Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo Rates Every Quarterback from the 2013 NFL Season

By Jerry Angelo
February 10, 2014

Photo: Irish Central

Editor's Note: Former Chicago Bears GM (2001-2012) Jerry Angelo rates every quarterback from the 2013 NFL season on his nine-point scale. Angelo's notes are included.

9.0-8.5

The upper class quarterbacks. They can elevate the play of their team. Has an extraordinary make-up physically and has intangibles. An elite player.

9.0 Peyton Manning

He is definitely in a class by himself in my eyes.  I think he sees the game so much better than any quarterback I have ever seen.  The stats, NFL records, speak for themselves.  He needs a Super Bowl this year to go down as the best ever, in my eyes.

8.9 Tom Brady

Having one of his finest years, because of what he’s had to overcome to lead his team to another extraordinary season. When they talk about Manning, they always use Brady as a comparison.

8.8 Aaron Rodgers

A gifted arm with crossbow accuracy. He can maneuver and find a down field target as good as any. His late-in-the-game heroics are well documented. You may sack him, but can’t stop him.

8.7 Cam Newton

A special talent with flaws. He took a good team and had them playing consistently well. They didn’t back into being divisional champs, they took it and he lead the charge. Needs to continue to grow his football IQ. More work in the classroom is the key to his continued development.

8.7 Drew Brees

He plays as fast as any QB in football and has too given his height. He can see around a defense and throw over it as good as any in his mold. He struggled more than any other elite QB on the road. Comfort level has more to do with his performance, than supporting cast.

8.6 Philip Rivers

For the first time in his career he played beyond the sum of his parts. He was a driven leader who got results in big games. His play was special and his team over achieved, because of it.

8.5 Andrew Luck

If you’re in a ‘pick-up’ game, you’re picking him first. He plays with reckless abandon. He’ll have some ‘bonehead’ plays, but so did Favre. After watching him in the playoffs this year, he made some terrible decisions that led to turnovers. Yes, he responded well to those turnovers, but he put his team in major holes through turning over the football. He’s fearless and as he matures his game will improve. The only thing he’s missing is a championship ring.

8.4-8.0

Played at a high level. Was one of the reasons – but not the reason – for his team’s success... not elite.

8.4 Ben Roethlisberger

Still has the power in his arm and the ‘hang in’ toughness to move an offense.

8.4 Russell Wilson

He has all the savvy you want for the position. His size and arm talent limit him. You can win with him, because he follows the script and can make plays down field. He keeps defenses honest with his play making ability. A great leader.

8.4 Colin Kaepernick

A great talent. Though he has the size and arm strength he’s not a comfortable as a pocket passer. His vision is tunneled and relies more on his athleticism, than his reads to make plays when things start to unravel. When his instincts kick in he can take over a game.

8.3 Alex Smith

Has a high IQ in the classroom and on the field. He’s mobile and tough. He’s not as good as Rich Gannon, but like him. He consistently maximizes on the extent of his abilities.

8.0 Nick Foles

Put up top numbers and achieved the best QB rating in football. Once they made the change to him, they won. He knows how to protect the ball and get them in the end zone. Oakland got a dose of how good he is doing it.

7.9-7.5

Talented, has good history of play, but had a subpar year. Lack of durability, deficiency in an intangible area, poor cast around him or coaching. Any of these reasons may have kept him from playing to his potential. May be a descending player.

7.9 Matt Ryan

A good, but not special player. He is tough minded and smart, but his arm talent is not elite. He needs a good cast around him. When he is not supported with talented receivers, a solid line and a good running game, you see his flaws.

7.9 Tony Romo

He has a blind spot. His instincts are just average and his accuracy is not consistent enough given the amount of times they let him wing it and that’s what he does...wing it. His mental toughness is suspect and physically he is the danger zone given his two back surgeries.

7.9 Jay Cutler

Has all the physical tools, but inconsistent in the clutch. Mostly due to a lack of poise. He’s not comfortable reading defenses and consequently locks onto a favorite or pre-determined target, that may or may not be the right choice. The less he’s asked to see the better he is. A better half field general, than a full field one.

7.9 Matt Stafford

Stafford, in my eyes, not only did not win games for the Lions this year, but also LOST them for his team.  Carelessness with the ball, inaccurate throws, and poor mechanics will prevent him from ever turning into an elite QB.  Calvin Johnson masks a lot of his faults.

7.4-7.0

Solid traits but limited. Can “win with him” but need a good supporting cast and quality coaching. Shown to be a consistent performer, but not a top one.

7.4 Andy Dalton

Top character and work habits. Is book smart, with average football IQ. He’s in his comfort level when everything around him is working. He struggles when it’s all on him. His accuracy isn’t as sharp as his ability to read coverage. Part of his problem is he was over used. Too many attempts for a pedestrian QB. You can like him, but can’t love him.

7.3 Carson Palmer

He’s experienced with size, arm strength and good accuracy. He’s a adequate learner with good football sense. He can make big plays given his arm talent, but not going to play over mediocre coaching or a marginal supporting cast.

7.1 Joe Flacco

He only gets into this category because of his Super Bowl win.  I’m not sold he has the ability to be an elite QB. He can play too cautious or get locked on to a receiver. He can be hot and cold, needs to be more room temperature; if the Ravens are going to make a run again.

7.0 Eli Manning

He showed this year, as he did when he lost Plaxico Burris, he’s only as good as the sum of the parts around him. He lost his confidence and poise this year. A veteran quarterback with his pedigree, that should not have happened regardless of injuries, etc.

