Top 10 Best Non-Quarterback Passers

One of the most perfectly executed plays of the 2014-2015 NFL playoffs was the Brady to Edelman to Amendola passing play during the New England Patriots' win over the Baltimore Ravens back in January. It stood as a great reminder that every now and again a high school or college quarterback ends up playing receiver in the NFL.

One of the most notable current examples is Julian Edelman, who played college ball for Kent State. He was a quarterback, and standing just 5'10, he needed to be fast. His speed (which is phenomenal) in conjunction with having good hands, is why he now plays as a wide receiver.

While such players are rare, having a receiver or running back who can accurately chuck a pigskin thirty or forty yards is a great weapon for a coach to keep in his back pocket. The Brady to Edelman pass play is just one example of what is possible, while another option is a fake reverse in which the receiver stops rather than cutting up-field and throws up a bomb. These plays are so deceptive that even some of the best defensive backs will bite. At the same time, as with any machine with multiple "moving parts." the more throws and hand-offs involved in a play, the more opportunities for a massive failure to occur. In short, plays that involve a non quarterback throwing passes are difficult to set up and execute but when done properly they are a thing of beauty.

This list will detail some of the NFL's best non-quarterback passers since 1970. This date was chosen because we wanted to keep the list somewhat familiar, involving names at least a few fans would remember, in conjunction with a few more recent names. Passing yards, completion rate and of course touchdowns and interceptions were used as the main criteria for the list, and all stats were compiled from

10 Joe Washington


9 Andy Johnson


8 Willard Harrell


Drafted by the Packers in the third round of 1975, Harrell was a running back who also contributed on kick and punt returns. While most of his career was spent with the St. Louis Cardinals as a backup, his first three years with the Packers were his most successful. In those years, apart from starting at running back, he completed 5/10 passes with four being caught for touchdowns. He would add a single reception and two incompletions in his seven years with St. Louis.

7 Marcus Allen


Hall of Famer Marcus Allen is one of the most successful rushers in the history of American football. His brother Damon is the CFL's all time passing yards leader, having played 23 seasons with five different teams. That family has some solid genes.

Allen won just about every award available to a college player back in 1981, before being drafted 10th overall by the L.A. Raiders in 1982. He won NFL Rookie of the Year that year and helped the Raiders to a Super Bowl win the following year. He went on to rack up over 12,000 yards on the ground and 5,000 through the air, scoring 144 all purpose touchdowns.

6 Keith Byars


5 Mohamed Sanu

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The only member of this list who is still playing in the NFL is Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals. A freak athlete, dominating track and field events throughout high school, he played quarterback before playing wide receiver for Rutgers and being drafted in the third round in 2012.

Back in 2012, Sanu, who was drafted for his triple threat, rushing, receiving and throwing abilities, started a game in late September as a wildcat quarterback and tossed a touchdown pass to AJ Green. He threw for this touchdown five weeks prior to his first receiving touchdown. Sanu is 5/5 in his career with two scores. Interestingly, his most recent touchdown pass was to quarterback Andy Dalton, the Red Rifle.

4 Greg Pruitt


3 Walter Payton


"Sweetness" is one of the greatest running backs in the history of the game, and as he was also one of the greatest personalities; this gem was taken away from the football world far too soon. 125 total touchdowns, over 16,000 yards, with an average of 4.4 yards per carry, 4,538 receiving yards, and of course a five-time First-Team All-Pro and Super Bowl Champion (Super Bowl XX).

2 LaDainian Tomlinson

The future Hall of Famer, LT, is our number two, having been one of the best threats for the halfback option in the league for years. He played from 2001 to 2011 and when he wasn't tearing through defenses on the ground or breaking touchdown records, he was using his strong and accurate arm to hit receivers downfield.

1 Antwaan Randle El


Having played quarterback for the Indiana Hoosiers in college, Randle El, much like Julian Edelman, was a great option for trick plays. Once again, like Edelman, he was fast in college and his speed and hands made him an attractive wide receiver pick. The Steelers picked him in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft. Randle El was also a return specialist who averaged 8.2 yards per return on punts and 22.3 yards per return on kickoffs, with six total return touchdowns in his career.

With regard to passing, he holds the highest career passer rating, 156.1, out of all NFL players who have attempted a minimum of 20 passes. He threw 27 passes in his career, with 22 completions. Six of his throws went for touchdowns and possibly his most impressive feat is that he is the only NFL wide receiver to ever throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Back at Super Bowl XL in 2006, Randle El caught three passes for 22 yards but also threw a 43 yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward, that Super Bowl's MVP.

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Top 10 Best Non-Quarterback Passers