NFL Quarterback Rankings – NFC South 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston /

Having a good quarterback is not only the key to winning your division in the NFL but a Super Bowl as well. Here are my quarterback rankings for the NFC South.

4. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The NFC South is full of good quarterbacks. So even though Jameis Winston starts off at fourth on this list, his team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will most likely be one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year.

A lot of things can change over the course of an off-season.  Free agency and the NFL Draft allowed the Bucs to add a lot of talent on offense.  In particular, the signing of wide receiver DeSean Jackson gives Winston a tremendous deep threat.  Holdover Mike Evans is already one of the best receivers in the game.

Also, rookie tight end O.J. Howard gives Jameis Winston an exciting new weapon to exploit defense with in the middle of the field.  Winston has shown a lot potential in his three seasons but 2017 could be the year he ascends into the upper level of NFL quarterbacks.

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3.  Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers

In 2015 Cam Newton was the NFL MVP.  He led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl and was the dominant performer in the league.  But an injury plagued 2016 season brought Cam Newton’s dominance to a halt and the Panthers missed the playoffs.

Like the Buccaneers and Jameis Winston, the Panthers have added more talent around Newton on offense.  Rookie running back Christian McCaffery gives Newton a great check down option and should help Newton cut the number of hits he takes running the football.

So with more tools to use on offense, Newton should have a bounce back season in 2017.  However, he will be a bit rusty early on as he’s only played one series of the preseason.  But if he can stay healthy, Cam Newton will return to his MVP caliber play this year.

2.  Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees remains one of the most prolific passers in the NFL.  He could pass for 5,000 yards in his sleep.  However, while the other teams in the division have steadily added talent, the New Orleans Saints have lost it (Jimmy Graham, Brandin Cooks, etc.).

But that might all be changing this year as the Saints have added more talent around Brees.  We’ll see them running the ball a little more with the signing of Adrian Peterson.  That should open more passing lanes for Brees and make the offense more efficient.

However, although there’s more talent around Drew Brees, there are other teams in the division that has more.  With Cam Newton healthy again and Jameis Winston emerging, it could be tough for Brees to hold on to the number two spot in 2017.

1.  Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons

After spending years on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback, Matt Ryan finally lived up to his potential.  Leading the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl and capturing his first NFL MVP award.  But after an epic super bowl collapse can Ryan keep up his MVP level of play in 2017?

2016 offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.  Steve Sarkisian has replaced him but offensive play calling may take a slight hit.  But to compensate for this, the Atlanta Falcons have assembled the most talented offense in the division.

Next: NFL Quarterback Rankings - NFC East 2017

They have the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones and a fleet of other talented receivers. They have possibly the best running back tandem in the league in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.  With an improving offensive line, Matt Ryan will remain among the elite QB’s in the NFL.