Just getting to the National Football League as a quarterback is quite the accomplishment, but not everyone can be Tom Brady. Playing the position at the highest level requires a lot of things to come together. A player can have a cannon for an arm but also a propensity for throwing it to the wrong team. NFL defenses can be too complex for some signal callers and a quarterback may not be willing to put in the work off the field, in the film room. There are many more quarterbacks that fail in comparison to those that shine, making the best players in the league all the more impressive.
We’ve seen a great deal of talented quarterbacks over the years that appeared to have all the talent in the world but could not find success in the NFL. Jeff George could throw it a mile, but he was surly and never lived up to the hype. Michael Vick had some electric highlights and good seasons, but he struggled to develop into the accurate pocket passer that a pro quarterbacks has to be. Vince Young couldn’t fix his throwing motion. David Carr got sacked a billion times and never recovered. The list is long. Here are 15 current NFL quarterbacks that can’t throw a football:
15 Jacoby Brissett
When the Patriots selected Jacoby Brissett in the 2016 NFL Draft, it seemed like an odd move. Tom Brady was set to miss the first four games of the season, which meant that if Brissett were to make the team, he would begin the season as the backup signal caller.
For a quarterback that did not seem pro-ready at all, that would be a daunting task. However, that’s precisely what happened. Brady’s backup, and the starter in his absence, Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an injury in week two which forced Brissett into action. The Patriots were able to win that game thanks to the cozy lead that Garoppolo provided with an electric first half performance, so the team did not ask much of their rookie QB.
14 Matt Cassel
Here we have another quarterback that first played when Tom Brady was out. It was 2008 and Brady went down with a season-ending injury in week one. Cassel, who had not even started a game at USC, was thrust into the starting gig for the Patriots.
13 Chase Daniel
Chase Daniel is treated like the best quarterback in the league that never actually has to step onto the field. Daniel began his career in New Orleans serving as a backup to Drew Brees. He rarely attempted a pass during his time in "The Big Easy" because, well, the Saints had Drew Brees. Daniel then moved on to Kansas City, where he backed up Alex Smith. He actually played a bit for the Chiefs, throwing a whopping one touchdown. It was in Kansas City that then-offensive coordinator Doug Pederson fell in love with the undersized Missouri product.
Pederson got the head coaching job in Philadelphia in 2016 and he took Daniel with him, awarding the QB with a contract worth $21 million. Now that's a big number for a backup, which made some people think that Daniel was finally on track to start for a team. This really looked like the case when the team moved incumbent starter Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason, but Pederson promptly named rookie Carson Wentz the starter (a move that looks like a good one thus far).
12 Blaine Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert looked to have franchise quarterback potential when he came out of college, convincing the Jacksonville Jaguars to use the 10th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on him. He seemed to have the size, arm strength and mental acumen to handle the rigors of the position on the pro level. Even ESPN’s Todd McShay liked Gabbert and he’s one of the best in the business.
Gabbert quickly proved to be overwhelmed during his rookie campaign, throwing just 12 touchdowns in 15 games. Still, a lot of quarterbacks struggle during their rookie season. However, nine TDs in 10 games in his second season and a paltry 5.7 yards per attempt were big red flags for the youngster. Gabbert would then battle injuries and bad performances before seeing his Jacksonville tenure come to an end.
11 Christian Hackenberg
What the heck happened to Christian Hackenberg? This guy was a monster coming out of high school, an Elite 11 star, but that seems like ages ago now. Hackenberg had an excellent season as a true freshman under Bill O’Brien at Penn State. He excelled in the pro-style scheme the Nittany Lions ran and there was a lot of buzz about him being the number one pick in the NFL Draft as soon as he became eligible.
10 Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallett was a big-time high school prospect that selected the Michigan Wolverines. After a transfer to Arkansas he eventually entered the draft. Despite first-round arm talent, Mallett dropped to the third round of the NFL Draft amidst rumors about issues off the field. Still, being selected by the New England Patriots is usually a good sign. Mallett had an opportunity to learn the game from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, which is essentially a crash course in NFL success.
9 EJ Manuel
Despite what Tyrod Taylor supporters will tell you, the Buffalo Bills are still seeking their first franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly. The team has not been to the playoffs since the ‘90s and they would like nothing more to see a top-level signal caller lead them back to the postseason.
8 Geno Smith
Geno Smith was incredible in college, tossing touchdown after touchdown at West Virginia and looking like a potential stud. However, in a story we’ve seen before, it appears that Smith was more a product of the system he played in than an actual star. Smith was selected by the New York Jets in the early part of the second round in 2013 in the hope he could solve the team’s longstanding quarterback woes. The former Mountaineer started every game in his rookie season and quickly showing himself to be a turnover machine. Smith tossed 12 TDs that year but also threw 21 interceptions and fumbled the ball eight times. Sure, rookie QBs are known to struggle, but there was little to be excited about in Geno’s rookie campaign.
7 Brandon Weeden
Brandon Weeden was already in his late 20s when the Cleveland Browns drafted him. Leave it to the always dependable Browns to use a first-round pick on an older rookie with limited upside. The former Oklahoma State QB started 13 games in his rookie season and, if anything, you’d think this rookie would be more NFL-ready than most.
6 Ryan Tannehill
It felt like a pretty big reach when the Miami Dolphins used a top ten pick on a guy that had only been playing quarterback for a few years. Perhaps Tannehill should have stuck to playing receiver, as more than four years later, we have not seen anything from the former Aggie to suggest that he should be a starting quarterback in the pro game.
5 Brock Osweiler
“The deals you don’t make at times are the best ones.” That was Denver Broncos executive John Elway in reference to the team letting Brock Osweiler walk via free agency in the off-season. That, from one of the best QBs in NFL history and one of the top GMs in the game today. Ouch.
4 Ryan Fitzpatrick
We have to begin here: this is a man that threw six interceptions this season…in a single game! Yet he was not been benched thanks to the seemingly endless deficiencies of the aforementioned Geno Smith. Ryan Fitzpatrick plays bi-polar football. We saw it in Buffalo when he put together a nice stretch of games and was awarded a big contract. He followed that up by "crapping the bed" and was out of town as a backup in Houston in short order.
3 Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III was once the sensation of the National Football League. In fact, coming out of Baylor, he was seen by some as good to be selected ahead of top prospect Andrew Luck. That would have been a disaster for the Colts, who opted for Luck, but for one year it did seem that RGIII was the better player.
2 Mark Sanchez
If you want to see a visual representation of Mark Sanchez’s career, go to YouTube and search for “butt fumble.”
Sanchez’s pro career began when he decided to leave USC after throwing less than 500 passes. Current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was running the Trojans program at the time and he even came out and said that Sanchez wasn’t ready to leave for the pros. That’s pretty much the opposite of what you hear from college coaches no matter what the truth may be.
1 Jared Goff
When a team gets the number one pick in the NFL Draft, they often feel pressured to select a quarterback. It’s the most important position in the game and it’s really difficult to contend for a championship without at least a good one. The Rams looked to be a quarterback away from being a playoff team when they traded for the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. It seemed a two-quarterback draft, the options being Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Los Angeles opted for Goff and it already looks like a terrible call. Goff looks incredibly thin from a physical standpoint and failed to distinguish himself in the preseason.
It was a huge red flag when the Rams chose not to even dress their rookie in the first week despite him being healthy. Making matters worse, Wentz has started from week one and looks the part of an NFL quarterback already.
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