9. Derek Carr, Raiders: He’s been on fire for two seasons now, and I can’t say enough how wrong I was about him. His injury, depriving the Raiders of any shot in the playoffs, made everyone sad. Could easily ascend into the Top 5 with another monster year. Also, good dude.
10. Matt Stafford, Lions: He’s put up over 30,000 passing yards and seems like he’s been playing forever, but he doesn’t have a playoff win yet. Tough to figure out the Lions – they lose Calvin Johnson and the offense gets better? Stafford threw a career-low 10 interceptions and engineered a league-high eight 4th quarter comebacks.
11. Kirk Cousins, Redskins: He’s finished top 8 in QBR, passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt each of the last two years. So this isn’t some fluke of a run. If anything, I’m bullish on his prospects because he wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near this good of a QB and has exceeded all expectations.
12. Eli Manning, Giants: Seems to have finally put his interception woes behind him (led the league in that category three times) and he’s got a loaded group this year between Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard.
13. Cam Newton, Panthers: Followed up his MVP campaign and a trip to the Super Bowl with his worst season as a pro. And he wasn’t a great QB before the 35-TD 2015 season. Mike Tyson once said, ‘everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.’ Cam got hit in the mouth a lot last year, how will he respond in 2017?
14. Dak Prescott, Cowboys: A polarizing QB, I’m sure many would have him in the 20s, and add that any QB could thrive behind that offensive line. (Except of course, the Cowboys QBs in 2015, when Tony Romo was also hurt.) Folks – he was 3rd in QBR, 3rd in QB rating, 4th in completion percentage, and threw just four interceptions.
15. Philip Rivers, Chargers: Has always been high-risk, high-reward, but last year there was a lot of failure – league-high 21 INTs. He finished 19th in QB rating and had his lowest completion percentage since 2007. A week one injury to star WR Keenan Allen certainly didn’t help.
16. Joe Flacco, Ravens: There was a time when he was a Top 10 QB – it helped to have Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice and Dennis Pitta – and he still could ascend back into that group. For those clamoring about his completion percentage finally going up (career-high 64%), it came with a price – career low yards-per-attempt (6.4, 27th in the NFL).