2011 NFL Draft: Time for a Change? Grading each teams' strength at QB

Terry TravisContributor IIJanuary 19, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Time for a Change? Grading each teams' strength at QB

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    It goes without saying, that the quarterback position serves as the centerpiece of the teams' entire offensive strategy.

    Just this past season marked the sixth consecutive tilt which saw more than 50 different signal-callers take the field for their respective squads. (both the Browns, Steelers, and Jaguars both started 3 different Quarterbacks)

    So what teams can actually consider themselves set at the position, and which need to make a bold move to bolster their unit? Let's take a look (from weakest to strongest) at each teams' current status and what direction they need to look in for the upcoming 2011 campaign.

#32 San Francisco 49ers

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    GRADE: F

    Current QBs: (1) Alex Smith (2) Troy Smith (3) David Carr

     

    Is it possible for a team to have a compilation of the biggest busts on ONE ROSTER? The Niners' played musical quarterbacks all season, starting Alex Smith, then Troy, then Alex, then Troy, then back to Alex. David Carr must be pissed he was unable to see at least SOME action. The Niners lay in the wake of the failed Mike Singletary experiment, one which was nothing short of a collosial failure.

    It did not take the Niners' long to make the biggest splash of the early-offseason and bring in Stanford Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh, who has some experience at turning bad situations into good, much like he did with the Stanford Cardinal football team the past two years. Carr is the only QB on the roster now, but perhaps he too can hit the road.

    Have no fear Niners' faithful, with the plethora of talent already on this roster, all Harbaugh really needs is a decent veteran under center and the Niners should have no problem taking the division in 2011.

     

    SOLUTION: Acquire Eagles backup QB Kevin Kolb; Sign free-agent QB Marc Bulger

#31 Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    GRADE: F

    Current QBs: (1) Joe Webb (2) Tarvaris Jackson

     

    The Brett Favre era in Minnesota is over and the worst result of it remains: Favre has retired and there is no successor to the quarterback position for the Vikings.

    New coach Leslie Frazier has the interim tag removed this offseason, and the fact that Frazier has always been a "Favre-guy" gives Jackson little reason to come back and play for the Vikings. Joe Webb showed his athletic abilities in spot starts, but was working as a receiver mid-way through the season, and does not offer much with arm strength. The Vikings need someone who is electric.. someone who can be a threat with their feet and make plays in the air. This will causes headaches for defenses who must also stop Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian.

    SOLUTION: Draft Auburn QB Cam Newton

#30 Carolina Panthers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    GRADE: D-

    Current QBs: (1) Jimmy Clausen (2) Tony Pike

     

    The Panthers' selected both Clausen and Pike in the 2010 Draft, and both saw action this season due to Matt Moore missing time with concussions. Clausen was awarded the starting gig in week 9, and would remain in that position the remainder of the season. Clausen, much like the rest of the Panthers' offense this past season, looked terrible and will look to improve greatly in 2011. He deserves another chance to start and pick up on new coach Ron Rivera's offense.

    SOLUTION: Sign free agent QB Billy Volek

#29 Tennessee Titans

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    GRADE: D-

    Current QBs: (1) Kerry Collins (2) Rusty Smith (3) Vince Young

     

    The 2010 season was quite a surprise ending to the Vince Young era in 2010. Young has struggled for seasons to keep the job for his own at QB for the Titans, however a strong season in 2009 figured to see him enter 2010 firmly entrenched as the starter. Injuries mid-way through the season caused Young to miss some time, and eventually caused him to be placed on the IR after week 11. Young's relationship with head coach Jeff Fisher hit an all time low, and if has been announced Young is not to return to the Titans in 2011.

    So where to the Titans turn from here? Kerry Collins says he wishes to return for another year, but he is not physically able to endure the entire 16 game schedule. The Titans have a young, competitive squad, and are simply a good QB away from competitng atop the AFC South. Fisher sees something in Rusty Smith and did not hesitate to start him in spot action this season, even though Kerry Collins was ready and active. Time to look younger in Tennessee.

