The 2007 NFL Season's Top Five Breakout Quarterbacks

Bill DowSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2007

As the season comes to a close, the NFL has seen many quarterbacks break out of their shell and show that they can actually play in the NFL.

Whether they are rookies, perennial backup quarterbacks, or veterans who seemed to have lost a step, here are this year's revived signal callers:

5. Shaun Hill - San Francisco 49ers

Alright, so he has only played in three games, but to go from a perpetual backup to the possible future of the 49ers is fantastic. In the three games he has played this season, he has matched the total wins of Trent Dilfer and Alex Smith, and has amassed a 101.3 passer rating.

He may not bring amazing leadership or technique to the position, but his athleticism sure makes up for it. Heck, in his last game against the Bucs' backups, he led a fourth-quarter drive to win the game.

This guy could be the real deal, but he might not ever get that shot with all the 49ers have invested in former number one pick Alex Smith. 

4. Matt Schaub - Houston Texans

Matt Schaub, formerly Michael Vick's clipboard holder in Atlanta had great potential in 2007. With an unfixable Carr in Houston, the Texans made the move, removing a possible franchise-saver from a team that would soon lose their identity in the bloody hands of Vick.

He was expected to do well in Houston—but who would have ever thought that he could post a 87.2 passer rating (12th in the NFL), with only one good receiver to throw to?

Schaub has had problems staying healthy, but once the team improves the level of talent around him, he could be doing great things—possibly including leading his team to their first playoff appearance. 

3. Trent Edwards - Buffalo Bills

Going into the season, the Bills were expecting great things out of their former first-rounder J.P. Losman in his contract year. He supposedly had a great camp, and many felt he was ready to make the leap and fulfill what has been asked of him the past couple of years.

Then came Trent Edwards, a third-round pick out of Stanford, to spoil his season. Edwards, went 3-1 in his first four full games, with the only loss coming on a game-winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys

Like Schaub, he is only throwing to one "good" receiver in Lee Evans, and has done everything Losman has done and more in his first season as a pro.

Buffalo may start referring to him as "Trent Kelly," because this team has enormous potential with the ball in his hands.

2. Derek Anderson - Cleveland Browns

Derek Anderson, although competing with Charles Frye throughout the entire preseason for the starting job, was looking at the possibility of becoming the third-stringer behind Cleveland's goldenboy Brady Quinn.

Then, after a poor performance against a playoff team to start the year, Romeo Crennel, in the Top Coaching Decision of the Year, decided to pull Frye in favor of Anderson. As they say, the rest was history.

Derek Anderson has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards, and will likely amass 30 touchdown throws by the time the year has ended. He has also helped lead an annually poor Cleveland team into contention for the postseason. He has made Browns fans forget about Brady Quinn, and instead see him as the future of the team.

He was passed over for the Pro Bowl this year, but don't be surprised if you see him in Hawaiian shirts in the future. 

1. David Garrard - Jacksonville Jaguars

When many thought the true arm in Jacksonville belonged to Byron Leftwich, Jack Del Rio saw it differently. That decision turned out to likely be one of the best ones he has ever made.

Garrard, who has had mediocre seasons in the past and generally saw time only when Leftwich was icing his ankle, not only has led his team to the playoffs, but has done so with the third-best passer rating in the nation.

And why is he so good, you ask? Well, it all comes down to interceptions. How many interceptions does he have this season? What will likely be an NFL record: three.

He doesn't need fantastic passing stats when he has Fred Taylor lining up in the backfield, but he still has put up 18 touchdowns. That is a 6:1 touchdown to turnover ratio. I would take that from my quarterback any day of the week, and Jacksonville fans seem more than happy to see him in the backfield week after week, with good reason. 

Honorable Mentions:

Kurt Warner
A.J. Feeley
Jason Campbell
Jeff Garcia
Matt Moore


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