwing the ball deep down the field.

    Mobility

    3/5

    He doesn’t consistently scramble for big gains or extend plays behind the line of scrimmage, but Dalton is a good athlete who can punish the defense with his feet.

    Overall

    83/100

    Dalton hasn’t developed enough since entering the league. He was inconsistent throughout the 2013 season, and his flaws were again exposed in the playoffs. 2014 appears to be a make-or-break season for the remainder of his career.

18. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    An accurate passer to all areas of the field. Mike Glennon (6'6", 225 lbs, one season) understands the value of ball placement on underneath throws and can pass with anticipation down the field. The only real knock on his accuracy is that he sometimes doesn't put enough on his attempts down both sidelines.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    Although his passes often have very arced trajectories, the velocity on Glennon's passes is generally impressive. Much like Aaron Rodgers, Glennon is able to get the ball up and down quickly, which makes his throws down the field easier for his receivers to catch.

    Decision Making

    28/30

    He was a rookie in 2013, but he rarely looked like one. As with any quarterback, Glennon missed a number of potential big plays down the field, but he was smart in his approach to risk-reward plays. When his team needed to take a shot and the opportunity was there, he typically took it. When the opportunity wasn't there, he played it safe and didn't force a bad throw into coverage.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    He is a lanky quarterback, but his release isn't elongated or slow. He can get rid of the ball quickly when he needs to. The most notable thing about Glennon is how he moves in the pocket. He is able to subtly slide away from pressure or step up to run into the flat without losing the integrity of his throwing stance. Glennon keeps his feet well-spaced and is always ready to let the ball go.

    Mobility

    2/5

    His size does work against him, but Glennon is athletic enough to manipulate the pocket and move into the flat comfortably.

    Overall

    84/100

    Glennon was clearly the best rookie quarterback in 2013. Even though the head coach who drafted him is gone, there is no reason to think that Glennon will be following him out the door anytime soon.

17. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    28/35

    When his mechanics are clean, and even at times when they are not, Matthew Stafford (6'3", 232 lbs, five seasons) can throw some impressive passes. It helps that most of his targets have wide catch radiuses, but his ability to put the ball in a spot where only his receiver can catch it is impressive. The biggest knock on Stafford's accuracy is that his ball placement can be sloppy at times, and this contributes to his high turnover rate.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    There are no questions about Stafford’s ability to fit the ball past defenders or find receivers down the field. His only question marks center around when to take some of that velocity off his passes.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Too often it seemed that Stafford and his receivers weren't on the same page. He regularly appeared to get rid of the ball too quickly. For the most part, Stafford understands how to manipulate the defense and when to take shots down the field, but there are too many bad decisions in his game at this stage of his career.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    His mechanics are a topic that has been discussed at length by NFL analysts since Stafford entered the league. He can be sloppy and throws way too many passes that are all arm. Sometimes his tendency to throw passes from peculiar angles works in his favor, but too often he was simply not being disciplined.

    Mobility

    3/5

    He has a surprising burst for someone who appears to be quite top-heavy. Stafford can escape into the flat and run for first downs if the space develops in front of him. But his feet aren't quick in the pocket.

    Overall

    84/100

    All of the talent is obviously there, but better discipline could lead to more consistency. One of Stafford's best games of the season came in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He wasn't perfect, but he was accurate and mostly made good decisions. It's the kind of game Jim Caldwell needs from his quarterback on a weekly basis.

16. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Sam Bradford (6'4", 224 lbs, four seasons) was accurate under difficult circumstances in 2013. He didn't routinely fit the ball into tight windows or lead receivers to the right spot with his ball placement, but he regularly gave his receivers a chance while under duress or throwing into crowded coverage.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    His deep accuracy isn't overly impressive because he appears to be forcing the ball, but on intermediate routes he can create exceptional velocity even while on the move.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Very cautious? Yes. Too cautious? No. When you watch Bradford on the broadcast tape, he appears to be checking the ball down too much. However, early in the season before Zac Stacy revitalized the running game, Bradford often had no viable options down the field. The Rams couldn't run the ball, so they couldn't force defenses out of their Cover 2 looks. This meant more often than not Bradford had no options down the field before the pass rush could get to him.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    He's a tall presence in the pocket but not an exceptionally strong one. Bradford has taken some punishment in his short career, and it seems to have motivated him to fade away from contact at times. Outside of that, his release and footwork are generally clean, even if he can sometimes throw with an elongated motion in the pocket.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Bradford is faster than one would think considering his size, but his feet can be somewhat slow in the pocket.

