Power Ranking All 32 NFL Backup Quarterbacks

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 22, 2010

Power Ranking All 32 NFL Backup Quarterbacks

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 10:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on October 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California.(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    It always helps to have a good backup.

    Case in point: The New England Patriots.

    When Drew Bledsoe was with the team, there was the young Tom Brady waiting in the wings.

    When Tom Brady took his place, Matt Cassel was waiting.

    When Cassel got his chance in the 2008-2009 season, the Patriots went so far as to place the franchise tag on him after all was said and done.

    Kerry Collins has been around for ages. He now resides with the Tennessee Titans, his fifth team in his 16 years in the league.

    You'd be astonished at the number of quarterbacks on this list that you could reasonably be comfortable giving the game to. There's not very many, I'll tell ya that.

    So, without further ado, here are the top 32 backups (one from each team) in the NFL.

    Keep in mind, this is as of this season.

32. John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 19:  John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals runs away from Nic Harris #59 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It's hard to tell who the No. 2 quarterback is on this team.

    Max Hall went down with injury, giving way to Skelton.

    But Hall had one touchdown and six interceptions in six games before getting injured.

    Is he really the No. 2?

    Either way, the Cardinals' backups are bad.

    In his three games taking over, Skelton has completed 46.1 percent of his passes, with no touchdowns and an interception.

31. Chase Daniel, New Orleans Saints

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    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints talks with quarterbacks Chase Daniel #10 and Drew Brees #9 on the bench against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Tampa, Flori
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Hard to rank a player very high when the only action he's gotten in the NFL is a 16-yard run.

    Daniel hasn't thrown a pass in his NFL career, yet he's gotten sacked.

    Strange.

30. Jordan Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 04:  Jordan Palmer #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on against the Cleveland Browns during their game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The younger brother of Carson Palmer, I have a theory that the only reason Jordan Palmer got in the league is because of his brother.

    Drafted in the sixth round in 2007, Jordan has attempted only 15 passes in his NFL career. He's thrown two interceptions in these 15 passes.

    But he completed three of three passes this year!

29. Brian Brohm, Buffalo Bills

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    TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 19: Brian Brohm #4 of the Buffalo Bills checks the plays on his wristband during a break in game action against the Indianapolis Colts on August 19, 2010 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty
    Brad White/Getty Images

    Drafted in 2008, Brohm has only had 29 attempts in his two years in the league, with two interceptions.

    He's had zero attempts this year.

    He wasn't able to beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick this season when Trent Edwards was sent away.

28. Curtis Painter, Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Curtis Painter #7 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Curtis Painter probably could have painted a better picture than being drafted by the Colts and having to languish behind Peyton Manning.

    But he's probably happy to be drafted at all after being selected in the sixth round.

    Considering he only completed eight of 28 passes last season with two interceptions, he's probably even more happy that he somehow has a job.

27. Brian Hoyer, New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterbacks Tom Brady #12 and Brian Hoyer #8 of the New England Patriots run onto the field before the NFL season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Phot
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The next Tom Brady or Matt Cassel?

    I'm not betting on it.

    Hoyer went undrafted out of college and has only 29 attempts in his career.

    He had two attempts this season. One resulted in an interception.

26. Charlie Whitehurst, Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst #6 of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Drafted out of Clemson in the third round, Charlie Whitehurst has a cool name. He has a cool beard.

    But he does not have a cool game.

    He completed just 53.3 percent of his 45 attempts this season, with one touchdown and three interceptions.

    It can't help that he's on the Seahawks.

25. Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers passes against Raheem Brock #98 of the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won, 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    "Promoted" when Matt Moore went down with injury this year, Jimmy Clausen, a second-round pick this year, hasn't done much to win the job over.

    He's completed just over 50 percent of his passes, and has two touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games.

    He doesn't appear to be getting any better either.

24. A.J. Feeley, St. Louis Rams

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    EARTH CITY, MO - JULY 31: A.J. Feeley #4 of the St. Louis Rams passes during training camp at the Russell Athletic Training Facility on July 31, 2010 in Earth City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    A.J. Feeley hasn't played in game since the 2007-2008 season.

    The only season he got a real shot (with Miami in 2004), he threw 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.

    Doesn't really inspire confidence.

