NFC North Predictions

  1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers head into 2017 not only as the heavy favorites to win the NFC North, but they are probably the favorites to make it to the super bowl this season. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now and as long as he stays healthy then the Packers should definitely be a playoff team. He still has plenty of weapons around him in the passing game with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb as his top 3 receivers. Also, the addition of tight end Martellus Bennett in free agency will give the Packers yet another target in their passing attack. The main concern for the Packers will be at the running back position where Ty Montgomery is now the full-time starter. Montgomery is a former wide receiver who played very well last season when given the opportunity to be the team’s starting running back. However, I’m still not sure if last season was a fluke or not considering that he only was the starter for a few games last season. We all know that Aaron Rodgers will carry the Packers offense, but if Montgomery can continue to provide something in the running game then the Packers offense will be unstoppable. Meanwhile, Green Bay has the potential to be good on defense as they have many good young players. The Packers especially have a really good pass-rushing duo with Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. Also, the Packers are strong at safety with Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as the starters at that position. The area of weakness for the Packers on defense is clearly at the cornerback position. Davon House, Quinten Rollins, and Damarious Randall are all starters at cornerback and they will probably allow a lot of passing yards this season. Green Bay’s defense just needs to be average and the Packers should still be a very good team due to their terrific offense.

 

2. Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings head into 2017 as a different team than last season especially since Adrian Peterson is no longer on the roster. However, Minnesota still has the potential to be a playoff team in 2017 if all the pieces fall into place. Sam Bradford will once again be the Vikings starting quarterback in 2017 and he did a decent job last season as he had a remarkable 71.6% completion percentage. Minnesota’s passing attack probably won’t be very explosive since Bradford doesn’t throw the ball downfield much, but they should be able to move the chains effectively on short passes. The Vikings have a lot of talent on offense, although there are still many question marks as to how that talent will translate into actual results. Minnesota has a decent wide receiver group with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. However, Laquon Treadwell should see a much bigger role in 2017 and he could be a major threat in the Vikings passing attack. The running back situation will be new for the Vikings in 2017 after they let go of Adrian Peterson this offseason. However, the Vikings have a very talented duo of running backs with free agent signing Latavius Murray and 2nd round rookie Dalvin Cook. We’ll have to see how the Vikings split the carries with those two players, but the Vikings have the potential to have a good running game. The Vikings offense has the potential to be good, but it is clearly the Vikings defense that will be the strength of the team in 2017. Minnesota has a very good pass rushing duo at defensive end with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen who combined for 20.5 sacks last season. Also, Linval Joseph is a very good defensive tackle as he made an astonishing 77 tackles last year. The Vikings also have two terrific linebackers with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. In addition, Minnesota has a very talented secondary with young cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Also, the Vikings have pro bowl safety Harrison Smith in the secondary as well. Minnesota has the defense capable of being a playoff team, but they just need the offense to help them out a little bit in order for this team to make the playoffs.

 

3. Detroit Lions

Detroit made the playoffs last season and that mostly due to the outstanding passing attack that they had led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions have some good weapons in the passing game with receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones in addition to tight end Eric Ebron. There is no question that the Lions passing game will be very good as long as Matthew Stafford can stay healthy. However, the major concern for the Lions offense will be whether they can run the ball effectively. The Lions are deep at running back with their rotation of Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Zach Zenner. The issue is that none of those three players stand out as the starter that can carry the load and lead the Lions running game. Detroit needs one of those guys to finally have a breakthrough season in 2017 because the Lions can’t just put all of the pressure on Matthew Stafford to do everything. Detroit’s offense is still the strength of the team as they will no doubt have a terrific passing attack, but the defense doesn’t look very good for Detroit heading into 2017. Detroit’s defensive line appears to have some potential as they have a good starting defensive tackle duo with Haloti Ngata and A’Shawn Robinson. However, Detroit needs more from their pass rush as their starting defensive ends Cornelius Washington and Ezekiel Ansah only combined for 4 sacks last season. I expect Ansah to play much better in 2017 and he has tons of potential as proven by his 14.5 sacks in 2015, but the Lions need another pass rusher to step up. The Lions also appear to be very weak at linebacker as Tahir Whitehead is the most proven player at that position and even he isn’t very good. Detroit really needs 2017 1st round pick Jarrad Davis to step up immediately and play very well at middle linebacker. Detroit’s secondary might be the strength of their defense as they have a very good cornerback with Darius Slay and a good starting safety with Glover Quin. However, for the secondary to truly reach its potential then they will need the other starters Tavon Wilson and Nevin Lawson to improve and provide decent production. Detroit clearly has some talent especially on offense, but they just have too many holes on defense which will make it difficult for them to compete for a playoff spot in 2017.

 

4. Chicago Bears

It is definitely a rebuilding year for the Chicago Bears as they project to be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2017. The main issue for the Bears is at the quarterback position where they have Mike Glennon as their starter after signing him to a 3-year deal in the offseason. Chicago also drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with their 1st round pick this offseason, but he clearly won’t be the starter at least until 2018 unless Glennon really struggles. It certainly doesn’t help that the Bears have a bad group of wide receivers especially after they lost starting receiver Cameron Meredith for the rest of the season due to injury. Kevin White is by far the most talented receiver for the Bears as he was a 1st round pick in 2015, but the problem is that he hasn’t proven himself as he has missed most of the past 2 seasons due to injuries. Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright will compete for the 2nd receiver role, but both of those receivers are unproven as well despite being in the NFL for a few seasons. Jordan Howard will clearly have to carry the offense as he was one of the top running backs in the NFL last season as a rookie. The Bears offense doesn’t appear to be very good in 2017, so they will need their defense to step up in order to at least be a respectable team. Chicago’s pass rush could be good as they have Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, and Willie Young who all had at least 7 sacks each last season. The Bears linebacker group has a chance to be very good as they have Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, Danny Trevathan, and Jerrell Freeman as starters at linebacker. The Bears also could have a decent secondary as they are led by starting strong safety Quintin Demps and underrated starting cornerback Marcus Cooper. However, for the secondary to be good they will need more consistent play from safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Prince Amukamara. Overall, the Bears defense has the chance to be good, but they will probably need to be really good often in order for the Bears to be competitive since the Bears offense could really struggle in 2017.

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AFC East Predictions

  1. New England Patriots

This is the easiest to pick the winner of since the Patriots are the most dominant team in the NFL and the other 3 teams in their division are mediocre at best. Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in the NFL and as long as he stays healthy in 2017 the Patriots should make a deep playoff run once again. He will be without top target Julian Edelman after he tore his ACL during the preseason, but the Patriots still have many options in the passing game. The Patriots running back situation is about the only question mark for the Patriots as they have Mike Gillislee as their early-down back. Gillislee has been a backup running back for all of his career, so it will be interesting to see how he handles being the starter for the first time in the NFL. We’ll see how effective the Patriots running backs are in 2017, but the Patriots offense still should be outstanding with just Tom Brady. The Patriots could be just as good on defense especially in the secondary where they Devin McCourty, Malcolm Butler, and newly acquired cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The front 7 is the main question for the Patriots as they don’t have a very good pass rush as Trey Flowers is their best pass rusher and he only had 7 sacks last season. However, the Patriots should still have a very good defense to go along with a terrific offense. It would be a major shock if the Patriots don’t win the AFC East easily this season.

