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B/R NFL 1000: Ranking the Top 50 Quarterbacks from 2015

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 15, 2016

B/R NFL 1000: Ranking the Top 50 Quarterbacks from 2015

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    At the end of the 2015 NFL season, ask yourself, who was the best quarterback in the game? We're not talking about who made the Pro Bowl or even who got the All-Pro votes. Who was really, truly, the best? Forget reputation and forget how much money each player makes. We want cold, hard analysis that comes from watching the games and grading the players. 

    That's what the B/R NFL 1000 is for, and it's back for another year. 

    The B/R 1000 metric is based heavily on scouting each player and grading the key criteria for each position. The criteria are weighted according to importance for a possible best score of 100.

    Potential is not taken into consideration. Nor are career accomplishments.

    Quarterbacks are judged on accuracy (40 points), arm strength (20), decision making (20), mechanics (10) and the overall value of the position relative to the other spots on the field (10 points).

    In the case of ties, our team asked, "Which player would I rather have on my team?" and set the rankings accordingly.

    Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.

    Each player was scouted by me and a team of experienced evaluators (Dan Bazal, Luke Easterling, Cian Fahey, Adam Heisler, Duke Manyweather and Marshal Miller) with these key criteria in mind. The following scouting reports and grades are the work of months of film study from our team. 

    Editor's note: Due to a calculation error, Kirk Cousins' overall score (75) and ranking (28) were incorrect in the original version. Cousins' overall score and ranking have been updated to reflect corrections made to fix that error.

     

    All statistics from Pro Football Focus. Players' heights, weights and seasons played from NFL.com.

50. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    17/40

    After Tyrod Taylor beat out Manuel for the starting job prior to the regular season, Manuel had just two starts in 2015. Both were made in relief of an injured Taylor just before Buffalo’s bye in Week 8.

    Accuracy has never been a particular strength for the former first-rounder, and while his completion percentage improved nearly four points over his 2014 numbers from 58 percent to 61.9 percent, that’s not exactly saying much. He struggled with consistency and ball placement again in his limited work this season, doing nothing to force any quarterback controversy when Taylor returned from his injury.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    Manuel’s arm strength was a rare bright spot in his game in 2015. He had his moments, including a 22-yard touchdown strike on the run to Sammy Watkins against the Bengals, but his overall body of work wasn’t much to write home about. His ability to make authoritative throws was no different than the rest of his game, but he does possess a big enough arm to push the ball through windows and down the field.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    In 2015, Manuel suffered from the same indecisiveness that has plagued him throughout his young NFL career. He holds on to the ball too long in the pocket, which contributed to his fumbling twice and getting sacked six times. 

    Mechanics

    5/10

    Manuel’s biggest struggle in this department is that too often, his arm gets ahead of his feet. He fails to set his base properly before starting his release, leading to spotty accuracy. His release is somewhat elongated, but he often overcomes that with his level of arm strength. Still, he won’t be able to take the next step as a quarterback until he refines his footwork.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    62/100

49. Case Keenum, St. Louis Rams

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    Keenum made five starts in 2015, presiding over a three-game winning streak over the final quarter of the season.

    After struggling with accuracy in a Week 11 loss to the Ravens (he completed just 46 percent of his passes), Keenum settled down later in the year, improving his ball placement and ending up with a completion percentage over 60 for the season. He’s still just average in this department, but considering his lack of ideal size and limited weapons in the passing game, he was more effective than many expected him to be.

    Arm Strength

    14/20

    Keenum displayed adequate zip on his throws during his college career at Houston and now in the NFL, but he's never had a rocket arm. This season, he took advantage of downfield threat Kenny Britt, finding him for multiple big plays by using his ability to drive the ball deep.

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    He may not be the flashiest quarterback in the league, but a big reason the Rams won three out of their last four games was Keenum’s ability to take care of the football. He threw just one interception over his five starts. He avoided too many forced throws and also got rid of the ball in a timely fashion, leading to just four sacks in 2015.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Keenum is a fairly sound thrower mechanically. He has clean footwork and a release that’s compact enough to avoid losing precious time, especially on throws outside the hashes. Even with a less-than-impressive offensive line, Keenum does a solid job of not letting pressure force him into bad mechanics.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    65/100

48. Geno Smith, New York Jets

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    Due to a broken jaw, Geno Smith lost the starting job before the season began, and he was limited to just one appearance in 2015.

    Through 29 career starts (31 games), Smith’s completion percentage is an unimpressive 57.9. In his only game this year (a 34-20 loss to the Raiders), the West Virginia product completed nearly 65 percent of his passes. The theme with many of these quarterbacks in the lower third of the rankings is consistency, especially with ball placement. Smith flashed on some throws, but he needs to eliminate the head-scratchers if he wants to challenge for a starting job in 2016.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    Smith has his shortcomings, but a lack of live arm talent isn’t one of them. He places adequate zip on the ball, can effectively hit challenging throws to the outside hash and can fit passes in tight windows. Even when on the run, he’s able to put enough on the ball more often than not to be successful.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    In his limited action, Smith avoided costly mistakes for the most part, outside of his lone interception when he let an ill-advised throw flutter down the left sideline into the waiting arms of Charles Woodson. He showed solid pocket presence at times, stepping inside a rusher and escaping for a 29-yard run, though he would have been better off stepping out of bounds instead of taking a nasty hit from David Amerson.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Smith’s delivery isn’t exactly standard, but his release is quick and compact. His biggest issue in this department is his feet, which have a tendency to negatively impact his effectiveness and accuracy when he’s not throwing from a solid base.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    65/100

47. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

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    Accuracy

    17/40

    Kaepernick’s accuracy was all over the place in 2015, as he sported a completion percentage of 52 percent or less in three of his eight starts.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    Kaepernick’s most valuable asset is still the cannon attached to his right shoulder. The former second-round pick’s arm strength is as good as anyone’s in the NFL, and he flashed it at times on both intermediate and deep throws in 2015.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    Aside from a four-interception outing against the Cardinals in Week 3, Kaepernick limited his mistakes down the field, throwing just one pick over his other seven starts. His biggest failures in this department came in the form of indecision and inability to escape the pocket effectively, leading to 28 sacks despite just starting eight games before being benched for Blaine Gabbert.

    Mechanics

    6/10

    Kaepernick’s struggles in the pocket and when trying to make plays on the run were evident in his sloppy, inconsistent mechanics. Like most quarterbacks, when he’s unable to set his feet and make throws from a collected posture in the pocket, everything else suffers.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    65/100

46. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    When your most efficient game was going 6-of-10, you probably didn’t wow anyone with your accuracy. Yates made four appearances with two starts as part of the Texans’ QB carousel in 2015, completing fewer than half of his passes and struggling to consistently put the ball in the right spots.

    Arm Strength

    14/20

    He certainly had his issues elsewhere in 2015, but Yates displayed adequate arm strength on most of his throws, taking full advantage of one of the league’s best playmakers in DeAndre Hopkins. Yates’ ability to put solid velocity on his throws bailed him out of multiple poor decisions when he could have easily turned the ball over.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    As stated above, Yates let a few throws fly that could have easily been turnovers, but for the most part, he did a decent job of taking what defenses gave him and avoiding costly mistakes. Yates’ confidence also played in his favor at times, as he was willing to challenge the Jets’ Darrelle Revis multiple times, and Hopkins came up with big plays as a result.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    A fairly sound thrower mechanically, Yates displayed quality footwork more often than not and didn't allow a poor base to negatively impact his throws. His release is quick enough to be effective, which, when combined with his arm strength, allowed him to take some chances and come up with completions.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    66/100

45. Luke McCown, New Orleans Saints

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    McCown’s lone start of the 2015 season was his first in four years, as he replaced an injured Drew Brees in a 27-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3. His stat line looks efficient and impressive (32-of-39, 335 yards) but it was more a product of the team’s game plan than McCown putting tough throws where they needed to be. His attempt at a game-winning touchdown was snatched by Josh Norman to seal the game.

