Top Five NFL Rookie Quarterbacks for 2017
It’s without doubt the most important job and position in North American sports: that job and position is quarterback and every offseason teams assess whether they have the guy with realistic ability of landing them in the promised land known as the Super Bowl. For many years, the very top or early rounds of the NFL draft have been the most common way of teams attempting to find a quarterback who can land them a Super Bowl trophy, but their have been many greats at the position who had careers that began a lot more modestly with much fewer guarantees than that of a player drafted in early rounds.And the rookie talent at the position in 2017 is now exception to the past when it comes to diversity or the multiplicity of systems that they are coming from. Here are the top five rookie signal callers for this season.
- The first quarterback on this list is initially going to come as a surprise when people see it as my best rookie QB for 2017. But it really should not come as a surprise for anything other than pedigree and experience, of which of both he is lacking and that quarterback is DeShone Kizer, the second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. And there should really not need to be any deep analyzing or speculation as to why Kizer is my best rookie QB in ’17. He has the best opportunity to succeed among rookies because of the position his team is both as a whole and at the position. It’s undoubtedly a position that isn’t anywhere close to being solidified for the Browns and that’s both beneficial toward Kizer having an impact early but it also is evidence he still has a lot of work to do earn the position. Working in favor for Kizer is that it is becoming apparent his only legitimate competition for the job will from Houston castoff Brock Osweiler. The returning part-time 2016 starter and second-year man Cody Kessler is a long shot to be the starter simply because he’s behind the curve in terms of command, arm strength and athleticism. Kessler is surely more knowledgeable of the system than Kizer and Osweiler, but those two have surely supplanted the former USC Trojans. Kevin Hogan, the current fourth quarterback on the depth chart could even eventually become a factor if the team decides to move away from Kessler, the 2016 fourth-round pick, soon. Whether the job becomes Osweiler’s or Kizer’s will come down to one simple thing: who performs the best in the preseason. Coach Hue Jackson will condescendingly say their will be more to it than that, but that’s just coach talk. It will be all about who performs best the next four weeks. Kizer, who is still young enough to be in college, is a pocket passer, but played in a diverse multiple formation offense at Notre Dame and is the only running threat among quarterbacks in Cleveland being considered a potential starter for ’17. Kizer has less arm strength and experience in a pro-style offense, but has the best feet and has more upside. Although what he did in college at Notre Dame won’t be the same as what he will be asked to do in Cleveland, throws such as the deep post, deep out and deep ball/air ball are all throws Kizer can make. Although it kills me to say this, if Kizer does get on the field this season, I think it’s very likely Hue Jackson will handcuff him with a limited playbook and revised scheme. Still if that happens, as a whole, it’s apparent that his natural throwing ability and size and speed that will come in handy in “churning out” first downs are all factors that can help him look successful as a rookie while helping Cleveland rattle off some wins… Something their loyalists are dying for…
- If pedigree is looked up in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Deshaun Watson next to the word. Okay, that last sentence was not exactly true, but it’s one in which I’m implying a basic point: Watson has great pedigree, almost more than any player in the entire 2017 Draft, and that pedigree is just one good start to why it would be unwise to literally bet against him being successful as a rookie. Currently, Watson is behind former Pittsburgh Panthers stud Tom Savage on the depth and Watson will still be high on this list whether he supplants savage anytime in 2017 or not. And the best thing working in favor of Watson when it comes to Savage is: Savage has notable history of recent injuries and Watson will be the guy by default if savage goes down. A pure and quick release that’s fairly conventional in a positive way, natural throwing ability and great athleticism all combined with advanced defense reading skills compared to many college quarterbacks from spread systems, are all abilities that Watson will show on Sunday when his time comes. A runner like Watson who is also good at the quick passing game may just be the change and type of quarterback who can bring out the potential in a team that for years has a better and more successful roster and results on defense. Giving it time will not hurt anyone.
