clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carson Palmer drops in ESPN quarterback tier rankings

The Cardinals quarterback is still respected, but also being passed by younger players.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Every year ESPN separates the quarterbacks in the NFL into tiers. For Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals, he has improved every single offseason while with the team... until this year.

This year, Palmer has dropped from 10th to 16th and fallen into tier three of the rankings.

This is fine, when you look at the quarterbacks occupying tier three, many are quarterbacks being touted as players who can lead their teams to the promised land. However, you also see that Palmer is being passed over by younger players.

What did the voters have to say?

Most voters respect Palmer but think he is declining physically, increasingly vulnerable in a deeper passing scheme behind a questionable offensive line and prone to putting the ball in harm's way at critical moments.

"They are still a high-powered offense," a defensive coordinator who placed Palmer in the second tier said. "They are in playoff contention every year. He can still put points on the board within that system. He is right at the edge, and probably has a year or two left. I understand saying he is a 3, but when I look at those 2s, to me it is guys who are still winning games and playing on playoff-caliber teams -- guys that if you didn't have a quarterback and you could trade for him, you would take him."

That is a good compliment and likely an accurate one.

Palmer fell from first in Total QBR in 2015 to 18th last season, one spot above Flacco. He has 30 touchdowns with 20 interceptions since the 2015 regular season ended, a span that has seen Arizona post a 7-9-1 record for reasons that also include a series of inexplicable fiascos on special teams. The grizzled, old-school coach who placed Palmer in the top tier was a very lonely man in that area.

"He has played behind a fairly s----- offensive line, he is tough, he is smart, he is accurate, he really has only one possession receiver in [Larry] Fitzgerald to make the tough catch intermediately," this coach said. "He has every throw in his arm. When he has lost, last year the defense and special teams were terrible at times, and they were turning the ball over -- not just on interceptions. I have a soft spot in my heart for him because they don't protect him and he just gets the s--- knocked out of him.

I feel like that is just Bruce Arians talking. Hah.

What do you think?

The 15 quarterbacks ahead of Palmer in order:

Tier One

1a. Tom Brady
1a. Aaron Rodgers
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Drew Brees
5. Matt Ryan

Tier Two

6. Andrew Luck
7. Derek Carr
8a. Philip Rivers
8a. Matthew Stafford
10. Russell Wilson
11. Eli Manning
12. Cam Newton
13. Kirk Cousins

Tier 3

14. Dak Prescott
15. Joe Flacco
16a. Carson Palmer
16a. Marcus Mariota
18. Jamies Winston
19. Andy Dalton
20. Alex Smith
21. Carson Wentz
22. Ryan Tannehill (pre-injury)
23. Sam Bradford
24. Jay Cutler
25. Tyrod Taylor

The one gripe I have is seeing Palmer in with some of these guys who have never won. Unless you see a big dropoff this year for Palmer, it is a bit peculiar.