    Overall

    85/100

    It's easy to see why the Rams aren't in a rush to give up on Bradford. There is clearly talent there, and the situation in 2013 wasn't set up for success. Unfortunately, he never got to play with Stacy when he was at his best.

15. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    30/35

    Andy Reid's offense created a lot of easy, short throws for Alex Smith (6'4", 217 lbs, nine seasons). He was able to consistently find receivers on intermediate routes to the sideline or over the middle of the field. Smith’s deep passing isn’t impressive, but he showed late in the season that it’s not awful either.

    Arm Strength

    11/15

    Smith can create velocity on his passes underneath, but he can't push the ball down the field consistently.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Early in the season, when the Chiefs defense was at its best, Smith played too conservatively. He turned down throws that weren't heavily in the offense's favor and scrambled too often. After the defense lost some important pieces midway through the season, Smith became more aggressive without losing his ability to take care of the football.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Smith has a quick, clean release and creates a good base with his feet before letting the ball go. He also throws well while on the move by squaring his shoulders and feet to the line of scrimmage.

    Mobility

    4/5

    Smith's mobility was a key aspect of his play in Reid's offensive scheme. He is a better scrambler than extender of plays in the pocket.

    Overall

    85/100

    Many will still question how far you can go with Smith as your starting quarterback, but he wasn't the reason the Chiefs were knocked out of the playoffs in the wild-card round.

14. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Nick Foles (6'6", 243 lbs, two seasons) isn't an exceptionally accurate quarterback in spite of his statistical production. His ball placement was inconsistent, but his bad plays were rarely highlighted because he was often throwing to open receivers or tight ends who could beat defensive backs to the ball in the air.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Foles can comfortably throw the ball to any area of the field. He creates decent velocity on his passes and doesn't need to overextend himself to push the ball down the field. 

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Foles is a smart quarterback. He had his poor displays during 2013, but more often than not he was poised as he moved through his options after the snap. His decision making takes a noticeable hit when he is under pressure. In those instances, his eyes drop too quickly in the pocket and he can force throws into coverage. However, within the Eagles scheme and behind their offensive line, those plays were kept to a minimum.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    In 2012, Foles had issues with the consistency of his release point and his footwork. These problems were less evident in 2013. He moved well behind the line of scrimmage and shifted his weight into his throws with regularity.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Foles isn't a statue, but he disproves the notion that Chip Kelly needs an athlete at the quarterback position for his offense to be successful.

    Overall

    85/100

    Foles had an impressive season in 2013, but there are still lingering question marks. His production was more a testament to the Eagles' supporting cast and Kelly’s offense rather than his ability as an individual. He was good, not great.

13. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    26/35

    Colin Kaepernick's (6'4", 230 lbs, three seasons) accuracy is impressive if a little inconsistent. He can fit the ball into tight windows underneath and find receivers in stride deep down the field. He understands how to control the velocity of his throws, giving him an ability to deliver accurate touch passes to go along with those he throws on a rope. 

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    When referring to Kaepernick's athleticism, his arm strength should be highlighted. He can throw the ball on a rope more than 40 yards down the field with incredible velocity. He made multiple throws to Vernon Davis in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game that few quarterbacks have the physical tools to make.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Kaepernick has two notable flaws. Too often he ran the football after his first read and repeatedly missed open receivers down the field because of that. He also left too many clean pockets in 2013. He is still a developing player, but the primary reason for his low completion percentage during the regular season was on him, not his receivers' inability to create separation.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    There is next to no windup in Kaepernick's throwing motion. Because of his strong arm, he is often able to let the ball go without it dropping behind his helmet. This creates a quick, compact release. But because he keeps his hips rigid and often has his feet parallel to the line of scrimmage, his mechanics come across as awkward.

    Mobility

    5/5

    He is one of the most impressive all-around athletes in the NFL. He is somewhat of a rigid runner, but his speed and acceleration is such that it rarely ever matters.

    Overall

    85/100

    He did not have the blockbuster season many were expecting from the young quarterback. But only those unfamiliar with the natural development of the position will have any major concerns about Kaepernick moving forward.