    Arm Strength

    15/20

    McCown’s is one of those “just enough” arms among NFL quarterbacks. He has just enough juice to make the necessary throws, but he’s not going to win any radar-gun contests. The veteran journeyman didn’t push the ball down the field too often, but when he did, he was capable of putting it where his receivers could make a play.

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    In his limited action this season, McCown was a sound decision-maker for the most part. He did a solid job of taking what the defense gave him and not forcing many throws that weren’t there, which led to his impressive completion percentage of just over 82.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Much like the rest of his skill set, McCown’s mechanics aren’t flawless, but they’re void of any glaring weakness or ugly habits. He gets the job done with an effective release, and like most quarterbacks, he just needs to eliminate back-foot throws on deep balls.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    66/100

44. Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Accuracy

    23/40

    Mark Sanchez seemed like a good fit in Chip Kelly’s quick, short, timing-based offense, but his accuracy on film didn’t reflect that. Sanchez completed 64.8 percent of his passes, which isn’t bad at all, but the actual ball placement was often to the wrong hip or leading to the wrong shoulder. Sanchez’s timing never looked right behind a patchwork offensive line, and he never got into the rhythm he needs as a quarterback.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    With adequate arm strength to make every throw in an NFL playbook, Sanchez scores well here initially. The biggest key is using his velocity and knowing how much mustard to put on passes and how much to leave off. He’s an inconsistent thrower when it comes to strength.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    A Chip Kelly offense thrives on quick decisions, but they must be the right decisions. Sanchez struggled to stay on pace in that offense and often hesitated when making his reads. As has been seen in the past, when he's forced to process and diagnose, Sanchez struggles to put his physical gifts in play.

    Mechanics

    5/10

    While never a great technician, Sanchez saw his passing become more inconsistent this year due to poor footwork. His passing drops become unbalanced, and too often his three-step drops were taken at different lengths—which throws off pass protection and the timing of breaking routes.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    67/100

43. Michael Vick, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    Vick made three starts early in the year in relief of an injured Ben Roethlisberger, but the inconsistent accuracy that has followed him throughout his career was still present. He was fairly sharp in a losing effort against the Baltimore Ravens, but he struggled over the next two weeks before a hamstring injury knocked him out of the starting gig.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    He may have lost a bit of the mustard he once had, but Vick can still sling the ball with plenty of zip. He can still uncork a pretty deep ball with just a flick of the wrist, and when his mechanics are in sync, he can deliver the ball with authority to any spot on the field.

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    Showing the positive side of his veteran experience, Vick took care of the ball well through the air, throwing just one interception. But he was also reminded of the painful realization he’s not the elite athlete he once was. The former top overall draft pick was sacked 10 times in his limited action, fumbling twice.

    Mechanics

    5/10

    Sound mechanics haven’t exactly been Vick’s strong suit throughout his career, and the same held true in 2015. He’s still too reliant on his arm strength and athleticism, which can backfire when he doesn’t allow himself to set and throw or consistently get his lower body into his throws.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    67/100

42. Ryan Mallett, Baltimore Ravens

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    Accuracy

    19/40

    Mallett had one of the stranger seasons of any NFL quarterback in 2015, making a combined six starts for two different teams. His accuracy and efficiency were a roller coaster, as he alternated decent outings with a pair of sub-50 percent completion performances early in the year for the Texans. That inconsistency followed him to Baltimore, where he flashed solid touch and placement at times but was erratic too often to establish himself as quality-starter material.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    What Mallett lacks in precision, he does his best to make up for with pure brawn, as he possesses as strong an arm as you’ll see in the NFL. He’s not afraid to pull the trigger on deep or intermediate passes, even when windows are tight or defensive backs are step-for-step with receivers down the field. Every now and then, his cannon bails him out of a poor decision.

    Decision-Making

    13/20

    Mallett is still struggling to grasp what opposing defenses are throwing at him. That, combined with his faith in his arm's strength, can lead to poor decisions and turnovers. Mallett threw at least one pick in five of his six starts this season, and he still needs to make huge strides in this area if he wants to challenge for a starting job anywhere in the NFL next season.

    Mechanics

    6/10

    Like many a gunslinger with a big arm, Mallett lets his mechanics get sloppy far too often. His release isn’t the quickest as it is, and his footwork can get jumpy in the pocket when he’s pressured or anxious in advance of a throw, leading him to make poor decisions or miss open receivers.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    68/100

41. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams

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    Accuracy

    21/40

    After tossing 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions for the Eagles in 2013, Foles has struggled to regain that efficiency since, including a rough first season with the Rams in 2015. His ball placement was spotty at best, and he never looked comfortable in his new surroundings. Due to his struggles, he was benched in favor of Case Keenum late in the season.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    While underwhelming in other areas, Foles demonstrated again in 2015 that he has adequate arm strength for an NFL quarterback. He can push the ball deep when needed, and his field-side throws to the outside hash don’t flutter or die early.

    Decision-Making

    13/20

    Foles’ biggest struggle in this department is knowing when to cut his losses and take a sack, rather than forcing a late throw while he’s being hit. This issue was painfully evident in a road loss to the Packers, when two of his four interceptions were a direct result of that, including a pick-six by rookie Quinten Rollins. Foles also needs to do a better job of not staring down his receivers, especially on third downs and in the red zone.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    From the waist up, Foles is pretty solid mechanically. But his problems in this area go hand-in-hand with his propensity to throw while absorbing contact. His arm can’t overcome poor footwork when he’s not able to throw from a stable base. If he’s not sitting comfortably in a clean pocket, his mechanics can suffer the consequences.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    68/100

40. Matt Cassel, Dallas Cowboys

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    Accuracy

    21/40

    Cassel has had an overall completion percentage of less than 60 in seven of the last eight seasons, which should give fans a strong indicator regarding his accuracy. In 2015 Cassel was no different, as he struggled with placement and anticipation on his way to completing just 58 percent of his passes.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    He doesn’t have the best cannon in the league, by any means, but Cassel gets enough behind the ball to give himself a fighting chance more often than not. There were a handful of throws that Cassel had to rush for fear of having his receivers would overrun his range, but overall, arm strength isn’t what holds him back.

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    Cassel can get locked onto his primary target too often and needs to improve his clock in the pocket. He was sacked 14 times over his seven starts, fumbling four times. Outside of an impressive outing in a loss to the Eagles in Week 9, Cassel threw just two touchdowns to six interceptions.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Like many quarterbacks who have decent arm strength, Cassel can rely on his arm to bail him out of poor mechanics elsewhere at times. His release is quick enough to be effective, but when he gets lazy with his lower body, his throws suffer, especially outside the hashes.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    68/100

39. AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Accuracy

    22/40

    McCarron struggled with consistency in this area at Alabama, and he still has a long way to go when it comes to precision and anticipation. His completion percentage (66.4) was impressive, but that had much more to do with his extremely talented receiving corps than his ability to put throws where they needed to be on a consistent basis.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    McCarron was knocked during the predraft process in 2014 for not having a big enough arm to succeed at the NFL level, but he’s proved he has enough zip on the ball to get the job done. On both deep and intermediate throws, he’s shown in his limited action this season that his arm strength won’t be what keeps him from being a successful starter at the pro level.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    Thrown into the fire for an injured Andy Dalton after not making a regular-season appearance as a rookie in 2014, McCarron understandably had his share of struggles with making the right decisions downfield. He showed improvement with each passing week, and his time spent as the starter should give him valuable experience to draw from next season.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    McCarron’s sound mechanics allow him to overcome some of the other areas in which he struggles. His footwork is consistent, his release is smooth and compact and he rarely gets sloppy unless he’s under serious pressure.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    68/100

38. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans

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    Accuracy

    21/40

    Inconsistent and uninspiring in his limited work this season, Mettenberger completed 61 percent of his passes over four starts (seven games) in relief of rookie Marcus Mariota. His mechanical flaws are a huge factor in his poor ball placement, and he’ll need to improve in both areas if he wants to find another starting job in the NFL anytime soon.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    Off-field issues were the biggest reason Mettenberger fell in the draft, but eventually the Titans took a chance on him in large part because of his arm strength. In addition to having the prototypical frame for an NFL pocket passer, the LSU product has an absolute gun and can hit every throw when the stars align with his mechanics.

