Jaws: Carson Palmer is 21st-best QB

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:55
PM ET
Suddenly, Ron Jaworski has ranked half of the starting quarterbacks in the AFC West.

A day after he put Kansas City’s Matt Cassel at No. 22, Jaworski has ranked Oakland’s Carson Palmer as the 21st best quarterback in the NFL. Jaworski is ranking the top 30 quarterbacks in the NFL.

I do think Palmer is the third-best quarterback in the AFC West, but I think Jaworski is under-ranking him some. I’d put Palmer in the 15-17 range. There is no doubt Palmer, 32, is declining and his interception numbers are too high. But I think he still has a quality arm and he is a good fit for the Oakland receivers.

To his credit, Jaworski does find some good things to say about Palmer. Let’s look at what he has to say: “Number 21 in my quarterback rankings is Carson Palmer. From 2005 to 2007, Palmer was among the top three quarterbacks in the league. Things have certainly changed in the last five years. But one thing remains -- Palmer can still make big-time NFL throws.

“You have to be willing to pull the trigger on tight-window throws; that kind of aggressive confidence is part of Palmer's DNA. That's an attribute that I've always liked about Palmer. You can't be tentative and uncertain in the pocket. You have to turn it loose. Now, we know there's a fine line between belief and poor judgment, and Palmer at times crosses that line. But the explosive plays don't come if you don't throw it.”

“Palmer had the highest interception percentage of any AFC starting quarterback. Overall, he threw 16 picks. Three came in his first game when he was forced to play before he was ready, after missing all of training camp and the season's first six weeks.”

“I evaluated all of Palmer's interceptions. As expected, the reasons were many: poor ball location to open receivers, pass rush pressure which led to inaccurate throws, questionable decision making, which just can't happen in the red zone with a veteran quarterback. Overall, Palmer showed some glimpses of what we saw in the past. He remains a pure pocket passer with the arm talent to make outstanding throws.

“I'm a big Carson Palmer fan, so I am very anxious to see Palmer in 2012. He was erratic and inconsistent with his accuracy and his decision making last season. That must improve or he'll remain a middle-of-the-pack quarterback.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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