NFL Picks: Ranking the Best Five Backup Quarterbacks

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:31 AM GMT

It's just a fact that we are going to see numerous No. 2 quarterbacks see action in the coming NFL season. For example, there were 54 QBs used last season and there are only 32 teams so you do the math. Here's my ranking of the best five backups.

1. Mark Sanchez, Eagles
Do I think Sanchez was the reason the New York Jets went to the AFC Championship Game in 2009 & '10? I don't, but Sanchez did all that was asked of him back in those days, which was to hand the ball off and limit mistakes. Of course Sanchez saw plenty of action last season with the Eagles once Nick Foles went down with an injury. In nine games, Sanchez completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,418  yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 picks. That was good for a career-best 88.4 rating. His record as a starter was 4-4. I was a tad surprised he re-signed this offseason because there are a few teams Sanchez could start for. Technically, Coach Chip Kelly hasn't said that new addition Sam Bradford is his starter, so maybe Sanchez can beat him out, although I doubt that. Actually, 5Dimes has a prop on if Sanchez starts Week 1 in Atlanta. Yes is +190 and any other starter is -270 NFL odds. Considering Bradford's injury history, I have zero doubt Sanchez will be on the field at some point this season. 

 

2. Ryan Mallett, Texans
I am probably higher on Mallett than most, but I'm going to assume that free-agent addition Brian Hoyer beats him out for Houston's starting QB job. After a few years sitting behind Tom Brady in New England, Mallett was traded to Houston before last season. He got into three games, completing 54.7 percent of his passes for 400 yards, two scores and two picks before suffering a season-ending injury. The guy has a cannon. He'll be starting by midseason if not sooner.

 

3. Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
Might Glennon be dealt before the season? You have heard rumors of that possibility ever since Tampa Bay selected former Heisman winner Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in the draft. Coach Lovie Smith already has anointed Winston as his starter. I would think Glennon would have some value around the league. He does have 29 touchdown passes in 19 career games and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in November 2013. In fact, Glennon became the first rookie in NFL history to throw at least one touchdown pass in his first eight games. Glennon has prototypical arm strength and size but is about as mobile as the Statue of Liberty.

 

4. Kirk Cousins, Redskins
I don't know why a team like Buffalo doesn't make an offer to Washington for Cousins, who would be an upgrade over either Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel. Robert Griffin III is the Redskins' starter but it's pretty clear that Coach Jay Gruden has his doubts about RGIII. He likes having Cousins around to push Griffin. Cousins was probably the No. 1 fantasy football pickup in America after his first start last season where he threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the Eagles when Griffin was out injured. But Cousins tends to throw into traffic too often; witness his next game, where he threw four picks in a blowout loss to the New York Giants. He would eventually be benched later in the season for Colt McCoy.

 

5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets
Here's another guy I have no doubt will see the field eventually, and not because starter Geno Smith will get hurt. Well, he might, but more so because Smith just isn't very good. Fitzpatrick has 89 career starts to his name. He played in 12 games with Houston last season, going 6-6, completing 63.1 percent for 2,483 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight picks. That rating of 95.3 was ninth in the NFL and ahead of guys like Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford to name a few. Fitzpatrick was traded to the Jets in March for a conditional late-round pick. Fitzpatrick also knows the system of new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey well. In three years with the Bills (2010-12) in Gailey's spread attack, Fitzpatrick had some good numbers, including 71 touchdown passes.