    Decision-Making

    13/20

    Mettenberger took plenty of lumps over his six starts as a rookie last year, but he didn’t exhibit much growth in 2015 as a decision-maker. He threw just as many picks this year (seven) as he did in two fewer starts in 2014, and he’s still struggling to make sense of what opposing defenses throw at him.

    Mechanics

    6/10

    Yes, those mechanics we’ve already mentioned. From overstriding in the pocket on a regular basis to his somewhat elongated release, Mettenberger’s lack of refinement from a technical standpoint is his biggest downfall as a passer, and it was just as evident in 2015 as it was in his rookie season.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    69/100

37. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns

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    Accuracy

    22/40

    Like many short quarterbacks, Manziel struggles with consistency in this department, due in part to having his vision impacted by blockers and rushers who tower over him. Getting used to negotiating passing lanes in the NFL is much different than in college, and Manziel’s accuracy this season (or lack thereof) is evidence of that difficult transition.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    Don’t tell Johnny Football that small quarterbacks can’t have big arms. For all of his flaws, Manziel likely doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his arm strength, which is most impressive when he’s able to hit deep throws on the run (see his bomb to Travis Benjamin against the Titans in Week 2 for proof).

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    Even without taking his off-field decisions into consideration, Manziel doesn’t score very high in this department. He’s had to come to the painful realization that it’s much harder to create the circus-type plays he was known for in college at the NFL level, and the windows between defenders close much quicker than they did even in the SEC.

    Mechanics

    6/10

    Manziel is an unorthodox signal-caller in many ways, and his mechanics are no exception. His release is quick but rarely consistent, he leaves the pocket too quickly to try to create the way he did at Texas A&M, and he’ll have to make huge strides in this area if he wants a chance at becoming a sustainable starter in the NFL.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    69/100

36. Brandon Weeden, Houston Texans

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    Accuracy

    20/40

    Weeden has been erratic at best since entering the league, and in his limited action in 2015, he showed more of the same. He benefited greatly from having receivers like Hopkins, who has long arms and a wide catch radius, making Weeden’s stat line look much more efficient than it could have.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    Despite knowing Weeden would be the oldest player ever drafted in the first round, the Browns selected the then-28-year-old and his big arm with the 22nd pick of the 2012 NFL draft. It’s still his best asset, as he has the ability to drive the ball deep and hit out routes on the sidelines when his accuracy accommodates his velocity.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    Throwing five touchdowns to two interceptions looks good in a box score, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of Weeden’s success or failure in 2015 when trying to decipher defenses and make sound decisions. He still struggles to properly process opposing defenses, especially when they make post-snap changes and force Weeden to adapt on the fly.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    This is where Weeden excels the most, with his technical prowess. There’s little wasted movement when he’s dropping back or letting the ball go, and his consistent footwork allows him to throw from a solid base. He has many shortcomings as a passer, but his mechanics are clean.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    69/100

35. Matt Schaub, Baltimore Ravens

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    Accuracy

    25/40

    For veteran quarterbacks, consistency is a key attribute that can usually cover a multitude of evils. Unfortunately for Schaub, he’s still not consistent with his ability to anticipate routes and hit landmarks, which has contributed heavily to his propensity for turning the ball over in the worst ways.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    As should be expected with a 34-year-old thrower, Schaub has clearly lost some velocity and can’t rely on his arm to overcome his poor decision-making and inconsistent ball placement. His deep throws lack the extra few yards they’ve had in the past, and he can’t deliver throws outside the hashes and down the seam with the same authority he once did.

    Decision-Making

    12/20

    Schaub has become synonymous with throwing pick-sixes, and unfortunately, he only added to his legend in that department this season. He threw a pick-six in four straight games in 2013, and he followed suit this season by throwing one in each of his two starts for the Ravens. At this point, it’s clearly impacted his confidence and seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, to a certain extent.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Schaub’s mechanics are decent but nothing earth-shattering. His footwork is inconsistent at times, as either over- or understriding can bite him. His release isn’t Byron Leftwich-worthy, but it’s not quick enough to keep defenders from closing in and making plays on the ball.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    70/100

34. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans

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    Accuracy

    23/40

    It’s not that Hoyer can’t put a throw in a tight spot at times, it’s that he’s simply too inconsistent with his ability to do so. He’ll routinely follow up an impressive drop-in-the-bucket deep ball with a head-scratching overthrow. Consistency and precision are arguably the most important qualities a quarterback can have, and Hoyer is lacking in both areas.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    Hoyer lacks precision and consistency in other areas of his skill set, but he does have a live arm that can make all the NFL throws when the rest of the package is there. His confidence in his arm can bite him often, though, as he takes chances down the field he probably shouldn’t because he simply trusts his cannon to overcome what he sees if front of him.

    Decision-Making

    14/20

    If you don’t know what a “YOLO ball” is, watching Hoyer’s 2015 film will remedy that pretty quick. A glance at the stat sheet shows a 60-plus completion percentage and just seven interceptions, but Hoyer routinely let head-scratching throws fly, some of which came at the worst possible times. It didn’t get any better in the postseason, as Hoyer’s four-pick performance paved the way for a 30-0 blowout at home to the Chiefs.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    There’s not much to write home about here, but Hoyer’s mechanics are also void of any particularly glaring weakness. He’s not held back by a huge windup or bad footwork for the most part, and while he’s not terribly accurate, his struggles are rarely because of sloppy technical habits as a passer.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    72/100

33. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers

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    Accuracy

    26/40

    Gabbert was yet another example of a quarterback who benefited from plenty of short throws that padded his completion percentage. The former top-10 pick was efficient enough on quick-read routes, but he still struggled when forced to make deep and intermediate throws against tight coverages.

    Arm Strength

    14/20

    He was never accused of having the strongest arm while at Missouri, and the story was still the same in Gabbert’s fifth NFL season. He lacks the velocity to put his outside-hash throws on a line, and his deep balls flutter with regularity. The 49ers did a solid job of playing to his strengths in 2015, keeping many of his throws in the intermediate range or shorter.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    Now that Gabbert has been in the league for a good while, his willingness to take what opposing defenses give him and make sound decisions with the ball has improved. In his first starting action since throwing seven interceptions to just one touchdown in three starts for the Jaguars in 2013, Gabbert tossed the same number of picks in 2015 but with 10 scores over eight starts.

