Player Profiling: NFL Quarterback Rankings

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Player Profiling: NFL Quarterback Rankings
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Ranking and analyzing the league's best quarterbacks.

1. Peyton Manning (IND)

This is basically a tie between No. 1 and 2. Peyton’s leadership, I believe, separates himself from most quarterbacks. Yes he has the laser arm and perfect placement, but he is also one of the best game-managing quarterbacks today.

His Hall of Fame resume consists of multiple records, 3 MVP awards and a Super Bowl ring. He is one of the best players at taking over a game and leading an offense in clutch situations.

I’m not too concerned about Peyton’s protection, and Addai and Brown should be a tough rushing attack for teams to stop.

Clark and Wayne haven’t shown any signs of slowing down, plus Gonzalez is still developing. When it comes to it, Peyton should manage fine with the offense he has.

2. Tom Brady (NE)

If you think Brady should be No. 1, I can’t really argue. He can go down as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL ever.

He holds the single-season TD pass record and three Super Bowl rings. Brady is a very precise player and is coming back with motivation.

I believe they are overall better than their 18-1 team due to the depth they added during the off-season. The offensive line didn’t go anywhere, so Brady’s protection shouldn’t change too much.

Maroney and Taylor’s play only enhances a pretty solid rushing corps (with Faulk and Morris). Moss, Welker and Watson will all be back; and the addition of Galloway gives Brady another reliable target.

Brady should feel more comfortable than ever with the weapons he has; which could be very dangerous for the NFL as a whole.

3. Drew Brees (NO)

I think Brees has the strongest arm in the league. He can fit the ball in any window and shows more heart than any other quarterback. He has the ability and characteristics to win a league MVP award.

Asking him to lead the current New Orleans offense to a Super Bowl might be too much, but his stats and desire to win set him apart from most quarterbacks. His talented arm only adds to his great personality as a football player.

Colston and Moore give Brees a pretty reliable receiving corps, but Shockey needs to get his head on his shoulders.

If Brees could get a little more help from his line and more consistency from the backfield, his MVP status could be even with players like Brady, Peterson and Manning.

4. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)

Big Ben doesn’t get enough respect as an NFL quarterback. He is the toughest quarterback in the league today.

Ben has a unique style to the position: he has a strong and accurate release and can break away from most tackles.

In his four-year career, Ben has two Super Bowl rings. You can say Pittsburgh’s defense carried Ben (which they pretty much did), but he threw the game-winning touchdown to Holmes.

He is a winner any way you want to look at it. The offensive line didn’t improve too much, so Big Ben might be under pressure again.

To sum it up, Ben’s “ugly” style to the quarterback position obviously works for him and the Steelers. Like him or not, he is a tough player with a winning mindset.

5. Eli Manning (NYG)

He is a Manning, so he’s got to be good. Eli is just a composed quarterback who knows how to play football. All Eli really needs to be successful is a decent line and smart receivers.

Eli was crushed by the media more than any other player in the NFL, but his composure to succeed was too strong.

He is an enjoyable guy to play with and has really taken over as a leader on the team (seemed to catch on when Tiki jumped ship).

Again, you can say New York’s defense carried Eli to the Super Bowl; but Eli threw the game-winning touchdown pass. It all comes down to what you can do in any given situation.

Eli will have to rely on Nicks, Smith, and Hixon to step it up; but New York’s running game should be the centerpiece of their offense. Manning’s composed mindset and winning ability is very rare.

6. Donovan McNabb (PHI)

McNabb is one of the hardest quarterbacks to contain in the league. He cannot only make any throw on the field, but he can read the field while moving inside or outside the pocket.

McNabb’s biggest weakness might be his ego; but with an improving team, he might need to step up as the leader of this Eagle club.

McNabb has already proven he is a straight baller in this league, and I believe his injury days have passed for the most part.

Westbrook comes and goes every season, and they are still missing a reliable tight end.

