The draft is over and the depth charts are filling out.
For most teams, slotting the top of the quarterback chart is an easy task, but for a select few, it will be awhile before they can write their starting signal-caller’s name in ink.
With rookie camps and OTAs starting to get underway, here’s a look at the five most competitive quarterback battles this offseason.
5. New York Jets
Josh McCown vs. Bryce Petty vs. Christian Hackenberg
The Jets have a difficult decision to make this season as they embark on their quest to possibly not be the worst team in the NFL. With arguably the worst overall roster in football, the Jets’ options at quarterback are thin to say the least.
McCown has the most experience by far after spending the last 14 years as a journeyman in the league, but his skills are mediocre and shouldn’t be expected to improve at age 37. If he wins the job, the Jets know they’ll be getting a hard-working leader who won’t let his guys quit on the team.
Petty and Hackenberg are similar options, as they are both very raw and will need time to grow. If either are thought to be the future of the franchise, it may be best to let them roll with the punches and take the field to continue learning how the NFL works firsthand.
Predicted Week 1 Starter: McCown
4. Chicago Bears
Mike Glennon vs. Mitchell Trubisky
Glennon must have been livid when he saw the Bears trading up to draft Trubisky, but he’ll still get his shot to be Chicago’s starter.
The former Buccaneer comes in with a good amount of experience, though he may be a little rusty after two years on the bench. He’ll be hungry to get a lead in the competition, and he will likely start training camp as the top dog.
Trubisky will need to adapt to the pros after just one season as a college starter, so he may be playing with the backups in practice for a little while. Like Jay Cutler said, there’s no reason for the Bears to throw their second overall pick onto the field before he’s ready, especially if Chicago is struggling.
Predicted Week 1 Starter: Glennon
3. Cleveland Browns
Cody Kessler vs. Brock Osweiler vs. DeShone Kizer
The Browns have three very different options under center this offseason, with each potential starter likely having their chances affected by off-field factors.
Kessler proved he could be a capable starter by the Browns’ standards last season, throwing six touchdowns and two picks through eight games, but he doesn’t appear to be a long-term option as a franchise quarterback.
Osweiler was thought to be a startable quarterback by multiple teams last offseason, but saw his reputation turn laughable after a monster contract and a struggle-filled season in Houston. He’s the most experienced option they have, but his name carries so much baggage, he may be too hated to start.
Kizer has the highest ceiling of these three, but needs time before deciphering NFL defenses and mastering a pro playbook.
Predicted Week 1 Starter: Kessler
2. Houston Texans
Tom Savage vs. Deshaun Watson
While they opted to get rid of him this offseason, the Texans did go the playoffs and win a game with Osweiler as the top quarterback for most of the season – so neither of the team’s starting options this year should exclude them from the playoffs.
Savage has just two career starts but is entering his fourth season, giving him plenty of time to learn the NFL game and the nuances of Bill O’Brien’s playbook. He’s an average, game-managing quarterback who can distribute the ball, but any time he spends as the starter will just be filling time until Watson is ready.
A championship-winning quarterback with Clemson, Watson needs to fine-tune his technique for the NFL, but he brings confidence and a winning attitude to the Texans that they haven’t had in quite some time. Having traded up to add him to their playoff-ready roster, the Texans will be adding some pressure to the speed of his development.
Predicted Week 1 Starter: Watson
1. Denver Broncos
Trevor Siemian vs. Paxton Lynch
The Broncos’ quarterback battle looks pretty similar to last year’s edition – minus Mark Sanchez.
Siemian did a good enough job last year that the Broncos would likely be comfortable starting him again, but there’s definitely a limit to his ability. If the team wants to be a run-first, lean-on-the-defense team, though, Siemian can certainly carry the load.
However, if the Broncos want to become a prolific offense again, Lynch has a ceiling high enough to take the offense to a new level, depending on how far along he is in his development. He was raw coming out of Memphis a year ago and started just two games. The work he puts in throughout the offseason will show in camp.
Predicted Week 1 Starter: Siemian
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