Nfl 2016 quarterbacks

Nfl 2016 quarterbacks DEFAULT

The 2016 NFL Draft was seen as a bit of a wasteland when it came to quarterbacks. Everyone had Jared Goff at the top with a bullet, then Carson Wentz was seen as the next-best quarterback but the drop off from there was precipitous. The Philadelphia Eagles were so convinced of the top-heavy nature of the QBs in 2016 that they traded up to No. 2 in order to take Wentz.

The entire feeling around the draft’s quarterbacks was unsettling. Goff was the lock because there really wasn’t anyone else, Wentz was unproven against top competition and considerably risky for a top five pick, and at the time the only other player considered worthy of a 1st rounder was Paxton Lynch, who was taken by the Broncos.

Fast forward three years and this is what made the draft so stunning. Here was this collection of passers, none of whom were considered locks, or even first round picks — and yet three NFL teams appeared to get their franchise quarterbacks from the draft. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz led their teams to the Super Bowl, Dak Prescott turned the Dallas Cowboys into a contender. Goff and Wentz got huge new contracts, Prescott was on the precipice of one. Everything was rolling.

A year later it all fell apart.

The Los Angeles Rams traded Goff, deciding he wasn’t their guy after another inconsistent season. Wentz was dealt from the Eagles because his relationship with the team deteriorated. Prescott never got his big money deal, and was lost to the season with injury. The underdog pack of quarterbacks who became stars all fell back to earth at the same time. Now, we look ahead to the next chapter for the 2016 class and see who’s the best quarterback of a pack.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1: Dak Prescott

There’s one reason why Prescott has turned out to be clearly the best quarterback of the class: Consistency. Across his four years as a starter he’s never posted a QB rating below 85.0, and averaged 97.3 across this time.

Before his 2020 injury Prescott was on a tear once again, throwing for 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns in five games. It was on pace to be the best year of his career, until his season was dashed. We still don’t know how he’ll recover from the fractured and dislocated ankle that ended his season, but all signs point to him being back with littler concern for lingering problems.

If I were going to start a team right now with a 2016 quarterback it would be Prescott by a mile.

No. 2: Carson Wentz

I’ve written extensively about the problems that led to Wentz’s downfall in Philadelphia, and that’s what makes him second on this list. When Wentz is on he’s the best quarterback in this class. When he’s plugged in, and things are going his way, Wentz could legitimately be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

He showed this during the team’s 2017 Super Bowl run before being injured. There was no shortage of talk whether Wentz was the MVP of the NFL.

Now, things are very different. There’s no question he needs to be completely broken down and built back up by the Colts, where he’ll need to learn a healthy dose of humility, and also how to trust his offensive line again. That’s a big task, but Frank Reich knows him well. Looking at future upside I just feel better about Wentz’s prospects than Goff’s, which is why I have him second.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3: Jared Goff

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Jared Goff. That’s what makes the scenario so bizarre. He went from leading his team to the Super Bowl, to there being doubts, to becoming chopped liver in two years.

A big reason for that was the massively misplaced faith the Rams had in him, making Goff one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. If you’re paying a player that much they need to make a make a huge impact on the league, and Goff was woefully inconsistent.

Goff stuffed his stats with mammoth games against good teams, then fell apart against good defenses. It makes his overall numbers look a lot better than they really are. There’s a chance he can find that consistency with Detroit, but I’m not betting anything on it.

No. 4: Jacoby Brissett

It’s bizarre the Indianapolis Colts now have two of the top quarterbacks from 2016, but here we are. It’s been a wild ride for the former 3rd round pick who went from backing up Tom Brady, to taking over for Andrew Luck, and actually showing some flashes along the way.

Still, Brissett to me looks like a lifetime backup any team would love to have. He’s going to step in where needed, win you some games, and look great in the process — but things go bad under the weight of a 16 game schedule. Especially when defensive coordinators are aiming to stop him.

No. 5 (tied) Brandon Allen, Jeff Driskel, Jake Rudock, Nate Sudfield

I’m not going to even pretend there’s a need to rank these guys. All will be fighting for backup and third string jobs in the NFL

No longer in the league: Connor Cook, Brandon Doughty, Christian Hackenberg, Cardale Jones, Paxton Lynch.

I don’t have anything to say really. Lynch is the biggest disappointment here, because it’s one thing to not live up to expectations as a former 1st round pick, and another entirely to be out of the league in four years.

Lynch just never had it, and the Denver Broncos realized it almost immediately.


Ranking the NFL's Top 15 quarterbacks - 2016

Is Tom Brady the top quarterback in the NFL?

Editors' note: This story was originally published on July 18.

In July, the NFL Network completed its countdown of the Top 100 players in the NFL for 2016, as voted on by the players, and we couldn't help but notice the number of quarterbacks on the list.

15 made it.

Three quarterbacks are ranked among the Top 6 players in the league. Seven are among the NFL's Top 30 players. 10 are among the Top 50.

RELATED: Photos of the Top 100 NFL players for 2016

Yes, there is no denying the importance of the position.

Quarterbacks often get more than their share of the glory for wins and more than their share of blame for losses.

They also get a lot of money.