    SOLUTION: Re-sign Collins or sign free agent QB Billy Volek; Draft Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor

#28 Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    GRADE: D-

    Current QBs: (1) John Skelton (2) Derek Anderson (3) Max Hall

    John Skelton was a suprise to many. No, not becuase the no-name QB was able to wrestle the starting gig from veteran Derek Anderson and touted rookie Max Hall, but the fact that he was perhaps the most consistent starter of the trio.

    Skelton got his first start in week 15 from an injured Derek Anderson and was able to maintain the job the rest of the season, certainly sealing Anderson's fate in the desert. Regardless of Skelton's average play, he is not the answer, but could be kept around to mentor a rookie drafted in the early rounds.

    SOLUTION: Draft Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert

#27 Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    GRADE: C-

    Current QBs: (1) David Garrard (2) Trent Edwards (3) Todd Bouman (4) Luke McCown

     

    The Jags' seem to get the same results from Garrard year-in and year-out: inconsistency marked by losing the easy games. Garrard just hasn't been able to justify HC Jack Del Rio's decision to dump starter Byron Leftwich prior to the 2007 season and give the job to Garrard, and the general consensus among the Jags' followers is that it is past-time for a change at the position. GM Gene Smith had the opportunity to do just that in this past years' draft, by selectiong hometown favorite and Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow with the 11th overall pick, only to pass on him in favor of Cal DT Tyson Alualu.

    Garrard will turn 33 before the beginning of training camp in 2011, and showed this past year he has the athletic ability to play a few more years. Whether or not he will finish his mediocre career in North Florida remains a mystery. All of the backups on this roster have failed to show that they can be counted on should DG hit the wall in 2011. Perhaps the Redskins and Jaguars should adopt the same ditch and run strategy.

    SOLUTION: Draft Florida State QB Christian Ponder

#26 Oakland Raiders

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    Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

    GRADE: C-

    Current QBs: (1) Jason Campbell (2) Bruce Gradkowski (3) Kyle Boller

     

    Both Campbell and Gradkowski got starts in Oakland this past season, and both achieved the same type of results: inconsistent and mixed. No matter who was behind center, the WR group for the silver and black offered no help whatsoever, with the exception of TE Zach Miller. Tom Cable is out as head coach, meaning that new coach, and former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is set to take over Cables' former positon. This group of signal-callers is one that needs some help, but perhaps Jackson can get Campbell to play up to his supposedly untapped potential in 2011.

    SOLUTION: Draft Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi with a middle round pick

#25 Detroit Lions

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    GRADE: C-

    Current QBs: (1) Matthew Stafford (2) Shaun Hill (3) Drew Stanton

     

    Matthew Stafford is having a difficult time so far in the NFL.

    Not to anyone's surprise however, being that he was drafted in 2009 by the WINLESS Lions.

    It has been a bit suprising that he has not been able to stay healthy. Stafford needs to be on the field, as he is the Lions' leader on offense and no doubt their best option at QB. When he IS healthy and on the field, he has one of the strongest arms in the league, and has shown he wants to get Calvin Johnson the ball. Shaun Hill has been a great mentor for Stafford and insurance policy for the Lions during Stafford's time away.

    SOLUTION: Retain QB Shaun Hill

#24 Washington Redskins

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    GRADE: C-

    Current QBs: (1) Rex Grossman (2) Donovan McNabb (3) John Beck

     

    What an awful season for this group. McNabb struggled both on and off the field with Mike Shanahan's offense and his decisions to bench him in favor of Grossman. What makes this situation so dynamic is that the Skins' elected to sign McNabb to an extension, AFTER he had been benched by Shanahan the first time for poor play! The relationship, or lack thereof, between McNabb and Shanahan all-but seals the deal on McNabb's short tenure in the nation's capital, and he will almost certainly be playing elsewhere in 2011.