12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

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    Evan Vucci/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    30/35

    Tony Romo (6'2", 236 lbs, 11 seasons) had a few games during 2013 when his accuracy was erratic. However, outside of those, he consistently threw accurate passes to different areas of the field.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Romo can still comfortably find receivers down the field, but he doesn't throw the ball with overwhelming levels of velocity.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Romo has been inconsistent with his decision making throughout his career. In 2013, he took care of the football and made smart decisions despite being consistently under pressure. Typically when he did make a mistake, he missed an open receiver or held on to the ball too long instead of forcing throws into coverage.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Because he was regularly evading free rushers, Romo's mechanics often became an afterthought. When he wasn't under pressure, his throwing motion was clean and quick, highlighted by a high release point that extended over his head.

    Mobility

    4/5

    Romo is 33 years old, but he doesn't appear to be slowing down. He was never a scrambler, but he is still elusive behind the line of scrimmage.

    Overall

    87/100

    The Cowboys are heavily invested in their quarterback, and he appears to still have a few more good years left in him.

11. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    31/35

    It's rare for a quarterback with such a strong arm to have the control that Jay Cutler (6'3", 220 lbs, eight seasons) does. His ball placement in particular stands out, as he often led his receivers away from big hits. It would be easy for Cutler to become too relaxed with his accuracy because of the weapons he has around him, but that was not the case in 2013.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    One of the most impressive arms in the NFL, Cutler has incredible power and velocity, but he also understands how to throw touch passes.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Marc Trestman and an improved offensive line have allowed Cutler to boost his decision making. He was clearly more composed in 2013 than he was in 2012. He still had moments when he made poor decisions reading the coverage or rushing from the pocket too quickly. But for the most part, he played like a smart quarterback in 2013.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Cutler is clearly improving his footwork under Trestman, but he is still inconsistent in terms of stepping into his throws. Too often he only relies on his arm to find receivers underneath. It works most of the time, but he would be more consistent with his ball placement if he refined his approach. It should be noted that he has a quick and compact release.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Cutler is fast enough to escape the pocket when under pressure and gain efficient yardage underneath. He won't break off big gains, but that ability and his quick feet in the pocket make him one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the NFL.

    Overall

    87/100

    Although Josh McCown was productive in relief of Cutler in 2013, there was no real comparison between their performances on the field. It's easy to see why the Bears invested in Cutler with a long-term contract.

10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    31/35

    Watching Ben Roethlisberger (6'5", 241 lbs, 10 seasons) throw the football, you come to appreciate his placement and timing skills. While not a touch-passer or the most conventional quarterback, he puts the ball in a winning position for his receivers. And that’s all you can ask of a passer. The run-after-catch ability of the Pittsburgh playmakers all goes back to Roethlisberger’s placement.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Roethlisberger's big right arm fuels the Steelers offense. He’s able to put the ball on a line if throwing out-routes at 25 yards, but he also shows good touch and arc on deep balls. The spin and velocity aren’t always perfect, but he can get the ball anywhere on the field.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Last year we noted that Roethlisberger could stand to improve here, and he did. By one rating point. The big-armed quarterback isn’t afraid of challenging a defense, but that gets him into trouble with turnovers and batted passes. Learning to better work through progressions and get the ball delivered on time is the one step he could take to improve again next year.

    Mechanics

    12/15

    Back-foot throws and an altered release point will knock his mechanics score down a little, but you have to appreciate Roethlisberger’s mentality. He’s a gunslinger, and while that may not be pretty or technically sound, it works. 

    Mobility

    4/5

    A great example of being mobile while not being very fast, Roethlisberger does a good job moving in the pocket and using his impressive strength and bulk to break tackles and extend the play. 

    Overall

    88/100

    The Steelers' up-and-down season mirrored Roethlisberger’s play. The big quarterback struggled as the season began, but he and the offense settled into a consistent, productive rhythm and were a team to beat by Week 17.

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    34/35

    One of the top quarterbacks in the game, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (6’4”, 217 lbs, six seasons) enjoyed another season of excellent accuracy in 2013 despite his team's struggles. His ability to thread the ball into tight spaces, lead a receiver open or launch a pass deep for his man to run under are near the best in the league. A high-percentage passer to every level, Ryan is one of our highest rated players in this area.

    Arm Strength

    13/15

    Put a pass in the playbook, and Ryan can make it. There’s not an area of the field he can’t reach. He has shown the velocity needed to knife the ball into tight windows over the middle. 

    Decision Making

    26/30

    As was noted last year, Ryan has a habit of throwing the ball up late and betting on his receivers to make a play. That works when you have Julio Jones in the lineup, but the Falcons didn’t for 2013. Ryan’s decision making has to adapt to the talent around him, and this year it didn’t.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Ryan’s mechanics from the waist up are impeccable. He has a smooth, sharp, quick delivery and does so from a high release. There’s no dip in the ball. There are no hitches. The only knock in his game is a heavy-footed tendency in the pocket that causes him to throw off balance at times.