23. Todd Collins, Chicago Bears

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03:  Olin Kreutz #57 looks at Todd Collins #10 of the Chicago Bears as he lays on the field after getting injured against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Pho
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    You know Tom Collins Mix?

    Well, Todd Collins Mix is not the same.

    While Tom Collins Mix can lead to giddiness and a smile, mixing Todd Collins into the starting lineup only leads to depression (and too much drinking of Tom Collins Mix).

    Todd Collins has never really done anything since his rookie season of 1995-1996, but somehow he still stays in the league as a backup.

    This year, he's thrown zero touchdowns to five interceptions in relief of Jay Cutler.

22. Josh Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is hit by Brandon Johnson #59 of the Cincinnati Bengals just as he releases the ball at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Saba
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Josh Johnson had his shot last year with the Bucs.

    It led to four touchdowns and eight interceptions in six games and a 3-13 record.

    Good thing the Bucs have Josh Freeman.

21. Trent Edwards, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Trent Edwards #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on from the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Trent Edwards has never really had a good year, even as a starter for the Buffalo Bills.

    After throwing one touchdown to two interceptions in two games for the Bills this season, he was sent packing in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    He proceeded to throw zero touchdowns and two interceptions in two games for the Jaguars.

20. Dan Orlovsky, Houston Texans

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21:  Dan Orlovsky #7 of the Houston Texans in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I actually think Orlovsky has a little talent, and he's not a bad backup.

    In the 2008-2009 season, he threw eight touchdowns to eight interceptions in 10 games for the Detroit Lions.

    Unfortunately, he hasn't seen the light of day with Matt Schaub at the helm for the Texans.

    The Texans also have Matt Leinart on the bench, if he ever shows up again. He's currently the inactive third-string QB but the Texans coaches reportedly like him.

19. Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 12:  Jake Delhomme #17 of the Cleveland Browns readies to pass against the Buffalo Bills  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    With Colt McCoy taking the reins again in Cleveland, I think it's safe to say Delhomme's REIGN is over.

    Once a decent starter, Delhomme has just not been the same since he lost receiver Steve Smith of Carolina.

    He's thrown just 10 touchdowns to 25 interceptions in his 16 games with the Browns the last two years.

18. Mark Brunell, New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings congratulates Mark Brunell #8 of the New York Jets after the Jets won 29-20 at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 11, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Ge
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Once a star with the Jacksonville Jaguars (and for a season with Washington), Mark Brunell is just really, really old now.

    He turned 40 in September and as good as it must feel to have a veteran presence behind Mark Sanchez, it's only a matter of time before this clock ticks its last tock.

17. Troy Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 05: Troy Smith #1 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 5, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the 49ers 34-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Who's the starting QB, Alex Smith or Troy Smith?

    I can't even tell anymore.

    But Troy has started less games (five), so I'm gonna say he's the No. 2 QB.

    In his five games starting with the Niners this season, Troy has thrown four touchdowns to three interceptions, and has 18 rushes for 93 yards and a TD.

    He also led the 5-9 Niners to a 3-2 record when he was starting.

16. Marc Bulger, Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 28:  Marc Bulger #9 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the New York Giants in a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Giants 24-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    The two-time Pro Bowler and former Rams QB, Marc Bulger used to be a pretty good quarterback.

    But age has caught up to him.

    He hasn't thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season since 2006-2007, and he hasn't played at all for the Ravens in the 2010 regular season.

15. Sage Rosenfels, New York Giants

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    CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Sage Rosenfels #18 of the Houston Texans looks to pass the ball downfield during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 23, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Get
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Formerly a backup/starter for the Houston Texans, Sage Rosenfels isn't a bad backup to have behind Eli Manning.

    He threw 15 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in just nine games with the Texans in 2007-2008.

14. Chris Redman, Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA - AUGUST 13:  Quarterback Chris Redman #8 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Kansas City Chiefs at Georgia Dome on August 13, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Chris Redman hasn't had many chances to shine while with the Atlanta Falcons, but when he's been given the chance he's delivered.

    In 20 games dating back to the 2002-2003 season, Redman has thrown 21 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

    I still don't think he's going to get many chances with Matt Ryan at the helm this season.

13. Kyle Boller, Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: Kyle Boller #7 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 2, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The former Baltimore Ravens starter, Kyle Boller hasn't done much the last four years, but he still has some talent and I would trust him more than some of the other quarterbacks on this list.

