Ranking 32 NFL QBs by tier

26. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars (4.15 average rating)

Lots of people loved Henne -- as a backup. "He'll have one good game and then have trouble repeating it," one GM said.

27. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills (4.24 average rating)

Manuel hasn't played enough to register with evaluators. Twenty-three voters placed him in the bottom two tiers. The two former GMs were higher on Manuel, placing him in the third tier. "I think he can beat you from the pocket and be an NFL passer and some of that is having studied him before the draft," one ex-GM said. "I still have some belief in him. EJ has some intangibles. He can process information that the Geno Smiths and Jake Lockers of the world cannot process well enough to be good from the pocket."

A defensive coordinator whose team faced the Bills last season questioned Buffalo's approach. "They tried to run some Cam Newton stuff with him, but I think he is a pocket passer," the coordinator said. "What are they doing with him? He may be a three-minus, but I would give him a four right now."

28. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings (4.27 average rating)

Cassel was at his best in New England and Kansas City under Charlie Weis. There's some thought among evaluators that he has a tendency to hold the ball and stare down his receivers in the absence of proactive coaching. Perhaps Norv Turner can help him out. "Everything has to be right to win games with him," a GM said.

29. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns (4.28 average rating)

Hoyer and Henne drew positive reviews as backups, but not as starters. "Hoyer is a great backup," one defensive coordinator said. "He can win some games for you, but if he had to start all 16, that's going to be tough."

A head coach put it this way: "He is a four leaning toward a three, but he is a four. He is OK. He is smart. He gets the ball out quick. He knows what he's doing in the New England system. He was playing pretty well for the Browns last year before he got hurt."

30. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans (4.35 average rating)

Fitzpatrick ranked a respectable 16th in Total QBR last season (55.4). That was better than the figures for Roethlisberger (54.3) or Stafford (52.5), but the reviews from evaluators were almost universally negative -- overly so, in my opinion.

"The one thing he gives you is, he is not a statue in the pocket," a former head coach said. "At least he can move around a little bit. He would rather play empty-set football. It's kind of how he made his money in Buffalo. I don't know that Bill O'Brien is going to do that with him in Houston."

31. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (4.42 average rating)

The Titans were 4-3 when Locker started last season. He had eight TD passes, four INTs and a respectable 58.1 QBR score. That seemed encouraging, and yet compliments for Locker were scarce.

"Locker never showed from college that he could do it from the pocket," one GM said.

The hope in Tennessee is that a new coaching staff and better luck with injuries could help Locker ascend to a higher tier. "We'll see," a former GM said. "Guys like Locker can be run-around guys. To me, Jake's die has been cast."

32. Geno Smith, New York Jets (4.48 average rating)

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