6.9-6.5

Has strong traits but hasn’t done it. Lack of experience, injuries, missing intangible may be the reason for his erratic play. Still a work in progress. He can move up or down.

6.9 Robert Griffin III

Talented, but yet to define himself as an NFL quarterback. He won’t have a successful career by working outside the pocket. No one at his position did or will. Too many games and too many hits keep QB’s from having a career based on their feet, rather than their pocket accuracy.

6.8 Sam Bradford

Top intangibles, good size and arm strength. Can make all the throws, but has yet to make them consistently for a season and not for a handful of games. Has one more year to show it. History says the longer it takes the lower his ceiling.

6.4-6.0

Can start and compete with him with a good supporting cast and quality coaching, but lacks something, i.e., arm talent (strength or accuracy), poise, instincts. Not good enough. To win with him 2 of the 3 of the phases have to be dominate or surround him with high caliber players.

6.4 Josh McCown

Had the best year of any back-up at his position. He played consistently and without having his coaches compromising the play book to get it done. He was well schooled and efficient moving the team.

6.4 Kyle Orton

A solid player. One game start this year. Almost became a good off season story; if it weren’t for an untimely interception. A strong arm, tough and good play history. He locked himself into a career back up job. Money became more important than opportunity.

6.4 Matt Schaub

Lost his confidence, his fans and eventually his teammates and coaches. No quarterback went from the “penthouse to the out house” quicker than him. His team went they way he did... to the bottom.

6.3 Jake Locker

Has the skills, but not a quick thinker or an intuitive one. He struggles with the game plan, not learning it, but implementing it. Have to keep things basic and hopefully with more play time things start coming together for him. A great kid.

6.3 Ryan Tannehill

He’s an athlete who is trying to develop into a QB. His arm is good, but his accuracy is questionable. He isn’t comfortable from within the pocket. Led the league in sacks, something isn’t right, given he’s an athletic QB. Protection is one thing, ‘feel’ is another. When things aren’t going well, he can’t pull himself or his team out of it. Those aren’t good signs for a signal caller.

6.3 Mike Glennon

He showed good poise and good arm strength. Can see over the rush and can get the ball down field. Those are the pluses. The negatives are he’s to slow and immobile. Will hold onto the ball long after his internal clock should have gone off and struggles to extend a play once it breaks down. His accuracy is average and struggles in the intermediate area of the field.

6.2 Geno Smith

Got a lot of playing time, which may have helped him or hurt him. Too many interceptions and negative plays. His numbers were terrible. His progress will depend on his learning from this year’s struggles. Otherwise, defensive coordinators will have a field day with him. Quarterbacks make a living from the neck on up, not the neck on down.

6.0 E.J. Manuel
6.0 Thad Lewis
6.0 Terrelle Pryor

5.9-5.5

Can be an emergency starter. Does not have the mental make up or physical talent too perform as a consistent starter. He’s temporary relief, but not a long term solution.

5.9 Michael Vick
5.8 Ryan Fitzpatrick
5.8 Matt Cassell
5.8 Kellen Clemens
5.8 Chad Henne
5.8 Matt Moore
5.8 Brian Hoyer
5.7 Christian Ponder
5.5 Matt Sanchez
5.5 Josh Freeman
5.5 Brandon Weeden
5.5 Jason Campbell
5.5 Blaine Gabbert
5.5 Charlie Whitehurst
5.5 Brady Quinn
5.5 Seneca Wallace
5.5 Shawn Hill
5.5 Tavaris Jackson
5.5 Luke Macon
5.5 Dan Orlovsky
5.5 Rex Grossman
5.5 Derek Anderson

5.4-5.0

A band-aid, can get you through a game. Not a starter. He lacks the arm strength or needed accuracy. May also be missing something intangible, i.e. toughness, instincts etc.. Cannot win with him, regardless of supporting cast or coaching.

5.4 Kirk Cousins

Smart, hard working and well liked and respected. Lacks the arm talent to start and become a guy you can win with.

5.0 Colt McCoy

Nothing that gets him to the line in any area tangible speaking, will be a memory in 2014.

5.0 Matt McGloin

A lot of moxie with marginal arm talent. No traits to compliment top intangibles.

5.0 Case Keenum
5.0 Scott Tolzein
5.0 Jordan Palmer
5.0 Jimmy Clausen

BEST TO WORSE:

  1. 8.9 Peyton Manning
  2. 8.8 Tom Brady
  3. 8.8 Aaron Rodgers
  4. 8.8 Andrew Luck
  5. 8.7 Drew Brees
  6. 8.6 Philip Rivers
  7. 8.6 Cam Newton
  8. 8.5 Ben Roethlisberger
  9. 8.4 Russell Wilson
  10. 8.4 Colin Kaepernick
  11. 8.3 Alex Smith
  12. 8.0 Nick Foles
  13. 7.9 Matt Ryan
  14. 7.8 Tony Romo
  15. 7.7 Jay Cutler
  16. 7.6 Matt Stafford
  17. 7.4 Andy Dalton
  18. 7.3 Carson Palmer
  19. 7.1 Joe Flacco
  20. 7.0 Eli Manning
  21. 6.9 Robert Griffin
  22. 6.8 Sam Bradford
  23. 6.4 Matt Schaub
  24. 6.3 Ryan Tannehill
  25. 6.3 Jake Locker
  26. 6.3 Mike Glennon
  27. 6.2 Geno Smith
  28. 6.0 EJ Manuel
  29. 6.0 Terrill Pryor
  30. 5.9 Christian Ponder
  31. 5.5 Blaine Gabbert
  32. 5.5 Brandon Weeden

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