6 Franchise QBs, NFL Teams That Would Benefit from Highly Drafted Backups
The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly won't rule out drafting a quarterback early in the 2013 NFL draft—a smart move that would benefit the franchise and Ben Roethlisberger, whether he agrees or not.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette:
For the first time since they drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, [Kevin] Colbert would not rule out drafting a quarterback in the first round. "We won't close the door on any position in any round. We can't ... Once we get into free agency and the draft, I don't see any position that's off limits."
The Steelers aren't the only NFL team with franchise quarterbacks that would benefit from such a move.
Legendary coach of the San Francisco 49ers Bill Walsh never hesitated to give Joe Montana something to think about, either, bringing Steve Young in while Montana was still the best quarterback in the NFL.
Competition is vital to breeding an environment of excellence.
Complacency is the enemy, and these teams would be wise to consider using an early draft pick to bring in a young signal-caller to challenge the franchise quarterback currently on their respective rosters.
Furthermore, should the worst happen and these teams lost their quarterback to an injury, it's smart for them to have a backup plan in place.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
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Since an excellent three-year stretch between 2008-2010 that saw Philip Rivers throw 92 touchdowns and just 33 interceptions, the San Diego Chargers quarterback has regressed.
In Rivers' last two seasons, he's thrown 53 touchdowns and 35 interceptions.
This is partly due to the fact that the team's offensive line has crumbled, and it's partly due to the fact that many of Rivers' top playmakers are no longer with the team. But there's something else going on, too.
Rivers' arm hasn't looked the same the past couple of years, though he'll never admit anything's wrong with it.
At the age of 31, Rivers still has some life left in him, but it's time for the Chargers to bring along a youngster to challenge him to improve. The Chargers haven't had a capable backup in place since Rivers was the backup.
If Rivers falls to injury in 2013, San Diego will be forced to go with Charlie Whitehurst. He's proven to be a poor backup, and he'll be an even worse starter.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
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To say that Eli Manning struggled in 2012 would be an understatement.
He completed less than 60 percent of his passes, passed for under 4,000 yards for the first time in three years and threw 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
As clutch as he's been in the past, he was just average this past year for the New York Giants.
Of course, I'm positive he'll improve dramatically if the Giants fix their porous offensive line.
That said, there's no doubt New York would be wise to plan for a Manning-less future. He's 32 years old, and who knows how much longer he'll be one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL?
Everyone knows David Carr isn't threatening Manning to work harder on the little things. Perhaps bringing in a young stud from the college ranks might spur the younger Manning to improve.
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
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I almost didn't include Matt Schaub on this list because I loathe to call him a "franchise" quarterback.
Schaub isn't among the elite signal-callers in the NFL, but he's certainly been the man the Houston Texans have relied on to get them to the pinnacle. The only problem is that he's come woefully short of living up to those expectations.
Schaub is an above-average quarterback who occasionally makes terrific throws.
His 22 touchdown passes ranks him in the middle of the pack, which is a damn shame, considering he has Andre Johnson.
This year, I was never sold on the Texans as a Super Bowl favorite, and I had two main reasons:
- I didn't trust the team's secondary, and;
- I didn't trust Schaub to come through in the clutch.
I was proven right on both counts, and the Texans would be smart to make moves to fix both areas of concern this spring.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
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Tony Romo has won just one playoff game in his nine-year career, and more often than not the Dallas Cowboys have lost because of his poor play in pressure situations.
No doubt Romo plays like an elite quarterback during portions of the regular season, but his penchant for blowing it when games are on the line should lead Jerry Jones to consider bringing in some competition.
That doesn't mean bringing in another guy like Kyle Orton or Jon Kitna, either.
I'm talking about drafting a young stud like Tyler Wilson from Arkansas in the first round or Mike Glennon from North Carolina State in the second.
Either Romo will raise his level of play under that kind of pressure, or he'll fold. Either way, the Cowboys win.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
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Jay Cutler has an elite arm, but through seven NFL seasons, he's proven to be nothing more than an average quarterback.
Not once has he thrown more than 30 touchdowns, and he's never once had a passer rating above 90.
Cutler has also been banged up the past couple of seasons, missing seven games. And average though he may be, the Bears have been pitiful without him in the lineup, winning just one game he didn't start during this stretch.
There's some hope that quarterback guru Marc Trestman can work his magic on Cutler and mold him into an elite player, but the Bears would be smart to have a backup plan in place just in case he continues to underwhelm.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Ben Roethlisberger is only 30 years old, but sometimes it seems like he's aging right before our very eyes.
I guess that's what'll happen when you get hit by 300-pound linemen 100 times per season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers would be smart to do a couple of things this offseason:
- Fix the mess of an offensive line, and
- Use a high draft pick on a quarterback.
Roethlisberger has missed significant time in both of his last two seasons, and even though he's only 30, he's shown signs of wearing down. Furthermore, his late-game failings at the end of this season prove it's time to bring in a young hotshot to nip at his heels.
Roethlisberger hasn't had any real competition for the starting spot since he's been with Pittsburgh, and it's time to light a fire under his feet.
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