    Mobility

    2/5

    Definitely not a runner, Ryan does his best work in the pocket when he has time to see and feel the rush coming. He’ll slide laterally and can step up to deliver passes, but don’t expect him to make plays with his feet.

    Overall

    89/100

    The Falcons had a terrible year in 2013, but that wasn’t on Ryan. He remains one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the league. From a pure scouting perspective, his accuracy and mechanics are near the best of them all. We’ll see a bounce-back for Atlanta, and Ryan’s national reputation, in 2014.

8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    The key to quarterbacking is accuracy, and Cam Newton (6’5”, 245 lbs, three seasons) showed remarkable improvement here in 2013. His ball placement was much more consistent. When asked to throw deep, he continued to put the ball over the top and into a place where his man could run under it to make the play. Newton can still improve here, especially over the middle on intermediate timing routes, but his development continues to impress.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    One of the stronger arms in the league, Newton can make every throw you can design. He’s one of the top-five arms in the NFL. The velocity he brings is enough to scare the hands of wide receivers.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    A big area of improvement this fall, Newton was able to cut down on turnovers and poor plays while remaining aggressive. That’s not easy to do. He also learned to involve other players on offense, getting away from locking onto Steve Smith and working in secondary targets like Ted Ginn Jr.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    The quick, strong delivery of Newton’s passes is a sight to see. The football leaves his hand with power, and he’ll spin it with a quick wrist flick at the end of his motion. You’d like to see him throw less from his shoulder and more over the top, and he has to learn to set his feet more when throwing under pressure. But Newton continues to improve here each season.

    Mobility

    5/5

    Newton’s legs made for some of the best plays of the year in 2013. He’s a skilled, exciting runner and uses that trait to confuse and gouge defenses. But his development means picking and choosing when and where to run, and Newton did a great job of that this season.

    Overall

    89/100

    Newton's evolution as a quarterback was one of the best storylines of 2013, and it made for some of the biggest performances too. No longer seen as an athlete playing quarterback, Newton is truly a poised, accomplished, capable passer. His future is among the brightest in the game.

7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    In his second season, Andrew Luck (6’4”, 234 lbs, two seasons) showed improved ball placement and timing on all passes. The stats may not show him as being an elite quarterback, but given the talent around him and a change in offensive scheme this year, Luck displayed the touch and poise all quarterbacks want. He can improve in this area, but the biggest boost to his numbers and production will come once he’s comfortable with his receivers, offensive line and the game plan.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    It was trendy pre-draft in 2012 to talk down Luck’s arm strength. Those people are hiding under rocks now. Luck has the strength to deliver the ball to every plane on the football field. He’ll throw a tight spiral underneath and can pop the ball into his receiver’s hands, even though he prefers to throw with touch and allow his guys to make a play post-catch.

    Decision Making

    28/30

    Evaluating Luck’s decision making is a tale of two seasons. During the regular season, he was dominant, putting his team into the best positions to win. Turn on the playoffs, and he struggled to limit turnovers and was throwing to the opposition as much as to his own offense. Take the whole of the year, and Luck is still elite, but he has to stop pressing and work on throwing the ball away or running when there are no options.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    Luck looks, moves and delivers like an ideal quarterback. He’s smooth in the pocket, with fluid footwork to get away from center or operate on rollouts and waggles. He has the consistent motion and release quarterback coaches dream of.

    Mobility

    4/5

    A good designed runner or scrambler, Luck is an athlete with the size to put his pads down and run over defenders. He’s elusive and fast enough to make gains as a designed runner. He’s still improving in the pocket, where he’ll need to learn to slide and step up more as he continues to develop.

    Overall

    90/100

    Luck can’t compete with other quarterbacks’ statistics, but he also doesn’t have the supporting cast of the players ranked ahead of him. From a pure scouting standpoint, Luck is the quarterback most scouts prefer. He’s the ideal athlete for today’s game.

6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    33/35

    One of the most accurate quarterbacks of this era, Drew Brees (6’0”, 209 lbs, 13 seasons) continues to impress. His ball placement and ability to lead a receiver into daylight is still eye-opening even this late in his career. There were times when his intermediate passes sailed due to pressure in the pocket, but Brees remains one of the best in the game.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Not a fastball thrower, Brees wins with touch and placement. That doesn’t mean he can’t put the ball down the field, because he does so with great accuracy, but his intermediate passes don’t come out hot or spin with a ton of velocity. He can get the ball to any spot on the field, but when compared to the biggest arms in the game, Brees is noticeably different.