    As for Grossman, he actually looked somewhat comfortable running Shanahan's system in 3 starts, posting a QB rating of 81. However, his numbers are nowhere near acceptable in a system filled with talent and much invested dollars by team owner Daniel Snyder. John Beck is nothing more than a insurance policy for Shanahan.

     

    SOLUTION: Scrap the entire group. Shanahan needs a fresh start at the position already or he too could be facing the reality of losing his job; Draft Washington QB Jake Locker; sign free-agent QB Chad Pennington

#23 Cleveland Browns

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    GRADE: C

    Current QBs: (1) Colt McCoy (2) Jake Delhomme (3) Seneca Wallace

     

    There were many doubters of McCoy prior to the 2010 Draft, saying he was too small and would not be able to run an NFL offense. The Browns were one of the teams that passed on him early, however, they decided that he was worth a 3rd round pick, and chose him as a developmental-project guy to serve behind the veteran starters they already had in Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace.

    Suprising (not), both Delhomme and Wallace were sidelined with injuries, leaving the Browns only options as McCoy and WR Joshua Cribbs, (who played QB in college at Kent State). It was Week 5 that McCoy saw his first action in a start against Pittsburgh, and he would hold on to the job the remainder of the season.

    The Browns' are certainly dedicated to McCoy for the future, but the Browns do need to invest in a healthy, dependable backup to aide McCoy as he matures as an NFL star.

     

    SOLUTION: Sign free-agent QB Marc Bulger

#22 Buffalo Bills

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    GRADE: C

    Current QBs: (1) Ryan Fitzpatrick (2) Brian Brohm

     

    All that was heard after the Bills' early season struggles was that they would surely select Andrew Luck in this coming draft, while at the same time, all Ryan Fitzpatrick would do is post very decent numbers all season long. Luck has decided to return to Stanford to pursue his degree, a highly respectable decision that leaves the Bills' fans who were eager to see him in Buffalo wondering what direction the team will look in now that he is unavailable.

    Face it Bills' fans, your team is not going to burst on the scene any time soon. There are too many holes to fill on this team, and believe it or not, Fitzpatrick has likely convinced coach Chan Gailey that he deserves a chance to lead the Bills in 2011. Brian Brohm is continuing to grow as the backup to Fitz, and will once again be a formidable option should anything happen to Fitzpatrick.

    SOLUTION: Draft Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick with a middle round selection

#21 Seattle Seahawks

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    GRADE: C

    Current QBs: (1) Matt Hasselbeck (2) Charlie Whitehurst (3) JP Losman

    Pete Carroll has worked with many star quarterbacks in his career, ranging from Carson Palmer, to Matt Leinart, to Mark Sanchez. When Carroll came to Seattle, it was widely believed he would be able to develop the same type of rapport and success with the Seahawks' QB's that he did in his days at USC.

    This was far from the case. Matt Hasselbeck matched his career high in interceptions, while throwing for a career low in passing touchdowns (excluding his 7 game season in 2008). The Seahawks' acquired Chargers backup QB Charlie Whitehurst shortly after Carroll's arrival, and he was expected to take the reigns from Hasselbeck after his contract ran out after the 2010 year. Whitehurst, with zero pass attempts to his name, was forced into action in Week 9 and struggled greatly, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and throwing 2 INT in a blow-out loss to the Giants at home. The Seahawks signed JP Losman off UFL roster at the conclusion of its' season to add insurance to a knicked up group which saw Hasselbeck miss 3 games. Perhaps Carroll doesn't need to look as far as the UFL for some help at the position...

    SOLUTION: Re-sign Hasselbeck for 1-2 more years; Acquire Texans QB Matt Leinart

#20 St. Louis Rams

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    GRADE: C+

    Current QBs: (1) Sam Bradford (2) AJ Feeley

     

    Sam Bradford may be coming off shoulder surgery, but he looked immediately comfortable opening the season as the Rams' starter. The former Sooner was a big reason the Rams were able to turn things around so soon, improving from 1 win in 2009 to 7 in 2010. Quite impressive for Bradford's first year on the job.