    Mechanics

    6/10

    This is still where Gabbert struggles the most. His mechanical issues were masked by the quick-throw spread attack at Missouri, but they’ve been painfully evident over his NFL tenure. His long release allows defenders more time to close on his throws, and he tends to overstride in the pocket, which routinely impacts his release point in a negative way.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    72/100

32. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Accuracy

    23/40

    A Chip Kelly offense puts a premium on precision, but Bradford struggled to consistently put the ball where it needed to be during the 2015 season. Kelly’s quick-throw passing game helped inflate Bradford’s stat line with a 65 percent completion rate, but when asked to make the tougher throws, Bradford’s placement was all over the place.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    Bradford doesn’t seem to have the same live arm he had as a younger pro, but he can still put enough zip on the ball to stretch the field. The Eagles ranked fourth in the NFL with 14 pass plays of 40 yards or more, thanks in part to Bradford’s ability to push the ball downfield. He got the job done with his arm at times this year, but he’s certainly not one of the strongest throwers in the league.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    A quarterback’s first year in a new scheme is always a challenging test for his mental makeup, and Bradford’s decision-making was understandably inconsistent in his first season under Kelly. He averaged an interception per game over his 14 starts in 2015, but he also showed his experience at times by making safer throws instead of forcing ones that simply weren’t there.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    There wasn’t much to criticize about Bradford’s mechanics in 2015, as he showed a solid comfort level with Kelly’s read-option style and play-action scheme. He displayed light feet and a quick release for the most part, but with 10 fumbles he needs to improve his ball security.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    72/100

31. Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Accuracy

    23/40

    Jones was forced into limited action in 2015 when multiple injuries sidelined both Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick. He exhibited some attractive traits over his two starts, but consistent ball placement wasn’t one of them. Jones was erratic at worst and inconsistent at best, leading to a completion percentage of just 58.2.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    Jones wasn’t the most refined passer coming out of Oklahoma, but what he’s always had is a strong arm. He wasn’t afraid to take some shots down the field in 2015, taking advantage of the speed of Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. He still needs plenty of work in other areas, but if he can get his other skills on par with his arm strength, he could develop into a valuable backup and perhaps even a capable spot-starter.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    The Steelers offense calls for plenty of screens and quick throws, which play to Jones’ strengths by not forcing him to go through a ton of elongated progressions. He should improve in this area with more experience, but he’ll also need a scheme that will help him learn to survey the whole field from the pocket and make the right choices with the ball.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    Jones' feet are fairly nimble when dropping back and negotiating the pocket. And while his release is quick enough, Jones would be better off using his head and shoulders more on his pump fake, rather than bringing his left hand off the ball and leaving it exposed to oncoming rushers.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    73/100

30. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    25/40

    At times, Tannehill has impressive precision and can stick the ball into tight spots. At other times, he misses way too many pitch-and-catch throws. He’s still developing as a passer, and hopefully consistency with anticipation and ball placement will come with it. At this point, he’s just not there yet.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    He may not be the most refined passer, but Tannehill certainly has enough juice in his arm to make all of the NFL throws with some consistency. When his mechanics are clean, he’s able to push the ball deep extremely well, but he can’t just rely on his arm to bail him out. His arm is strong enough, but he needs the whole package for it to be the most effective it can be.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    Tannehill is progressing fairly well as a decision-maker, but the Dolphins’ scheme changes certainly aren’t doing him any favors in this department. There’s a direct correlation between a quarterback’s comfort level in a system and his confidence in what he’s able to do on the field, both mentally and physically, and Tannehill is still being stunted in this area by the constant schematic change.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Tannehill is a converted college receiver and wasn’t the full-time starter at quarterback until his senior year, and that’s still evident in his mechanics. He has a fairly quick release, but he still needs plenty of work on the finer mechanical points of playing quarterback, from his footwork all the way up.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    74/100

29. Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns

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    Accuracy

    25/40

    McCown’s completion percentage jumped seven points in 2015 from his mark with the Bucs last year. However, a closer look at the film shows a quarterback who still struggles with consistency in this area, particularly for a veteran with his amount of experience. He’s not the most confident thrower in the league, and his ball placement suffers when he’s not sure when to pull the trigger.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    He probably doesn’t get enough credit in this area of his game, but McCown has enough zip on the ball to make all the throws, and he isn’t afraid to uncork the deep ball. When he misses, it’s not often because of a lack of arm strength.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    McCown saw a huge improvement in 2015 over his 2014 touchdown-to-interception ratio, tossing 12 scores to just four picks after throwing 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions the year before. But McCown still struggles with his internal clock in the pocket, holding on to the ball way too long, which led to him being sacked nearly three times per game over his eight starts.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    His release is quick enough and fairly compact, but it’s McCown’s footwork that really needs work in this department. He can get happy feet in the pocket, and his inconsistent base can lead to poor balance and can throw off his entire throwing process.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    75/100

28. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    25/40

    You’d think a crafty veteran like Hasselbeck would be pretty solid in this department, but he wasn’t much better than average after taking over for an injured Andrew Luck. He often looked out of sync with his receivers, whether young or veteran, and simply wasn’t as consistent with his ball placement as you’d expect from a player with his amount of experience.

    Arm Strength

    15/20

    At 40 years old, it shouldn’t be surprising that Hasselbeck doesn’t have a ton of velocity on his throws and prefers to keep things in the short-to-intermediate range. The Colts finished the season near the bottom in the league when it came to pass plays over 20 and 40 yards, thanks in large part to Hasselbeck not being able to push the ball down the field with any regularity.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    This is the area in which Hasselbeck shows his experience the most, making sound decisions with the ball and knowing when a play is there and when it’s not. He threw just five picks over his eight appearances, taking checkdowns or throwing the ball away when things didn't come together down the field.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    He’s pretty solid mechanically in his motions, but things are understandably slowing down a little for Hasselbeck at this point in his career. His release isn’t quite as quick as it used to be, and he's just a little slower when trying to avoid pressure or get outside the pocket. All in all, Hasselbeck is still a rather sound technician at the position.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    75/100

27. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    25/40

    Consistency in this department can be tough to accomplish for shorter quarterbacks, and Taylor was no exception this season. While his overall performance as Buffalo’s starter was impressive, he still missed far too many makeable throws. Negotiating passing lanes can be difficult, but Taylor must continue to improve in that area if he wants to be consistently accurate.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    Much like Russell Wilson, Taylor packs quite a cannon on his smaller frame. His ability and willingness to take shots down the field helped the Bills finish eighth in the NFL in passing plays of 40 yards or more, as he routinely proved he has the velocity to make every throw.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    Taylor threw just six interceptions over 14 starts in 2015 while taking plenty of chances down the field. He did a solid job of knowing when to escape the pocket and beat the defense with his legs (568 yards rushing, four touchdowns), though he needs to cut down on the fumbles (nine).

    Mechanics

    7/10

    His release is quick and compact, and he avoids pressure well as a runner, but he needs to refine his footwork this offseason. Taylor can throw effectively on the run with good balance, but he’s still just a step away from putting the entire package together mechanically.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    75/100

26. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos

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    Accuracy

    25/40

    This was the biggest negative drop-off between Peyton Manning and Osweiler from a physical standpoint this season. While the younger signal-caller has a step on the future Hall of Famer in the arm strength department, his accuracy this season was a painful reminder of just how much he needs to improve before he can be a consistently successful starter in the NFL.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    Osweiler has a lot of areas in which he still needs to grow as a passer, but doing that will be made much easier by having one of the stronger arms in the league. He can make all the necessary throws and put enough zip on the ball to cut through poor weather when needed.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    Sitting on the bench for three seasons is certainly a valuable learning opportunity, but becoming a full-time starter is a whole other ballgame. Osweiler found that out over his seven starts this year, struggling at times to adjust to post-snap coverage changes or to avoid locking in on his primary target. His turnover numbers were relatively low, but he still has plenty of growth to pursue in this area.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    His 6’8” frame is imposing and may look impressive in the media guide, but it giveth and taketh away on the field. Because of his size, Osweiler has trouble maneuvering the pocket comfortably at times, due to stuff hips and heavy footwork. His release is quick enough to get the job done, though, and when combined with his velocity, he can usually overcome his mechanical issues.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    77/100