MORE: NFL's Top 100 players of 2016 - Newton, Brady, Watt at top

Here is breakdown of QBs in NFL Top 100:

  1. Cam Newton | Carolina Panthers (No. 1 overall)
  2. Tom Brady | New England Patriots (No. 2 overall)
  3. Aaron Rodgers | Green Bay Packers (No. 6 overall)    
  4. Carson Palmer | Arizona Cardinals (No. 12 overall)
  5. Russell Wilson | Seattle Seahawks (No. 17 overall)
  6. Ben Roethlisberger | Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 21 overall)
  7. Drew Brees | New Orleans Saints (No. 30 overall)
  8. Andy Dalton | Cincinnati Bengals (No. 35 overall)    
  9. Philip Rivers | San Diego Chargers (No. 46 overall)
  10. Eli Manning | New York Giants (No. 47 overall)    
  11. Blake Bortles | Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 56 overall)
  12. Alex Smith | Kansas City Chiefs (No. 81 overall)
  13. Kirk Cousins | Washington Redskins (No. 85 overall)    
  14. Andrew Luck | Indianapolis Colts (No. 92 overall)
  15. Derek Carr | Oakland Raiders (No. 100 overall)

MORE: 6 Cardinals make NFL Top 100 list for 2016

MORE: Cardinals place 7 on For The Win Top 100 list

A few thoughts from the rankings:

- Cam Newton had an amazing 2015 season, but is he really the best quarterback in the league? Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson (and others in the rankings) have a Super Bowl ring (or rings). Shouldn't that count for something?

- Where should Carson Palmer be ranked? Like Newton, he doesn't have a Super Bowl ring. Like Newton, he had a very impressive 2015 (at least regular season). Is it possible that he should fall a little lower on this list?

RELATED: NFL's highest paid quarterbacks - 2016 rankings

- Is Eli Manning the most disrespected 2-time winning Super Bowl quarterback ever? Is he really the No. 10 ranked QB in the NFL?

- What has Andy Dalton done to be ranked so high?

- What a difference a year makes: Andrew Luck was ranked No. 7 overall in the NFL on the 2015 list.

NFL COLOR RUSH: What teams are wearing on Thursday Night Football

NFL TEAM CANS: Bud Light selling custom beer cans for almost every team

To see the complete list of the Top 100 NFL players for 2016, as ranked by the players, click here.

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March 2021 update: Check out our new rankings for the 2016 QB draft class.

2019: This week, we’re looking back at the 2016 NFL Draft. You can also check out our list of the top 10 players, how we evaluate the offensive linemen now, six guys who are under the most pressure, five breakout candidates, and the biggest steals from that draft class.

Conventional thought is that it takes three years to properly judge the quality of a draft pick. The Philadelphia Eagles must agree, because that’s how long it took them to decide Carson Wentz was worth a mammoth extension.

Wentz was the first of the quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft to cash in big. He signed a four-year, $128 million extension with the Eagles in early June that will keep him under contract through the 2024 season.

Next up is probably going to be Dak Prescott, who is nearing a long-term deal with the Dallas Cowboys. And the No. 1 pick in 2016, Jared Goff, should get locked up by the Los Angeles Rams — although, he may need to wait until next offseason.

All three look like franchise quarterbacks and each will get (or already got) a lucrative deal to stay put. As for the other 12 quarterbacks from that draft class, the story is much different.

With three years’ worth of NFL action to judge, now is as good a time as any to rank the 15 quarterbacks who were drafted in 2016.

Tier I: The franchise quarterbacks

1. Carson Wentz
2. Jared Goff
3. Dak Prescott

The three quarterbacks in this tier have been to the Pro Bowl and are worth lofty investments. Each comes with reason for concern too, though.

Wentz finished his second season on injured reserve after suffering an ACL tear. The Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl in his absence. He then struggled with a back injury in 2018 that caused another premature end to his season. The Eagles again caught fire immediately following his departure — except this time, Nick Foles couldn’t recreate his earlier postseason magic and Philadelphia lost in the Divisional Round.

Goff led his team to Super Bowl 53, but it’s worth questioning how much credit he deserves for the Rams’ offensive success. Sean McVay has earned Coach of the Year honors since taking over in LA and does a lot of Goff’s job for him by communicating with the quarterback over the headset as long as he possibly can before the snap. Goff is also surrounded by one of the most talented offensive casts in the NFL, including 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley.

Prescott has thrived in large part because of his supporting talent as well. His best season was as a rookie when his offensive line was one of the NFL’s most elite units and Ezekiel Elliott provided a league-best 108.7 rushing yards per game. His play dropped off when the help around him lagged in 2017, although he bounced back with a better season in 2018 when forced to take on an even bigger role. Still, he was middle of the pack in passing yards (15th), touchdowns (16th), passer rating (14th), and PFF ranking (20th).

No player from the entire 2016 NFL Draft has exceeded expectations more than Prescott, and — based on raw numbers — he could be considered the best of the class so far. But Goff was easily the best of the three players during the 2018 season and looked like an MVP candidate early in the year until Patrick Mahomes pulled away.

The way Wentz played in 2017 deserves special recognition, though. He was the easy choice for MVP that season before his knee injury and he’s still the biggest difference-maker of the trio when healthy. That makes him the choice for the top spot.

Tier II: A quarterback worth grooming

4. Jacoby Brissett

Brissett was tossed into the fire in the first month of his rookie season. Tom Brady was serving his Deflategate suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury, forcing the Patriots to turn to the third-string rookie for two games.

While he didn’t throw any touchdown passes, he showed enough to convince the Colts that he was worth acquiring in a trade when Andrew Luck was out of action. In his one season as a starter in Indianapolis, Brissett threw 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He only won four games, but he was stuck behind an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked an NFL-most 52 times.

His performance was strong enough to interest other NFL teams. The Colts reportedly turned down multiple trade offers they received for Brissett, proving just how much they value having him on the depth chart behind Luck. He may never become a full-time NFL starter, but there seems to be optimism around the league that it’s still very much a possibility.

