NFL Quarterbacks Who Shouldn't Be Starting

Dustin HullAnalyst IMay 11, 2013

NFL Quarterbacks Who Shouldn't Be Starting

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    Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers.

    These are some of the most notable quarterbacks in the National Football League. They represent the most premier players at the NFL's most popular position: quarterback.

    Then there's the other end of the spectrum. The quarterback is a hot commodity for any team, and some teams are in dire need of one.

    Instead, many settle for subpar play at the position. Some of the signal-callers cause us to peek through our fingers and collectively sigh in frustration as we witness a quarterback running into the backside of his offensive lineman or throwing more accurately to the guys with different-colored jerseys.

    So, for all the great quarterbacks that the league has to offer, it's clear that there may be just as many, if not more, that don't even deserve to be out on an NFL field.

Christian Ponder

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    Don't let the words of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman fool you. Christian Ponder didn't have nearly as much to do with the Vikings making the playoffs as running back Adrian Peterson did.

    In fact, the words of the GM have to be a poor attempt to convince himself that Minnesota made the right choice to draft Ponder back in 2011 with the 12th overall pick.

    Ponder was without his top wide receiver, Percy Harvin, in the last half of the season, but it wasn't like he had to provide much statistical value or team leadership.

    Those roles were thrust upon Peterson. The only thing that might have kept Ponder from being benched, or otherwise taken out of the starting role, was his last regular-season week against Green Bay.

    He threw for over two touchdowns in a game only once, and he only eclipsed over 300 yards once. Sure, he may have been in a "game manager" role where he didn't have to sling it down the field over and over again, but he was still picked off a dozen times.

    If anything, Ponder kept his team from their true potential, which is never acceptable for a first-round draft choice.

EJ Manuel

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    Stats aren't nearly all that teams look at when deciding on drafting a quarterback. 

    But EJ Manuel's stats, and any games one watched of him at Florida State, clearly show that the Buffalo Bills were beyond desperate in taking him so early in the draft.

    Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson were better options, and the Bills could have chosen the latter of the two on the second day of the draft.

    Now, it's not entirely fair to say that Manuel doesn't deserve to be starting on an NFL field when he hasn't taken a single snap in the league. But his share of plays at the college ranks weren't exactly convincing.

    His stats (3,392 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions) in his senior season are hardly pedestrian, but consider the fact that six of his opponents had a combined record of 20-50 and that Manuel had over half of his touchdowns against those teams. Given that, it's clear to see why his numbers are moderately impressive.

    The Bills have all kinds of reasons why they drafted Manuel—even for the fact that he has "big hands" and can handle cold weather. The second of those doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever. FSU's game at Maryland (4-8 record) was the only game "up north" for the Seminoles.

    All of this adds up to no reason why Manuel should be considered an NFL starter. His competition for the Bills starting job, Tarvaris Jackson and Kevin Kolb, is also unable to lead a franchise.

    The Bills are lost, and drafting a work-in-progress QB is not exactly the wisest of choices in the middle of the first round.

Jake Locker

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    Jake Locker was drafted to be the future of the Tennessee Titans. That future may now seem a tad shaky.

    Locker's first season as a starter never really got off the ground, and he finished with only 10 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and an unimpressive 56.4 completion percentage. He split some time with Matt Hasselbeck before officially taking over the reins.

    The Titans attempted to ease Locker in, with most of the workload once again handed to running back Chris Johnson, but he did not respond with much force. They weren't very stacked at the wide receiver position as well, where Nate Washington and Kendall Wright aren't exactly big-time targets.

    But now, Delanie Walker and Justin Hunter have been added to receive the throws of Locker, so the University of Washington grad is on the hot seat to deliver. He has yet to show he can be an every-week starter, let alone a franchise QB that was picked eighth overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

    He has yet to bloom, and even though he was declared a work in progress from the start, it's time for him to start showing real signs of production. Until Locker does so, he deserves the chance to be out on the field but not the certainty of a starting job for the foreseeable future.

Blaine Gabbert

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    When you think of the bottom of the barrel, the cellar-dwellers of the NFL, you're likely to think of the Jacksonville Jaguars first.

    It's easy to see a big reason for Jacksonville's recent lack of success by looking at who is under center.

    Blaine Gabbert, a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft (they certainly had some great quarterbacks out of that draft), still looks and plays like he's straight out of college. Call it a problem with the offensive line that he hasn't been put in a position to win, or whatever it may be, but it has collectively contributed to what is a disaster in J-town.

    Gabbert certainly may have been thrown to the wolves his rookie year, but since then, he has shown little signs of real progression. He hasn't made the throws that every NFL QB must make, he has seemed timid against the rush and he only managed one win last year in a game where he completed less than half of his passes.

    Gabbert was benched, but now he's being given a fair chance to start anew as a starter under a new coaching regime. His top wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, is suspended for the first four games of the season, and Maurice Jones-Drew will not be able to carry the same kind of load that has kept the Jaguars from complete oblivion in the past.

    Which leads back to Gabbert, who has yet to become much of a leader at all. He doesn't have enough pieces around him, but it was supposed to start with him being drafted. The Gabbert experiment has been a failure, and it doesn't seem like anything is going to change.

Mark Sanchez

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    You all knew it was coming. Mark Sanchez is not worthy of a starting quarterback's job.

    With the most turnovers in the game over the past two years, Sanchez has been radically out of control and is costing the Jets. The Sanchez-Tim Tebow saga was a nightmare, and now there will be the Sanchez-David Garrard-Greg McElroy-whomever else saga that looks to takeover New York tabloids this summer.

    Truth is, the Jets don't have a starting-caliber quarterback, even though Garrard was at one time and Sanchez has had his moments. But this isn't the quarterback that avoided blowing his team's chances at two AFC Championship Game appearances.

    This is the Mark Sanchez that can't deliver and will never have what it takes to get an NFL team to the next level. He had seven combined interceptions in three of his final four games of 2012 and 18 overall (five more than his total touchdown passes).

    The Jets needed him to step up in a new role—a quarterback who not only managed a game but actually could make big plays. Mark Sanchez has shown he can't be relied on to be that guy.