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Top 12 Promising NFL QBs Heading Into 2016

Without question, quarterback is the most important position in football. Actually, it might be the most important position in all of sports when you really think about it. With that simple concept in mind, if you wamt to win in the NFL, you need to have an elite quarterback, unless you're the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and have the best defense of all-time (yeah, they were better than the 1985 Bears, but that's an argument for another time).

Here's the good news NFL fans. Despite guys like Colin Kaepernick and Brandon Weeden stinking up the joint, 2015 has seen a lot of talented young QBs take the next step in their progression to elite status. A lot of beleaguered franchises have been stuck with terrible quarterback play for a long time and it looks like they might be finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. While it's way too early to christen any of the guys on this list as the next coming of Joe Montana, it's definitely appropriate to say they're much better than JaMarcus Russell ever was...though we guess that's not really saying much.

Just to be clear, with this list, we're looking at QBs who are making strides in 2015 and who might be able to burst into the top 5 QBs in the league in short order. So, don't expect to find Aaron Rodgers of Tom Brady gracing our list. If you don't already know they're good, perhaps football isn't the sport for you. Instead, let's take a look at 12 QBs who could lead their team to the promise land in the near future.

12 Blaine Gabbert 

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Wait a second! Please hear us out before you immediately leave our site and never come back. We did see Blaine Gabbert play with Jacksonville. We know he threw more INTs than TDs in his time there and lost 22 games. We know he was a bust for the Jags as the 10th overall pick in 2011 (though it's not his fault they reached for him).

11 Jay Cutler 

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Who said an old dog can't learn new tricks? Even though he's already 32-years-old, we definitely believe that Cutler should be considered promising going into 2016. Be honest with yourself for a second and imagine what you thought about Cutler going into this season. You, like everyone else, thought he was done in the league and that the Bears would cut him after another terrible season. Well, Adam Gase has reinvigorated Cutler and has him playing intelligent football for the first time in years. He has 14 TDs in 11 games and only seven interceptions, which is substantially less than the 18 picks he had last year.

10 Teddy Bridgewater 

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

9 Johnny Manziel 

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Again, give us a second to explain! While we can't protect his actions off the field, the game film on Johnny Manziel definitely demonstrates some growth in his game. He's making good reads, not running out of the pocket every other play and has limited his interceptions. Though he needs to work on his fumbling issues, Manziel has grown as a quarterback and, when he's allowed on the field, has shown that he can be a dynamic playmaker for the Browns. If they get Josh Gordon back next season and if Manziel keeps his nose clean this summer, the Browns can be dynamic on offense, especially with Duke Johnson Jr. in the backfield.

8 Jimmy Garoppolo 

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Tom Brady was supposed to be suspended? Well, there's a reason the Patriots didn't seem too stressed and his name is Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats are capable of developing studs at any position and they might've struck gold again with their backup QB. During the pre-season, when we assumed he'd be starting real games in September, Garoppolo was solid, throwing for 554 yards with two touchdowns. He also demonstrated a skill that Brady lacks and that's the ability to pick up yards with his legs.

7 Kirk Cousins

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

You like that? Sorry, we couldn't resist.

Amazing post-game rants aside, Kirk Cousins has been steady for the Redskins this season and offered them stability that RGIII simply cannot. Guess who's the most accurate passer in the league, as of the posting of this piece? Well, it's Mr. Kirk Cousins at a sterling 68.6%. While he still turns over the ball a little too much with 10 INTs on the year, he has 17 TDs in 12 games and is a perfect fit for Jay Gruden's offense. He's also surrounded by some solid talent in DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and Matt Jones.

6 Brock Osweiler 

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

5 Tyrod Taylor 

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

4 Blake Bortles 

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

3 Marcus Mariota 

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

2 Jameis Winston 

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1 Derek Carr

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, NFL.com published an article where they re-drafted the 2014 NFL Draft class. Guess who they had the Texans take at number one? Derek Carr. Though it's unlikely they'd have selected Carr due to their experience with his older brother, there's no denying that the Raiders got an absolutely steal with Carr in the second round.

It's been a tough decade for Raiders fans, as they've watched QBs like JaMarcus Russell, Aaron Brooks and Kerry Collins stink up the joint. Well, they finally have their franchise QB in Derek Carr. With 26 TDs and 9 INTs on the year, Carr has brought the Raiders back into relevancy. Though they're likely not going to make the playoffs this year, the Raiders have been in a bunch of close games and could get over the hump as early as next year. Oh, and he'll get to throw the ball to Amari Cooper for a long time. Get excited Raidernation.

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Top 12 Promising NFL QBs Heading Into 2016