After months of preparation, the 2017 NFL Draft is finally over. That means it’s time to update my rookie quarterback rankings. Because the position is so valuable in 2QB leagues, it’s important to consider a quarterback at every stage of your rookie drafts. Players who are merely fliers in 1QB formats may be valuable players and/or trade chips for your 2QB team in the future.
For this edition of the rankings, I’ll include for you my pre-draft rank and any pertinent updated information. We’re mostly evaluating the landing spots here, given that my thoughts on the players themselves have been pretty well established through my Armchair Scouting Reports.
Tier 1: Elite Landing Spots
1. Deshaun Watson, Texans
Pre-Draft Rank: 3
Watson sees a jump to the top spot after going to my most desirable landing spot. Houston is absolutely loaded, with a top-five caliber defense, quality receivers, and a run game that only got stronger when it added D’Onta Foreman in this draft. Watson probably won’t be asked to throw the ball even 550 times this season, but could approach a QB1 season if the Texans use his legs similar to how the Bills use Tyrod Taylor. Truthfully, I’m not even sure if Watson was a better prospect than Taylor despite the difference in draft capital, but there is almost no chance he doesn’t beat out Tom Savage in camp and lead the rookie class in 2017 starts. That has a tremendous amount of value on its own.
2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Pre-Draft Rank: 1
My top quarterback prospect takes a step back post-draft, as he goes to a Kansas City team that probably won’t start him much, if at all, as a rookie. Still, this is a fantastic landing spot for Mahomes, as Andy Reid is proven to get the most out of quarterback talent.
Being the handpicked successor to Alex Smith, who has a QB13 season under Reid, sets Mahomes up nicely to succeed. It is only a matter of when.
Tier 2: Questions Abound
3. Mitch Trubisky, Bears
Pre-Draft Rank: 2
Trubisky probably sees the second-most starts of any rookie quarterback this season, but something is rotten in the state of
Denmark Illinois. The trade up for the UNC grad seems like a desperate play from a desperate team, as they apparently traded up without consulting head coach John Fox. Not only that, they apparently never even met with Trubisky in the pre-draft process!
Then we have to address the questions about Trubisky himself as a 22-year-old one year starter who couldn’t get past Marquise Williams on the depth chart. I like my quarterbacks to be in relatively stable situations, and Chicago seems to be a hot mess right now. As a result, I’m probably going to be lower on Trubisky than most people.
4. DeShone Kizer, Browns
Pre-Draft Rank: 4
Kizer was the top prospect I had the most questions about as we entered the draft. He landed in a great place for production in Cleveland, but beating out Cody Kessler is no lock. Furthermore, the Browns do not seem to be the type of team to commit to a quarterback unless he is elite. They took Kessler in the third round last season, and Kizer in the late second this year. Even if Kizer shows some promise, I wouldn’t be surprised if they drafted another one next year or went out and signed a marquee free agent like Kirk Cousins considering all of their cap space. That makes Kizer a risky proposition in dynasty rookie drafts.
Tier 3: Long Shots with Mobility
5. Chad Kelly, Broncos
Pre-Draft Rank: 6
Color me crazy, but I think Kelly has a real shot to be the starting quarterback for Denver at some point. Trevor Siemian wasn’t a world beater last year, and it isn’t a great sign for Paxton Lynch that he couldn’t beat out a seventh rounder in camp. Kelly is a natural talent, but is rough around the edges to say the least. If he can stay healthy and not get caught up in off-the-field issues, Kelly could be quite good in this offense. Of course, he could also be out of the league within a year.
6. Joshua Dobbs, Steelers
Pre-Draft Rank: 5
I’m upset Dobbs ended up in a place where he has no chance to start until the incumbent starter leaves. There is some definite upside for Dobbs as a mobile quarterback, and the weapons for Pittsburgh are outstanding, starting with Antonio Brown. Even if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t retire in the next year or two, he has missed time each of the past two seasons. That means Dobbs could give you some spot starts at a cheap price in dynasty.
Tier 4: Probable Nobodies
7. Nathan Peterman, Bills
Pre-Draft Rank: 8
Despite having perennial GOAT in Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback, the Bills have selected signal callers in back-to-back seasons. Peterman versus Cardale Jones should be a fun camp battle to watch. Of course, that is only for the backup job, and we have no real way of knowing if or when the Bills and Taylor will ever cut ties.
8. Brad Kaaya, Lions
Pre-Draft Rank: 7
Kaaya was the most surprising quarterback faller in the draft, going at the end of the sixth round to Detroit. He is, at best, the backup to Matthew Stafford, who is 29 years old and is expected to get a sizable contract extension this summer.
9. Davis Webb, Giants
Pre-Draft Rank: 9
The Giants put me on massive tilt this weekend when they drafted Webb. From a fantasy perspective, there really is no reason to look at him. Eli Manning is under contract through 2019, and the Giants will probably look for a more significant upgrade at the quarterback position once the time comes for him to retire. He also had a final year AYA of 6.9.
Nick Foles' AYA of 7.6 is lowest final yr college AYA to have 1+ season of AYA 7.0+ in the NFL for QBs drafted since '08.
Webb = 6.9 AYA
— RotoDoc (@RotoDoc) April 29, 2017
I doubt Webb ever starts a game for the Giants.
10. C.J. Beathard, 49ers
Pre-Draft Rank: 13
Beathard may have a better chance at starting games than the players above him, but I simply do not think he is very good. A final year AYA of 6.0 is atrocious. I have zero interest.
11. Zach Terrell, Ravens
Pre-Draft Rank: 12
Terrell is a player I like, but is playing from behind as an undrafted free agent stuck behind Joe Flacco. He probably has to impress in pre-season and go somewhere else to make an impact.