 

2. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins were a playoff team last season and they are probably the 2nd best team in the AFC East. However, there is no chance that they will be able to compete with the Patriots for the division which means that Miami’s best hope is a wild card spot. Miami’s playoff hopes took a major hit though when starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp. The Dolphins did a good job of finding a decent temporary solution at the quarterback position by signing Jay Cutler. However, we’ll see if Cutler is ready to carry Miami’s offense considering that he just came out of retirement in early August. The Dolphins still have a really good running back with Jay Ajayi and it will be interesting to see if he can be as dominant as he was last season. Miami also has three really good young wide receivers with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills. Miami has the weapons on offense to succeed, but a lot will depend on how well Jay Cutler plays at quarterback. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have a very underrated defense led by star defensive linemen Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. The big question for the Dolphins will be in their secondary as they have a big area of weakness at the cornerback position. Xavien Howard has tons of potential, but he needs to play much better than he did last season. Hopefully the Dolphins pass rush is dominant in 2017 or else the Dolphins might allow a lot of passing yards. Overall, the Dolphins have a lot of talent on offense and defense, but they will only make the playoffs if Jay Cutler can lead the way at quarterback.

 

3. Buffalo Bills

The Bills seemed that they could possibly be the 2nd best team in the AFC East, but that was until they traded away their best wide receiver Sammy Watkins and their best cornerback Ronald Darby in August. Buffalo did acquire Jordan Matthews from the Eagles to help fill the void at wide receiver, but he doesn’t provide the explosiveness to the Bills offense like Watkins did. The only real threat that the Bills have on offense is running back LeSean McCoy who is still one of the best running backs in the NFL. Buffalo also has a very good offensive line, but that won’t matter if they don’t get better play from Tyrod Taylor at the quarterback position. Taylor is a dual-threat QB that can make plays with his legs, but he needs to become more efficient in the passing game. It certainly won’t help that they only have Jordan Matthews and unproven rookie Zay Jones at the receiver position. The Bills offense will really heavily on the running game with McCoy, but Tyrod Taylor still needs to play better for the Bills offense to be effective. Meanwhile, the Bills defense could be the strength of the team as they arguably have the most talented defensive line in the NFL with Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Marcell Dareus, and Kyle Williams. However, if the Bills don’t cause enough pressure with their pass rush, then the Bills defense could have some serious issues. Buffalo has an extremely weak secondary after they lost their top two cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby this offseason. Tre’Davious White figures to be the top corner heading into the 2017 season, but he is only a rookie so it’s difficult to expect him to make a big impact right away. Overall, the Bills have too many holes on their roster and it seems like they are preparing for the future rather than trying to compete in 2017.

 

4. New York Jets

The New York Jets are probably the worst team in the NFL after they let go of several key veteran players this offseason. New York should have plenty of trouble scoring points this season as they have no true threats on their offense especially after releasing quality wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Also, the Jets placed their top wide receiver Quincy Enunwa on injured reserve which makes the Jets really thin at the wide receiver position. I’m not even sure who their top receiver is heading into the 2017 season, but Robby Anderson is probably their best option even though he only has 587 career receiving yards. The Jets now have plenty of inexperienced wide receivers and it will be interesting to see who steps up at the position. The other issue is that the Jets have a terrible situation at the quarterback position. Josh McCown is probably the team’s best option at quarterback and that is really not good since he has been proven to be a terrible starting QB. The Jets have a good situation at running back with Matt Forte and Bilal Powell sharing the backfield, but they won’t be able to carry the offense by themselves. New York needs their young players on offense to step up in 2017 or else this team might not even win a game in 2017. Meanwhile, defense is clearly the strength of the Jets in 2017 as they have many young talented players on that side. The Jets have a very talented defensive line as they have Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Sheldon Richardson. The Jets also have two very talented rookie safeties with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, but they might struggle a little bit early on as they adjust to the NFL level. However, the rest of the defense has major question marks especially at the cornerback position with Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine as the starters. The Jets need their pass rush to be really good or else New York’s secondary could be exposed really quickly. New York could be decent on defense, but it won’t matter since the Jets offense could be really awful in 2017 and this team might be lucky to even win 2 or 3 games this season.

 

 

NFC East 2017 Predictions

The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last season and it appears that they could win it again in 2017. Here are my predictions for the NFC East standings for this upcoming season.

 

1st place: New York Giants

The Giants beat the Cowboys twice last season, but the Giants still weren’t quite able to win the division. However, the Giants have improved their team this offseason and they have surpassed the Cowboys as the most talented team in the NFC East. New York should have a terrific passing game in 2017 as they still have the elite duo of quarterback Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. However, the Giants also signed Brandon Marshall to be their number 2 wide receiver and they drafted tight end Evan Engram with their 1st round pick. The big question mark for the Giants on offense is their running back situation. New York let go of starter Rashad Jennings this offseason and they didn’t do anything to add to the position which means Paul Perkins will now be full-time starter in 2017. Perkins did well in a limited role last season for the Giants, but it will be interesting to see how he handles his increased role this season. Also, New York needs to get more consistent play from their offensive line to give Eli Manning more time to make an impact in the passing game. If the Giants can just get decent production from their offensive line and running backs then New York should have a very good offense in 2017. The Giants defense was much improved last season and they figure to be very good once again this season. New York’s secondary is one of the best in the entire NFL as they are led by Landon Collins, Janoris Jenkins, and Eli Apple. Also, New York’s defensive line is still a strength of their team as they have elite players Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, and Damon Harrison on their defensive line. However, their linebackers are clearly the weakness of the defense and the Giants didn’t do anything to address that position this offseason. The Giants still have some needs to fill on their team, but overall they have the most talented roster in the NFC East and they have a good offense and defense in order to compete with any team in the NFL.

 

2nd place: Dallas Cowboys

Dallas won the division last season and they still have a very good roster especially on offense. However, the Cowboys didn’t get any better this offseason and the Giants have clearly surpassed them as the best team in the division. Dallas shouldn’t have any issues scoring as they have star quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Also, Prescott still has good receivers to throw to as Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley are all returning in 2017. Dallas also has the best offensive line in football even without Ronald Leary who departed in free agency. There is really no weakness on the offense for the Cowboys and as long as Dak Prescott can be productive like he was during his rookie season. The thing that will hold Dallas back in 2017 is their defense as it wasn’t very good last season and it could be even worse this season. Dallas lost a lot of key players in their secondary this offseason and now they will rely on unproven cornerbacks Nolan Carroll, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jouran Lewis to play a big role. The Cowboys pass rush is another major area of weakness on their defense as their defensive line has 4 starters that aren’t very good. Dallas select defensive end Taco Charlton in the 1st round of the draft, but it is unknown how much of an impact that he will make as a rookie. The Cowboys linebackers are clearly the strength of the defense with Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens leading that group, but even that position group is just average. Either way, the Cowboys defense isn’t looking very good heading into the 2017 season and if they can just be an average defense then there is no doubt that this team could be the best in the division. However, the Cowboys offense will have tons of pressure to score some points or else this team might not make it to the playoffs.