- Mitchell Trubisky: in terms of pure pocket passing and size, at 6’3 and 225 pounds Trubisky is the man. But he cannot accurately be labeled the man in term of experience. Trubisky was an early enrollee for the NFL draft and started only one year in college. Chicago took him in a surprise move #3 overall in the same offseason they acquired former Tampa backup Mike Glennon: Cleveland took a look at drafting him #1. It’s this lack of pedigree is what s weirdly and oddly intriguing because the arm and legs are there from a guy who was asked to throw both deep and short a lot in Larry Fedora’s spread system. He prefers to sit in the pocket and does so with good size and command. But he smartly doesn’t stay in there too long considering he does a good job feeling the pressure, which means he will slide out of it in getting the defense to bite and he is even a threat to run, not just manipulate the defense with his athleticism creating throwing lanes. He did not run a ton of zone read in college, but he did run it some as he was in an offense with a ton of spread and zone principles that even dates back to Chris Leak and his very early years in Gainesville. Even at the pro level, the well-filled out and quick Trubisky could be a red zone threat running the zone read. And by the looks of things Thursday night in his preseason game, the further influence of the spread offense in the pro game, combined with Trubisky’s natural physical and athletic abilities, having more ahead of the curve and even looks more the part Thursday than Glennon, who he outperformed even though Glennon is ahead of him still in the offense and in the coaching staff’s plans. He is not ahead of Trubisky in physicality or intelligence that translates to the field. Glennon showed a lack of command and pocket presence, as he threw a bad interception early on. Trubisky finished 18 of 25 for 166 yards with a touchdown pass too, according to This Windy City quarterback situation is not anywhere near solved for the future: it’s certainly not solved now.
- Deciding who the fourth best rookie quarterback is not easy. But it’s not hard either. It just takes some thinking considering there are a lot of players who are talented rookies, but there is no guarantee they will make the team, much less be a starter as a rookie. The fourth best rookie quarterback is Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Dobbs is not a lock to stay around. But expect him to makes the plays in order to do so and much more in terms of expectations in the fairly short-term. Dobbs has a good arm and good legs that were heavily influenced in the scheme he ran at Tennessee in college. That part of his game is part of the reason he was a fifth round pick and will be a challenger to fifth year man Landry Jones for the backup job. Jones, who has shown flashes of solidarity and very good physical talent, has yet to put his grip on job behind all-time great Ben Roethlisberger. If Dobbs, can supplant Jones and it would surely come with his running prowess if it did so, he could easily find himself starting. Roethlisberger has missed at least two games three of the last four years. The fact Dobbs is legitimately competitive for backup job and supplanting Jones is an intriguing and low-key story line. And it is a possible reality than Dobbs can become very more well-known on the field than most expected here very soon. It’s a big part of the reason he’s the fourth ranked quarterback in a frankly marginal class.
- The fifth best quarterback on my list is Chad Kelly of the Denver Broncos and it’s one that a lot will disagree with and that is okay because it’s one easily defensible. He has a lot of physical talent does the dual-threat quarterback, who the nephew of Jim Kelly and there is absolutely nothing to suggest Paxton Lynch will be great, who has not yet came close to unseating Trevor Semian, who remains #1 on the depth chart. The two serious flaws in the leading candidates for the Broncos starting job are contrasting and concerning. For the incumbent and very likely opening day starter, Semian, there are serious questions about his durability and his slight frame is something that’s not ideal for a NFL season. Lynch is a tough, talented study, but has not even proven to have a better handle, grip and understanding than a guy like Kelly whose stock has dropped a lot in a year and a half in terms, frankly, of his status as a player. And now it’s finally on to the way Kelly is one of the better rookie quarterbacks. It’s his physical tools at 6’4 and 230 pounds and his work ethic that will help the most. Recently, it has been well noted he has been the first to come and last to go at the Broncos facilities in his mightily attempt to stick on through the cuts and push his way up the depth chart. He likely will. He is just as far along in the pro game than Lynch, although there are probably more cases of Kelly showing erratic tendencies. But there is a little denying his talent as he delivered two seasons of 3,000 plus yards and ran for 600 yards plus two seasons too. If he is on the field, which can very well happen soon, the sturdy and greatly built Kelly will bring a dual threat and can used that frame at 230 pounds to be threat and could open up the field and diversify the offense with some zone read options in the red zone that could easily turn into touchdowns as Denver fans and his fantasy buyers would be happy too.