    Bradford is a little undersized, and there are always going to be some worries about how durable he will be until he gets a few seasons under his belt where he can play more than three quarters of the year injury free. Should he go down, the Rams would turn to longtime backup AJ Feeley, who has never kept a starting job for an entire season in his 10 year career, and has not seen game action in the past 4 seasons. Bradford needs a better mentor to ensure his continued maturity into one of the games' best.

    SOLUTION: Sign free-agent QB Brady Quinn

#19 Miami Dolphins

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    GRADE: C+

    Current QBs: (1) Chad Henne (2) Tyler Thigpen (3) Chad Pennington (4) Patrick Ramsey

     

    Three quarterbacks, all with starting experience. But do you really feel safe with any of them as your starter? That's the question Tony Sparano is sure to be asking himself this off-season, as the Dolphins are faced with quite a situation on their hands in determining who should be under center for week 1. Chad Henne just does not look ready yet in his 3rd year. and was even benched for the ever-injured Chad Pennington (who yes, injured his shoulder... again... on the first snap he took under center). Many fans and even Sparano himself were eager to see how Tyler Thigpen would pan out as the starter in week 11 against Chicago, only to see him crumble as well. There are too many weapons on this offense to wait even longer for Henne to develop, and stud WR Brandon Marshall has not kept it a secret he would even prefer Chad Pennington throwing to him. That's quite surprising, and certainly not a good indicator of the relationship between what was supposed to be a lethal QB-WR combination when Marshall came to town.

    SOLUTION: Acquire Bengals QB Carson Palmer

#18 Chicago Bears

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    GRADE: B

    Current QBs: (1) Jay Cutler (2) Todd Collins (3) Caleb Hanie

     

    The addition of Mike Martz to the Bears' coaching staff worked wonders for Jay Cutler in his 2nd year with the team after a up and down start to his career in Denver. Cutler showed some signs of regression early in the season to his old ways, but finished strong and is a big reason the Bears have played so well in the post season. Cutler possesses such a strong arm, but he needs to work on his ability to read defenses, and stop making tight throws into coverage.

    There is virtually no depth behind Cutler, and perhaps it would be a good idea to dump Collins, (who looked awful in spot start duty this season) and find another veteran mentor to aide in Cutlers' continued development.

    SOLUTION: Sign free-agent QB Matt Moore to serve as Cutler's backup

#17 Kansas City Chiefs

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    GRADE: B

    Current QBs: (1) Matt Cassel (2) Brodie Croyle (3) Tyler Palko

     

    Matt Cassel greatly benefitted from OC Charlie Weis and the breakout campaign of WR Dwayne Bowe in 2010. He saddled up for 15 games this year, and was only forced to miss action for 1 game due to an emergency appendectomy. When he was in, he was sharp. When he wasn't, Brodie Croyle still looked awful, even after 5 years on the squad. Palko even saw some action, after Todd Haley saw enough from Croyle to give Palko some snaps in garbage time this year, ultimately assuring that Croyle will not return for a 6th go-around with the Chiefs. Is Palko ready to be counted on as a backup? Not sure, but Cassel was tough enough this year to assure that it really doesn't matter.

    SOLUTION: Stay put.

#16 Dallas Cowboys

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    GRADE: B

    Current QBs: (1) Tony Romo (2) Jon Kitna (3) Stephen McGee

     

    Romo failed again to lead the uber-dissapointing Cowboys to the big game in their home town in 2010, this time due to injury. Not to worry right? Jon Kitna to the rescue? All of the quarterbacks on this roster greatly contributed to the great failures of the Cowboys this past year, none more than Romo, who was especially lack-luster before suffering injury in week 6 and hitting the injured reserve list. Kitna and McGee both showed signs of age, Kitna showing he is too old to turn the Cowboys around and McGee showing he just hasn't gotten nearly enough reps in practice to be ready to take his game to the next level on Sundays. Romo has shown his ability to win games when he's healthy, but if he isn't..................

