Writer: Andrew Martin
We’re down to 24 days until the 2017 NFL season begins, but who’s really counting, right? As soon as the draft concluded, we all took to our phones or computers and immediately looked at every team’s draft rankings as if that really made any difference. However, we all do it because we have that itch to watch football, and that’s as close as we can get to it at that time. But once all the draft hype died down, we were left in the dog days of summer watching mid-day meaningless baseball games. With that being said, I wrote this article of my Top 10 ranked QB’s heading into this season for all of the football junkies out there that need a little football in their life right now.
1. Aaron Rodgers- Aaron Rodgers is entering his 13th season in the league as a 6x pro bowler, 2x MVP, and a Super Bowl Champion. He passed for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns last regular season, which is just what we’ve come to expect from someone like him. Rodgers brings one of the best offenses with him into the 2017 season, Pro Bowl wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are hard enough to stop, but when you throw a rising star like Davante Adams and newly acquired Martellus Bennett in the mix, you have a real defensive nightmare. As if that’s not enough help for Rodgers to make his 3rd MVP run, he also passes behind one of the best O-Lines in the league. It seems that every season Rodgers manages to have his team within striking distance of another Super Bowl, and there’s no reason why that won’t be the case once again this year.
2. Tom Brady- There isn’t much left to say about Tom Brady. He will most likely go down as the greatest QB in NFL history when he finally decides to retire. Until then, he continues to amaze week in and week out by performing at such a high level so late in his career. Last season, Brady threw for 3,500 yards and 28 touchdowns in his 12-game regular season. Also, in case anyone forgot, Brady led the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last year coming back to defeat the Falcons 34-28 in OT for his 5th Super Bowl. Heading into 2017, Brady has an absolutely stacked set of receivers which include the following: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks, and the beast that is Rob Gronkowski at tight end. With the Pats reloaded on offense, Brady will look to make a push for an unprecedented 6th ring in his 18th year.
3. Matt Ryan- Matt Ryan leads what was last year’s most explosive offense into a new season, and what he brings alongside him is superstar wide receiver Julio Jones who had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and 6 touchdowns last regular season. Also, an incredible running game with Devante Foreman, who rushed for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The big question mark for Matt Ryan and this Falcons offense for 2017 is how they will manage without Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator? His passing system seemed to work with any and all wide receivers last season. While Shanahan was a major part of their run to the Super Bowl, Matt Ryan’s 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns last regular season was a bigger factor in the team’s success, and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again in 2017.
4. Derek Carr– Last season, the Raiders were peaking at the right time for a run through the playoffs until Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula in one of the final regular season games against the Colts. Since then, the Raiders made plenty of offseason noise by signing Marshawn Lynch, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jared Cook, and giving Carr a $125 contract extension with $70M guaranteed. With one of the highest powered offenses in the NFL, Carr looks to make a Super Bowl run for Raider nation’s last year in Oakland.
5. Ben Roethlisberger– Yes, Ben Roethlisberger is getting older and has been dealing with injuries as of recent, but despite that, Big Ben is still one of the best QB’s in the league. Roethlisberger threw for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns. With arguably the best running back in the game right now behind him in Le’veon Bell and a veteran offensive line in front of him, Big Ben gets plenty of time in the pocket. Also, if Martavis Bryant gets cleared of suspension and Sammie Coates gets healthy, they will be big weapons along with Antonio Brown, and Big Ben will do some serious damage through the air this season.
6. Andrew Luck– Andrew Luck may have the least amount of help around him out of all the talented QB’s on this list. Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett lead the receiving core with an aging Frank Gore at running back. However, Luck may have the rawest talent out of everyone on this list right now. Luck threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns in 15 games last season compared to Aaron Rodgers 4,428 yards and 40 touchdowns in 16 games. Entering a fairly weak division this season, Andrew Luck looks to make his 4th playoff appearance in just 6 years in the league.
7. Cam Newton– Cam Newton comes off a disappointing, injury-ridded 2016 season finishing just 6-10 with the Panthers. However, Cam Newton had a significant weight loss this offseason and is down to 245 pounds, which is the lowest he’s been since college. There are a lot of doubts surrounding Newton and the Panthers, but it’s important to remember that just 2 seasons ago the Panthers were in the Super Bowl and Cam Newton was the MVP. Newton’s toughest test this season might end up being his division since it’s pretty stacked against the Saints, Falcons, and Buccaneers. In a strong QB division, Cam Newton will look to do what he’s always done — stand out.
8. Drew Brees– With the exception of signing Adrian Peterson, the Saints offense looks a bit less powerful this year after losing Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, but you can’t forget how great of a QB Drew Brees is. In his 16 years in the NFL, Brees has thrown for 66,111 yards and 465 touchdowns, and along with those stats, he has broken numerous records. Brees throws one of the best long balls in the league, and even after losing Cooks, Brees can put in the perfect spot for just about any receiver the Saints put on the field. With a game on the line, there aren’t many QB’s out there you want leading your team more than Drew Brees.
9. Dak Prescott– The Cowboys come into 2017 with a star-studded offense: Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and Dez Bryant leading an incredible receiving core. Expectations couldn’t be higher for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. After a disappointing loss to Green Bay in round 2 of last season’s playoffs, Cowboys fans want nothing short of a Lombardi trophy in Dallas. Dak will be the guy leading that charge. After an amazing rookie season, Dak returns to try and prove he’s not a one hit wonder, and he’s here to stay. A year that feels destined for greatness will certainly be entertaining to watch with Dak Prescott at the helm of “America’s Team”.
10. Andy Dalton– Andy Dalton approaches the 2017 NFL season with 4 playoff appearances but still no playoff wins. Dalton brings a strong ground game with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill and one of the best Wide Receivers in football in A.J. Green. Coming off another great regular season with 4,206 yards and 18 touchdowns, Dalton looks to get back to the playoffs after missing last season and finally broke through with a win for the Cincinnati fan base.
2 QB’s to watch out for in 2017
Marcus Mariota– As team on the rise, the Tennessee Titans have finally found their starting QB in Marcus Mariota. Entering his 3rd year in the league Mariota has thrown for 6,244 yards and 45 touchdowns in his career. Last season, the Titans brought in some help by picking up DeMarco Murray after a fantastic year in Dallas and selecting Derrick Henry from Alabama in the draft. Mariota has had struggles with injuries so far in his career, but with a healthy Mariota leading the team at QB, there’s no reason the Titans shouldn’t be a strong playoff contender for many years to come.
Jameis Winston– The Buccaneers may have been an NFL laughing stock over the last several years, but make no mistake about it — they’re also on the rise. Leading them is QB Jameis Winston who’s coming into his 3rd year in the league after throwing for just over 4,000 yards his first 2 years and 28 touchdowns last season. His supporting cast includes Mike Evans, a 4th year wide receiver out of A&M, and he’s proves to be a defensive nightmare at 6’5” 231 pounds with 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns under his belt. In addition to Evans, the Buccaneers have brought in Desean Jackson who heads into his 10th year, and with that experience, Jackson brings a lot of skill to this Buccaneers offense. However, all of this might not matter if the O-Line can’t improve. With one of the worst O-Line’s in the league, Winston gets minimal time in the pocket, forcing him to scramble and sometimes take big hits. While expectations are still pretty low for the Bucs, this will be a big year to see how Jameis Winston will work in their system.
Source: SB Nation