    Decision Making

    27/30

    Normally one of the highest graded players in this category, Brees struggled more in 2013 than in any year since the NFL 1000 debuted. As pressure built from the edge and in the A-gaps, Brees had a harder time finding the right receiver and getting the ball out on time. How well a quarterback adjusts to pressure and finds his target are keys to decision making, and Brees was hot and cold in this area during the season.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Brees is picturesque in his ability to step up in the pocket and release the ball. He throws with a squared base and ideal balance. His throwing motion is super clean and compact, without any delays or hitches. And when the ball comes out of his hand, it does so with his index finger spinning the football and a follow through you can’t teach.

    Mobility

    4/5

    As both a runner and a mover in the pocket, Brees does an excellent job extending the ball with his feet. The only knock on his game would be his struggle to feel and move away from outside pressure if the inside gaps are clogged. But most quarterbacks will struggle to find a way out of that scenario.

    Overall

    90/100

    Sean Payton's return made a noticeable difference for Brees in 2013, but so too did the lack of talent at the offensive tackle position. In his 13th season, we continue to see excellent quarterback play from him.

5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    30/35

    New faces at the wide receiver and tight end position meant a less accurate Tom Brady (6’4”, 225 lbs, 14 seasons) in 2013. The timing and chemistry shown in previous seasons wasn’t there early on, and both Brady and the Patriots struggled because of it. While he was back on point per usual by season’s end, we can’t ignore the early-season struggles to put the ball on target with his receivers.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    Whether it’s a deep 9-route or a hard-thrown dig route, the ball leaves Brady’s hand with impressive zip. He’ll spin the ball underneath and can be known to throw the ball too hard at times. But when he needs to put the ball in a tight window, Brady can get it done.

    Decision Making

    29/30

    A tough category to grade given all the changes in personnel this season, Brady’s decision making looks to be as sound as ever. He limited turnovers, and as the season went along, he found a rhythm and chemistry with new faces. And while his numbers didn’t show it, Brady was consistently putting the ball into the right man’s hands, even if the ball wasn’t always caught.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    If you’re teaching a kid how to play quarterback, Brady’s mechanics are the textbook example of what to do. From his tall stance in the pocket to the squared feet pre-release, Brady does it all right. His motion is quick and strong, and he’s always stepping up and pointing his lead toe at his targets.

    Mobility

    2/5

    We all know Brady isn’t fast. He’ll never be a great runner, but he does move well for a player with heavy feet. When asked to slide laterally in the pocket, Brady does it with grace. Ask him to pop up and find a passing window, and he’ll do it.

    Overall

    90/100

    Undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, Brady’s 2013 season was a rough one as he learned to play with a new cast of characters around him. That affected his production and his on-field impact. Still, what Brady did this season was very impressive. 

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    35/35

    Aaron Rodgers (6’2”, 225 lbs, nine seasons) is the picture of accuracy in the NFL today. No player does a better job putting the ball where only his receiver has a chance at it. Rodgers has an innate feel for where the ball needs to go, and he can get it there on time and in a spot where his target can make a play after the catch.

    Arm Strength

    14/15

    While not known for having a cannon of an arm, Rodgers’ velocity is some of the best you’ll see. When he has time to set his feet and step into the throw, he’ll put it into the chest of his targets with zip and a snap at the end. If you need a deep-ball passer, Rodgers is still one of the best at putting it up for his man to go get it.

    Decision Making

    26/30

    Rodgers runs the Green Bay offense like a field general. But in 2013, we saw him forcing more plays and pressing. That could be a result of a banged-up offensive line or the injuries that hit his receiving corps.

    Mechanics

    13/15

    Reworked mechanics have been the core of Rodgers’ success in the NFL. He has a high hold on the football and does a good job never letting it come down before releasing it. His motion is quick and without any hitches. Footwork can still be an issue for Rodgers, as he tends to throw in the air as opposed to with solid, squared feet.

    Mobility

    3/5

    A good athlete, Rodgers can pull the ball down and run if need be. His mobility score is impacted by his tendency to hold on to the football too long in the pocket. Feeling the rush is something he continues to work on.

