2018 Pre-Season NFL Quarterback Rankings (12-22)
By Bryan Trulen
(Photo Credit-Daily Snark)
12. Alex Smith – Smith finished 2017 with a 104.7 passer rating as he threw for a career best 4,042 yards across 15 regular season starts. Smith was one of the top five quarterbacks last year from a week to week production & efficiency standpoint. Smith enters his 14th year with a new team & after spending five seasons with Andy Reid. It would be foolish to expect a seamless transition to Jay Gruden’s pure west coast based system although Smith is well versed both conceptually & verbiage wise in the WCO system. Expect Smith to continue to be solid but there will be some growing pains along the way in 2018.
13. Case Keenum – Keenum much like Smith in 2017, was a top five league quarterback week to week. Keenum was a main reason for multiple wins (Tampa, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Atlanta) & provided the team with the best quarterback play it has seen since Brett Favre in 2009. Transitioning to Denver (Bill Musgrave) and away from Pat Shurmur will be an adjustment but Keenum is doing everything he can to make the learning curve short and has experience doing so (2017). If Keenum can continue to play as he did in 2017 the Broncos will return to the post-season.
14. Jared Goff – Goff passed for over 3,800 yards 28 TD’s with only 7 INT in 2017 completing quite possibly the greatest single year improvement in performance we have ever seen in the history of the league at the QB position. Goff showed to be deft as a pure passer who understands the finer points of touch, anticipation & throwing on time. Expect more of the same in 2018 as he enters year 2 with Sean McVay.
15. Derek Carr – Carr boasted an 86.4 rating in 2017 as he was forced to muddy through a Todd Downing led offensive attack in Oakland. If 2015 & 2016 were gold for Carr, 2017 was bronze as he threw a career high 13 interceptions. Carr still has one of the better arms in the league & his quick release allows him to make throws that only a handful of starters in league can. If the Carr/Gruden marriage goes as planned we could see the Raiders run away with the AFC West.
16. Jimmy Garoppolo – We saw flashes of his potential during 2016 as he made a pair of starts for the Patriots. Garoppolo went 5-0 as a starter in 2017 and completed 67 % of his throws. The sample size is still small but it looks like the 49ers are in good hands with Jimmy G at the controls entering 2018 and beyond. Has one of the quickest releases if not the quickest in NFL & consistently throws receivers open.
17. Sam Bradford – In his lone start of 2017, Bradford went 32-43 for for 382 yards with 3 TD’s and 0 INT. One of the most instinctually accurate QB’s in league who if he can remain healthy will make the Cardinals competitive in the NFC West.
18. Deshaun Watson – An injury shorted 2017 is the only reason Watson is this low on list. Watson earned NFL Player Of The Month For October (2017) Watson proved to be as advertised as he brought electricity, playmaking ability & deep ball prowess to the fold throughout his first seven NFL starts.
19. Dak Prescott – Prescott struggled in 2017. Some of the reasons were out of his control (OL Play, Receiving Talent, Lack Of Run Game) but other reasons were due to his lack of consistent and smooth footwork and accuracy issues that accompanied this. He is in dire need of a great year 3 and will be poised to have a bounce back year.
20. Blake Bortles – Bortles passed for 3,600 yards 21TD & 13 INT in 2017. He played some of the best football of his career in 2017 & played well against both the Steelers & Patriots in AFC playoffs. Bortles got his confidence back in a large way last year and should continue to play well in 2018.
21. Eli Manning – Eli finished 2017 with 19 TD’s and 13 INT’s playing in a dysfunctional organization. Manning was excellent in 2016 so the prognosis under new coach Pat Shurmur has to be at least luke-warm as Manning enters his 15th year in the league. The tape however shows a quarterback who physically is on the decline. That’s not to say Shurmur won’t be able to squeeze one more solid year out of him with all of the offensive weapons at his disposal.
22. Tyrod Taylor – During his three years as the Bills starter, Taylor completed nearly 63% of his passes and rarely turned the ball over while producing big time throws down the field and playing the position with an electric style. Taylor has limitations as an anticipatory passer but he should do well in Cleveland relying on his experience in the league & ability to improvise.
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