Tier III: The solid NFL backups

5. Jeff Driskel
6. Nate Sudfeld
7. Cody Kessler

The Bengals won just one of the five games that Jeff Driskel started in 2018 and he was one of PFF’s three lowest-graded passers (with Josh Rosen and Ryan Tannehill). It’d be surprising if being a full-time starter is in his future. Even the Bengals seem to think so, as evidenced by their trade up for Ryan Finley in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

But you could do much worse than Driskel as a No. 2 quarterback. He threw six touchdowns with two interceptions and added two rushing touchdowns in his limited time as a starter.

The same could be said for the pair of quarterbacks now battling to back up Carson Wentz.

Sudfeld never saw action in his one year in Washington and only threw 25 passes in his first two seasons in Philadelphia. That’s a small sample size, but Sudfeld completed 20 of those attempts and his 22-yard touchdown pass in 2018 upped his career passer rating to 106. That’s reason enough to give him a slight edge over Kessler.

In eight starts with the Browns and four with the Jaguars, Kessler has been efficient and mostly good at avoiding disaster. He has eight touchdown passes, five interceptions, and an 83.7 passer rating. However, the offenses he’s led struggled to score points and that’s why he has a 2-10 record as a starter. He’s shown he’s a solid backup who can start in a pinch. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tier IV: Hey, at least they still have a job

8. Cardale Jones
9. Jake Rudock
10. Brandon Allen
11. Kevin Hogan
12. Paxton Lynch

Does it really matter how the players in this tier are ranked? All five quarterbacks are no longer with the team that drafted them, and just keeping a job when September rolls around is going to be tough for each.

Jones, Rudock, and Allen all spent the 2018 season on the practice squad, which at least means that teams consider them worth grooming for the future. Jones hasn’t thrown a pass since his rookie season in Buffalo, and was traded in 2017 to the Chargers. Rudock spent his first three seasons career in Detroit, but has only thrown five passes and joined the Dolphins in January. Allen was scooped up by the Rams two years ago and still hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL.

The next two quarterbacks — Hogan and Lynch — are barely hanging on to spots in the NFL. Hogan threw 101 passes in his two seasons with the Browns, but now he’s with the Broncos, his fourth team.

The clear choice for fifth out of five in this tier is Lynch, though. The first-round pick started four games during his time with the Broncos, but his uninspiring play them to give up on him before his third season. He’ll be remembered as a colossal bust who could’ve easily been the Cowboys’ problem instead if Jerry Jones had his way. While no team wanted to sign Lynch in 2018, the Seahawks scooped him up in January, which at least keeps him from the bottom tier.

Tier V: Lol nope

13. Connor Cook
14. Christian Hackenberg
15. Brandon Doughty

Cook joined the bottom tier when he was waived by the Lions during OTAs. His career never got back on track after he was tossed into the fire during his rookie season. Cook became the first quarterback of the Super Bowl era to make his first ever start in a playoff game and, unsurprisingly, it was a disaster. He threw three interceptions in a 27-14 loss, and was pushed out of Oakland by EJ Manuel and AJ McCarron. He bounced between a few rosters in the last year, but now he’s on the open market.

Cook has a better chance at getting another NFL contract than the other two, at least.

If Hackenberg hadn’t been drafted in the second round by the Jets, his career might’ve looked more like Doughty’s. The latter was drafted by the Dolphins in the seventh round and spent his first two seasons on Miami’s practice squad. His NFL career ended there.

Hackenberg at least got to be on the active roster in New York for two seasons before the Jets moved on. He bounced around in 2018 from the Raiders to the Eagles to the Bengals. But he didn’t get a chance to see a football field again until he joined the AAF’s Memphis Express. Even that didn’t work out well for Hackenberg and he was benched before the league folded.

The only thing keeping Hackenberg from the last spot is that he had multiple jobs. Sorry, Mr. Doughty.

In hindsight, the 2016 draft class had three gems at quarterback and not a whole lot else. That’s still better than some other classes, though.

The only quarterbacks from the 2013 NFL Draft who remain in the league are Geno Smith, Mike Glennon, and Matt Barkley — three players who have their work cut out for them just to earn backup roles. There are just two quarterbacks each from the 2014 and 2015 drafts who are penciled in as starters for the upcoming season.

The Eagles, Rams, and Cowboys can all be thankful that they landed a franchise quarterback in 2016 instead.

Wentz or Goff? Tunsil Falling, Ohio State Pick Rush \u0026 More! - 2016 Full First Round

The 2016 NFL season has not been a particularly good one in terms of quarterback play. Half the league will end the year having started at least two different signal callers, and a few of last season’s top quarterbacks have fallen off significantly.

Injuries have affected the position in a big way in 2016. Two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks suffered season-ending injuries in Week 16, while Teddy Bridgewater and Tony Romo haven’t played at all because they got hurt in the preseason.

A few quarterbacks stand out as the year’s best, having separated themselves as MVP candidates. Others failed to live up to expectations and were benched in favor of quarterbacks with little experience.

Below is a ranking of all the starting quarterbacks in the 2016 season. Only players that will end the year with the most snaps under center for each team are eligible for the list. All stats reflect the quarterbacks’ numbers through Week 16.

1) Tom Brady (25 TD, 2 INT, 110.7 Rating)

With another MVP-caliber season, Brady has cemented himself as the greatest of all time. The 39-year-old might not win the award after missing the first four games of the season, but he’s playing as well as he ever has. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is easily the best in the league, and the New England Patriots would probably have one loss had he not been suspended to start the year.