    Overall

    91/100

    Still one of the best in the game, Rodgers took a step back in 2013 as he and his offense battled injuries. It’s a safe bet to think No. 12 will be back inside the top three next season.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    29/35

    Seattle’s Russell Wilson (5’11”, 206 lbs, two seasons) was one of the most dominant players at the position this year, but he has room to improve. Wilson’s accuracy suffered at times this season as he was asked to do more down the field. Cleaning up his footwork will help get passes more on target, as his 63.1 percent completion mark is on the low end for a top-tier quarterback.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    You don’t expect a ton of arm strength from a player Wilson’s size, but he has plenty of it. His velocity is among the best in the league when asked to throw inside of 25 yards. He also has the strength to throw the ball with great arc to any level. Wilson can drop back and throw on a line to the sideline—something few quarterbacks can do today.

    Decision Making

    29/30

    Wilson showed his command of the entire offense this season. From his ability to work through progressions and read the defense to his knowing when to pull the ball down and run, he showed patience, maturity and a load of intelligence in his decision making.

    Mechanics

    14/15

    Compact, smooth and fast. Wilson’s delivery is textbook. The only knock on his mechanics, and the reason he’s a 14 and not a 15, is that he’ll forget to set his feet or step into a throw at times. That leads to overthrown passes, especially to the flats and sideline. 

    Mobility

    5/5

    The 2013 season saw Wilson used more as a runner behind an injury-plagued Seattle offensive line. Both as a designed rusher and scrambler, the sophomore quarterback was a difference maker with his legs.

    Overall

    92/100

    Wilson continues his march toward the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. After ranking No. 9 in 2012, we see a steady climb to No. 3. Wilson’s maturation on the field, as well as his ability to make big plays with either his feet or his arm, make him one of the best players in the league at his position.

2. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    34/35

    Few quarterbacks displayed the timing, ball placement and accuracy that Philip Rivers (6’5”, 228 lbs, 10 seasons) did in 2013. His passes were on point and allowed his targets to pick up yards after the catch. Even under pressure, Rivers was rarely rattled and threw with command and deadly accuracy.

    Arm Strength

    15/15

    Arm strength is one of Rivers' top assets. He has a big arm and uses that to easily push the ball to all levels of the field. He’s not just a deep-ball thrower. He also throws underneath and intermediate routes with the ideal velocity you want to make sure the pass isn’t floating into the hands of a defender.

    Decision Making

    29/30

    The biggest area of improvement for Rivers in 2013 came in his decision making. He no longer forced the ball into traffic. His patience, vision and pre-snap recognition made for a dramatic difference in production. He limited his mistakes and consistently put his offense in a position to win.

    Mechanics

    11/15

    His sidearm delivery may not be conventional, but it gets the job done. Rivers does tend to drop his release point, but he finds a way to get the ball to his target.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Rivers isn’t an exceptional runner, but he slides well in the pocket to avoid the rush and does a good job stepping up if the edges collapse. 

    Overall

    92/100

    Rivers made an amazing comeback in 2013, thanks largely to a better offensive line and reliable targets at receiver. From a talent and production perspective, he is clearly still one of the best in the league.

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

     

    Accuracy

    35/35

    When you think about accuracy, you think about Peyton Manning (6’5”, 230 lbs, 16 seasons). His ability to put the ball in tight spaces is legendary. So too is his capacity to lead receivers and put them in a position to make a play after the catch. Manning’s touch and timing are as elite as they come.

    Arm Strength

    12/15

    Manning has never been known for an overly powerful arm, but as he enters the later stages of his career, it’s becoming more obvious that he no longer rips passes to the flats with regularity. But as you might expect from Manning, when the game is tight, his arm strength improves.

    Decision Making

    30/30

    No quarterback in the game is better at making pre- and post-snap decisions to get the ball to the right player. Manning is the definition of a “coach on the field,” and he lives up to that cliche. His vision in attacking the defense and finding the best possible matchup on a weekly basis is perhaps his best quality.

    Mechanics

    15/15

    Make fun of Manning for being robotic all you want. His mechanics are how the position should be played. From his evenly spaced feet to the height he holds the ball before he releases it, Manning’s motion and release are picturesque.

    Mobility

    3/5

    Manning is not fast. At all. But mobility is about more than speed. It’s about being able to evade the pass rush and extend the play. That is something he excels at. While he’ll never outrun Colin Kaepernick, Manning’s pocket movement extends the play.

    Overall

    95/100

    The best of the best, Manning continues to improve with age. His 2013 season will go down as one of the greatest in NFL history.

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