In terms of which quarterbacks will be starting on week one for their NFL teams next week, here is how I would rank them:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
8. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
10. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
11. Eli Manning, New York Giants
12. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
13. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
14. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
15. Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
16. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
19. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
20. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
21. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
22. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
23. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
24. Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders
25. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns
27. Geno Smith, New York Jets
28. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
29. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings
31. Shaun Hill, St. Louis Rams
32. Ryan Mallett/Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans
Aaron Rodgers to me has been the best in the league for a few years now. He is flat out dangerous, has a rocket arm, and wicked accuracy. He also has the ability to torch any defense. Besides the San Francisco 49ers for whatever reason. If he is not number one then it’s either Peyton Manning on Tom Brady, the two usual suspects. No quarterback has ever matched Peyton Manning’s success in the regular season and not many quarterbacks have matched Brady’s success in the post season. These are clearly the top three quarterbacks in the league without much debate.
After those three it’s clearly Brees and Big Ben. Without Brees the Saints do not have the same attack on offense. They have been dominant for years due to him and Sean Payton, one of the best duos in the league. As for Pittsburgh I really do think if they did not have Big Ben for the last few years they would have been a lottery team. The fact he can survive behind the offense line and a defense that has been getting weaker year by year speaks volumes. I commend him for making them even a near .500 team.
The next two I would say are the best from the 2012 NFL draft: Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. You could rotate either one. As a Seahawks fan I would admit Andrew Luck has the bigger upside of both. In a few years you will see Andrew Luck as the number one quarterback in the league. I am not over rating the guy. He is a generational talent. Like Aaron Rodgers he has the ability to torch any defense on any given night. I saw him do it against the Seahawks. In his first year he was reckless but learned a lot and I saw a kid with skills last year. The Patriots made a mockery of him and his team in the postseason but I doubt it will happen much more often. Him and Russell Wilson are elite and two of the top young quarterbacks in the league.
This is where the list gets complicated. After deciding who has the highest upside and who is the best, who should come after? There is really no good way to rank this. I would say from what I’ve seen Rivers is still top ten. He looked rejuvenated out there last year and damn good. You could rank him even higher than that. Matt Ryan and Tony Romo are also top ten in my opinion. They have not won super bowls like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco have but they have consistency in the regular season. Tony Romo is good but unfortunately the least clutch quarterback we have ever seen in the league. Poor guy.
Cam Newton is a guy I have said will be a top five quarterback one day. He just hasn’t surpassed those ahead of him. If he repeats his dominance this year I will rank him near the top five on next years list no questions asked. Until then I think it’s fine to put him behind Eli and Joe Flacco.
I think Ryan Mallett or Fitzpatrick are the worst starting quarterbacks in the league. Whoever the Texans name. Fitzpatrick is terrible and Mallet has little to no starting experience. I can’t rank him very high. Shaun Hill was considered one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league for years. Mallett never really was because he had to sit every game for Tom Brady.]
If Blake Bortles was a starting quarterback I would rank him much higher than Chad Henne without thinking twice.
The same could be considered for Derek Carr if the Raiders choose to go with him over Matt Schaub, which I doubt for now. Matt Schaub is alright, but he might be done as a quarterback. His last time with the Texans was an awful sight. And people have said he has not looked good in the preseason for the Raiders either. Keep your eye on him and the Raiders this year.