 

3rd place: Philadelphia Eagles

This team probably isn’t going to make the playoffs in 2017, but it is certainly a team that is on the rise with 2nd-year quarterback Carson Wentz. If Wentz can improve upon a decent rookie season then the Eagles should be a better team in 2017. The issue for the Eagles offense was that there wasn’t a good supporting cast around Wentz. Philadelphia’s receivers dropped passes consistently and the running game was basically nonexistent since Ryan Mathews was injured and unproductive last season. However, the Eagles should be much improved with the additions of wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. Jeffery is a pro-bowl caliber receiver that will make tough catches and Smith is the perfect 2nd receiver as he gives the Eagles a much needed deep threat. Also, the running back situation should be much improved as the team signed LeGarrette Blount in free agency. I don’t expect Blount to have 18 rushing touchdowns like he did last season, but he at least takes some more pressure off of young quarterback Carson Wentz. The Eagles offensive line is still good overall and it will be important that they protect Wentz consistently since he needs plenty of time to make plays. Philadelphia’s offense still is just average, but they should be better than last season. The Eagles defense was surprisingly good last season and they should be about the same in 2017. Philadelphia’s defensive line could be decent as they have two really good starters with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham. Also, the linebackers are a decent group led by Mychal Kendricks and they could be a strength of this defense. However, the real strength for the Eagles on defense is at the safety position as Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins are one of the best duos in the league. They will need to be good once again in 2017 as the rest of the secondary isn’t very good especially at the cornerback position. Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson are expected to be the starters in 2017, but neither are very proven options which means that the Eagles could give up a lot of big passing plays this season. The Eagles defense is average, but they are still probably the strength of the team heading into 2017. Philadelphia should be an average team this season as they really don’t have any great players on their team. However, they are still a better team than they were a year ago and they are certainly a team on the rise as long as young quarterback Carson Wentz can continue to improve.

 

4th place: Washington Redskins

This is one of the most intriguing teams heading into the 2017 season because the Redskins have the potential to be really good or really bad. However, the expectation is that the Redskins will decline this season and they will probably be a 6-10 team or something like that. Washington’s offense likely won’t be as good as last season with the departures of wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson this offseason. The Redskins only replaced those receivers with Terrelle Pryor who was good last season, but that was his first season as a wide receiver. Also, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder will be expected to have bigger roles than they did last year for the Redskins. The only real reliable target that the Redskins have is tight end Jordan Reed, but even he is dealing with a toe injury right now and he struggles to stay healthy. The Redskins running back situation is even more of a mystery right now. Rob Kelley is the starter right now and he did a decent job for the Redskins last season, but he isn’t a very reliable starter. Rookie running back Samaje Perine will likely split the carries with Kelley and they will need a more reliable running back to take some of the pressure off of quarterback Kirk Cousins. Washington has a very good offensive line led by star left tackle Trent Williams and they should do a good job of protecting Kirk Cousins in 2017. Cousins is a good quarterback, but he has new wide receivers to work with and he doesn’t have a reliable running back alongside him. Washington’s offense has tons of potential, although we’ll see how well the passing game does without DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. The Redskins defense also has some potential, but I’m not quite sure how well they will perform in 2017. The strength of the Redskins defense is definitely at the cornerback position as they have elite cornerback Josh Norman and good young cornerback Bashaud Breeland as the starters. The Redskins also have star pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan who had 11 sacks last season, but the issue is that the Redskins don’t have another good pass rusher. Rookie 1st round pick Jonathan Allen could be a good pass rusher for Washington, but it is unknown the type of impact that he will make in his first season. The Redskins have some good pieces to work with on defense, but for the defense to really be successful then they will need young players like Jonathan Allen and 2nd-year safety Su’a Cravens to step up. Overall, the Redskins have enough talent to push for a playoff spot in 2017, but they will need a lot of players to have breakout seasons in order for them to do so.

Predicting a breakout Player for every NFL Team in 2017

Arizona Cardinals – John Brown – Wide Receiver

The Cardinals have been really deep at wide receiver in recent years with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd being the team’s primary receivers. However, Floyd is now gone and that means there will definitely be an increased role for John Brown as the Cardinals new 2nd option in the passing game. Brown has been productive as Arizona’s 3rd receiver, but he has never really had the opportunity to be the number 2 wide receiver for the Cardinals. Expect Brown to have a huge year since he will now have a much bigger role than he has ever had.

Atlanta Falcons – Austin Hooper – Tight End

Atlanta’s passing offense was outstanding last season with wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu leading the way. However, the tight end position wasn’t targeted very much last season as the top 2 players at that position only had 31 catches combined. Austin Hooper only had 18 catches for 271 yards, but he was still only a rookie and he was just getting adjusted to the offense. Hooper should have a bigger role in the offense this season as he gets more adjusted to playing at the NFL level and gets to know quarterback Matt Ryan better. Jones and Sanu will still be the focal point of the Falcons offense, although Hooper could prove to be a breakout player as a reliable 3rd option for Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens – Kamalei Correa – Inside Linebacker

Kamalei Correa was a 2nd round pick of the Ravens last year, but he barely saw the field during his rookie year as he only had 4 tackles and a forced fumble in limited playing time. However, his role should increase tremendously this season as he is expected to win the starting inside linebacker spot for the Ravens especially after the departure of leading tackler and last year’s starting inside linebacker Zach Orr. Correa will see an increased role whether he wins the job or not and get ready to hear his name a lot more often this season.

Buffalo Bills – Zay Jones – Wide Receiver

Zay Jones was one of the most underrated players in this year’s draft and he was just as good as the other receivers in the 2017 class despite only being a 2nd round pick. However, Jones is going to the Bills where he will be relied upon to be a starter right away because they don’t have much depth at the receiver position. Sammy Watkins is going to be the Bills number 1 wide receiver in 2017, but Jones has a chance to have a major role as the Bills 2nd option in the passing game.

Carolina Panthers – Daryl Williams – Right Tackle

Daryl Williams had a very productive college career at Oklahoma and I was kind of surprised that he fell to the 4th round in the 2015 draft. However, he will finally get a chance to prove himself this season as he will likely be the Panthers new starting right tackle. Michael Oher is still dealing with the effects of a concussion from last season and it is unclear if he will even be the starting right tackle when he comes back. That means Williams will finally have his chance to be a breakout player and prove he can be a starting offensive tackle in the NFL.

Chicago Bears – Kevin White – Wide Receiver

Injuries have really hurt Kevin White’s NFL career since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. He missed his entire rookie season with a stress fracture in his shin and he was subsequently was placed on injured reserve. He had a very minimal impact for the Bears when he finally made his NFL debut in 2016 as he had 19 receptions and 187 yards in 4 games. However, White once again found himself on injured reserve as he fractured the fibula in his left leg and that ended his season. Now that he is healthy heading into the 2017 season there are high hopes that he can be the number 1 receiver that they expected of him when he was drafted. The Bears top receiver from last season is gone as Alshon Jeffery signed with the Eagles this offseason. If Kevin White can just stay healthy then there is no reason that he can’t put up huge numbers because he is by far the best wide receiver on their roster.

Cincinnati Bengals – Jake Fisher – Right Tackle

Jake Fisher hasn’t seen much playing time since being drafted in the 2nd round in the 2015 draft as he was basically the understudy to veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. However, Whitworth is now gone after he departed for the Rams in free agency and now the starting right tackle job is clearly going to be given to Jake Fisher in 2017. Fisher wasn’t great when he started the last 3 games at the position last season, but now he has a full offseason knowing that he will be the starter and he will have a big role to play this season.

Cleveland Browns – Corey Coleman – Wide Receiver

Corey Coleman is a very talented wide receiver, yet he didn’t make much of an impact as injuries held him back during his rookie season. However, he now heads into 2017 with a much better knowledge of the Browns offense and of the NFL in general. I’m not quite sure which quarterback will be throwing him the ball, but Coleman is going to definitely be a starter and he should have a breakthrough season in 2017.

Dallas Cowboys – Chaz Green – Left Guard

Chaz Green has primarily been a backup offensive tackle since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft by the Cowboys. However, Green now will have a much bigger role than he has ever had as he is going to be the starting left guard for Dallas in 2017. Doug Free retired this offseason which meant that the Cowboys had to reorganize their offensive line and that is why Green ended up as the starting left guard. We’ll see how well Green plays in that role, but the rest of the offensive line is probably the best in the NFL and they will certainly help to guide him along the way.

Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch – Quarterback

Paxton Lynch didn’t look very good last season in the 3 games that he played for the Broncos as a rookie. However, Lynch now has had a full offseason to improve and try and win the starting quarterback job from Trevor Siemian. Lynch is a dynamic player and he certainly won’t be on the bench for much longer since the Broncos traded up to draft him in the 1st round in the 2016 draft. Lynch might be ready to start week 1 and if he is then he has a chance to be a bigtime playmaker for a Broncos offense that really needs one.

Detroit Lions – Ameer Abdullah – Running Back

The Lions running game has been awful for several years and that is why they drafted Ameer Abdullah early in the 2015 draft to try and fix their terrible situation at the running back position. Abdullah showed flashes as a rookie in 2015 that he could be a decent running back in the NFL, but the Lions pass the ball too much and they never really gave him much of an opportunity. Last year he played really well until he was injured during the 2nd game of 2016 and he ended up being out for the season after only 18 carries for 101 yards. Detroit’s running game was really bad without him and if he can stay healthy then he should make a big impact for the Lions in 2017.

Green Bay Packers – Kenny Clark – Defensive End

Kenny Clark didn’t play too much of an immediate role for the Packers last season despite being a 1st round pick in 2016. However, with Julius Peppers now gone it means that Clark will have a much bigger role this season at the defensive end position. Clark isn’t the type of pass rusher that Peppers is, but Clark is effective at stopping the run and he could really make a big impact for the Packers now that he is the full-time starter.

Houston Texans – K.J. Dillon – Strong Safety

If you have never heard of K.J. Dillon then you’re probably not alone as he was a 5th round pick in the 2016 draft and he only had 5 tackles during his rookie season as a backup safety. However, Quintin Demps is now gone and that has left a void at the strong safety position as there wasn’t much depth at the position behind him. That void will be filled by K.J. Dillon who will be tossed into the starting role in all likelihood. We’ll see what kind of impact he makes, but Texans fans will certainly hear his name a lot more next season.

Indianapolis Colts – Le’Raven Clark – Right Tackle

The Colts have struggled to find a good offensive line for a long time and they have especially struggled finding a good starting right tackle. It’s now time to see what 2nd-year right tackle Le’Raven Clark can do as the starting right tackle. Clark was inactive for most of the Colts games last season after getting drafted in the 3rd round in the 2016 draft. Clark played very well when he did get the opportunity to start the final 3 games of the season for the Colts and it was possibly a good sign of things to come for him in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack – Inside Linebacker

Myles Jack could have been a 1st round pick easily in the 2016 draft, but instead he fell to the Jaguars in the 2nd round due to injury concerns. However, Jack failed to live up to the hype as a rotational player at linebacker during his rookie year as he only had 24 tackles. Jack will have to be much better in 2017 as he is already basically guaranteed a starting spot at the inside linebacker position for Jacksonville. Jack has tons of playmaking ability and he could really prove to be a good linebacker now that he is given a full-time opportunity in 2017.

Kansas City Chiefs – Chris Conley – Wide Receiver

Chris Conley hasn’t had a very big role in the Kansas City offense since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. However, Conley is now the top wide receiver for the Chiefs after they released pro-bowl receiver Jeremy Maclin in June. The Chiefs don’t throw the ball a lot, so don’t expect huge numbers from Conley in 2017. However, he might near 1,000 yards receiving just because there isn’t much depth at receiver for Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams – Wide Receiver

There has been a lot of hype about rookie 1st round picks, but surprisingly Mike Williams has somehow kind of gone under the radar for the Chargers. However, Mike Williams might be the best player that comes out of the entire draft. Williams is a big possession receiver who will be a big redzone threat for the Chargers immediately. Also, he has the size and ability to compete at the NFL level immediately which is why he will probably be a breakout player right away.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – Quarterback

Jared Goff was the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, but he clearly wasn’t ready to make an immediate impact at the NFL level as he went 0-7 as a starter during his rookie season. Goff was absolutely terrible last season, but it wasn’t entirely his fault since the team went through a midseason coaching change and he didn’t have many offensive weapons around him in order to succeed. Goff now has better receivers after the team signed Robert Woods in free agency and they drafted Cooper Kupp early in the draft. Also, star running back Todd Gurley should be much better than he was last season and that would take a lot of pressure off of Goff. Overall, Goff has a lot of improving to do, although he should have a breakthrough season in 2017.

Miami Dolphins – Jordan Phillips – Defensive Tackle

Jordan Phillips has been decent as a rotational defensive tackle since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft by the Dolphins. However, Phillips will now see a much larger role for the 2017 season as he is projected to be the full-time starter at one of the defensive tackle positions for Miami. Phillips is continuing to get better each season and he is already a good role player, but he seems ready to breakthrough and take the next step to becoming a good starter. It will help that he has star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh alongside him in order to guide him. If Phillips can continue to improve then he has the talent already to be a very good NFL defensive tackle.

Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell – Wide Receiver

Laquon Treadwell was supposed to be an immediate impact receiver for the Vikings after they selected him in the 1st round last year. However, Treadwell was surprisingly barely used as he only had one reception all season. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are still the starters for Minnesota at wide receiver, but Treadwell will definitely compete for more playing time at receiver. Treadwell has terrific size and ability to be a number 1 receiver for the Vikings and if he gets the opportunity in 2017 he could put up some very good stats.

