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QB2 Spotlight

NFL Preseason is here - there are several prospects worth watching.

I mentioned in my last article that there was literally a dozen QBs that I am watching this preseason - that was not really an exaggeration. Things could get wild. There are so many young QBs that are going to earn their way to QB2 honors, making them a play away from the spot light. 14 QBs were drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. I truly believe this is the deepest QB class in NFL history. We saw the 10th QB drafted ball out in the Hall of Fame game. I love the position of the 9 before him and even a couple after. Again, things could get WILD. Here are my top 10 guys to watch this month.


My 6th ranked QB in this draft class was ranked worse in every single ranking system I looked into. There was little to no respect for Clayton Tune coming into this season. Clayton Tune may very well see the field in Week 1.

I am still VERY HIGH on Tune. I was honestly bummed when he went to the Cardinals, as I believe they are destined to be one of the worst teams in the league. However, the opportunity may be as good as it could possibly get after being drafted as the 9th QB in the class.

Kyler Murray is a "long shot" to be ready for Week 1. The rumor is that Clayton Tune is giving Colt McCoy a run for his money at the QB2 slot. Regardless of whether or not Tune is a better QB, starting McCoy is the right move for Week 1. However, getting the start and finishing the game are two different topics. Washington is one of the most winnable games on Arizona's schedule this year. If McCoy isn't looking like he can get it done, we may see them shake things up with Tune.

I wrote about why I love Clayton Tune in this article here - I highly recommend you check it out. His potential is significant.



Sean Clifford is in line to be QB2 behind Jordan Love. The Packers are clearly committed to the UCLA grad. They were willing to rock the boat with future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers when they drafted (reached in my opinion) in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He sat behind Rodgers and learned the offense for 3 seasons. They were more than willing to hand him the keys without investing in a plan B. Sean Clifford is that Plan B as of right now - what an incredible opportunity that is. Being one play away from leading an offense through Lambeau Field is a valuable place to be.

I did not have Clifford ranked in my Top 10 before the draft, but I have been quoted saying that this is one of the deepest QB Draft classes in history - and I stand by that. I first started paying attention to the Penn State QB when he finished the 2020 season with 4 B1G wins, including Michigan and Michigan State. 2021 was less than stellar, but his 2022 campaign finished extremely strong - ending his collegiate career with a Rose in his mouth after knocking off the PAC-12 champions. In that game, Clifford completed 76.2% of his passes for 2 TDs. He won 32 games while he was at PSU. He has real potential.



WHO?! Yes. That Easton Stick. The guy that was drafted in 2019 and we were all disappointed to see his autograph come out of our hobby boxes. There are several reports of him impressing in camp. He has been with the team for a while now. And the job he is backing up may be as good as it gets. Keenan Allen is a veteran that can go get everything. Mike Williams is a strong 2nd option and rookie Quentin Johnston is "ahead of schedule" in his development. Austin Ekeler is one of the most well-rounded backs in the league. I hope nothing ever ever happens to Justin Herbert, but if something does, Easton Stick gets the keys to the mighty kingdom of the Chargers Offense. Kellen Moore in the headset is just another perk.



Go ahead - Google him. You'll find article after article about how impressive he has been at camp. Jimmy G has the job locked down in Vegas, but he has been less than iron throughout his career. The Raiders have significant weapons and O'Connell has significant potential. He was the 8th QB drafted in the class but seems to be ahead of schedule in his development. The Raiders also have Brian Hoyer, but a strong preseason could solidify the former Boilermaker at the QB2 spot. If his number gets called in the regular season, he may be more ready than we think - assuming the raves about his camp performances are true.



I have been saying this for about a year now: Mac Jones is not $30,000,000 better than Bailey Zappe. I had this man as my QB #3 in the 2022 NFL Draft. He came into the league as a rookie and threw 92 passes, completing 70.7% of them (which is ridiculous). Mac Jones' season was less than impressive and he seemed frazzled all year. I get that it was an OC blunder and that Bill O'Brien is a massive upgrade, but let's talk about potential. At the end of this season, the conversation is going to start moving towards signing QBs drafted in 2021 to their new extensions. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are going to land huge deals. What percentage of those numbers are going to be the price tag for Mac Jones? My guess is that it is going to be in the neighborhood of $30M. I know that sounds like a lot, but it will still put him in the bottom half of the league in terms of QB salaries. Meanwhile, Bailey Zappe will be going into his 3rd season on a $1M annual contract. If Zappe can look competent when he's given opportunities, he could sustain a job that many covet - the Tom Brady heir.



I am still a believer. I was big on him pre-draft. I was thrilled when he had an excellent rookie season. However, he had a terrible 2020 followed by a below average 2021 when he saw limited time. The Seahawks actually seemed to have some confidence in him when they brought him aboard last season. Sitting behind Geno Smith is nothing to be ashamed of. He has been seasoned and he is capable. I would love to see how he clicks with JSN in the preseason. I hope Geno enjoys a great healthy season, but if something were to happen, QB2 would inherit an elite receiving group. Like I said, I still believe Lock has some potential and the talent around him will only make him better.



It is not clear who will start in Week 1 of the regular season for the Bucs this year. They announced that Baker Mayfield will start Week 1 of the preseason but they also already announced that Kyle Trask will start in Week 2. I would say that the most logical move for the Bucs would be to start Baker and give him a shot - a veteran leading veterans to get a season going. But his leash will be short. If he looks rough this weekend and Trask looks great next weekend - it's going to be extremely tempting for Tampa Bay to give Trask the nod. I was high on him going into the draft and I was pumped when he got drafted by the Bucs. Let us never forget that he got to spend two seasons learning from the best QB in NFL history.



I have never really been a fan in Mel Kiper Jr. Malik Willis may be his biggest blunder. He raved about how Malik Willis was the clear #1 QB and could be considered in the Top 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. I thought that was about as likely as me getting drafted in the Top 10 of that year's draft. I'm actually rooting for Malik Willis but I knew he belonged in later rounds. He was drafted in the 3rd and was given a shot last year - it didn't go well. The Titans drafted Will Levis and it seemed like the Malik Willis experiment was over. The news out of Tennessee the last couple months has been how well Will Levis was doing.

However, this week's official depth chart listed Malik Willis as QB2 and Coach Vrabel talked about how incredible the improvement has been in Willis.

The QB battle is significant. Tannehill is QB1 for sure, but he has proven to be a guy that gets injured here and there. QB2 is a luxurious job for the Titans. I can't wait to see Willis and Levis battle it out.


If you've been following me for a while, you know that I am not a big believer in Will Levis. However, I think he landed in a beautiful situation. He has one of the best running backs in the league. He has one of the best receivers in the league (I said what I said). He has a coach with Super Bowl rings. The noise around out of Nashville has been that Levis looks amazing. However, they listed him behind Malik Willis in the first depth chart of the season. A lot can change between now and when/if that opportunity comes. I can't wait to see both QBs compete in the preseason over the next month.



I was convinced that AR15 was going to be a 2024 plan. Gardner Minshew is a solid option for QB1 while the offense focuses around Jonathan Taylor (I believe that situation will work out). However, the Colts are leaving the door open for either to be considered as the Week 1 starter. If the hype out of Indy is real, that may very well be Anthony Richardson. I am more skeptical than the majority of Colts' fans about him being NFL ready. But I am absolutely excited to see what he's got in the coming weeks!

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