Unlike the 2009 season in which there were three rookie quarterbacks that made a great impact, 2010 doesn’t project to provide many fantasy football owners with immediate fantasy impact signal callers this season. Figure this article to be aimed more towards dynasty owners who will be looking for a quarterback to add that will develop into a stud for their fantasy team in a few years.
To begin, let me state that I wasn’t a fan of the quarterback class in 2010. There wasn’t a single quarterback that I loved, which resulted in me rating my top quarterback prospect as the No. 30 overall player in the draft. This year the St. Louis Rams gave a record contract to a rookie, the Panthers added a young gun from Notre Dame to compete for immediate playing time, and the Broncos threw a pick out of left field when they drafted one of the most decorated players in college football history. Here are my fantasy football rankings for the incoming 2010 draft class at the quarterback position:
Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos
No other quarterback in this year’s draft landed in a better situation than Tebow did with the Denver Broncos. In addition to landing with one of the best quarterback coaches in the league in head coach Josh McDaniels, Tebow was also brought in alongside several young, talented prospects on offense. With Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker expected to be the future starters out wide with Eddie Royal in the slot, this offense has the potential to be a very good one if all goes as planned; which is a big if at this point. Thomas played in a triple-option offense at Georgia Tech and is coming off of a foot injury, Decker was extremely productive at Minnesota but is also coming off of injury, while Tebow also has his own development to undergo. Tebow’s mechanics as well as his overall style of play is being adjusted and so far all signs are pointing towards positive progress. If Tebow can get his end of the job done, then I could see him finding tons of success in the Mile High city. Outside of being thrown into the fire as a wildcat quarterback, I wouldn’t expect to see much from Tebow barring injury from Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. Tebow is a player to keep your eye on, as he could develop quickly. Remember, McDaniels learned from Bill Belichick how to develop a quarterback (Tom Brady) and then went and turned Matt Cassel into a star in just one year. The sky is the limit for Tebow, but he could also be a dud if things don’t go right.
Jimmy Clausen – Carolina Panthers
Of any quarterback in the 2010 draft, Clausen has the best opportunity to find success if he can manage to grab the starting job in Carolina away from incumbent starter Matt Moore. Clausen offers the tools needed to run a pro-offense, having been preparing for the NFL since he was in eighth-grade. A prototypical pro-style quarterback, Jimmy Clausen has all of the tools needed to develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL. With three years of experience playing Charlie Weis’ pro-style offense, Clausen is a very smart, intelligent quarterback with great instincts. With Steve Smith out wide as well as a stable of other wideouts competing to be the No. 2 option for the Panthers, Clausen can give fantasy owners some hope if he can find his way into the starting role early in his career. When you take a look at the history of quarterbacks having success early in their careers, almost all of them (Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez being two perfect examples) had a powerful running game to lean on to help assist them through the up’s-and-down’s of a rookie season. One reason why I like Clausen’s chances is because the Panthers have one of the top run games in the NFL, which would be a nice pair of training wheels (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) in his first go-around as a quarterback in the National Football League. Statistically, I wouldn’t expect much from Clausen in 2010, however if he land the starting job during the season, he could run with it and be set up to have a nice sophomore campaign in 2011.
Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams
Since the day of the draft I have been saying that it was a mistake for the Rams to draft Bradford first overall. In addition to drafting a system quarterback from college who is coming off of major reconstruction of his throwing shoulder, Bradford was also handed the highest-paying contract in NFL history to a rookie. When you take a look at the situation that Bradford steps into in St. Louis, it is one that is beyond poor. With an offensive line that gave up 44 sacks last season as well as a receiving core that most causal football fans couldn’t give you an answer to if you asked them who their number one receiver is, this offense set up to have massive growing pains in 2010. In addition, there is no immediate sign of help for Bradford, other than Steven Jackson, who hasn’t been able to stay healthy, having missed nine games in the last three years to injury. I’m not saying that Bradford won’t be a good NFL quarterback, he very well could be, but what I’m saying is that if you draft him as a dynasty quarterback, don’t expect a return for your investment for quite awhile, as many as two-to-three, if not four years down the road. I’d suggest taking your chance elsewhere.
John Skelton – Arizona Cardinals
John Skelton very quietly landed in a perfect situation for himself. With Matt Leinart being given a shot as the starting quarterback, there are already signs that Arizona could be willing to pull the plug on the Leinart experiment early if it fails. Behind the scenes, the quarterback with the best arm in the draft in Skelton will be waiting in the wings as a backup to replace Leinart. Skelton is a Joe Flacco-esque signal caller whose tall frame and rocket arm are his greatest strengths. Skelton is more rusty and not as polished as Flacco, however he has all of the tools needed to take over the starting job in a year or two for the Cardinals. What I like about Skelton is that he grew as a quarterback over the course of his career at Fordham, with his completion percentage increasing in each year that he gained experience. He’s clearly a quick-learner who gets better as he gains experience. If given the chance, I’d take a flier on this kid; imagine landing the future star quarterback of the Cardinals’ high-powered offense a year or two early.
Colt McCoy – Cleveland Browns
On draft day 2010, I got the impression that the Browns drafted McCoy more because they were pressured into it by ESPN than because they actually wanted to. A bright quarterback prospect with the instincts, intelligence, and smarts to develop quickly, McCoy landed in a situation where he could earn the starting job in 2011 or 2012 once Jake Delhomme hangs up the cleats. McCoy is a proven leader at the quarterback position. As a passer, McCoy is deadly accurate in the short-to-intermediate throws with the pin-point accuracy needed to fit the ball into small spaces. He puts great touch on his throws along with the great timing and precision on his throws that I look for in a future starting quarterback in the NFL. Colt was an extremely efficient quarterback in college who has solid mechanics along with a delivery that includes a quick release. With that efficiency, his coaches are going to be more likely to offer him a chance to lead the offense because he does such a great job of taking care of the ball. McCoy is a player to keep an eye on; his development could be quicker than most expect and he could be the starting quarterback in Cleveland as soon as next season.
Mike Kafka – Philadelphia Eagles
According to reports, no other rookie quarterback has had as great of offseason workouts as Kafka has had with the Eagles this summer. Tall with nice size for a quarterback, Kafka stands tall in the pocket with excellent pocket presence. He’s a smart player who typically makes good decisions and he showed great leadership and intangibles as the signal caller of the Northwestern offense in 2009. Kafka has a strong arm with the ability to throw the ball down the field and outside the numbers and he puts nice touch on his deep throws. His accuracy is good, but not great and it is something that he could stand to continue to work on getting better at in the NFL. One of Kafka’s greatest strengths is his mobility and his ability to evade pass rushers and scramble out of the pocket. He’s definitely capable of making a play with his legs, having rushed for 299 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior; he finished his career with 891 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Overall, he’s a scrappy quarterback who gets the job done, whether it’s through the air or on the ground. He may not be much of a factor in the first two-to-three years of his career, however don’t be surprised if three years down the road we are talking about Kafka as a starting quarterback somewhere thanks to his terrific development in Philadelphia, similar to the current career path of Eagles’ new starter Kevin Kolb.
Other QB’s to keep your eye on:
Levi Brown – Buffalo Bills
Jumbled mess at QB in Buffalo, could earn a chance if season goes down the drain.
Dan LeFevour – Chicago Bears
If the Cutler experiment doesn’t work out, LeFevour could be waiting in the wings to clean up the mess.
Armanti Edwards – Carolina Panthers
Extremely athletic QB at Appalachian State will play WR and QB for the Panthers and could make an impact immediately.
Zac Robinson – New England Patriots
The Patriots tend to do a pretty good job of developing quarterbacks.