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Top 10 Young NFL Quarterbacks Who Could Be Starters

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10 Talented Young Passers Who Could Be Starters

Mallett
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the NFL, quarterback is by far the most important position. If the quarterback isn’t doing well or there isn’t one of notable ability on the roster, you better bet that your team is in for a bad time.

We all know the big names in the NFL – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees – but what about the other passers who are still waiting for their opportunity under center?

The league is flooded with former college standouts hoping to throw their way onto a roster, but it’s not often that one of those hopefuls has enough talent to earn a coveted spot with one of the NFL’s 32 teams. Even practice squad spots are reserved for the most potential-laden of the young passers bouncing around the league.

There are, however, several intriguing young quarterbacks who look like they could be something special in the not-so-distant future. Many of these youngsters aren’t getting their opportunities to play for one reason or another, whether it be inexperience, a veteran starter, injuries, or something else.

While they might not be starters right now, the potential is there for that to change. These 10 quarterbacks all have flashed the talent and leadership needed to be a No. 1 passer in the NFL, and are just waiting for their shot to shine.

One way or another, there’s a good possibility that you’ll see all of them getting a start for one of the league’s 32 teams in the next few years.

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10. Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles

Barkley
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In one year, Barkley went from a first-round talent to a fourth-round draft pick. During his senior year at USC, he displayed the inconsistency and physical limitations that NFL coaches hadn’t previously seen. Still, the Eagles took a chance on him this past April and are hoping that he can eventually develop into a capable quarterback. His college resume is fairly impressive and the intangibles are there, but USC quarterbacks also have a history of flopping in the NFL. Stay tuned.

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9. Matt McGloin, Oakland Raiders

McGloin
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

An unheralded passer out of Penn State, McGloin went undrafted back in April and was eventually picked up by the Raiders. Not only did the rookie turn heads in a hurry once Oakland kicked off training camp, but he ended up beating out fourth-rounder Tyler Wilson for the No. 3 quarterback job. Considering the Raiders’ ugly situation under center, don’t be surprised if McGloin gets an opportunity to take the reins of the offense at some point this season.

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8. Tyler Bray, Kansas City Chiefs

Bray
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

A typical case of prototypical quarterback who has all the tools but small football IQ, Bray’s college career was characterized by inadvertent passes and untimely interceptions. Still, the fact that he has arguably the strongest arm of the 2013 class can’t be overlooked. He looked good for the Chiefs during the preseason and has considerable potential if he can put it all together upstairs. Having Andy Reid as his head coach will definitely help in that department.

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7. Jeff Tuel, Buffalo Bills

Tuel
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn’t for a quick recovery by E.J. Manuel, Tuel might have already gotten his first start despite entering the NFL only six months ago. The undrafted rookie was extremely impressive during the preseason, showing the type of polished passing you wouldn’t expect from a quarterback who many draft analysts thought wasn’t capable of playing in the NFL. He might never get an opportunity with the Bills, but Tuel could eventual develop into a capable starter somewhere.

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6. Brad Sorensen, San Diego Chargers

Sorensen
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

By all appearances, Sorensen is the prototypical NFL quarterback. He has the size, arm strength and smarts to be a starting-caliber passer. Unfortunately, his college production didn’t quite match the potential that he possesses. The Chargers brought him on as a project who could learn behind Philip Rivers, and it’s been promising so far. After an outstanding showing during the preseason, Sorensen has San Diego excited about his long-term upside.

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5. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans

Yates
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yates has lived in Matt Schaub’s shadow since joining the Texans, but the heat that the starter is getting could force Houston to look elsewhere. If that’s the case, Yates could finally get his opportunity to take the reins. He played well when thrust into the starting role during his rookie season, and almost carried the Texans to a playoff win. If Schaub really is under the ax, Yates could get his chance sooner rather than later.

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4. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Foles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Even though he likely was never given a fair chance, the fact that Foles was given an opportunity to “compete” for the Eagles’ starting job says a lot about his talent. He flew under the radar during college, but managed to make believers out of Philadelphia after filling in for Michael Vick as a rookie. Depending on how much more Vick has in the tank, Foles could soon take over as the Eagles No. 1 and shouldn’t disappoint.

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3. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos

Osweiler
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As much as sitting on the bench stinks, Osweiler couldn’t have asked for a better mentor to learn under. Peyton Manning is having the season of his career, and the second-year passer gets to just sit back and ride the future Hall of Famer’s achievements to a likely Super Bowl appearance. When Manning finally hangs it up, though, Osweiler should be ready to step in and lead the Broncos. Either that, or he’ll be traded if Manning hangs around too long.

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2. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Cousins
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

We all saw last season just how efficient Cousins could be when given the opportunity to play. The Michigan State product stepped in for the injured Robert Griffin III and played extremely well, leading the Redskins to a hard-fought victory. It’s an extremely small sample to work with, but all signs point towards Cousins being a pretty solid NFL quarterback. The only question is how long it’ll take for him to find his way out of RG3’s shadow.

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1. Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots

Mallett
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

On at least half of the teams in the NFL, Mallett would be the starting quarterback. Instead, the gunslinger is with the Patriots, stuck behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. Every time rumors creep up about a team trading for a quarterback, Mallett’s name is immediately entered into the mix, and for good reason. He’s got a rocket for an arm, the prototypical size, and spent years learning under Brady. What more do you want?