New England Patriots – Mike Gillislee – Running Back

Mike Gillislee already kind of had a breakout season with the Buffalo Bills in a limited role as he had 577 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. However, Gillislee should see an even bigger role with the Patriots in 2017 as he is expected to take over LeGarrette Blount’s role as the early-down running back. Gillislee will be used on first and 2nd downs primarily and in short yardage situations, so expect a lot touchdowns for him this season. Gillislee is already a good player, but he should put up huge numbers in 2017 now that he is the lead running back for the first time in his career.

New Orleans Saints – Marshon Lattimore – Cornerback

Marshon Lattimore could have easily been a top 5 pick in the 2017 draft, but he instead fell to the Saints with the 11th overall pick. Lattimore will be a rookie, so don’t expect him to be a superstar player in 2017, but he will certainly be a starter right away for a Saints defensive that has been terrible in recent years. Lattimore has shutdown corner traits and he will likely make a huge immediate impact for the Saints.

New York Giants – Paul Perkins – Running Back

The Giants had a terrible running game last season as starter Rashad Jennings wasn’t productive at all. However, the Giants decided to stick with the rest of their running back group besides Rashad Jennings who was released earlier in the year. Paul Perkins did the best job of anybody in the Giants running back group last year despite receiving limited playing time. Now, the Giants have enough confidence in him that they are making him a full-time starter at running back and he should put up career numbers in 2017.

New York Jets – Charone Peake – Wide Receiver

Charone Peake had a very small role as a receiver in the Jets offense last season as he only had 19 receptions for 186 yards, but not much was expected of him since he was a rookie 7th round pick. There will certainly be an opportunity for a much bigger role in 2017 after the team released veteran receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Those two losses this season left the Jets with virtually nothing at the wide receiver position. That means Peake has a chance to be a starter and prove whether he can be a starter for the team long-term. Peake isn’t a very talented wide receiver, but given the Jets need at receiver he should have the opportunity to be a breakout player in 2017.

Oakland Raiders – Mario Edwards Jr. – Defensive End

Mario Edwards Jr. had a big role during his rookie year and he did a decent job as he had 42 tackles and 2 sacks. He was expected to have a bigger role last season, but he was injured almost all of the season and he only had 2 tackles in 2016. However, Edwards Jr. is going to get another opportunity to be a starting defensive end for the Raiders in 2017. It will certainly help that he will be able to start opposite of all-pro defensive end Khalil Mack since Mack will probably have offenses focus on him instead of Edwards. That will likely give Edwards plenty of opportunities to put up some big numbers and have a breakout season since teams won’t commit to blocking him as much with the threat of Khalil Mack on the other side. If Edwards can just stay healthy all year then there is no reason that he shouldn’t have a career year in 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz – Quarterback

Carson Wentz was very inconsistent last season which is to be expected of a rookie quarterback. However, now that he has a full offseason to continue to develop then he should be much better in 2017. Also, Wentz didn’t have very reliable offensive weapons around him last season, but he should have much better receivers to throw to with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. The team also added running back LeGarrette Blount which should help to take some of the pressure off of Wentz. I don’t think he’ll turn into a pro-bowl caliber quarterback in 2017, although he might be able to breakout and become a quality starting quarterback for the Eagles.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Jesse James – Tight End

Jesse James has been a very productive role player for Pittsburgh when he has gotten an opportunity to play. However, he is going to be the starting tight end for the first time in his NFL career and that means he will likely put up huge stats in 2017. Heath Miller retired prior to last season and the Steelers tried to replace Miller by signing Ladarius Green. However, Green had major injury issues last season and they just ended up moving on from him. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always loved throwing to a tight end and that means James should have plenty of chances to make a huge impact next season in the passing game.

San Francisco 49ers – Rashard Robinson – Cornerback

Rashard Robinson had a decent impact as a rookie cornerback for the 49ers in 2016 and now with the departure of Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward moving to safety it creates a huge opportunity for Robinson to make an impact. Robinson is now the main cornerback for San Francisco and he will surely be thrown at a lot more than he ever has been. We’ll see how he handles being a full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career, but either way he will definitely have a breakout season.

Seattle Seahawks – Paul Richardson – Wide Receiver

Richardson surprisingly hasn’t been very involved in the Seahawks offense ever since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft. However, he was given a little bit more an opportunity near the end of last season and he showed flashes of his potential as he made some ridiculous catches especially in the playoffs. The Seahawks still don’t have a very reliable receiver besides Doug Baldwin, but Richardson could be the 2nd receiver that they need. I’m not sure why Richardson hasn’t gotten more of a chance to play in his career, but after his impressive playoff performances I’d be shocked if he isn’t highly involved in the Seahawks offense next season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Roberto Aguayo – Kicker

Roberto Aguayo was probably the worst kicker in the NFL last season despite the Buccaneers trading up to draft him in the 2nd round. Now, there are no guarantees that he will even keep the kicking job as the team signed former Jets kicker Nick Folk to try and provide some more competition. However, Aguayo did show signs of improvement towards the end of the season at least on easier kicks. Aguayo has more motivation to succeed now that he has more competition and he showed improvement late last season which is why I expect him to be much better in 2017.

Tennessee Titans – LeShaun Sims – Cornerback

LeShaun Sims was impressive in the limited playing time that he received last year and now the Titans don’t have much depth at cornerback. That means Sims will have a much bigger role probably as the team’s 2nd or 3rd starting cornerback. Sims will have to compete with 2017 1st round pick Adoree Jackson for more playing time. However, Sims at least should get an opportunity to show what he can do and he should have his breakout season in 2017.

Washington Redskins – Josh Doctson – Wide Receiver

Josh Doctson was a 1st round pick last year, but he only had 2 receptions for 66 yards as he was buried on the wide receiver depth chart behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder. However, Jackson and Garcon both left in free agency and the team only replaced them with Terrelle Pryor. That means there will definitely be a much bigger role for Doctson with the Redskins in 2017. Doctson has good size for an NFL receiver and he will take over one of the starting receiver positions for Washington this season. We’ll see how big of an impact that Doctson will have this season, but he is surely going to put up much bigger stats than he did as a rookie.

Ranking the 32 NFL Starting Quarterbacks

32. Josh McCown – New York Jets

Josh McCown is the type of player that somehow continues to get a chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL despite consistently showing that he is a terrible starting quarterback. McCown is 18-42 as a starter in the NFL and don’t expect him to be any better for the Jets this season as he doesn’t have any reliable receivers and he has an awful offensive line as well. McCown is a great person and a really good backup QB, but he doesn’t have a good throwing arm and he hasn’t proven that he is able to win games as a starter despite being in the league since 2002. I would be absolutely shocked if the Jets win more than 4 games this season with McCown as the starting quarterback.

31. Cody Kessler – Cleveland Browns

Kessler actually did a decent job statistically as the main starting quarterback for the Browns last season, but the problem is he went 0-7 in the games that he started. He has a very bright future as a backup QB in this league, although he just isn’t a good starter. I’m not even sure if Kessler will be the starting quarterback most of the season for the Browns as they also have Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer competing for the starting job. Kessler is just a temporary solution at best for Cleveland, but he did show some flashes that he could be a solid backup at least for many years.