2) Matt Ryan (34 TD, 7 INT, 115.5 Rating)

No quarterback that’s started every game this season has been better than Ryan. He ranks first in passer rating and yards per attempt, as well as third in yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. Likely leading the Atlanta Falcons to a first-round bye with a top-10 all-time scoring offense, Ryan deserves to be the favorite in the MVP race.

3) Dak Prescott (23 TD, 4 INT, 105.7 Rating)

The starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys might be the most scrutinized position in all of American sports, and Prescott has been absolutely superb in the role as a rookie. Sure he’s been aided by a top running back and the league’s best offensive line, but Prescott’s been nearly flawless in most games and  a main reason why Dallas is tied for the NFL’s best record. Ranking in the top four in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt, Prescott has been a top-three quarterback in 2016.

4) Aaron Rodgers (36 TD, 7 INT, 102.7 Rating)

There might be no quarterback in the history of the league that’s better than Rodgers when he’s at his best, and the two-time MVP has finished the regular season at the top of his game. Throwing 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions from Weeks 12-16, Rodgers is playing so well that he could lead the Green Bay Packers all the way to the Super Bowl. He leads the league in touchdowns, but doesn’t crack the top three on the list because of his struggles that contributed to Green Bay’s 4-6 start.

5) Derek Carr (28 TD, 6 INT, 96.7 Rating)

Before Carr suffered a season-ending injury in Week 16, he gave the Oakland Raiders a legitimate chance upset the Patriots in the playoffs. The Raiders’ defense has struggled at times, but the team has won seven games in which they’ve given up at least 24 points because of their quarterback. Carr’s been picked off fewer times than anyone that ranks in the top 10 in touchdown passes, and he was a top MVP candidate for three quarters of the season.

6) Drew Brees (35 TD, 14 INT, 103.1 Rating)

If the New Orleans Saints even had a halfway decent defense, they would be on their way to the playoffs as a possible Super Bowl threat. Playing for a team that gives up nearly 28 points per game, Brees is first in yards, second in completion percentage and touchdowns, and fourth in passer rating. His 14 interceptions are somewhat high, but that’s the result of attempting more passes than almost any other quarterback.

7) Matthew Stafford (22 TD, 9 INT, 93.1 Rating)

Stafford doesn’t get the praise that he deserves because he plays for the Detroit Lions. With little help around him, the quarterback has willed the Lions to nine victories. His numbers aren’t gaudy, but Stafford has done more than most would with the NFL’s No. 30 rushing attack and a wide receiving corps that lost it’s No. 1 player in the offseason.

8) Kirk Cousins (24 TD, 10 INT, 98.6 Rating)

After back-to-back strong years, it’s hard to deny that Cousins is a top-10 quarterback. Ranking third in yards per attempt and sixth in passer rating, Cousins has helped give the Washington Redskins the league’s No. 3 offense. If it weren’t for some of his head-scratching interceptions, Cousins could have come close to cracking the top five.

9) Andrew Luck (29 TD, 12 INT, 96.8 Rating)

It can be argued that Luck is still overrated because he entered the league with so much fanfare, but there’s no denying that he’s had a very good season. Bouncing back from a poor 2015 campaign, Luck has managed to tie for fifth in touchdown passes while playing behind a bad offensive line. Poor performances against the Texans, however, cost the Indianapolis Colts a chance at winning a mediocre AFC South.

10) Marcus Mariota (26 TD, 9 INT, 95.6 Rating)

In just his second season, Mariota has quietly become a top-10 quarterback. The Tennessee Titans have their best record in five years, and the team is ninth in total offense heading into the season finale. Mariota needs to improve his 61.2 completion percentage, but his ability to limit mistakes (especially in the red zone) should make him a top quarterback for years to come.

11) Ben Roethlisberger (29 TD, 13 INT, 95.4 Rating)

It’s been an average season for Roethlisberger. He suffered an injury that should have kept him out for weeks, but he only missed one game and led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a division title. He’s tied for fifth in touchdowns, utilizing the NFL’s best running back-wide receiver combo in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

12) Russell Wilson (20 TD, 11 INT, 92.4 Rating)

The 2016 season has been the worst of Wilson’s career. His numbers suffered at the beginning of the season because of leg injuries, and he's thrown a career-high in interceptions. Still, the quarterback has played extremely well at times, and he has a 19-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio when excluding his worst two games of the season.

13) Tyrod Taylor (17 TD, 6 INT, 89.6 Rating)

Taylor might not be a top-10 quarterback, but he's played well enough to start for a contender in 2016. Ranking 17th in passer rating, Taylor leads all quarterbacks with 580 yards on the ground. The Buffalo Bills have the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack while ranking seventh in points, but the team’s defense isn't good enough to get them to the playoffs.

14) Philip Rivers (31 TD, 19 INT, 88.8 Rating)

Rivers has unraveled at the end of the season, leading the NFL in interceptions after getting picked off 12 times in the last six games. He had little to do with the San Diego Chargers’ struggles in the first half of the season, however, posting a passer rating better than 90.0 in each of the first six games. Rivers ranks in the top five in both yards and touchdowns.

15) Alex Smith (13 TD, 7 INT, 89.9 Rating)

It’s another typical Alex Smith season. He’s limited his mistakes, and 26 quarterbacks have thrown as many or more interceptions. Smith, however, doesn’t create a lot of big plays, and 27 other signal callers have thrown more touchdown passes. Still, Smith gets credit for doing what the Kansas City Chiefs have asked of him and leading them to one of the NFL’s best records.

