2016 QBs: Poised for Bust or Success?

After a 2016 NFL draft which saw quarterbacks taken 1st (Jared Goff), 2nd (Carson Wentz), and 26th (Paxton Lynch), many predicted these three teams (Rams, Eagles, Broncos) had all found their quarterbacks of the future. However, after one year in the league, they were dramatically outplayed by a fourth rounder, Dak Prescott, who was not ever supposed to touch the field for the Dallas Cowboys. It is tough to make claims after one season, and obviously Prescott had more tools around him than these other QBs did. But, this leaves everyone wondering how big of a mistake these teams made in passing on Prescott. In this article, we will examine the “bust” potential of these four quarterbacks, as well as the other 2nd year QB slated to start in 2017, Cody Kessler of the Cleveland Browns.

These ratings will be on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being no likelihood of being a bust, and 10 being a sure thing. For this article, a bust is considered to mean a QB who never has any consistent, significant success in the NFL.

Dak Prescott: A fourth round selection, Prescott was forced into a starting role when Tony Romo went down with an injury. Prescott thrived as a starter, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, and kept his job even after the Romo returned from injury. Prescott is arguably the most hyped player in the NFL going into the 2017 season, but I am not as high on Dak as everyone else seems to be. He had the best offensive line in the NFL and a great rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliot alleviating the pressure on Prescott. It would be very interesting to see how Prescott would have performed if thrust into a starting role on the Rams or Browns, whose teams are in complete disarray and basically fed their rookie QBs to the wolves. With that being said, Prescott threw for 3,667 yards and 23 TDs to only 3 INTs, giving him a passer rating of 104.9 for the season. These stats are too good to ignore, and few could perform to this level, regardless of the tools around them. I think Prescott’s numbers will not be as stellar in 2017, but there seems to be no way this guy ends up as a bust. BUST POTENTIAL: 1

Jared Goff: Drafted 1st overall out of California, Goff was immediately expected to be the franchise quarterback for the new team in LA. Goff proceeded to play horrendously in spring training and could not even win the starter job in a virtually rigged battle against Case Keenum. After finally replacing Keenum in week 11, Goff proceeded to lose all seven games he started, posting a terrible QBR of 22.2. After appearing on Hard Knocks and All or Nothing, it is very evident that Jared Goff is not an intelligent man. In episode 1 of Hard Knocks, Goff could not even tell his coaches which direction the sun rose in the morning. This lack of intelligence continued onto the football field as Goff struggled to pick up blitzes and reads on time or correctly. ESPN’s FPI (link to article below) recently ranked the Ram’s offense with Goff at the helm 64th out of 64. FPI does predictions based on all NFL offenses with every team’s starter and backup, and the Goff-led Rams were still last. This means the FPI thinks the Rams would even be better off with backup Sean Mannion (who?) at the helm, who has only thrown 13 career passes. While the Rams did little to help Goff, dropping 5.4% of his passes and facing pressure on 35.6% of pass attempts, 1089 yards and 5 TDs to 7 INTs in 7 games is still inexcusable. The Rams screwed up with this pick. This guy is going to be a huge bust. BUST POTENTIAL: 9


Carson Wentz: Taken 2nd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles out of North Dakota State, Wentz came out of the gate hot, leading the Eagles to a 3-0 start. However, the tides quickly turned as the Eagles dropped 6 of their next 8 and finished the season at 7-9. Some of these struggles could be chalked up to lack of talent at the skills position, so the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount to help ease the burden on Wentz. Wentz finished last season with just 16 touchdowns to go along with 14 interceptions and 9 fumbles and a QBR of 55.4. However, he did show poise in the pocket and showed some escapability when needed. He is widely considered to be a very intelligent QB, scoring a 40 on his Wonderlic test, which goes along with a well above-average arm and a great work ethic. Wentz seems poised to take steps forward in his development with a revamped roster and some more experience under his belt. Improvement in year 2 is a must or the impatient, quick-to-turn Eagles fans may quickly begin to lose faith in their supposed franchise quarterback. BUST POTENTIAL: 4

Paxton Lynch: The last of the quarterbacks taken in the first round, Lynch accomplished more at the University of Memphis than most thought possible. In his rookie season, Lynch started only two games, playing heavily in a third after failing to beat out Trevor Siemian. He put up pedestrian numbers in these games, throwing for 497 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT with a lowly QBR of 27.9. This followed a lackluster preseason in which he basically handed Siemian the starting job, despite everyone in the organization hoping he was ready to be the guy. Lynch begins training camp in 2017 with an open QB battle with 2016 starter Trevor Siemian. Lynch is known for his big arm, ability to scramble when needed, and extreme confidence in his abilities. It is still much too early to decide the fate of this gunslinger, but he has shown little when given opportunities, and it does not bode well for his future that he is struggling so mightily to beat out a very poor man’s Alex Smith for a job that should be his. BUST POTENTIAL: 7.5

Cody Kessler: Before the 2016 season, nobody would have predicted Cody Kessler to be on this list. He was taken in the third round by the Browns out of USC. Kessler impressed early, despite not being able to basically single-handedly will the hapless Browns to a victory. He threw for 2,720 yards and 17 TDs to 13 INTs, completing a respectable 62.1% of his passes. This came after being labeled the 3rd string QB to start the season, but injuries to RG3 and Josh McCown forced the rookie into action. Kessler also dealt with injuries, missing time with two separate concussions over the season. Kessler is considered to lack elite arm-strength and talent, but makes up for this with above average decision-making abilities, hard work, and bulldog mentality. Kessler is going to be the starter in 2017 but the Browns selected Deshone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 draft, meaning that Kessler’s time as starter could be limited. Kessler should have some improved weaponry in 2017 as Corey Coleman returns from injury, Kenny Britt joins the team, and rookie tight end David Njoku should be a solid addition to the receiving corp. Most believe that Kessler does not have what it takes to be a consistent starter in the NFL, but I like this QB’s potential. BUST POTENTIAL: 5.5


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