12. Trey Lance/Brock Purdy/Sam Darnold (49ers) - Week 8
One of the biggest question marks going into this season will be who is starting for the 49ers. They were completely depleted by the NFC Championship game last season. Brock Purdy went down early with an injury essentially leaving them without a quarterback because Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were already injured.
Purdy was playing well up until he got injured and seems to be the logical choice to start if he is good to go. Kyle Shanahan believes in Trey Lance, possibly more than anyone else.
However, a previous injury from 2021 could spell trouble for Lance as well. This could mean that Sam Darnold will be starting mid-season for the 49ers.
This was the toughest one to place because depending on who is starting the ranking would change. However, since there is so much uncertainty in the 49ers camp, this low spot seems accurate. The only one that shows true promise is Purdy, but who knows how long his torn UCL will take to heal?
11. Deshaun Watson (Browns) - Weeks 1 & 18
Our boys will be beginning and ending the season against our Ohio rivals. This will be Deshaun Watson's first full season after his suspension due to his off-field allegations of sexual assault which you can read about here courtesy of CNN.
Watson returned to the field on December 11 of last year to play a total of five games in the 2022 season. In five games he threw for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions. Rust was evident as well as many speculated that off-field issues were a mental distraction.
At one point he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league while playing for the Texans, but those days feel long forgotten now. It’s unclear whether last season was just cobwebs he needed to dust off or if he has taken a downturn.
It’s possible that the Week 18 game could be tough if he can get back on the track he was in Houston, but Week 1 in Cleveland will be tough for Watson. Though the Burrow-led Bengals have struggled against the Browns, this season opener proves favorable for Cincy.