    SOLUTION: Sign free-agent QB Vince Young

#15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    GRADE: B

    Current QBs: (1) Josh Freeman (2) Josh Johnson (3) Rudy Carpenter

     

    Josh Freeman's breakout campaign in 2010 could possibly garner him and his team a bit stronger ranking, however, Freeman has only had one strong season, and with every team, especially those within the division having more tape on him, he could be in line for a bit of a slump in 2011. Make no mistake about it, Freeman was simply awesome this season, throwing 25 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions. He surely surpassed all expectations of him going into this past year. His youth and the youth of both his understudies means they all have a good bit of time to grow, but based on Freeman's showings this year.. he looks to be on the right track.

    SOLUTION: Sign free-agent QB Tarvaris Jackson

#14 Cincinatti Bengals

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    GRADE: B

    Current QBs: (1) Carson Palmer (2) Jordan Palmer (3) Dan LeFevour

     

    One of the biggest dissapointments of this past season is none other than one of the former elite at his position. You guessed it, none other than Carson Palmer. Palmer's numbers in 2010 were not especially great, and haven't seemed to be getting any better since his breakout campaign in 2005. The older of the Palmers' threw 20 picks this season, and only 26 touchdowns. Younger brother Jordan, his backup, didn't see the field, yet got the chance to work with the first team in practice a good part of the year as Carson often sat out practice due to lingering hip injuries. Perhaps it is time for a breakup of the Palmer-Lewis marriage in Cincinatti.

    SOLUTION: Trade Carson Palmer to the Miami Dolphins, pick QB Ryan Mallett with the #4 pick in the 2011 Draft

#13 New York Giants

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    GRADE: B+

    Current QBs: (1) Eli Manning (2) Sage Rosenfels

     

    The 2010 season saw Manning throw a career high in INTs, and to put it simply, when he was good, he was good, and when he was bad, he was really bad. Not the recipe for winning the NFC North. Manning must prove that this season was a fluke, and his inability to post better numbers can be blamed on a below average talent pool at WR. Sage Rosenfels is a quality backup who will likely never be anything more, but the Giants believe the younger Manning is their franchise player. He needs to play more like it in 2011.

    SOLUTION: Stay put. Too many other holes to fill. (WR)

#12 Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    GRADE: B+

    Current QBs: (1) Joe Flacco (2) Marc Bulger

     

    Flacco showed signs of greatness his first three seasons as the Ravens signal-caller, however, all 3 seasons have been marked by inconsistency during both the regular season and the post-season, especially during this years AFC Divisional matchup against the Steelers.

    Not to base Flacco's abilities on his inability to lead the Ravens' to the big game, however, as he has shown he does indeed possess a rocket-arm and looked very in touch with Anquan Boldin in his first year in Baltimore. He should only improve working with a very talented veteran backup in Marc Bulger. No need to panic Ravens' fans, Flacco is still growing and will certainly keep the Ravens competitive in the AFC North for many years.

    SOLUTION: Draft a late round project-guy to work under Flacco and Bulger and get some practice squad reps.

#11 Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    GRADE: A-

    Current QBs: (1) Matt Ryan (2) Chris Redman (3) John Parker Wilson

     

    "Matty Ice" had quite the season considering many people looked for him to endure the famed "sophmore slump" during his 2nd year as the starter in Atlanta. Not the case. Ryan was very sharp, especially at home, and led the Falcons to the #1 seed in the NFC, before being blown out to the Packers during the Divisional Round. Quite the experience for Ryan in only his 2nd year, and he figures to improve even more in 2011. Ryan and Roddy White could be an especially lethal combination for years in the Georgia Dome.