16) Ryan Tannehill (19 TD, 12 INT, 93.5 Rating)

Before Tannehill’s year was cut short by an injury, he was having arguably the best season of his career. Leading the Miami Dolphins to their first playoff appearance in eight years, the quarterback ranks sixth in completion percentage and eighth in yards per attempt. His touchdown-to-interception ratio, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

17) Jameis Winston (27 TD, 17 INT, 87.0 Rating)

The former No. 1 overall draft pick has improved in his second season, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers post their best record since 2010. While he’s eighth in touchdowns with big wins over the likes of the Chiefs, Seahawks and Falcons, Winston is still too reckless with the football. He’s tied for second in interceptions, and it seems like many of his passes will either go for a score or get picked off.

18) Carson Palmer (23 TD, 13 INT, 87.0 Rating)

This year was Palmer’s worst since joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. He looked like a top quarterback at times, but he was dreadful in other games, throwing at least two interceptions on four different occasions. Failing to rank in the top 10 in any major category other than yards, Palmer had a decidedly mediocre 2016 campaign.

19) Sam Bradford (17 TD, 4 INT, 98.3 Rating)

The Minnesota Vikings likely regret trading a first-round pick for Bradford in the offseason. He leads the league in completion percentage and ranks seventh in passer rating, but those numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story. Bradford usually isn’t in danger of being picked off because he rarely throws the ball more than a few yards. That’s led to 20 quarterbacks throwing more touchdown passes than Bradford, as well as Minnesota ranking 30th in total offense and missing the playoffs.

20) Eli Manning (26 TD, 16 INT, 86.2 Rating)

The New York Giants are heading to the playoffs because of their defense, not the two-time Super Bowl MVP. In one of his worst career seasons, Manning ranks 22nd in passer rating and 24th in yards per attempts, while tying for fourth in interceptions. He’s been bailed out by Odell Beckham Jr. on several occasions, though he gets credit for taking just 20 sacks behind an inconsistent offensive line. If the Giants improve their running game, Manning should bounce back in 2017.

21) Andy Dalton (17 TD, 8 INT, 91.3 Rating)

For the first time since Dalton was drafted in 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals failed to make the postseason. The absence of the injured A.J. Green hurt the Bengals in the second half of the season, but Cincinnati’s offense wasn’t much better in the first half. Dalton came up small against the league’s best teams, and he shoulders a lot of the blame for the Bengals getting just one victory against a winning team.

22) Joe Flacco (20 TD, 14 INT, 84.5)

Flacco didn’t look anything like a former Super Bowl winner in 2016. Throwing an interception in each of his last five games, Flacco ranks 23rd in passer rating and 27th in yards per attempt. He didn’t have much help this season and was forced to throw the ball more than any quarterback besides Brees, failing to get the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs with a top defense.

23) Cam Newton (18 TD, 11 INT, 77.5 Rating)

This is not how Newton hoped to follow up his MVP season. His 52.7 completion percentage is dead last in the NFL, and he ranks outside of the top 19 in passer rating, passing yards and passing touchdowns. His 353 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns have helped give the Carolina Panthers an average offense, but the quarterback highly underachieved in 2016.

24) Carson Wentz (14 TD, 14 INT, 78.2 Rating)

The future at quarterback is bright for the Philadelphia Eagles, but Wentz has struggled mightily in the second half of his rookie season. After posting a passer rating of at least 100.0 in three of his first four games, Wentz hasn’t reached that mark even once for the rest of the season. He’s thrown six more interceptions than touchdowns since Week 5, though he does deserve credit for playing so well to start the season.

25) Cody Kessler (6 TD, 2 INT, 92.3 Rating)

The rookie certainly played the best of the five quarterbacks the Cleveland Browns used in 2016. His passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio were more than serviceable, though it’s hard to put him any higher on the list since he played so little and failed to win a game as a starter. Kessler went 0-8 as a starter, and the Browns scored no more than 10 points in his last three starts.

26) Colin Kaepernick (15 TD, 4 INT, 88.3 Rating)

Kaepernick has proved to be a better option for the San Francisco 49ers than Blaine Gabbert, but that isn’t saying much. His four interceptions are the result of a conservative offense, and he’s just 26th in yards per attempt. Completing an abysmal 57.7 percent of his passes and winning just one game, Kaepernick probably won’t be a starting quarterback in 2017.

27) Trevor Siemian (16 TD, 9 INT, 83.9 Rating)

The good news is that Siemian has been a clear upgrade at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, who won the Super Bowl last year with Peyton Manning under center. Unfortunately for Denver, that wasn’t good enough to get the Broncos back to the playoffs. Denver’s offense has been hampered by Siemian's inability to throw the ball downfield, as the quarterback ranks 24th in yards. The Broncos are 27th in total offense, scoring just 16 total points in Weeks 14-16.

28) Matt Barkley (8 TD, 12 INT, 70.3 Rating)

The Chicago Bears’ receivers haven’t provided Barkley with much help in his brief time as the team’s quarterback, dropping an inordinate amount of passes. But aside from a few promising performances, Barkley hasn’t played very well. Only one quarterback on the list has a worse passer rating, and his penchant for throwing interceptions makes it unlikely that he has a future as a successful starting quarterback.

29) Blake Bortles (22 TD, 16 INT, 77.6 Rating)

Bortles took a major step back after an encouraging second season. His 22 touchdowns are deceiving, considering he played some of his best football during garbage time. Bortles failed to post a passer rating of 100.0 in the first 14 games, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have to seriously consider whether Bortles can be their quarterback of the future.

