The importance of the backup quarterback position by fans and even in the NFL is probably a little underrated. The hope is that these players never see the field because they are generally a big step down talent-wise compared to whoever’s playing ahead of them. But, a backup QBs value could very well be the difference in a winning or losing season, or making the playoffs and not.
It really doesn’t matter what team you root for, there’s been numerous occasions where a backup QBs value has come into play. A good backup can keep the team afloat, but a bad one can put an end to things pretty quickly. That’s why today I thought I’d take a look at all of the projected backup QBs around the NFL and rank them accordingly.
Let’s take a look…
32. Seattle Seahawks – Anthony Gordon
31. Los Angeles Rams – John Wolford
30. Tennessee Titans – Logan Woodside
29. Minnesota Vikings – Sean Mannion
28. Arizona Cardinals – Brett Hundley
27. New York Jets – David Fales
26. Buffalo Bills – Matt Barkley
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Joshua Dobbs
24. Carolina Panthers – Will Grier
23. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Finley
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Blaine Gabbert
21. Denver Broncos – Jeff Driskel
20. Houston Texans – AJ McCarron
19. Washington Redskins – Kyle Allen
18. New York Giants – Colt McCoy
17. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Schaub
16. Baltimore Ravens – Robert Griffin III
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mason Rudolph
14. Detroit Lions – Chase Daniel
13. New England Patriots – Brian Hoyer
12. Kansas City Chiefs – Chad Henne
11. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Mullens
10. Chicago Bears – Mitchell Trubisky
9. Green Bay Packers – Jordan Love
8. Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
6. Cleveland Browns – Case Keenum
5. Indianapolis Colts – Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby Brissett did everything within his power to convince the Indianapolis Colts he was a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL, but unfortunately it just didn’t workout. They decided to aim higher, signing Philip Rivers in the offseason to become their signal caller for the 2020 season. Brissett’s time as a starter might not have lasted as long as he would have liked, but he now becomes one of the better backup QBs in the entire league. Who knows what his future holds though? After all, he’s just one snap away from regaining his starting gig. The starting job could very well be his once again if something were to happen to Philip Rivers.
4. Las Vegas Raiders – Marcus Mariota
Las Vegas Raiders could very well have a QB battle on their hands to see who becomes their starter for the 2020 season. With the interrupted offseason due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, odds are Derek Carr remains the starter for now. Marcus Mariota has the talent though to unseat him at some point in the season, if not right away. Mariota wasn’t great by any means as the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans, but a change in venue could be what he needs to resurrect his career. A career in which he has generated a 89.6 QB rating, thrown for 76 TDs to 44 INT’s, and a 62.9 completion percentage. If he can remain healthy, his time as a backup QB could be a short one.
3. New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston
It’s funny how things work in the NFL sometimes. Teddy Bridgewater went from being Drew Brees’ backup to now Carolina Panthers starting QB and Jameis Winston goes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting QB to backup now with the New Orleans Saints. You may disagree, but I actually think the Saints upgraded and have a potential long-term solution after Brees finally decides to hang up his cleats. Winston is still just 26 years old and has a long career ahead of himself if he can learn to cut down the interceptions. If not for his 30 INT’s last year, seven of which were returned for a touchdown, he likely would have landed a starting gig somewhere this offseason. Throwing for 5,109 passing yards and 33 touchdowns in 2019 is nothing to scoff at. If not for all those INT’s, I probably would’ve ranked him higher.
2. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa’s time as the Miami Dolphins backup quarterback should be short-lived. He is expected to be their franchise QB in the not-too-distant future, however, they should be in no rush to name him the starter anytime soon. Tua’s current and long-term health needs to be figured out first before the Dolphins even consider moving him up the depth chart. It wouldn’t be completely surprising if 2020 is a red shirt kind of year for him. Let him sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for season to learn and continue to improve his health, both mentally and physically. There’s absolutely no reason to throw him to the wolves right away and risk further injury, especially considering Miami is a team who looks to be rebuilding at the moment. For now though, he’s one heck of a backup.
1. Dallas Cowboys – Andy Dalton
Upgrading from Cooper Rush to Andy Dalton was not only a brilliant move by the Dallas Cowboys, but it also landed them the best backup quarterback in the NFL in my opinion. Granted, Dalton wasn’t great in 2019 with the Bengals and was even benched for a while in favor of Ryan Finley, but he was playing behind a terrible offensive line and had very few weapons at his disposal to succeed. That won’t be the case in Dallas. The Cowboys have the best WR trio in the league, a Top 5 offensive line, and a Top 5 running back. Dalton hasn’t been surrounded by this kind of talent at any point in his career. All in all, this was an excellent move by the Dallas Cowboys. They landed a QB who currently ranks ninth in passing yards, 10th in touchdown passes, and eighth in QB wins since he entered the league in 2011. They are now in excellent hands if Dak Prescott had to miss any time for whatever reason.