25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

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    Accuracy

    26/40

    At 33 years old, FitzMagic emerged to have the best season of his career in 2015, setting a Jets franchise record with 31 touchdown passes. Accuracy has never been his best attribute, and even with his impressive numbers this year, his ball placement was a bit erratic, leading to a sub-60 percent completion rate.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    While he doesn’t have elite arm talent, Fitzpatrick has just enough juice to get the job done. The Jets ranked 10th in the NFL with 56 pass plays of 20 yards or more, thanks in large part to Fitzpatrick’s ability to take advantage of big-play receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    Fitzpatrick had quite an up-and-down season as a decision-maker in 2015, alternating impressive multi-touchdown, no-interception games with outings in which he struggled with multiple turnovers. His experience helps him make sound decisions at times, but his eagerness to make big plays down the field can backfire.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    Fitzpatrick’s footwork and release aren’t exactly orthodox, but with 105 career starts under his belt, he’s clearly figured out what works for him, and he was as effective a thrower in 2015 as he’s ever been. There are some wasted movements he could clean up at times, but the end result was often worth any perceived hiccups in his mechanics.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    77/100

24. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Accuracy

    28/40

    Even if not spectacular, Smith was efficient this season, putting up nearly identical numbers to his 2014 campaign and leading the Chiefs on an 11-game winning streak. But while his high completion percentage may look impressive, it had more to do with his propensity for taking the checkdown than making pinpoint throws down the field.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    One of the biggest reasons Smith has been slapped with the “game manager” label throughout his NFL career is his lack of arm strength, as he lacks the zip many of the league’s top signal-callers can claim. He doesn't have the weakest arm in the league, but his shortcomings in this area have kept the Chiefs from taking full advantage of their speed at receiver. The Chiefs tallied the fifth-fewest pass plays of 20 yards or more in the league this year.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    Smith has always been a fairly decent decision-maker, taking good care of the ball and limiting costly turnovers. In 2015, Smith showed more of the same, as he often eschewed risky shots downfield for safer throws. This limited the Chiefs’ number of big plays in the passing game, but it also helped Smith register single-digit interceptions for the fifth season in a row.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    When he has a clean pocket to work with, Smith’s mechanics are sound and consistent. His struggles in this department happen when things break down and he’s forced to make plays while sifting through the trash. When he focuses on the rush and doesn't keep his eyes downfield, his footwork and release get sloppy.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    79/100

23. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    Accuracy

    26/40

    The former first overall pick out of Georgia posted the highest completion percentage of his career in 2015 (67.2), but Stafford was more erratic with his placement than that stat might have fans believe. He started to improve over the second half of the season, but a solid statistical season could have been even more impressive had he been more accurate and made life a bit easier on his receivers.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    Stafford’s arm strength was one of the biggest reasons the Lions selected him with the top overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, and it remains his best weapon. Stafford delivers the ball with authority and takes full advantage of downfield playmakers Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    It was a tale of two halves for Stafford this season in this department. He struggled with turnovers for the first eight weeks, throwing 11 interceptions as the Lions limped to a 1-7 record heading into the bye week. But Stafford must have flipped a switch during the quick break. He took much better care of the ball over the second half of the year, throwing just two interceptions to 19 touchdowns. The Lions went 6-2 over that stretch, and their quarterback was the biggest reason they finished strong in 2015.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    Stafford will show a little bit of wasted motion in his release at times, with just the slightest hitch that can slow down his entire mechanical process. But his feet are nimble and firm in the pocket, which allows him to adjust when his primary read isn’t available without losing anything on the throw.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    80/100

22. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Accuracy

    30/40

    Manning showed regression in multiple areas this season, one of them being his ball placement. His mind is still as sharp as ever, but his ability to make his arm do what he wants it to is starting to fray, leading to far more missed targets than we’ve seen from him in the past. In 2015, Manning completed less than 60 percent of his passes for the first time since his rookie season in 1998.

    Arm Strength

    15/20

    This area was arguably the hardest to watch Manning take a step back in this season, as his throws simply don’t have the zip or finishing power they’ve had in past years. His deep outs and vertical throws showed a marked lack of velocity, and he seemed visibly frustrated at times that he couldn’t put the ball where he knew it needed to be.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    There’s a theme with Manning this year, and this area hasn’t been without its effects of Manning entering the twilight of his career. The most frustrating thing for a competitive, veteran thrower like Manning is when your brain knows where the ball needs to be, but your arm simply can’t deliver like it once did. That overconfidence in his arm led to Manning throwing just nine touchdowns to 17 interceptions, the second-most in the league despite missing six games due to injury.

    Mechanics

    10/10

    Father Time may be calling for many different areas of Manning’s game, but this isn’t one of them. His footwork is still like clockwork on every dropback, and his release is still as clean and compact as ever. Manning can still set up defenders with his eyes and pump fakes, manipulating coverages and helping overcome the physical limitations that have come with age.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    80/100

21. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Accuracy

    27/40

    After the most impressive season of his career in 2014, Luck had a rough go of things in 2015. He made just seven starts due to injury, and he looked uncomfortable much of the time he was on the field. His ball placement was spotty, and he looked out of sync with his receivers, leading to a six-point dip in his completion percentage from last season. After three years of being crowned the next great NFL franchise quarterback, Luck definitely hit a rough patch in 2015, but he should bounce back when fully healthy.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    This was one thing that didn’t change for Luck in 2015, as his velocity and ability to push the ball downfield and to the outer parts of the field was still present. It’s possible he became a bit overconfident in his arm this season, but his arm strength is still much more of an asset than a detriment.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    Luck took a step back in this area in 2015, looking more uncomfortable with what he was seeing downfield and making questionable throws he had been known to avoid in his three prior seasons. After throwing 16 interceptions in 16 starts last year, Luck tossed 12 in his seven appearance this season. If Luck truly wants to establish himself as an elite quarterback, he’ll have to take much better care of the ball next season and beyond.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Luck has been well-schooled, and it shows in his mastery of the finer points of quarterbacking. His feet are clean and consistent, his release is everything you need it to be, and he doesn’t often let his good habits unravel when faced with pressure or when throwing on the run.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    81/100

20. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    Accuracy

    28/40

    When Eli was on this season, he was on. But when he was off, it was ugly. The younger Manning finished the year completing 62.6 percent of his passes, but he posted a completion rate of 57.1 percent or less in half of his starts this season. For a veteran with his level of experience, it’s more than a little head-scratching to still see so much inconsistency with his accuracy.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    Manning showed plenty of flaws in 2015, but his arm strength certainly wasn’t to blame for his struggles. Manning can make every throw with enough velocity to beat defenders in either man or zone coverage, and he’s able to take advantage of his explosive playmakers in the passing game with a pretty deep ball.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    Hand-in-hand with inconsistent ball placement, this department was extremely frustrating to watch for Manning this year. He routinely followed up his best performances with multi-turnover games, providing far too many hands-on-helmet moments of, “Why did I do that?” and costing the Giants in key situations with poor decisions down the field.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    It shouldn’t be surprising with his last name, but Manning is extremely clean mechanically and has only gotten better with more experience. He keeps his feet set and delivers with a quick, clean motion and doesn’t have a lot of wasted movements once he decides where he wants to go with the ball.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    82/100

19. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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    Accuracy

