NFL Rookie Rankings Part One: The Quarterbacks

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NFL Rookie Rankings Part One: The Quarterbacks
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Over the next few days I will be ranking the 2009 NFL rookies by their respective position for fantasy purposes. I figured there's no better way to start it than with the field general's.

This year's class is a rather weak one, but it has the potential to produce five or six QB's to keep on your fantasy radar.

 

My No.1 rookie QB is Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets

He will have a shot at starting from day one, especially since his head coach, Rex Ryan, watched a rookie QB excel last year while with the Ravens. He also doesn't have any really strong competition.

Kellen Clemens has been less than stellar when he sees the field. So far in his career he's played in fourteen games and has a 52 percent completion percentage to go with five touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a QB rating of 59.3.

That's enough of bashing Clemens, now it's time to talk about what makes Sanchez have the potential to be a star.

He has proven he can play in a pro—style offense while at USC and should have no trouble with it in the NFL. He also will have a chance to put up big numbers due to the big men up front.

The Jets offensive line gave up 30 sacks last year which was good for 14th fewest in the league. He'll be able to sit in the pocket and find his receivers without worrying about getting sacked too much.

He will also have pressure taken off of him by the running game. The Jets rushed for the ninth most yards last year and will look to run the ball again this season. Running the ball early and often will open up the passing game and take tons of pressure off of Sanchez.

The final thing that will help him be successful is his skill set. He has all of the intangibles it takes to be a great QB in the NFL.

I'm not saying he's the next Tom Brady, but expect him to be a top 20 QB this season and continue to get better for the next couple of years.

With no true veteran QB in front of him, a great offensive line, and some experience in a pro—style offense I expect Mark Sanchez to easily lead the rookie QB's this season.

 

My No.2 rookie QB is Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions

I don't expect him to start week one, but I do expect him to see the field a decent amount in his rookie season.

Stafford has the physical tools to be a great NFL QB, but he doesn't have much around him in Detroit. Other than Calvin Johnson he has no other sure—thing WR's.

His only other weapon is Kevin Smith. He will be a nice option for Stafford to dump the ball to, and will be able to help open up the passing game by running the ball.

Not only does he have a lack of weapons, but he also has a lack of protection. The Lions gave up 52 sacks last season, which was good enough for second most in the NFL.

With a below average line and limited weapons, it will be difficult for Stafford to succeed in his first year with the Lions. Since he has the tools to be a great QB, and will get some playing time, he comes in at No.2 on my list.

 

My No.3 QB is Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman has arguably the best tools out of any of the rookie QB's.

His big problem is playing time. Unlike the two guys ahead of him on the list, Freeman's not guaranteed any playing time. The front office has even said they'd prefer him to sit and learn in his first season.

If the Bucs struggle early on, he'll get a shot to show what he has. If he can be consistent he could end up being the best QB out of this class.

He will have plenty of weapons around which makes him a great late round pick, especially in dynasty leagues. He has two talented RB's in the backfield that will help take the pressure off of him.

He also has Antonio Bryant(finished seventh among WR's last year) and Michael Clayton leading the WR's and a very solid group of TE's led by Kellen Winslow.

To go along with the weapons, he also has a pretty solid offensive line. They aren't the best, but they are far from the worst. They gave up the 16th fewest sacks last season.

The big difference between Freeman and Sanchez is the fact that Freeman has real competition. Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown will battle it out to be the starter, and either one could do good enough to hold off Freeman until next season.

Due to talent, plenty of weapons, and a solid offensive line Josh Freeman comes in at No.3. If he was guaranteed playing time this year he would be at least No.2, but he still makes a great late round pick to stash away and wait it out.

 

No.4 on my list of rookie QB's is Patrick White of the Miami Dolphins

He won't really be much of a QB, but he'll probably score some fantasy points this season.

He will be a perfect fit in the Dolphins "Wildcat" offense. Having a guy with his arm strength and accuracy leading the "Wildcat" will bring a new aspect to it.

Being a specialist will hurt his value, but he should be able to help you out. Especially the first couple of weeks they run the new and improved "Wildcat".

His main value could be a bye—week fill—in in a deeper league where you can't get a QB off of waivers.

With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams possibly in the backfield with White, they could really do some damage. The main question is will any defensive coordinators be able to draw something up to slow it down.

While he'll hardly be a "real" QB, he will produce some fantasy points out of the unpredictable "Wildcat" offense.

 

The fifth, and most underrated rookie QB, is Nate Davis of the San Francisco 49ers

The only thing that held him back from being a highly drafted QB was a learning disability.

The biggest concern for him is whether or not he can learn an NFL offense. He has the athletic ability and playmaking abilities to put up some great fantasy numbers.

He could be in a great situation with the Niners if they struggle early on. If they're struggling, there's no reason to keep Davis on the bench.

Another way he could get on the field early is injuries. San Francisco gave up 55 sacks last season, good enough for most in the league. Any QB can only take so many hits and with that many someone is bound to get hurt.

One thing that makes Nate Davis an interesting pick is the fact that he learned from a very good offensive coordinator in college. Ball State's offensive coordinator was the same one that was at Michigan when Tom Brady, Drew Henson, and Brian Griese each played there.

He will get his chance at some point, and expect him to make the most out of his opportunities.

 

The sixth and final candidate on my list is Tom Brandstater of the Denver Broncos

Most of the guys are on this list because I like their ability or they will get playing time.

Brandstater on the other hand doesn't fit into that at all. I know he has a strong arm, but that's about it.

The reason he's on the list is because of his head coach, Josh McDaniels. We all witnessed what he did with practically unknown Matt Cassell.

If McDaniels makes Brandstater into half of what he did with Cassell, he'll have some solid fantasy value. He does have one really big obstacle though.

It will take a huge collapse out of Kyle Orton for Brandstater to get a chance in the NFL. Unless of an injury, he will most likely be on the bench the entire season.

He's definitely a guy to keep an eye out for, as he could put up some serious numbers with Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. In dynasty leagues he might be worth a later pick.

That wraps up my top rookie QB's to look out for. Some of these guys have value this year, others will have to wait until next year or even longer. Feel free to tell me what you think of my top guys and to share your own!

Next up I'll look at the rookie RB's.

This article is also featured at: Front Row Fantasy Sports

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