    Ryan has Chris Redman, a former starter in Baltimore and Atlanta (prior to Ryan's arrival) to help mentor him during his maturity as the next elite QB in the league. John Parker Wilson is an project guy who has quite a bit to learn, but should have no problem doing so sitting behind Ryan.

    SOLUTION: Stay put.

#10 Philidelphia Eagles

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    GRADE: A-

    Current QBs: (1) Michael Vick (2) Kevin Kolb (3) Mike Kafka

     

    What a comeback story. Kevin Kolb enters the season as the starter, and only a few hours into his debut as starter, Michael Vick enters the game due to Kolb suffering a concussion, and would win the job due to his amazing performance that game and the weeks thereafter. Vick proved he had not lost a step during his layoff in Federal Prison due to dogfighting charges, but would still show he is prone to injury when escaping the pocket. Kolb would be pressed back into action on several occasions, including a week 17 start due to an injury to Vick. Kolb showed he has the ability to start and is ready to lead an offense, he does however likely need a new start elsewhere, as many Vick fans and perhaps head coach Andy Reid himself would like to see Vick re-sign with the Eagles in the 2011 season. Mike Kafka figures to back up Kolb or more likely Vick in the 2011 season, and has a bit more learning to do before he can be considered a worthy backup.

    SOLUTION: Trade Kevin Kolb to the 49ers, re-sign Michael Vick, and draft a quarterback in the 3rd-4th rounds of this years NFL draft, or next.

#9 San Diego Chargers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Philip Rivers (2) Billy Volek

     

    Rivers had a break out campaign in 2010, throwing for a career high 4483 yards with 30 touchdowns. He had some tough games against the Raiders and Chiefs, however, he was the biggest producer in the Chargers offense, and made their lackluster WR corps look a lot better than they may be talent-wise. He is entering the prime of his career, and will certainly be a big producer for years to come. Norv Turner is a QB guru who has made Rivers better and better each passing season. Billy Volek is a quality backup who will only get better the longer he is a part of the Charger offense and has Rivers and Turner to mentor him.

    SOLUTION: Stay put, or draft a late round, small school prospect to have on the practice squad.

#8 Indianapolis Colts

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Peyton Manning (2) Curtis Painter

     

    Peyton Manning will quite possibly finish his career holding every record at his position and become the greatest QB ever to play the game. Manning has proven to be extremely durable, and has started every game of every season over his 12 year career. Nobody has meant more to their squad than Manning has to the Colts.

    However, there is not much on this squad to be optimistic about following Manning on the depth chart. Doesn't really matter though, Manning will probably play through any injury unless he can't trot out on the field for physical reasons. Perhaps its time to start grooming his replacement, but that won't be necessary for a few years down the road.

    SOLUTION: Try to pickup a steal in the later rounds in the draft, if that doesn't happen, stay put.

#7 Denver Broncos

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    GRADE: A-

    Current QBs: (1) Tim Tebow (2) Brady Quinn (3) Kyle Orton

    Little has been seen of Tebow as a starter so far, but in 3 starts in 2010, he appeared ready to take the job as starter from Orton, who was injured. Tebow's athleticism was seen to have came with him to the NFL, and the questions of whether or not Tim will be able to run the ball comparable to how he did with the Gators' was answered by Tebow, as he rushed for 6 touchdowns on the season. With John Fox taking the HC job in Denver, he will almost certainly bring a new Offensive coordinator to town, making Tebow possibly learn another system in his 2nd year. Tebow has seemed to be able to silence all critics so far, so he will likely improve once again in 2011.

    SOLUTION: Trade QB Kyle Orton to the Niners', Redskins, or Jaguars.