    28/40

    Flacco had his season cut short by six games due to injury, and while he did post the highest completion percentage of his career so far (64.4), he still showed some flaws in his accuracy. He’s still improving when it comes to anticipating his receivers out of their breaks and delivering the ball on time, and he’s helped by his elite arm strength.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    One of the biggest reasons Flacco was drafted in the first round despite playing at a smaller program like Delaware is because NFL teams simply can’t resist a big quarterback with a huge arm. Flacco’s arm is as live as any in the league, and it allows him to overcome his inconsistencies in other areas at times. There’s not a throw on the field he can’t make.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    Flacco took a bit of a step back in this department from last year, struggling with locking onto receivers at times and trying to force throws that weren’t there. He threw the same number of picks as he did last season (12)—but in six fewer starts. Losing Torrey Smith in free agency and Steve Smith to injury certainly didn’t help, as building chemistry with new receivers had a significant impact on his confidence and timing.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    His footwork and throwing motion are among the most effective in the league, but consistency is the only thing holding Flacco back in this department. On multiple throws this season, Flacco let his feet get sloppy by understriding or leaning away from a throw with flat feet, leading to a missed opportunity down the field. He’s solid here most of the time, but he still has just a bit more room to grow.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    82/100

18. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Accuracy

    30/40

    Winston’s ball placement was solid for the most part in 2015, but he showed his youth on multiple throws, especially when going deep or throwing outside the hashes. Once he improves his ability to keep deep throws out in front of his receivers and keep outside throws from sailing, he could easily challenge for a top-10 spot among NFL quarterbacks.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    What was evident during last year’s predraft process was proved true in his rookie season, as Winston showed plenty of zip with the ability to hit every throw on the route tree. He rarely missed on a pass because of a lack of velocity.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    After an interception-filled redshirt sophomore season at Florida State, Winston was expected to struggle in this department. While he certainly made his share of questionable throws, he made far fewer costly mistakes than expected and even had a four-game stretch without a single turnover. He was particularly careful but effective in the red zone, not throwing an interception inside the 20 until Week 16 against the Bears. Winston also made plenty of plays with his legs, setting a franchise record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with six.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    Consistency is the key for Winston in this department. His somewhat elongated release didn’t seem to get him in much trouble as a rookie, but his footwork still needs some refining, as his accuracy strays when he’s not throwing from a solid base.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    82/100

17. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Accuracy

    30/40

    Bortles was up and down with accuracy in his sophomore campaign, flashing brilliance at times but leaving Jags fans shaking their heads at others. Overall, he showed marked improvement over his rookie season in terms of ball placement and anticipation, which should only improve as he continues to build a rapport with his talented young receiving corps.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    Playing quarterback at the NFL level is more than just looking the part and having a golden arm, but those things don’t hurt, and Bortles has both going for him. He has a big 6'5", 245-pound frame and the arm strength to match. He has the ability to challenge opposing defenses with the deep ball and keep them away from the deep outs with plenty of zip to the sideline.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    This area is a struggle for most young quarterbacks, and Bortles was no exception. His 35 touchdowns were a huge accomplishment, but they were accompanied by a league-leading 18 interceptions. He still doesn’t seem completely certain about what he’s seeing, and opposing defenses were effective this season at disguising coverages pre-snap and baiting him into bad decisions.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Bortles indeed looks the part of a prototypical NFL passer, and that includes clean, consistent mechanics. He’s effective in the play-action game, sets his base properly and tops it off with a quick, strong release. When combined with his arm strength, he’s capable of being one of the most sound throwers in the league when he puts it all together.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    83/100

16. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

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    Accuracy

    33/40

    Multiple injuries robbed him of four games in his rookie season, but Mariota was incredibly impressive when he was on the field, making believers of any skeptics who thought he’d take years to develop at the NFL level. As is often the case with rookie quarterbacks, Mariota struggled with consistency and timing with his new pass-catchers, but he also flashed the pinpoint accuracy he was known for at Oregon. As he continues to strengthen the chemistry with his receiving corps, his confidence and success with ball placement will only improve.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    He doesn’t have a cannon by any means, but Mariota showed adequate zip on the throws many rookie quarterbacks struggle to hit at the pro level. Arm strength is only useful if the rest of the package is there, and Mariota excels in enough other ways to make up for his lack of a cannon.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    Known in college for rarely throwing interceptions (just 14 over his three seasons as the Ducks starter) but with a propensity for fumbling the ball, Mariota continued that trend as an NFL rookie. The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner threw just 10 picks to his 19 touchdowns, but he fumbled 10 times in 12 starts, losing six of them. Learning to protect the ball when he’s contacted in the pocket should be at the top of Mariota’s list of areas to improve moving forward.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Mariota is extremely sound mechanically, especially for a rookie. He negotiates the pocket well, and despite narratives to the contrary, he doesn’t try to leave the pocket too early. His release is swift and smooth, and his quick feet allow him to avoid pressure and keep proper balance while his eyes are downfield.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    84/100

15. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

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    Accuracy

    35/40

    Cousins led the NFL in completion percentage with a ridiculous mark of just under 70, but looking at pure numbers betrays his lack of consistency in putting his passes where his receivers have to do the least amount of work to get to them. This was his first full season as a starter in the NFL, and this area was one of the many in which he showed some early lumps but finished the season on a hot streak that few NFL quarterbacks could compete with. Given Cousins' finish down the stretch, his accuracy grade takes a big jump from where he would have been after six weeks.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    Adequate is the word that comes to mind, as Cousins isn’t going to win any county fair contest with his distance, but he’s capable of making just about any throw that’s asked of him. He can push the ball down the seams as well as outside the hashes, but some of his deep sideline throws got away from him and fluttered a bit more than you’d like.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    Cousins had a six-week stretch in which he threw at least two interceptions in four of those games, but he saved his best football for the final three weeks of the season. He led Washington to a division title by eliminating costly mistakes, throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and winning all three on the way to a playoff berth. He still needs work in this area, but the way he ended the 2015 season showed plenty of promise.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Easily the most impressive part of Cousins’ skill set, he’s a refined technician of a quarterback. He keeps his movements working in unison effectively, generating good torque in his lower body that helps him add a little bit of power to his throws. His footwork constantly has him lined up correctly, and he shows great balance when throwing on the run.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    85/100

14. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

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    Accuracy

    33/40

    He’s still developing consistency and confidence with his receivers in his second NFL season, but Bridgewater is still fairly accurate with most of his throws. He’ll have a few throws per game that’ll have you raising your eyebrow, in both good and bad ways, but his completion percentage topped 64 for the second year in a row. As he gets more comfortable facing pro defenses, he should only improve in this and other areas.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    Bridgewater is a fairly well-rounded passer in most other areas, but he’ll never be confused with Russell Wilson or Jay Cutler when it comes to pure arm strength. He’s still able to get plenty of velocity on the ball when he needs it, but he’ll never be a “chicks dig the long ball” kind of quarterback.