30. Tom Savage – Houston Texans

Tom Savage got an opportunity to be a starting quarterback for the Texans late last season and he at least did enough for the Texans to be able to win a low-scoring game against the Bengals in December. Savage isn’t a flashy player and he won’t throw many touchdowns since he doesn’t stretch the field much. However, at least he didn’t throw any interceptions in his limited playing time last season. Savage is the favorite to win the Texans quarterback job right now, but rookie Deshaun Watson will likely take over the job at some point this season. Savage is a decent temporary solution at best for Houston, but don’t expect him to do much except try and complete short passes and hand the ball off to running back Lamar Miller.

29. Mike Glennon – Chicago Bears

Mike Glennon hasn’t received an opportunity to be a starter full-time for an NFL team until he signed with the Bears this past offseason. However, he did show some flashes with the Buccaneers that show that he could at least be a decent temporary option as a starting quarterback. Glennon doesn’t throw many interceptions, but he also isn’t a very consistent accurate passer which is ultimately what will hold him back. Glennon will likely only be the starter for 1 season in Chicago as rookie 1st round pick Mitchell Trubisky is waiting to take over the starting job. Glennon is good enough to maybe win a few games as a starter this season, but don’t expect good quarterback play if you’re a Bears fan.

28. Brian Hoyer – San Francisco 49ers

Brian Hoyer proved with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans that he has the ability to be a decent temporary starting quarterback and win a few games if needed. However, don’t expect Hoyer to make many big plays or even come close to leading the 49ers to the playoffs in 2017. Hoyer is the starting quarterback for San Francisco heading into 2017, but the 49ers will definitely address the quarterback position after the season. Hoyer is 16-16 as a starter in the NFL, so he has proven that he can win some games if called upon to be a starting QB, but he clearly isn’t the solution for the 49ers.

27. Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos

Trevor Siemian actually did a decent job for the Broncos as the team’s starting quarterback as he helped lead the team to a 8-6 record when he started. However, Siemian doesn’t have the physical tools to be a starting NFL quarterback and he clearly isn’t the quarterback of the future for Denver. If Siemian is called upon to start then he will be good enough to win some games, but he isn’t the type of player that makes this team any better. In fact, Siemian might not even be the starter for most of the 2017 season as 2nd-year quarterback Paxton Lynch could take over the starting job soon. Siemian is as good of a player as he’ll ever be and he is nothing more than a temporary solution for the Broncos at the quarterback position.

26. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

The Rams had high expectations for Jared Goff after the team gave up a lot to trade up and get him with the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. However, Goff was a major disappointment in his 7 starts for the Rams last season. In fact, Goff threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season and he went 0-7 as a starter in his rookie season. I expect him to be better this season which is why I have him ranked this high on my list of quarterbacks. However, Goff has a lot to prove before he can be considered even an average NFL starting quarterback. There is no doubt that Goff has all of the physical tools to be a very good quarterback, but I can’t rate him higher until he actually goes out on the field and proves it.

25. Sam Bradford – Minnesota Vikings

Sam Bradford hasn’t lived up to expectations ever since being the number 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft as he has never led a team to the playoffs so far during his career. Bradford has shown flashes of his potential at times and he has decent statistics, but he is only 32-45-1 as a starter in the NFL. Bradford doesn’t take risks and he rarely throws the ball down the field which is probably why he doesn’t throw too many interceptions. However, that affects his ability to be able to make plays and ultimately lead his team to the playoffs. Bradford is an average starting quarterback in the NFL and at this point in his career he probably won’t ever be better than average.

24. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles is the ultimate inconsistent quarterback in the NFL. Bortles had an awful rookie season and he looked like a bust that year. However, his 2nd season in the NFL he looked like a pro bowl quarterback as he threw for 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Last season his play once again regressed and he was the main reason that the Jaguars had an extremely disappointing season. Bortles has shown the outstanding potential that he has, but who knows what type of quarterback he will be in 2017. Jacksonville has plenty of talent around him, so if Bortles doesn’t improve this season then the Jaguars might try and find his replacement.

23. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz had a decent rookie season for the Eagles in 2016 and there are high hopes that he can take the next step in 2017. Wentz was very inconsistent which is to be expected of a rookie quarterback, but he did show amazing flashes of the type of player he can be. If Wentz can cut down on his amount of interceptions, then he could be an above average starting quarterback in the NFL. Wentz has sky high potential, but he just needs to continue to prove himself as the face of the franchise for the Eagles.

22. Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs

When you think of an average quarterback in the NFL, Alex Smith is probably the first player that comes to mind because he fits that stereotype perfectly. Smith completes a high percentage of his pass attempts every year since he almost always attempts short passes. Sure, he doesn’t make many mistakes as he only threw 8 interceptions last season for the Chiefs since he doesn’t take many risks. However, that is the reason that Smith will always be average because he isn’t the type of quarterback that makes big plays. Smith isn’t as talented as most of the quarterbacks ranked below him, but Smith does his job consistently and he finds a way to win games for Kansas City which is why I ranked him this high.

21. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill finally was able to prove that he might be the solution for the Dolphins at the quarterback position as he was able to help lead Miami to their first playoff berth in awhile. Tannehill didn’t put up great statistics, but he completed a high percentage of his passes and he was able to be good enough to make the Dolphins offense decent. Tannehill is just an average quarterback at this point in his career and that’s probably all he will ever be, although he at least gives Miami a chance to make the playoffs every season.

20. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco is the type of player that plays his best football in the playoffs as he led the Ravens to a super bowl win in 2012. However, the issue for him lately is that he hasn’t been able to lead Baltimore back to the playoffs. Flacco is one of the top paid quarterbacks in the NFL, but he is still just an average starting quarterback. Flacco throws too many interceptions for a quarterback of his age, but somehow he always seems to put the Ravens in a position to win games. Flacco is clearly the face of the franchise for Baltimore and he has led the Ravens to the playoffs numerous times. However, his career seems to be on the decline at age 32 and he is just an average starting QB right now.

19. Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor has been a much better starting quarterback than I ever expected as he has only thrown 12 interceptions in 2 seasons as a starter with the Bills. However, the one thing that is holding Taylor back is that he hasn’t shown an ability to lead Buffalo to the playoffs and he is still somewhat raw as a passer. Taylor is a terrific dual-threat quarterback as he has the speed to make plays with his feet in open space. He is also a good passer on short throws, but he will need to take more risks down the field in order to become a better quarterback. We’ll see if he is able to lead Buffalo back to the playoffs sometime soon, but he is a quarterback that continues to improve.

18. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals

It is always unknown what type of quarterback Andy Dalton will be every season as he is inconsistent every season. Dalton was outstanding during the 2015 season for Cincinnati, but last season he once again regressed to become just a slightly above average starting quarterback. He seems to at have at least cut down on his interceptions the past 2 seasons which is a really good sign and the Bengals are hoping that he can continue to improve in 2017 and lead Cincinnati back to the playoffs. I have to give Dalton a ton of credit because he led the Bengals to the playoffs the first 5 seasons of his career before a disappointing 2016 season. Also, he hasn’t always had tons of talent to work with on offense besides A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert and yet he’s found ways to be successful. Dalton has proven that he knows to win games, but the next step for him will be to win a playoff game and that would take his credibility to the next level.

