Worst Quarterbacks in the NFL

John LewisSenior Writer IJune 6, 2008

Lovie Smith, head coach of the Chicago Bears, has made it official; he's going to let Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton duke it out for the starting job. Not exactly exciting stuff. It looks like two mules fighting over a turnip; that's right, no one cares.

With both QBs in Chicago on the no-one-wants list, who really is the worst signal caller in the NFL? There's certainly a handful in each conference that could compete for the league's top (worst) honors.

Since I mentioned the Bears, we will start with Rex Grossman, who doesn't inspire much confidence heading into to the 2008 season. Last year he had some ups, but mostly downs, as his QB rating slipped to 66.4. Just to give you an idea how bad he is, during his career year in 2006 his QB rating was only 73.9.

Grossman started seven games, had four touchdowns and seven interceptions, and was eventually replace as starter by journeyman Brian Griese, who only faired slightly better.

Next on the list is Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers, who was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Smith, while injured for most of the year last season, only sported a 57.2 QB rating. We could all overlook the injury-plagued season, however he wasn't all that impressive even before his year was cut short.

In his first full season in 2006, his rating was 74.8, though he did show some promise. So while he isn't on the Ryan Leaf-level, he was the No. 1 player taken in the 2005 draft, therefore a little more is expected out of him.

Staying with the NFC is Matt Leinart and his inflated salary. The former USC Trojan was drafted No. 10 in the 2006 draft by the Arizona Cardinals, and was considered to have an accurate arm, a high football IQ, and outstanding leadership skills, all things that he's failed to show at the next level.

Leinart did suffer a season-ending injury that limited him to only five starts, but his 61.9 QB rating (two touchdowns, four interceptions and 5.8 yards per pass attempt) didn't impress anyone in Arizona.

Moving over to the AFC, Kellen Clemens is tops on this list. He was drafted in the second round, No. 49 overall, in 2006, and is the heir apparent to Chad Pennington. Clemens played in 10 games, starting eight of them last season, but could only muster a 60.9 QB rating: five touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 6.1 yards per passing attempt.

While Clemens did show some signs of life by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last November, his stats aren't exactly what the doctor ordered on a team that desperately needs some stability at the QB position.

Then there's Brodie Croyle of the Kansas City Chiefs. He was drafted in the third round, No. 85 overall, in 2006 out of Alabama. He played in nine games last season, starting six of them, and he didn't win one game. However, the Chiefs pretty much confirmed that Croyle was their guy when they passed on drafting a QB.

While his fans are happy, Croyle needs to improve on his 69.9 QB rating, six touchdowns, six interceptions, and zero wins as a starter. Certainly his poor stats can likely be attributed to terrible pass protection and no running game, which is why Croyle will remain the starting for the upcoming season.

So, looking at the numbers, Rex Grossman has to be the worst of this group for two reasons. He's been in the league longer, and even though he's been injured for most of it, he's had time to learn the game. 

The second reason is that he got severely worse as the season went on, and the fact that he can go from Super Bowl QB to fighting for his job puts him at No. 1 on my list.

What do you guys think?