Quarterback qualities: Definitive traits of eight franchise faces


Over the weekend, Philip Rivers agreed to a four-year, $83.25 million extension with the San Diego Chargers. Yes, like Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson earlier in the year, Rivers got paid. Speaking of getting paid, that's something that is also eventually forthcoming for Andrew Luck and Eli Manning. So why do these half-dozen QBs demand top dollar for their services? Well, they each have specific traits that make them special.

In the first installment of a new series, "Trait Eight," I'm taking a closer look at those six veteran quarterbacks -- as well as the two high-profile rookie signal callers. Which characteristics define each passer? What can we expect in the coming season? Let's take a look!

For more analysis on this topic, listen to the "2015 quarterback preview" edition of Daniel Jeremiah's Move The Sticks Podcast -- with special guest Brady Quinn.

Every game, all season

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Three traits: Physical, accurate, competitive. The "physical" and "competitive" characteristics go together. When you get into a third-and-3 against the Colts, you can't get this guy on the ground, inside or outside of the pocket. If he takes off on the run, you might make contact with him a yard short of the first down, but you can be darn sure he'll fall forward and move the sticks.

Expectations for 2015: Clearly, he's a top-tier MVP candidate entering this season -- especially considering the ridiculous amount of weapons he has around him.

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Three traits: Clutch, poised, aggressive. He's known for being even-keel -- never too high, never too low. And when it's money time in the biggest spots, he delivers. The challenge for Eli is just being more consistent, day in and day out.

Expectations for 2015: What if Odell Beckham Jr. can stay healthy for 16 games? Couple that with the return of Victor Cruz and the fantastic offseason addition of Shane Vereen, and I think Eli can improve on the fine numbers he posted last season. He'll be very comfortable in Year 2 of running coordinator Ben McAdoo's system.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Three traits: Size, explosive arm, run threat. You might think Cam Newton is big when you're watching him on TV, but you won't fully appreciate his stature until you're standing next to him in person. This is just an enormous individual, especially at the quarterback position. Consequently, he's a unique offensive weapon when you get inside the 5-yard line, because he's a power-running quarterback.

Expectations for 2015: Newton's production this season completely hinges on the play of his offensive line. I like the weapons Cam has on the outside -- specifically, the two power forwards in Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess -- but will he get enough time to deliver the football? That's my biggest concern.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Three traits: Tough, accurate, intelligent. Toughness, to me, stands out above everything else when you're talking about Rivers. Nobody garnered more respect in league circles than Rivers when he played with a torn ACL in the 2007 AFC title game -- that's something that will stick with him forever.

Expectations for 2015: If the Chargers can crank up their run game with the addition of first-round pick Melvin Gordon, Rivers can play his best football. The numbers might not wow you, but I think the 33-year-old can be the most efficient version of himself. Think Tony Romo with last season's vastly improved ground attack in Dallas.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Three traits: Timing, touch, athletic. What makes Tannehill an intriguing player to me is how quickly he processes everything, deftly working through his progressions. I was in Chicago for the Dolphins' preseason opener last week, and just seeing Tannehill live and in person, it was on full display. He has a really good grasp of the offense and gets the ball out of his hand in a timely manner.

Expectations for 2015: He's improved each and every year, and I think he takes another step forward this fall. I envision a big year for him, especially with the added weapons at his disposal. You haven't seen DeVante Parker yet in the preseason, due to injury, but trust me: By the end of the season, everybody will know who this guy is. I also love second-year man Jarvis Landry.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Three traits: Accurate, creative, live arm. With all of his athleticism and playmaking ability, sometimes the fact that he's a very accurate passer gets lost in the shuffle. And the ball just jumps off his hand -- he's an effortless thrower who has what scouts call "easy gas."

Expectations for 2015: With the Seahawks' offseason additions of Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett, I think we'll see more of the offense run through Wilson -- and I think he'll handle it very well.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Three traits: Quick release, speed, protects the football. Quickness is the word that comes to mind most with Mariota -- quick mind, quick feet, quick release. He's smart throwing the football, which is why he had such a low interception total at Oregon. That said, fumbles have been an issue in the past, though he improved during his time in Eugene. (Of course, he did have two turnovers in his first preseason game.)

Expectations for 2015: I think you'll see a very up-and-down season, as you'd expect from any rookie starter. But he will have some highly impressive plays, drives and games that will really spark excitement for the future among Titans fans.

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Three traits: Clutch, energetic, touch. The clutch gene is apparent here, considering all of the second-half comebacks we saw from him at Florida State. But my favorite aspect of his game is the ability to throw with touch -- it's not all fastballs. Quite simply, he delivers the football with the amount of touch that each throw demands.

Expectations for 2015: High-volume passer -- lots of touchdowns, lots of interceptions. He's ultra-aggressive, and that's something that he'll learn to rein in as he gets older and more experienced.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.



The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop