No one knows who’s going to start as quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Not even Bruce Gradkowski.
In the latest league QB rankings, Gradkowski of PFF listed both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston as 24th overall in quarterback projections for next season. Gradkowski didn’t choose one over the other or even bother to speculate who might get the starting job. He simply listed the pros and cons of each signal-caller which, if you’ve been following any Saints news at all, have been hashed and rehashed again and again.
Hill is versatile. Winston is younger. Hill has a 3-1 record. Winston has more experience. Hill isn’t a “traditional” quarterback. Winston turns the ball over too much. And so it goes.
As a former NFL quarterback himself, Gradkowski doesn’t share a whole lot of insight about who he thinks the better pick is. He only stated the obvious, which was entrusting the wits of Sean Payton to make the right call come game time. Payton made the “smart move” to start Hill over Winston when Brees missed four games last season. That being said, if anyone can make Winston a top-caliber starting QB, it’s Payton.
The Saints offense ranked 31st in deep pass attempts last season, largely because of Brees’ struggling arm. Praising Winston’s physique and athletic ability, Gradkowski bet on Winston (and Payton’s offensive mind) to give the Saints a “facelift” and create more explosive passing plays.
He doesn’t say it, but sure seems like one quarterback has an ever-so-slight edge.
New Orleans Saints quarterbacks are ranked 24th in the league according to a former QB.
Gradkowski enjoyed an eight-year professional career with five different teams and played with as well as against some of the best quarterbacks in the league. He ended his career in Pittsburgh, where he played alongside (or more accurately, sat on the bench and watched) Ben Roethlisberger, who took the Steelers to the playoffs in 2014. (Big Ben is ranked pretty squarely in the pack at 16th, so there’s not too much favoritism there.)
Whether Gradkowski’s expertise makes his league QB rankings more trustworthy or more biased, he ranked Hill/ Winston pretty low on the list (definitely third to bottom tier) which isn’t that surprising. Also not surprising: Mahomes, Brady, Rodgers, and Wilson round out the top four.
What might be a simmering take is that Gradkowski ranks Colts quarterback Carson Wentz one place higher than Hill/ Winston at 23rd. We get that the Saints QB situations poses plentiful problems and faults, but Wentz? The ex-Phillies guy who led the league last year in interceptions (15) and sacks (50) and completed just 57 percent of his passes?
Maybe tone the disrespect down a little, Gradkowski. Just because their names don’t start with “Drew” and end in “Brees” doesn’t mean the Saints QBs are going to tank this season. Give them a chance.