#6 Green Bay Packers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Aaron Rodgers (2) Matt Flynn (3) Graham Harrell

     

    What a year for Rodgers. He was able to sneak the Packers into the playoffs, knock off the top-seed Falcons, and now they are one game away from the Super Bowl, facing the rival Bears in the NFC Championship. Rodgers finally looks like he is ready to establish himself among the elite, and his numbers this past season are very convincing for that argument. Rodgers did all of this despite suffering 2 concussions this past year, missing one game and pressing 2nd year backup Matt Flynn into action, who nearly led the Pack to defeat over the Patriots on Monday Night Football. No worries about the future of this staff of young, rocket-armed signal callers.

    SOLUTION: Stay put

     

#5 New Orleans Saints

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    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Drew Brees (2) Chase Daniel

    Brees' couldn't live up to the storyline campaign of the 2009 tilt, however, he continued to post superstar numbers and make a decent argument for a contract similar to the rest of the elite. Brees' shoulder problems of the past have not been an issue since his arrival in New Orleans, he has remained healthy and started all 16 games for another consecutive year. There is no real depth behind Brees, as Chase Daniel is still a work-in-progress. The Saints' may not pay him like Manning or Rivers or Brady now, but they will certainly realize his true value should he go down with an injury in 2011.

    SOLUTION: Sign free agent QB Alex Smith

     

#4 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Ben Roethlisberger (2) Byron Leftwich (3) Charlie Batch (4) Dennis Dixon

    What has to happen to knock Ben Roethlisberger off of his game? Ben faced suspension the first 4 games of 2010, and his status as the leader and support of his teammates was a big question heading into the season, only to result in Roethlisberger leading the Steelers to their 5th AFC title game since 2001. No doubt about his status now, and he showed no signs of any rust after his 4 week layoff. Depth is a small question with this crew, as Leftwich can't seem to stay healthy and Batch is getting old. Dixon showed some flash as a starter, yet couldn't stay healthy as well. Honestly, if any one of the backups can be under center (which we saw all 3 take snaps this season), the Steelers can find a way to win.

    SOLUTION: Stand put. 

#3 Houston Texans

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    GRADE: A

    Current QBs: (1) Matt Schaub (2) Dan Orlovsky (3) Matt Leinart

    The 2010 Season marked the 2nd consecutive season that Matt Schaub was able to start all 16 games for the Texans, something the Texans brass and fans alike must be happy about. Schaub is hitting the prime of his career, and threw for 4000+ yards for the 2nd straight year. It seemed this past season that Schaub was in-sync with anyone who lined up with receiver or tight end in the passing game, and the breakout campaign of RB Arian Foster helped relieve some of the pressure Schaub has faced in seasons past, making him one of the highest sacked QBs. Depth is not really an issue here, as the Texans have two young backups with starting experience in Orlovsky and Leinart.

    SOLUTION: Trade QB Matt Leinart to the Tennessee Titans for a late round pick, or stand put.

#2 New England Patriots

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    GRADE: A+

    Current QBs: (1) Tom Brady (2) Brian Hoyer

    Brady is a sure hall-of-famer who continues to seem to improve year after year, and his role in Bill Belichick's offense also seems to grow. Brady led the NFL with a 36-4 TD to INT ratio, and also started all 16 games once again in 2010. Brady is going to enter his 12th tilt in 2011, however, as long as the Patriots O-line continues to provide such great protection, he should remain under center for a good while. The Pats' drafted Brian Hoyer late in the 2009 draft to work as Brady's backup, and he will likely do so once again in 2011.

    SOLUTION: Maybe a 6th-7th round pick on a Practice Squad QB, nothing new needed here.

#1: New York Jets

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    GRADE: A+

    Current QBs: (1) Mark Sanchez (2) Mark Brunell (3) Kellen Clemmens Mark Sanchez is without a doubt the biggest star on the Jets' offensive squad and is bound to lead this team for many years to come. His backup, Mark Brunell, is a savvy veteran who has been a starter for more than a decade and is quite competent as Sanchez's understudy. Brunell showed he can still compete at the pro level despite his age in spot duty this season, and Gang-Green has Kellen Clemmens to groom under both Sanchez and Brunell.

    SOLUTION: Stand put.