QB Position Battles (08/03/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NFL Camp Competition – which quarterbacks start for the Texans, Bills and Eagles?

In the lead up to the release of our 2015 NFL Preview we look at some of the most interesting position battles occurring at training camps around the league. First up, quarterbacks.

The 2015 NFL Preview will be available on August 6th.

Houston Texans

The Texans continue to search for an answer at quarterback. Houston won nine games last year despite starting a combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Tom Savage and Case Keenum. Mallett is in the mix to start again this year but Houston signed Brian Hoyer to a two-year deal worth $10.5 million in the offseason.

Hoyer had a 10-6 career record as the starter for the Cleveland Browns. He has experience with Bill O'Brien's offense from their time together in New England but he did lose his starting spot last year because of bad play.

Mallett has room to grow but with only 79 career pass attempts, Hoyer, the more seasoned signal caller, is likely to start Week 1. Both quarterbacks are expected to see action throughout the season.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Quarterback Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
Brian Hoyer 2432.5 17.9 10.4
Ryan Mallett 1112.3 8.1 5.0

Buffalo Bills

The options at quarterback aren't great for new Head Coach Rex Ryan. EJ Manuel is the incumbent but the former first round pick has struggled adjusting to the speed of the NFL. The Bills traded for Matt Cassel in the offseason hoping the one-time Pro Bowler could be a stopgap, as Manuel remains a work in progress.

Unfortunately for the franchise, neither Manuel nor Cassel ­­­has stepped up in camp. The pair combined to go 1-for-8 on passes with the first team offense this past Saturday. If your quarterback can't be accurate, perhaps he can be athletic. Some Bills fans think that Tyrod Taylor could be the answer under center but the ex-Raven is still a major unknown.

Despite looking out of sorts thus far in camp, Manuel is the projected starter. In our current simulations we have Taylor as the backup. After OTAs, Cassel was in danger of not only losing the starting gig but also his roster spot.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Quarterback Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
EJ Manuel 2,905.20 20.2 15.4
Tyrod Taylor 446.6 3.1 2.3

Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly traded for Sam Bradford back in March, signed Tim Tebow in April and has a pair of former USC quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley, on the roster. Though there is a gaggle of passers on the team, Bradford and Sanchez are the favorites to start.

Bradford is attempting to come back from two ACL tears in the last two seasons. Sanchez won five games as the Eagles starter a year ago but is currently No. 2 on the depth chart. A healthy Bradford could make Kelly's offense really hum, but injuries have always been a problem for 2010 first overall pick.

By our numbers, Bradford is the better option at quarterback but like last year, expect to see Sanchez under center at some point. Bradford is projected to play in 12 games. Health is a skill, one that Bradford does not possess.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Quarterback Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
Sam Bradford 3,034.60 23.3 10.4
Mark Sanchez 1,165.60 7.6 4.5