Raise your hand if you’re tired of reading the same ‘ole team needs articles out there (hand raised). We are opting for a different angle on the team needs. Teams evaluations of needs involve so much more than just saying we need a starter here. They are looking at the depth chart as a more long-term projection.
How’s our backup? How’s our backups contract? Do we have a developmental guy at a certain position?
We ranked each position on each team to form our team needs. This is equal parts math and evaluation. A formula was created that rewarded points for defining worth of a player. With 7 points being the highest value, marking an elite, franchise player. Sad to say but 0 points is attributed to a player with no value on the roster. Think roster fill-in with no real developmental attributes.
We are not evaluating just the starters but a team’s two and three deep. We will start with the quarterbacks from worst to first.
**Special thanks to ourlads.com for their great updates on teams depth charts. Free agents are in blue.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Brady Quinn, Matt Cassel, Ricky Stanzi, Alex Tanney
Brady Quinn is an UFA and Matt Cassel isn’t likely to be around. Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney offer very little in terms of long-term developmental prospects. This roster is completely devoid of a starter, backup, and developmental guy.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Jordan Palmer, John Parker Wilson
Gabbert and Henne aren’t viable starting options on a good team. The Jags will likely stick with the combo for the 2013 season but beyond that it’s anybody’s guess. Jordan Palmer is an UFA and JPW offers little in terms of long-term developmental QB option.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Freeman, Dan Orlovsky, Adam Webber
Freeman will have this season to prove he’s the long-term QB of this team. Based on previous seasons that may be a longshot. Orlovsky is a solid backup but not someone that you can rely on if Freeman goes down for an extended period. Adam Webber has below-average skills and offers little in terms of development.
29. Minnesota Vikings
Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Ponder will have next season to prove he’s capable of leading this borderline playoff team to the next level as a perennial playoff contender. Joe Webb was abysmal in his playoff start and doesn’t look to be anything more than a No. 3. Thompson is someone that the Vikings are high on down the road, so they got a point for a long-term developmental project.
28. Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Kolb, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton
Brian Hoyer is (at worst) a capable backup
Kevin Kolb was solid before his injury but isn’t anything more than a capable starter. Brian Hoyer is an UFA and they would be wise to bring him back to (at worst) help out as a capable backup. Lindley and Skelton struggled through last season but could be solid down the road with some seasoning and time.
27. New York Jets
Mark Sanchez, Greg MeElroy, Tim Tebow, Matt Sims
This QB roster is a mess. Mark Sanchez will/should have competition this offseason and we don’t mean in the form of Tim Tebow. Greg McElroy was ok and could be a capable backup but offers nothing as a starter. Tim Tebow won’t be on the roster (maybe not any NFL roster) next season, and Matt Sims garnered a point as a long-term developmental prospect.
26. Buffalo Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen, Tarvaris Jackson, Aaron Corp
I think we can put a fork in the Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starter idea. He’s a very solid backup in the league that can spot start and win a game or two. But in terms of him being a 16 game starter, that’s not an option. Tyler Thigpen probably won’t be back with the team as the Bills re-upped Tarvaris Jackson for a 1 year, $1.75 million deal. Aaron Corp is an intriguing long-term developmental QB but I don’t think he’s going to be anything more than a backup in the league.
25. Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Thaddeus Lewis, Josh Johnson
Brandon Weeden was a square peg in a round hole last season. We’ll see this year if he’s the answer for the immediate future in Cleveland. Colt McCoy is a decent backup but doesn’t fit the Browns current regime and may be let go. Thad Lewis was decent in a late season start and has some potential. Ditto that for Josh Johnson on the potential end but he’s an UFA.
24. Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, Rusty Smith, Nathan Enderle
Tennessee needs to see what they have in Jake Locker. I don’t feel comfortable with Locker is a starter unless I have a very good backup. Hasselbeck would suffice as a solid backup but his age and contract may not keep him around in Tennessee this season. Rusty Smith has seen game action but doesn’t qualify as a capable backup at this point. Nathan Enderle is a roster filler that was brought in after the season.
23. Oakland Raiders
Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor, Matt Leinart
Major questions remain as to what the Raiders will do with Palmer. He’s owed a ton of money and didn’t set the world on fire last season. That said, the Raiders can’t turn the keys over to Terrelle Pryor at this point in his career. While he looked good in a start last season, I’m not sold on him being enough of a passer to make it in the league on a good team. Matt Leinart is a free agent that the Raiders would be wise to bring back on the cheap in case Pryor/Palmer go down. He has starting experience in the league and is capable of taking the helm for a week or two.
22. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Nick Stephens
The Cowboys are determined to hitch their cart to Tony Romo. Might not be the wisest move. He’s not terrible but may never get them over the hump. Just makes too many mistakes at critical times. Kyle Orton is a solid backup but they have no one on the roster to develop for the long-term. They would be wise to find a developmental quarterback in this draft (think Sean Renfree, Matt Scott type).
“Tony is a key piece of what we are about going forward.”
Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski, Zac Robinson
Andy Dalton looks like the starter of the future. He needs to take the next step next season to prove he’s going to be capable of taking them over the round one playoff hump. Gradkowski is a free agent and they need to either re-sign him or find a capable backup. Zac Robinson showed promise early on in his career but that seems to have faded. The Bengals could use a later round pick this year to find a developmental guy.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon, Trent Edwards
The Eagles probably should be lower down the list but their depth keeps them above water. It’s an unknown on the Chip Kelly factor but Mike Vick can’t play much worse than he did in 2012. Nick Foles, if he’s not dealt, gives them a guy that could develop into a starter down the road and is a more than capable backup. Combine that with the fact that they bring in an old Kelly disciple from UO in Dennis Dixon and this roster is set for QB’s. Unless of course Vick bombs out in 2013.
19. St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis
Will Sam Bradford ever takes the steps forward to being a consistent second-tier QB? That’s the major question for the former No. 1 overall pick. Kellen Clemens is a solid backup but he’s an UFA and needs to be re-signed or they have to find a veteran backup. Austin Davis has some developmental value but his ceiling may be rather low.
18. San Diego Chargers
Phillip Rivers, Charlie Whitehurst
Rivers has struggled and may not deserve the score we graded him at. Maybe some fresh blood will help him in Mike McCoy. Charlie Whitehurst is a capable backup quarterback that was once thought of as having starter qualities. That’s not the case but he could fill in for a week or two and pull out a “W”. The Chargers would be wise to spend a mid-round pick on a developmental prospect.
17. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin
Ryan Tannehill showed some major upside in his rookie season. He should continue to develop under Joe Philbin and could emerge better next season. Matt Moore is a very good backup but he’s an UFA that teams may covet. Moore has started, fairly effectively, in the past and a team like the Browns could bring him into compete with a young starter. Pat Devlin could be developed but his ceiling looks to be as a backup in the league.