30) Case Keenum (9 TD, 11 INT, 76.4 Rating)

Keenum was so bad from the start that there were calls for him to be benched after Week 1. Before he was eventually replaced by Jared Goff, Keenum compiled one of the league’s worst passer ratings, and he’s one of just four quarterbacks on the list with more interceptions than touchdowns.

31) Brock Osweiler (14 TD, 16 INT, 71.4 Rating)

There’s no debating what was the worst signing of the 2016 offseason. Osweiler didn’t even make it through one season as the Houston Texans’ starter, despite getting $36 million guaranteed from the organization last spring. He failed to reach a 90.0 passer rating in 11 of his 14 starts.

32) Ryan Fitzpatrick (10 TD, 17 INT, 66.4 Rating)

Fitzpatrick takes home the honor of being the worst starting quarterback in 2016. His passer rating is by far the league's worst, and he’s second in interceptions even though 27 quarterbacks have attempted more passes. The New York Jets benched him multiple times, and he’s only played as much as he has because the team’s backups keep getting hurt.​


Quarterbacks nfl 2016

QB Index: Tom Brady owns No. 1 in year-end rankings

Published: Jan 04, 2017 at 03:43 AM

The insanity of this Tom Brady season gets taken for granted because of the insanity of his entire career. Oh, of course the 39-year-old all-time great authored one of his best campaigns, largely without Rob Gronkowski, after being suspended for one of the most ridiculous reasons in sports history. That's just what Tom Brady does.

No matter where your hot take resides in this MVP debate -- and I'll accept Matt Ryan and Ezekiel Elliott arguments -- the 2016 regular season stands as one of Brady's defining career achievements. He's recalibrating what is possible at the position, truly playing better in his late 30s than he did during his 20s.

Brady finishes at No. 1 in my year-end QB rankings for the first time in four years of this exercise, which includes charting and grading every start. He's never finished lower than fourth. While his greatest rival in the GOAT debate develops as a commercial actor, Brady has put his team in prime position to reach his seventh Super Bowl. While fans might be getting bored with this unprecedented sustained excellence, Brady surely is not.

This is the Quarterback Index. For one final time this season, we ranked every starter based on 2016 performance alone. For context, each QB's 2015 year-end ranking is in parentheses.

Ryan is Chris Wesseling's pick for MVP and it's hard to find fault with his case. Ryan's footwork and pocket movement are a sight to behold. Little plays -- like avoiding a sack to pick up 6 yards -- have helped keep Falcons drives on schedule all year. He mixes speeds like a pitcher and was the scariest quarterback to face on third-and-long.

Rodgers' defining move might be his frisbee-like release on tosses to the outside; he barely needs to throw it overhand to get juice on the ball. Consider it a good sign that Rodgers wasn't all flash the last few weeks. We saw more routine throws, quick decisions and fast processing of his reads. Now that he's running well again, he's playing better than any quarterback entering the playoffs. This marks the third time in four years Rodgers finished as a top-four QB in my rankings.

There are reasons to be optimistic about Luck's 2017 season. The Colts' offensive line showed real progress down the stretch and the team should be able to upgrade its running game.

This was Roethlisberger's first finish outside my top five in four years. The quarterbacks above him did a better job minimizing damage in their off weeks, while Big Ben had four games where he bottomed out.

The Lions weren't explosive in the second half of the season, yet Stafford has largely been the same guy every week. That's all Lions fans ever asked for; he hasn't been the problem in their slide.

After we got burned by RGIII's rookie season and Colin Kaepernick's breakout year, this rookie season from Dak Prescott almost feels too good to be true. One underrated part of his game, pointed out in Matt Harmon's excellent Next Gen Stats article: Prescott was one of the best deep-ball passers into tight windows. The Cowboys didn't need Prescott to throw in great volume, but he nearly always delivered when asked.

I mentioned in The Debrief this week that Rivers has worn down in the second half of the season for three seasons running. The statistical falloff is dramatic. Combine Rivers' first half of the season and Palmer's second half of the season and you'd have a top-five quarterback. Any analyst claiming Palmer was the problem in Arizona this season didn't watch the games.

Cousins showed improved pocket toughness and deep-play ability all season. There is a risk that he's maxed out his potential, but a mid-level starting quarterback has plenty of value.

Wesseling doesn't like when I group Mariota and Winston together, but the similarities in their seasons can't be overlooked. They finished with nearly identical QBRs (64.9 and 64.8) and were similarly close in Football Outsiders' DYAR metric. Both had long stretches of beautiful top-10 play that previewed MVP chases in seasons to come. Mariota had more brilliant highs mixed with a few no-shows, including late in the season. Winston needs more help from his line and running game and can work on his deep accuracy, but both players are right on track in their development.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera admits that Newton needs to evolve his game after a rough season from the pocket. But is offensive coordinator Mike Shula the right man to oversee that evolution? Newton is still ranked this high because he completes 3-5 passes each game that few others even attempt. With his rushing value waning, though, the Panthers need to change gears. They were caught trying to run back the same offense as 2015, a recipe for stagnation.

Dalton fell back to the middle of the pack this season, but he will always be partly the product of his surroundings. Give him a better line, a healthy A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, and he will be fine. The offense didn't collapse and that was because of Dalton.

