There are a lot of bad starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now. So at any given time, some combo of that fact mixed with the inevitability of injuries, means we’ll see some backup signal-callers. But which of those second-stringers should you most want your team to have in an emergency situation?
Well let’s rank all 32 of them and find out!
“We should tank for a draft pick” Division
32. Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets)
The Jets are a 1-5 mess and when you’re a 1-5 mess quarterbacks tend to get benched. That’s what happened this week when the team announced Geno Smith will start over Ryan Fitzpatrick. So now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is technically the Jets backup, which leaves us with a conundrum.
Based on his history, Fitz is actually a pretty good guy to have as your No. 2. He’s capable of making spot starts, and there have been multiple times where coaches decided he was actually better than QB1. And yet, the 2016 version of Fitz has easily been the worst quarterback in the league, and not the kind of player you would want to depend on if you’re starter was going to miss a month.
For now, we’re leaving the Jets mess at the bottom of the list because neither of the quarterbacks inspire much, or really any, confidence at the moment.
31. EJ Manuel (Bills)
Give EJ credit for one thing; he’s actually emerged as a decent run threat when Rex Ryan throws him in to confuse opposing defenses. But have you watched him actually throw the ball? Bills fans likely still have nightmares remembering his horrible performance against the Jaguars in London last year, where he seemingly lost the game all by himself. EJ can be moderately useful in the right situation, but let’s face it; if Tyrod Taylor goes down, he takes the Bills playoff hopes with him.
30. Blaine Gabbert (49ers)
Poor Blaine is back to the bench, as the Niners are hoping Colin Kaepernick can recover some of the magic that made him look like a stud in 2012-2013. In his first start against the Bills, Kaep showed his trademark agility, and threw an impressive touchdown to Toerrey Smith. He was also extremely inconsistent, which culminated in a blow out win for Buffalo, but he was a reasonable upgrade over Gabbert nonetheless. To be fair to Gabbert, he’s been stuck on terrible teams his entire career, but in six years, he’s done very little to show that he can be a quarterback in the NFL. And if he’s your backup, you just end up praying the starter stays healthy.