I still think he needs a true No. 1 receiver if Philly wants a Lombardi trophy, but McNabb has the ability and mindset to lead this team far.

7. Jay Cutler (CHI)

You can say Cutler didn’t do anything with Denver, but he did make a Pro Bowl. He has one of the most accurate throws with a lot of velocity.

His stats continue to increase each year and he now has a much more reliable defense that should help him succeed. The protection in Chicago will be better than it was in Denver, as well as the rushing game.

Olsen and Clark can relate to Scheffler and Graham, so Cutler should be comfortable with Chicago’s two tight ends.

Cutler might not have been able to lead Denver, but Chicago gives him more weapons to become successful than Denver did.

This is a guy who could be the difference in Chicago wining a Super Bowl down the long run.

8. Matt Ryan (ATL)

Matt Ryan is a rare gem, plain and simple. He can make any throw from any part of the field. Ryan is a very smart decision maker with tons of confidence in himself and his teammates.

He can put perfect touch on the long ball (with perfect placement) and bullet throws into tight coverage. He reads the field like one of the best and looked like a veteran in his rookie year.

His offense is well-rounded and the addition of Gonzalez only enhances Ryan’s chance at success.

He has MVP candidate talent, but he still has a lot of learning before reaching that status on a serious level.

9. Phillip Rivers (SD)

Phillip has got to play with a chip on his shoulder this year. Rivers is probably one of the best competitors in the NFL as well as one of the toughest quarterbacks.

His ability as a leader should go unquestioned; and now with Merriman returning, the San Diego defense should spot him nicely. It also doesn’t hurt to have LT, Chambers, Jackson and Gates to work with.

Rivers’ accuracy has surprised me more than anything in his career, and his delivery has improved as well.

Rivers could have his best year of his career, but he will need to be focused, determined, and clutch to be considered one of the best in the league.

10. Carson Palmer (CIN)

The only thing slowing Carson down is his injuries. He was groomed perfectly for the Bengals' starting job, and I still believe he is a franchise quarterback.

I like the leadership he has displayed over the years and has a solid one-two receiving duo in Ochocinco and Coles.

Palmer has a very powerful and accurate arm; and if he has enough time, Ochocinco and Coles could have a very productive year.

I believe Benson will play better, but not consistent. Palmer played well when he came back from his knee injury, so I have no reason to doubt he can do it again.

Despite the result of Cincinnati’s year, Palmer could put up Pro Bowl numbers.

11. Tony Romo (DAL)

Tony Romo has as much skill as any quarterback in the league. He still has learning to do when it comes to being a championship player, but his talent is still remarkable.

The problem with Romo is that he approaches the game too laid back. You can not be a serious champion caliber player if you take a laid-back approach.

Romo does a good job of staying composed with the media, however. His mindset could be worse, but the talent around him only makes him better.

Dallas has a great two tight-end set, two explosive backs, a proven No. 1 receiver and a pretty solid defense.

Ultimately, the player across the field from Romo, I feel, has more desire to win a game as the season drags on.

I’m not saying he is not talented; he has playoff experience and a great cast, but he needs to take over consistently which I think comes from his attitude.

12. Kurt Warner (ARI)

This guy is in Canton already. He obviously still has the talent and leadership to lead an offense to the Super Bowl. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are a large part, but someone’s got to throw them the ball.

He brings a winning attitude and veteran leadership role to the Arizona locker room. We will see if the offensive line can play consistent for him, but ultimately Warner has one of the two best receivers in the league.

Beanie might be a nice surprise, and Hightower runs pretty hard. Warner is surrounded by enough talent to lead Arizona’s offense in the right direction.

The only thing I’d be worried about Kurt is his health, but he took some shots last year and still played well.

13. Matt Hasselbeck (SEA)

Hasselbeck has proven himself already in this league. He obviously has the talent and leadership to take an offense far into the NFL season.

Signing TJ was huge for Seattle; and with a returning Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, and John Carlson, this could be a dangerous passing team.

