Carroll: Offseason Outlook for QBs

Updated: February 6, 2007, 5:50 PM ET
By Will Carroll | ESPN.com
So the season is done, the celebrations here in Indy are over, and you, the fantasy player, are getting ready either for NASCAR or baseball, right? Not if you want to win next year. Football has no offseason anymore, and the savvy fantasy player is looking at his keepers and to the draft to see who'll be the next Vince Young or Reggie Bush. It won't surprise you to hear me say that one of the things you need to watch in the offseason is the injury status of your players. Without the beat reporters there every day, it's hard to keep up with the surgeries, the rehabs and even the offseason injuries that inevitably happen in the minicamps. That's why I'm here. Today, we'll take a quick look at the quarterbacks as we start a weekly look around the league:

Donovan McNabb: Everyone's watching McNabb's rehab, wondering if he's more Daunte Culpepper or Carson Palmer. He's neither. McNabb has come back from injury before, giving us a baseline for his health. He's no longer the mobile QB he once was, but he's hardly a statue in the pocket, a big concern for Palmer early this season. McNabb's knee might be a bit more complex to come back from than a broken leg, but really, the effect is similar. Unlike Culpepper, McNabb was putting up Pro Bowl numbers before the injury. No matter who his backup is, McNabb remains an elite QB, but one whose history of injury has to adjust his draft position or at the very least, force those that pick him to back him up with someone a round or two higher than they would otherwise.

Philip Rivers: Rivers ended the season with a significant sprain, though he played well in the Chargers loss. That shouldn't affect him long term and he has no real history of injury in his college career. Rivers will have a new offensive coordinator and that's the bigger concern here. The Chargers figure to open up the options for their young QB next season, but he'll be protected by both a great young line and the threat of LaDainian Tomlinson. If he gets another receiver to go with Eric Parker or remembers that Antonio Gates is on his team, Rivers could join the elite level.

Will Carroll | email

ESPN Fantasy Games
Will Carroll writes two injury columns per week relating to fantasy football for ESPN.com. Carroll can also be seen on The Fantasy Show Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. He also writes baseball injury articles on www.baseballprospectus.com.

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