12. Billy Volek, San Diego Chargers

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Billy Volek #7 of the San Diego Chargers in action during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park  on September 2, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The only chance Volek hasn't ever gotten to prove himself for an extended period of time was in the 2004-2005 season with the Tennessee Titans.

    He threw 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 10 games.

    He's a solid veteran to have on a team, and he still probably has some good years left in him.

11. Brodie Croyle, Kansas City Chiefs

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Brodie Croyle #12 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 12, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Brodie Croyle's still fairly young (he was drafted in 2006), and he's shown some sparks of what he can do on the field.

    If he continues to mature under the guidance of Matt Cassel and the Chiefs, I could see him break through somewhere.

10. Tyler Thigpen, Miami Dolphins

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 4: Tyler Thigpen #16 of the Miami Dolphins passes against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Field on October 4, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Tyler Thigpen hasn't done much to gain the Dolphins' trust this season, but given the year he had in Kansas City just two years back (18 TDs, 12 interceptions), he still has talent and is a decent backup to have.

    But making him a starter for good doesn't seem to be in the cards.

9. Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 15:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 and Byron Leftwich #4 of the Pittsburgh Steelers joke around during practice at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility on October 15, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerha
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Byron Leftwich is trustworthy. That's one of the highest compliments you can give a backup QB.

    He rarely throws interceptions, and although he may not be too flashy, there's a reason he stuck around so long with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is now a backup on the Steelers: He keeps you in the game.

8. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 2:  Tarvaris Jackson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball during warmups prior to an NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneap
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    Will Tarvaris Jackson ever get his chance?

    Being a dual-threat, he has the susceptibility to get injured, and Brett Favre will have to get dragged off the field before he ever retires.

    But, for the moment, Jackson isn't a bad backup, and has the athleticism to make things happen when there's nothing there.

    He's thrown 24 touchdowns to 22 interceptions in career thus far.

7. Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Matt Flynn #10 of the Green Bay Packers reacts during the second quarter of the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won the game 31-
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Can you honestly doubt Matt Flynn's ability with the way he took over for the injured Aaron Rodgers last game against the Patriots.

    He threw for 251 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and came close to beating the vaunted Patriots in a 31-27 nail-biter.

    I think it's safe to say Flynn proved himself in Week 15.

6. Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Quarterback Shaun Hill #14 of the Detroit Lions looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  The Cowboys beat the Lions 35-19.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/G
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Still only 30 years old, Shaun Hill plays like a veteran, and has the ability to put up big points as well.

    With a defense like the Lions have, that's invaluable.

    Whenever you sleep on Hill, he always seems to surprise you.

5. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    There's no question Kevin Kolb has the talent to start.

    If it only wasn't for that Michael Vick guy...

    Despite being a backup, Kevin Kolb could start for most teams.

4. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09:  Kerry Collins #5 of the Tennessee Titans throws the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL game at LP Field on December 9, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    "The Ageless Backup."

    Despite being in his 16th season, Kerry Collins took over for Vince Young this season and proceeded to throw 10 touchdowns to six interceptions in eight games.

    Regardless of the team's situation, Collins always is a consistent producer

3. Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Jon Kitna #3 of the Dallas Cowboys drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Have you SEEN what the Cowboys have done under Kitna's control?

    In eight games since taking over, Kitna has thrown for 13 touchdowns.

    He's also been a catalyst for the Cowboys resurgence in the second half of the season.

    Like Collins and Hill, Kitna's that veteran who still has plenty left in the tank.

2. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5  of the Washington Redskins on the sidelines against play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    After his demotion for the likes of Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb is officially the backup in Washington.

    Any other year, if McNabb was the backup he'd be No. 1 on this list.

    But he's thrown 14 touchdowns to 15 interceptions this season, and clearly hasn't been the same player.

    To say he's struggled would be an understatement.

1. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Gett
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Despite the great season Orton has had this year, the Broncos appear ready to hand over the reins to Tim Tebow for good this season and see how he progresses.

    Orton threw 20 touchdowns to just nine interceptions this season and was the only bright spot in an awful season for Denver before sustaining a rib injury.

    Now as the backup, he deserves the No. 1 spot.