    Decision-Making

    18/20

    He’s not much of a daredevil when it comes to chucking the ball down the field, but Bridgewater is more than fine taking what the defense gives him and checking it down when nothing’s there. He threw three fewer interceptions this year despite starting four more games than he did in his rookie campaign last season. He also proved he’s not afraid to take off on the run, adding three rushing scores.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    His inconsistency with release angles may look funny, but Bridgewater is simply showing he’s willing to give each throw exactly what it needs. His footwork can get a little shaky in the pocket, especially if he feels pressure, but his mechanics are sound, especially for a second-year pro.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    85/100

13. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

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    Accuracy

    33/40

    Few quarterbacks had a more frustrating season than Romo, who broke his collarbone not once but twice and ended the year on injured reserve. When he was on the field, however, he was extremely accurate through his first three starts before having an absolute stinker of an outing against the Panthers. Romo completed just 52 percent of his passes in a lopsided loss to Carolina, throwing three picks and ending his season with the injury.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    Romo was fairly effective when throwing down the field, but it was more in spite of his arm strength than because of it. It’s likely his original collarbone injury had a significant impact on his velocity, but he was definitely missing some zip on his deep balls and more difficult wide throws.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    Romo did a solid job of picking his spots downfield for the most part, but when he did miss, it wasn’t pretty. Over four starts, he tossed seven picks to just five touchdowns, and it’s hard not to wonder whether he'd be healthier if he got rid of the ball just a little quicker.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Romo is still clean and consistent with his mechanics, and he has one of the quickest releases in the league. He has one of the best pump fakes in the league, using all of his available tells (head, shoulder and hands) to manipulate defenders in coverage to put them where he wants them.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    85/100

12. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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    Accuracy

    30/40

    This is still where Cutler struggles the most. He flashes great placement and anticipation at times, but too often he’s erratic and doesn’t seem like he’s able to put the ball where he wants it. He can rely on his arm strength too much at times, letting his compass get off course before he slings the ball.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    Say what you will about many different aspects about Cutler’s game, but he can still put his arm up against anyone's in the league. When he’s confident and fully behind a throw, it gets there in a hurry and can give his receivers a chance to make plays before defenders can effectively react. When his target takes the top off the defense, Cutler can find him with the deep ball, no matter how far.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    Many expected Cutler to reprise last year’s interception-riddled performance, but he improved considerably in 2015. The former first-round pick cut his interceptions down from 18 in 2014 to just 11 this year, his lowest total since 2011, when he started just 10 games. The strides he made in this area, especially in the periodic absence of Alshon Jeffery, should encourage Bears fans moving forward.

    Mechanics

    8/10

    Cutler still has a little bit of an elongated release, but he overcomes it with elite arm strength. His feet are quick enough to let him negotiate the pocket effectively and avoid pressure while still keeping the chance to pass on the table. It doesn’t always look textbook, but he gets the job done and doesn’t have any glaring habits.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    85/100

11. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    34/40

    Plenty of quarterbacks are more precise and consistent with placement than Rivers, but he’s still fairly solid overall when it comes to putting the ball in the right spot. His biggest issues with accuracy come when he’s not able to throw from a grounded base and with pressure in his face, but when given a clean pocket to work from, he doesn’t have a hard time getting the ball where he wants.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    He’s 34 years old and set a new career mark this season with 661 pass attempts in 2015, but Rivers still has most of the life he had on his throws when he first entered the league back in 2004. There aren’t many throws he misses for a lack of force or velocity, and he’s still plenty capable of hitting the deep out on a rope and pushing the ball effectively down the field.

    Decision-Making

    17/20

    Rivers puts his veteran experience to good use for the most part in this department, doing his best to avoid backbreaking mistakes with ill-advised throws and knowing when to abandon a play and take a sack. He still struggles at times with locking on to his primary target, something that NFL defenses have figured out.

    Mechanics

    7/10

    If there’s a consistent weakness in Rivers’ game, it’s in this department. He still falls away from too many throws in the face of pressure, costing him potential completions despite still absorbing the contact. His unorthodox delivery hasn’t been too much of an issue, but when he doesn’t get all of his lower body into his throws, it can have a huge impact on the end result.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    86/100

10. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    35/40

    For the most part, Ryan was as consistent with his accuracy as he’s been throughout his career, resulting in a fourth straight season with a completion percentage of at least 66. His struggles in this department seemed to always bite him in the worst moments, as poor placement on red-zone throws led to far too many turnovers.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    Ryan has a bit of a thin frame, but that doesn’t keep him from having adequate arm strength on both deep and intermediate throws. With a deep threat like Julio Jones at your disposal, you’d better be able to take full advantage of it by taking the top off the defense, and Ryan’s arm was certainly capable of doing that.

    Decision-Making

    15/20

    This was the area in which Ryan struggled the most in 2015, to a crippling degree. Ryan was picked off more times in the red zone than any other quarterback in the league, and it would be hard to find another stat that was more responsible for the Falcons’ disappointing finish this season.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Ryan is still one of the more mechanically sound throwers in the league, with consistent footwork and a clean, quick release. There’s rarely any hitch in his lower body, and he keeps good balance while in the pocket as well as when he’s on the run.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    87/100

9. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    33/40

    Few signal-callers made a bigger improvement in 2015 than Carr, who looked much more polished than his rookie self from last season. The second-year pro is still refining his placement and anticipation as he adapts to pro defenses, but his completion percentage jumped three points from last season. 2014’s quarterback class has a lot of potential, and Carr could easily end up being the best of the bunch if he continues to grow in this area.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    Carr certainly had his detractors coming out of Fresno State, but nobody could doubt the second-round pick’s arm talent. He is one of the most effective young quarterbacks in the league at throwing vertically, and his velocity on outside-hash throws has enough suddenness to give his receivers time to set up their defender and make extra yards after the catch.

    Decision-Making

    16/20

    As should be expected from a second-year quarterback who was thrown into the fire as the starter from day one, Carr is still experiencing growing pains when it comes to making sound decisions in the pocket. Much like it did in college, pressure can have an extremely negative impact on Carr’s process, leading him to attempt throws he shouldn’t.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Carr took plenty of grief for his poor footwork in college, but he’s cleaned it up considerably in his second NFL season. He’s not just relying on his arm to bail him out and let himself get sloppy with his base, release or follow-through, and what was once considered one of his weakest attributes has already developed into a strength.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    88/100

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    35/40

    Brees topped the 68 percent completion mark for the third straight season, but for the second year in a row his ball placement regressed. His knowledge and understanding of the scheme allowed him to keep putting up strong numbers, and it’s not like there was a huge drop-off in his precision, but the consistency fans have been used to seeing from him has begun to dip.

    Arm Strength

    16/20

    This is the area in which Brees’ age and the number of throws he’s had over his career have begun to really show. He underthrew speedster Brandin Cooks on too many deep balls, and his throws to the far hashes don’t have the same zip they’ve had in years past. He obviously still gets the job done, but his cannon has lost some luster.

    Decision-Making

    18/20

    At times, you could tell Brees was frustrated by the absence of Jimmy Graham and adjusting to working with younger receivers like Brandon Coleman, but he still avoided many costly mistakes. He posted his lowest interception total since 2009, only turning the ball over twice in the final six games of the season.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Brees’ age may be showing in other areas, but his mechanics are as clean as ever. His release is one of the quickest and cleanest in the NFL, and his understanding of how to maneuver in the pocket to keep his height from being a detriment continues to be one of his most impressive traits.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    88/100

7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    32/40

    2015 was Wilson’s most impressive season yet as a passer, as his completion percentage jumped five points, and he bested his career highs in yardage by over 500 and touchdown passes by eight. His high completion percentage betrays a nagging lack of consistency when it comes to his precision, but he was still impressively accurate considering the quality of the line he played behind.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    He may be a member of the sub-six-foot club, but that doesn’t keep Wilson from having one of the strongest arms in the entire NFL. He can effortlessly push the ball down the field with as much force as anyone in the league, and he routinely fits throws into spaces many quarterbacks wouldn’t dare to attempt.

    Decision-Making

    18/20

    Wilson is one of the most sound decision-makers in the league, as is evidenced by a third straight season with single-digit interceptions. Navigating passing lanes is more difficult for shorter quarterbacks, but he has clearly developed a comfort level when it comes to what he’s seeing from the pocket and knowing when to tuck it and run.

    Mechanics 

    9/10

    Just as he displayed in college at both North Carolina State and Wisconsin, Wilson is extremely refined when it comes to mechanics. His base and release are clean with little or no wasted motions or movements, and he doesn’t get away from good habits in the face of pressure or when forced to leave the pocket.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    89/100

6. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    35/40

    Dalton is not the league’s most accurate thrower, but he made considerable strides in that department this season, which resulted in the highest completion percentage of his career so far (66.1). His ability to put the ball where he wants it more often than not helped him keep his interception numbers down this year as well, from 17 over a full season last year down to just seven in 13 games in 2015.