This makes three straight seasons with nearly the identical ranking for Smith, who has finally started to run the ball again late in the season. There were games when the surrounding pieces significantly outshined the quarterback -- like on Christmas against the Broncos, when Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and even Dontari Poe did most of the heavy lifting on the scoring front.

The Eagles put a lot on Wentz's plate in Year 1, which should benefit him next season. He wound up fifth in pass attempts and the team's coaching staff almost went out of its way to test Wentz in difficult situations. Given a third-down late in games with a lead, Wentz was allowed to let it rip. He almost has too much confidence in his arm and didn't use his running ability enough, but this was a positive season. His rookie year was not so different in shape from Jameis Winston's campaign a season ago.

I receive a lot of feedback from Giants fans, always polite and well-reasoned, about Eli's low ranking. If anything, this might be overrating him. He finished No. 27 in ESPN's QBR ranking, while Pro Football Focus ranks him 35 out of 36 qualifiers. This was a steep fall in my pecking order, as Eli finished No. 12 in the year-end rankings the lasttwo seasons. The tough throws downfield, which used to make up for Eli's inconsistency, were absent in 2016.

This tier includes a stew of young quarterbacks hoping to improve and veteran quarterbacks hoping to stay employed. It was somehow fitting that RGIII and Kaepernick, so recently among the game's brightest young stars, enjoyed their best moments on Christmas Eve while their respective teams jostled to avoid the worst record in football. They are similar players in many ways, with Kaepernick the superior version because he still mixes in the wow plays Griffin lacks. They are both likely headed for backup jobs next season. That's also true of Barkley. The USC favorite son had his moments, but he also threw 14 interceptions in only 216 attempts -- a rate that would make Ryan Fitzpatrick blush through his beard.

That (28) next to Osweiler's name is a reminder that he didn't play particularly well in Denver, either. His lack of touch and inability to keep deep passes inbounds haunt Bill O'Brien's dreams. The Texans might be better off just moving on from this mistake before any more damage can be done.

Goff deserves a fresh start with an NFL-caliber coaching staff, but the depths of his struggles should not be ignored. By some measures, Goff passed Ryan Leaf as the least efficient rookie quarterback ever with at least 200 dropbacks.

Goff's development will be one of the stories to track next season. Until then, thanks for tuning in.

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Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft

Just 1 of the 15 quarterbacks drafted in 2016 is still with his original team — here's where the rest are today

jared goff carson wentz
Matt Marton/AP Images
  • The 2016 NFL draft featured several big-name quarterbacks.
  • Dak Prescott is the only one of the 15 quarterbacks selected in the 2016 draft still with his original team.
  • Some have already fallen out of the NFL, and some are no longer involved with football at all.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 2016 NFL draft featured some exciting, much-hyped quarterback prospects.

Unfortunately, things haven't gone according to plan for those players over the last five years. After Carson Wentz's trade from the Eagles to the Colts this offseason, only one of the 15 quarterbacks selected in the 2016 draft are with their original teams — Dak Prescott with the Cowboys.

Though many are still playing, mostly as backups, some have fallen out of the league and football entirely.

Check out where the 2016 quarterbacks are today:

The Los Angeles Rams selected Jared Goff No. 1 overall.

jared goff draft
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images

After five up-and-down seasons with the Rams — including one Super Bowl appearance — Goff was traded to the Lions this offseason.

jared goff 2020
Rick Scuteri/AP Images

The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to No. 2 before the draft to take Carson Wentz.

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Jeff Haynes/AP Images

After a promising start to his career, Wentz never regained the magic of his 2017 season (which ended with a knee injury). He was replaced as the starter this past year and traded to the Colts in February.

carson wentz 2020
Derik Hamilton/AP Images

Paxton Lynch was the third quarterback off the board, taken with the 26th pick by the Denver Broncos.

paxton lynch draft
David Zalubowski/AP Images

Lynch started four games for the Broncos over two seasons before being released. He has since spent time as a backup with the Seahawks and Steelers, but was not on an active roster for 2020.

paxton lynch steelers
Gail Burton/AP Images

The New York Jets took Christian Hackeneberg in the second round.

christian hackenberg jets
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Hackenberg was released from the Jets after two seasons and never played a snap in the NFL, despite spending time with other teams as a backup. He then played in the now-defunct AAF, and is now attempting to play baseball professionally.

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Grant Halverson/AAF/Getty Images

Source: ESPN

The New England Patriots drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round, with the 91st overall pick.

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Steven Senne/AP Images

Brissett played just one season in New England and has been with the Colts since. He has 32 career starts, has thrown for over 6,400 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in his career.

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images

The Cleveland Browns took Cody Kessler two picks after Brissett.

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Lynne Sladky/AP Images

Kessler hasn't played a game since 2018. He was last on the Patriots, but was released in April of 2020. He is in negotiations with the Saskatchewan Riders of the CFL.

cody kessler patriots
Ron Schwane/AP Images

Source:3 Down Nation

The Oakland Raiders drafted Connor Cook with the 100th overall pick.

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Jeff Chiu/AP Images

Cook played just two total games his rookie year — one regular season, one playoff — and hasn't appeared in a game since. He bounced around as a backup after his rookie season and joined the XFL in 2020. He did not play this past season.

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Paul Sancya/AP Images

Dak Prescott was drafted in the fourth round, 135th overall, by the Dallas Cowboys.


Now discussing:

When the Los Angeles Rams acquired the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft via a trade with the Tennessee Titans, the top two quarterback prospects were theirs for the taking. Within the community of NFL experts, the debate as to which quarterback would be selected number one overall began. The choice was between Jared Goff, the “safe pick,” and Carson Wentz, the wild card who practically out of nowhere.