17. Eli Manning – New York Giants

Eli Manning is another quarterback that is very inconsistent from season to season as he has proven that he can be a pro bowl quarterback. However, he has also proven that he can be one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL at times. The reason that I have ranked Manning this high is mostly because of his past accomplishments. Manning is known for his elevating his level of play when the stage is the brightest as he has led the Giants to two super bowl victories over the Patriots during his career. This guy deserves tons of credit for how many things that he has accomplished while in New York. However, Manning isn’t as good of a quarterback as he used to be despite being surrounded by tremendous wide receivers like Odell Beckham. Manning still throws too many interceptions and that is what has always held him back from really being considered an elite quarterback. Manning is still a good quarterback and he has the ability to lead the Giants far into the playoffs, but his play is somewhat on the decline.

16. Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins has really risen up this list the past 2 seasons as he is now the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Redskins. Cousins is a pro bowl caliber player and he did a great job of leading Washington to the playoffs in 2015. Cousins just hasn’t proven that he can win big games. For example, the Redskins got demolished by the Packers in a playoff game during the 2015 postseason, although that loss wasn’t really his fault. However, he did cost his team a chance at making the playoffs as he threw a costly interception in week 17 against the Giants last season in a game that the team needed to win. Cousins is probably as good of a quarterback as he will ever be, but he is still an above average player at his position.

15. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers is still a pro-bowl caliber starting quarterback in the NFL right now and he has done a good job of at least making the Chargers a respectable team the past few seasons despite not having good receivers or a good offensive line. However, Rivers did lead the league with a career-high 21 interceptions last season. Rivers is known as one of the most competitive players in the league and he often tries to force throws to try and help his team, but that is ultimately what leads to his high interception numbers every season. Rivers hasn’t been very successful in the playoffs and that is what hurts his reputation as an elite quarterback, but he still has had quite a career with the Chargers.

14. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston had a very good season in 2016 despite Mike Evans being his only reliable offensive weapon last season. Winston was 2nd in the league in interceptions thrown in 2016, but if he can limit his turnovers then he has a chance to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Winston now has plenty of weapons to throw to in the passing game, so don’t be surprised if he has a terrific season in 2017. It is playoffs or bust for the Buccaneers in 2017 and if Winston improves then don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay goes far in 2017.

13. Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer proved in 2015 that he is still capable of being a top 5 quarterback in the NFL as he led the Cardinals to the NFC championship game behind 35 touchdown passes. However, Palmer had his play regress a little bit last season as he only threw for 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Palmer is 37 years old, so we will see if age impacts his level of production in 2017, but he is still a pro-bowl caliber quarterback in the NFL.

12. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton should be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL every year because that is how talented he is. However, Cam Newton was just average last season as he had 19 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. A lot of that can be attributed to him playing with an injured throwing shoulder for most of the season, but he is still a great quarterback when healthy especially since he has the added dimension of being a terrific runner.

11. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford has shown flashes that he can be an elite quarterback and he did an outstanding job of leading Detroit to the playoffs last season. However, I just need to see more consistency from Stafford if he is going to continue to move up this list. Stafford has to throw the ball a lot because he arguably has the worst running back group in the entire NFL. However, he continues to show that he can make the Lions offense dangerous on his own and he has done a good job of continuing to make the Lions a playoff contender.

10. Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota is another example of a young quarterback with an extremely bright future. Mariota came extremely close to leading his team to the playoffs last season as he had 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and he is on the right track to becoming a top 10 quarterback very soon. Mariota doesn’t make many mistakes and he might even be the best dual-threat quarterback in the NFL currently because he is a terrific passer as well as a talented runner. Mariota has even better receivers to throw to in 2017 with the additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker, so Mariota could become an elite quarterback as soon as next season.

9. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott wasn’t even supposed to be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys last season. In fact, he wasn’t even the backup quarterback for Dallas until Kellen Moore got hurt. However, Prescott shockingly played like a top 5 quarterback last season as he ended up winning rookie of the year and also making it to the pro bowl. Now, he will have even more pressure on him in year 2 in the NFL as he is clearly the starting quarterback of the present and future for the Cowboys. The only thing that is holding me back from putting him even higher on this list is that he is still a really young player and I’m wondering if last year was just a fluke. If Prescott can do what he did in his rookie season then there is no doubt that he is an elite quarterback.

8. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson had a down season last year as he struggled with injuries and he just wasn’t the same dynamic player that he had been the past few seasons. However, Wilson is still no doubt a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and he should be much better in 2017 as long as he stays healthy. Wilson has accomplished a lot since he came into the NFL in 2012 as he has been to the super bowl twice and he won one title so far. The Seahawks are a legitimate title contender every season because of Wilson and he has earned being a top 10 quarterback despite his struggles last season.

7. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career, although he still remains a consistent player as he had 29 touchdowns last season while leading Pittsburgh to the AFC championship game. Roethlisberger has won 2 super bowls in his career and he has been named to the pro bowl five times. We’ll see if he can lead the Steelers to another super bowl appearance before his career ends, but there is no doubt that he is still a top 10 quarterback because he is still playing at a high level.

6. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr is still very young, but he has already established himself as a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and he is only getting better. Since Carr was drafted in 2014 he has quickly turned the Raiders from a losing team into a team that should compete for a super bowl every year for the next decade. Oakland hadn’t even made the playoffs since 2002 until last season when Carr finally led the team back to the playoffs. Carr is still only 26 years old and he has plenty of young talent around him, so Carr could be a top 5 quarterback for a very long time.

5. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck had lots of pressure on him to replace Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback in Indianapolis. However, Luck has done a tremendous job so far as he has been a pro-bowler three times in his career while also leading the Colts back to the playoffs from 2012-2014. Luck hasn’t had much to work with during his career with Indianapolis as his team has had a terrible defense and a terrible offensive line. It is amazing what Luck has accomplished so far despite not having much around him and he will definitely be a top 10 quarterback for a long time.

4. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan has always been a franchise quarterback for the Falcons since he was drafted by the team in the 2008 draft. However, Ryan took his play to the next level last season as he won the NFL MVP award while also leading the Falcons to the super bowl. He probably won’t play at such a high level next season, but he is still a top 5 NFL quarterback at the moment.

3. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, but that certainly isn’t the fault of Drew Brees as he has certainly done everything he can to make the Saints a respectable team. Brees is certainly heading to the hall-of-fame as he can consider himself legitimately one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Brees has been to the pro-bowl 10 times and he has been named an all-pro 4 times as well. Also, he has led the NFL in passing yards 7 times in his career and he has thrown a whopping 465 career touchdowns. Brees only has 1 super bowl win in his career and he probably should have won more, although it is hard to argue against the remarkable accomplishments that he has had in his career. Brees might be 38 years old, but he hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down and he is still playing like a top NFL quarterback.

2. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers had big shoes to fill by replacing hall-of-fame quarterback Brett Favre, but Rodgers has been even better than Favre in his career. Rodgers has led the Packers to the playoffs in every season since 2009 and he has made the pro bowl six times since taking over the starting quarterback job in 2008. Rodgers is only 33 years old, so he still has several years left in his career and he can already consider himself a hall-of-fame player. Rodgers only has 1 super bowl victory so far which seems like not enough for how good of a player that he has been. However, it is hard to argue against the 2 NFL MVP awards that he has received and he is still adding to his accomplishments.

  1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots

Tom Brady is not only the best quarterback in the NFL today, but he is the best quarterback in NFL history. That is quite an accomplishment considering that he was never supposed to be more than a backup quarterback in the NFL after getting drafted in the 6th round in the 2000 NFL draft. His accomplishments speak for itself as he has led the Patriots to the playoffs 14 times since becoming the starting quarterback in 2001. Also, he has been named to the pro-bowl 12 times and he has been named NFL MVP twice in his career. However, the most amazing accomplishment is that he has been to the super bowl 7 times in his career and he has won 5 super bowl titles including another title last season. Brady turns 40 years old next month, but he is still no doubt the best quarterback in the NFL and he is still playing better than any quarterback in the NFL.

 

 

 

Cleveland Browns draft grade

Cleveland Browns draft grade:

2017 draft picks:

Round 1(1st overall) – Myles Garrett – Defensive End – Texas A&M

Round 1(25th overall) – Jabrill Peppers – Safety – Michigan

Round 1(29th overall) – David Njoku – Tight End – Miami

Round 2(52nd overall) – DeShone Kizer – Quarterback – Notre Dame

Round 3(65th overall) – Larry Ogunjobi – Defensive Tackle – Charlotte

Round 4(126th overall) – Howard Wilson – Cornerback –┬áHouston

Round 5(160th overall) – Roderick Johnson – Offensive Tackle – Florida State

Round 6(185th overall) – Caleb Brantley – Defensive Tackle – Florida

Round 7(224th overall) – Zane Gonzalez – Kicker – Arizona State

Round 7(252nd overall) – Matt Dayes – Running Back – North Carolina State

Analysis:

The Browns had a need at pretty much every position except offensive line on their roster and they certainly improved their team during the draft. Myles Garrett was by far the best player available in this draft and the Browns would have been silly not to draft him with the 1st overall pick. Garrett has elite pass rushing skills and there is no reason as to why he shouldn’t get 10+ sacks every year. He will make an immediate impact for the Browns and drafting him is a good start to building a contender. Meanwhile, Jabrill Peppers will also be a big impact player for the Browns on defense. Peppers doesn’t have good ball skills, but he always seems to make plays and he has the versatility to play in the box as a linebacker or in coverage as a safety. Peppers is a major upgrade at safety for Cleveland and he should bring another outstanding playmaker to a defense that really needed it. Cleveland also drafted tight end David Njoku out of Miami in the 1st round. Njoku didn’t really reach his potential in college as a pass catcher, but he is a good blocker and he is athletic enough that he could be an outstanding receiver as well. Njoku isn’t a complete tight end yet, but he will be a starter right away and he has the potential to be a great tight end. Also, the Browns drafted a quarterback in the 2nd round as they selected DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame. Kizer probably has the highest potential of any quarterback in this draft, but he also might be the most raw quarterback in this draft. However, the Browns are the perfect team for Kizer since he won’t have to start right away and the Browns have the time and patience to figure out whether he will be their franchise quarterback. There is no doubt that Cleveland needed a starting quarterback badly and they are hoping that Kizer can finally be that guy. Larry Ogunjobi is a good pass rusher that is versatile enough to play either defensive tackle or defensive end for the Browns. Either way, Ogunjobi will be a good rotational defensive lineman right away and he has the potential to be a good starting defensive tackle for Cleveland eventually. Cornerback was a position that the Browns needed to address at some point and they did so by drafting Howard Wilson in the 4th round out of Indiana. Wilson probably won’t be a starter right away, but he provides much needed depth to the cornerback position and he could become a starter at some point soon. The Browns also made an interesting pick in the 6th round as they drafted defensive tackle Caleb Brantley out of Florida. There is no doubt that Brantley is a 1st round talent, but recent off-field issues caused a dramatic fall in his draft stock. If Brantley can deal with those issues effectively then the Browns could be getting the biggest steal of the draft. Brantley won’t be a starter for Cleveland right away, but if he can prove his maturity then he could be a really good starting defensive tackle soon. Cleveland also made a really good pick in the 7th round as they drafted kicker Zane Gonzalez out of Arizona State. The Browns struggled with their field goal kicking last season and Gonzalez was one of the best kickers in recent college football history. Gonzalez will compete with Cody Parkey for the kicker job in training camp, but don’t be surprised if Gonzalez wins the job before week 1 of the season. The Browns are still far away from being contenders, but they drafted many players that could be key for success in a few years.

Grade: A

myles garrett

Baltimore Ravens draft grade

Baltimore Ravens draft grade:

2017 draft picks:

Round 1(16th overall) – Marlon Humphrey – Cornerback – Alabama

Round 2(47th overall) – Tyus Bowser – Outside Linebacker – Houston

Round 3(74th overall) – Chris Wormley – Defensive End – Michigan

Round 3(78th overall) – Tim Williams – Outside Linebacker – Alabama

Round 4(122nd overall) – Nico Siragusa – Guard – San Diego State

Round 5(159th overall) – Jermaine Eluemunor – Guard – Texas A&M

Round 6(186th overall) – Chuck Clark – Defensive Back – Virginia Tech

Analysis:

The Ravens added to their secondary in the 1st round by drafting cornerback Marlon Humphrey out of Alabama. Humphrey is a small cornerback that could play on the outside, but he probably fits best in the slot for now since the team already has Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr as the outside cornerbacks. Tyus Bowser is another player with high potential that the Ravens got in the 2nd round. Bowser might not start right away, but he should at least compete for the starting linebacker job that was vacated by the release of Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens continued adding to their defense in the 3rd round by drafting defensive tackle Chris Wormley out of Michigan. Wormley has the ability to play defensive end, although he will almost certainly be an immediate starter for the Ravens at defensive tackle. Wormley has great length and power, but he has decent pass rushing skills as well which is what will make him a very good defensive tackle. Baltimore got a terrific value selection in the 3rd round as they drafted outside linebacker Tim Williams out of Alabama. Williams is a 1st round talent that the Ravens were somehow able to get in the 3rd round. Williams probably won’t start right away, but he is a great pass rusher that should replace veteran Terrell Suggs at outside linebacker very soon. The Ravens got another value pick when they drafted guard Nico Siragusa in the 4th round out of San Diego State. Siragusa is a 2nd round talent that somehow fell to the 4th round of the draft. He is a good run blocker and he will likely compete for the starting spot at left guard right away for the Ravens. Baltimore drafted another guard in the 5th round when they selected Jermaine Eluemunor out of Texas A&M. Eluemunor should provide solid depth at right guard for the Ravens and he has the potential to be a starter one day in the NFL. The Ravens first two picks were decent with Marlon Humphrey and Tyus Bowser. However, the Ravens had a terrific draft because of the value that they were able to get with Wormley, Williams, and Siragusa in the middle rounds.

Grade: A

marlon humphrey