    Arm Strength

    17/20

    He doesn’t have a bionic arm attached to his shoulder, but Dalton’s velocity is more than adequate. He rarely misses a throw just because he doesn’t have enough juice on it, and his confidence in his arm strength took another step forward this season, as did much of his overall game.

    Decision-Making

    18/20

    His turnovers were down, and his completion percentage was up, but Dalton still had a few head-scratching moments, such as a red-zone pick against the Browns. Some of his best decisions were made when choosing to leave the pocket, as he rushed for three touchdowns and proved he can make defenses pay for letting him get some running room to work with.

    Mechanics

    10/10

    This is where Dalton excels, with a clean, compact throwing motion and consistent footwork that doesn’t get messy and have ill effects when the ball comes out. He has light feet in the pocket, which allows him to keep his lower body shifting in unison with his shoulders as he reads the defense and adjusts.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    90/100

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Accuracy

    36/40

    Aside from the occasionally sailing a throw in the intermediate range, Roethlisberger was efficient and consistent with his ball placement throughout the season. He throws as pretty a deep ball as anyone in the league, setting up his speedy pass-catchers to make big plays.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    Still his best asset, Roethlisberger’s arm allows him to be confident when he takes chances down the field. He can zip the ball out to the far hash fairly easily, and his receivers rarely have to wait for a deep throw to drop. Arm strength isn’t everything, but when combined with the rest of what Big Ben brings to the table, it makes him one of the league’s prototypical throwers.

    Decision-Making

    19/20

    It would be easy to look at his increased interception numbers (16 in 11 starts in 2015, after just nine in 16 starts in 2014) and think Roethlisberger regressed as a decision-maker this year. But a closer look reveals a veteran who wasn’t careless with the ball and completed 68 percent of his passes on the year.

    Mechanics

    9/10

    Roethlisberger’s base and throwing motion are clean and fairly consistent, though he can overstride once in a while, which can impact his release point and trajectory. He has a big arm but a smooth release, and he keeps his balance when throwing on the move.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    93/100

4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    35/40

    This is the only area that really held Newton back in any way this season. When the popular MVP pick was dialed in, he was as precise as any thrower in the league, but there would always be a couple of head-scratchers mixed in with some beauties. His sub-60 percent completion rate was the only part of his stat line that doesn’t jump off the page in a positive way.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    He may be just shy of the “elite” label when it comes to ball placement, but that word is plenty appropriate when talking about his arm strength. Newton can put any throw in any window, beat any defender to his receiver’s landmark and toss bombs even Ted Ginn Jr. would have trouble chasing down.

    Decision-Making

    19/20

    One thing that typically holds back quarterbacks who can make plays with their legs is their propensity to leave the pocket whether it’s necessary or not. Newton’s 2015 season was his best in many ways, but especially in this department. He wasn’t too quick to give up on the pass, but he knew when it was the best option to escape and make a play on his own. He didn’t make many mistakes through the air, either, tossing just 10 picks to 35 touchdowns.

    Mechanics

    10/10

    Newton’s mechanics are not only sound, but he also constantly showed the willingness and ability to change release angles to get exactly what he needed out of a particular throw. For a player who makes plenty of throws on the run, he consistently kept himself balanced and in position to make on-target passes.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    94/100

3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Accuracy

    37/40

    Back to a fully healthy, 16-game starter in 2015, Palmer put up numbers that should have him firmly planted in the MVP conversation. Aside from the occasional sailing throw due to oncoming pressure or poor lower-body mechanics, Palmer was extremely accurate this season, completing nearly 64 percent of his passes.

    Arm Strength

    19/20

    Since the day he entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick, Palmer has possessed one of the strongest arms in the NFL, and it remains so even now. There’s not a throw on the field he can’t deliver on, and even speedster John Brown would struggle to outrun any of his deep balls. Palmer has developed into one of the most complete quarterbacks in the NFL, but even at 36 years old, his cannon is still his calling card.

    Decision-Making

    19/20

    Palmer just finished his 13th NFL season, and it’s easy to tell when you see how he dissects opposing defenses with relative ease. He’s rarely surprised by what defenses throw at him, which allows him to seamlessly roll through his progressions and make the most efficient throws. After tossing 22 picks in his last full season back in 2013, Palmer threw half as many in 2015.

    Mechanics

    10/10

    Palmer’s mechanics were prototypical when he entered the league out of USC, and they’ve only gotten more refined as his career has advanced. His release is quick and compact, his lower body consistently gets behind his throws and he rarely lets his motions get sloppy.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    95/100

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Accuracy 

    38/40

    Aaron Rodgers generally ranks as one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL during our NFL 1000 series. This year is no different, even though Rodgers did struggle with ball placement and overall accuracy more in 2015. Rodgers completed 60.7 percent of his throws—the only time in his career he’s been under 63 percent as a full-time starter.

    You might think dropped passes factored in, but, according to Pro Football Focus, the 37 dropped passes by his receivers this season were comparable to the 32 dropped in 2014, when his completion percentage was 65.6.

    Arm Strength

    20/20

    Rarely can quarterbacks improve their arm strength as much as Rodgers has in his NFL career. He throws with excellent velocity and has the touch to throw the deep ball with great arc (remember that Hail Mary against the Lions?). His arm is also strong enough to often make passes off balance and on the run without seeing his velocity drop off.

    Decision-Making

    18/20

    The increased rate of incompletions and a penchant for holding the ball longer in the pocket in 2015 added up to knock Rodgers’ decision-making score slightly. As the offense limped to the end of the regular season, it was clear Rodgers wasn’t at his fastest and sharpest at reading the defense and making quick plays.

    Mechanics 

    10/10

    Rodgers has the quick feet, loose arm and top-end athleticism to showcase some of the NFL’s best mechanics. Even when his mechanics aren’t great, it’s often because he’s manipulating his arm angle to find better passing windows or speeding up his pass drop behind a leaky offensive line.

    Positional Value

    10/10

    Overall

    96/100

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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    Accuracy 

    39/40

    Tom Brady remains one of the NFL’s most accurate quarterbacks in New England’s quick-strike, spread offense. Brady’s brilliance comes in that he consistently hits his targets in the same spot and understands how to lead receivers to space out of their routes. By putting the ball in the same spot at the same time on each route, Brady—better than any quarterback—sets his receivers up to make a play after the catch.

    Arm Strength

    18/20

    At 38 years old, Brady’s arm isn’t what it used to be, but he’s adjusted his mechanics and his training to keep his velocity and ability to throw the deep ball at a high level. There isn’t a throw Brady cannot make, and looking back at his film from Week 1 all the way through Week 17, you don’t see a drop-off in velocity or distance.

    Decision-Making

    20/20

    Every quarterback throws incomplete passes and interceptions; it’s part of the job. When grading Brady—and all quarterbacks in this series—we expected some bad decisions. Brady simply made the fewest of them. Brady’s seven interceptions were tied for the second-fewest among starting quarterbacks in the NFL during 2015.

    Mechanics

    10/10

    Brady’s mechanics are legendary, due in large part to the work he puts in during and after the season. Brady’s throwing motion is compact, quick and consistent. He’s not a fast mover as a runner, but he has quick, choppy footwork that allows him to constantly move in the pocket and evade the rush. One great area of Brady’s mechanics is that he’s the most consistent quarterback in the NFL in terms of his pass drops, release and timing.

    Positional Value 

    10/10

    Overall

    97/100

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