The Rams chose Goff and as usual per that time of year, most pertinent debates on the topic fizzled down to the sensible conclusion that four year’s time would tell who was the better pick between Goff and Wentz. That time has now come. But we really know for sure who’s the best NFL quarterback to come out of the 2016 draft? 

The 2016 NFL Draft: Breaking Down the Quarterbacks

The Starting Gate

For the sake of inclusion and completion, the below is a list of every quarterback drafted in 2016:

  1. First Round: Firstpick overall, Jared Goff–Cal(Rams) 
  2. First Round: Secondpick overall, Carson Wentz–N. Dakota State(Philadelphia Eagles) 
  3. First Round: 26thpick overall, Paxton Lynch– Memphis (Denver Broncos) 
  4. Second Round: 51stpick overall, Christian Hackenberg–Penn State(New York Jets) 
  5. Third Round: 91stpick overall, Jacoby Brissett–N.C. State(New England Patriots) 
  6. Third Round: 93rdpick overall, Cody Kessler–USC(Cleveland Browns) 
  7. Fourth Round: 100thpick overall, Connor Cook– Michigan State(then the Oakland Raiders) 
  8. Fourth Round: 135th pick overall, Dak Prescott–Mississippi(Dallas Cowboys) 
  9. Fourth Round: 139thpick overall, Cardale Jones–Ohio State(Buffalo Bills) 
  10. Fifth Round: 162ndpick overall, Kevin Hogan–Stanford(Kansas City Chiefs) 
  11. Sixth Round: 187thpick overall, Nate Sudfield–Indiana(Washington Redskins) 
  12. Sixth Round: 191stpick overall, Jake Rudock–Michigan(Detroit Lions) 
  13. Sixth Round: 201stpick overall, Brandon Allen–Arkansas(Jacksonville Jaguars) 
  14. SixthRound: 207thpick overall, Jeff Driskel–Louisiana Tech(San Francisco 49ers) 
  15. Seventh Round:223rdpick overall, Brandon Doughty–Western Kentucky(Miami Dolphins) 

Those Who Failed or Fell Way Behind

It’s at least mildly surprising that only six of the 15 quarterbacks listed above are no longer on an NFL roster (Doughty, Hogan, Jones, Cook, Kessler and Hackenberg). Christian Hackenberg is in fact listed as ‘retired’ and reportedly seeking a big league pitching career. Cook received a fair enough shot to succeed with the Raiders before the Lions cut him last off-season. The widely known Cardale Jones out of Ohio State University never amounted to anything at the pro level.

Jacoby Brissett, originally drafted by the Patriots, has been handed the keys to the Indianapolis Colts for nearly two full seasons (2017 and 2019). Head coach Frank Reich says that Brissett has taken his demotion well since the arrival of ex-San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. A career stat line that includes a 12-20-0 win-loss record, 6,442 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions doesn’t scream Pro Bowl worthy, but Brissett has seen moderate success at the NFL level. 

The Best Quarterback of the 2016 NFL Draft Race Could Have Been Better

The 2016 quarterback draft class might someday be described as a classic three-horse race that lacked the flair and moxie of the 1983 NFL draft class, which included John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

Two favorites, Goff and Wentz, were joined by then mild long shot Dak Prescott. All three are continuing to battle for the title of the best quarterback of the 2016 draft class. 

Jared Goff by the Numbers


Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/15/2020.

Of course, it’s easy to throw out Goff’s rookie season. He was neither ready nor equipped with proper learning tools to be set up to succeed. That said, it will remain significant for comparison purposes to better get a sense of his direction. The 2019 season appears to be a drop-off but it likely provided his best learning experience as he moves forward. 

Carson Wentz by the Numbers


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Generated 6/16/2020.

Note that the interceptions column remained steady at seven, even when the passing attempts increased again. This is huge because Wentz still has yet to be rewarded with a great group of receivers, or even the best receiving corps in his division. Imagine the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants swapping their starting receivers back in 2016, or if the Eagles make a trade in the 2017 NFL Draft and get running back Dalvin Cook. Sure, they won the Super Bowl that season anyway, but Philly could be setup even better long term under those two scenarios. 

Dak Prescott by the Numbers


Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2020.

Paraphrasing the late coach Dennis Green, Dak Prescott is who we think he is. Prescott is a solid starting quarterback, of course, but he will never be as good as Tony Romo was in his prime. Prescott’s numbers fall in line with the other two (especially Wentz’s) but it is likely he’s already peaked. With the new coaching staff in place, he’s likely to be even more careful and calculated. He should continue winning but his numbers may be affected going forward.  

The Last Word

Ultimately, it could come down to the eye test. And in looking at Goff, Wentz and Prescott, Wentz is the standout talent because he provides more of the total package. He’s simply done more of everything a bit better than the other two while in the NFL. This includes thinking on the fly, which is extremely important because the importance of an instinctive and mobile quarterback is becoming more prevalent every season.

However, traveling further down the road, the Rams may see better numbers from Goff. He’s a better fit in his system and has a head coach who knows how to get his offense to put up numbers. Behind a solid offensive line Goff should continue to thrive.

Of course, the Rams having a good offensive line and the whole offense continuing to thrive is not a given. Additionally, numbers aren’t everything and Carson Wentz has probably not yet reached his ceiling. But how many Wentz-type quarterbacks have lengthy careers at an optimum-level? It’s possible that the most talented quarterback to come out of the 2016 NFL draft doesn’t end up being the quarterback with the best NFL career.

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