They don’t have a solid line or backfield though. Hasselbeck will be the player Seattle runs their offense through, and he should play nicely for the most part.

With hardly a running game though, Hasslebeck’s success might not be enough for Seattle to contend for a playoff.

14. Matt Schaub (HOU)

Matt Schaub just needs to stay healthy. He has great vision and likes to take risks, some backfire, but at least he has some guts.

Andre Johnson gives him a very reliable receiver and usually draws double coverage to get others open.

Slaton might take some pressure of Schaub’s shoulders, but Schaub has the capability to throw for 250 yards and two or more touchdowns each game (granted that Slaton and Johnson play in those games).

Schaub can escape the pocket pretty decently as well, and Owen Daniels is progressing as a pretty solid tight end.

Schaub puts himself in situations to get hurt though; so if he can’t stay healthy, he will never make that leap as a great player.

If Schaub can play a full season with Johnson, Daniels and Slaton, then he has the potential to finish in the top five in passing yards.

15. Joe Flacco (BAL)

Flacco has proven he can do enough for Baltimore to contend in the AFC (offensively). He was pretty solid for a rookie from a Division 1-AA school to lead an NFL offense to the playoffs.

He made dumb rookie throws at times, but he has some of the best zip and accuracy in the league. He does a good job moving with his feet, but he runs carelessly which may cost him at some point.

His backfield takes a lot of pressure off of him (as well as the defense), but he can only get better which is kind of scary to think about.

Baltimore looked like one of the best teams last year, and Flacco was just a rookie. It’s the same thing with Ryan; they can only get better (unless they get hurt).

16. Aaron Rodgers (GB)

I always preferred Rodgers over Smith, but this kid is getting killed by opponents. He has such great toughness, leadership, and ability to be a top quarterback.

His receiving corps helps, but Grant needs to be more consistent this year. The offensive line needs to pick up pass rushes better, because Rodgers is making plays with barely any time.

He would pick defenses apart if he had Tom Brady time in the pocket. Rodgers did make bad decisions and turned the ball over a lot; but he should play much more confident this year, which should lead to good decision making.

I trust Rodgers as a franchise quarterback in this league; I’m just not sure if it’s right now.

17. Jake Delhomme (CAR)

Despite his age, Delhomme is a very good quarterback. He has a good leadership role and has the arm to complete incredibly risky passes. His offensive line is pretty solid and the rushing game is relentless.

Delhomme is playing with one of the best receivers (and MVP caliber) in Steve Smith. I thought he played too wild last year, which I think will hurt him this year if he repeats that style.

Delhomme fits in nicely with the Carolina organization and all-in-all is a solid quarterback. He helped take Carolina to a Super Bowl before, so I do trust him.

I just don’t know how consistent he will be this year, but throwing to Smith is such a huge advantage.

18. Chad Pennington (MIA)

He is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. How do you win more than one Comeback Player of the Year Award? That would be an insult to me.

He has taken two teams to the playoffs now, and helped beat out Belichick’s Patriots for the AFC East title.

He may not be the flashiest quarterback, but he gets the job done. He is a very accurate passer and is under-rated when it comes to mobility.

He has proven he can do what it takes to win, but can he stay healthy and consistent should be the only questions for Pennington right now.

19. Kerry Collins (TEN)

This is another underrated quarterback in the league. He helped lead New York to a Super Bowl and Tennessee into the playoffs.

Collins is most effective when his offensive line is productive. His two-headed backfield helps as well.

Collins can make the smart decisions in clutch moments, which Vince Young needs to learn in order to be great. Collins should be the starter for now, but I’m not sure how much longer.

He is a quarterback who makes his receivers better, which is hard to find in the league. If Vince Young can learn anything from Collins, he could be a dangerous passer in the future.

20. Jason Campbell (WAS)

Campbell has the skill to be a good quarterback in this league. He has very good accuracy and a strong delivery.

His decision making has not improved, however, and I’m starting to wonder if he can carry an offense when someone on the team goes down.

Washington has surrounded him with a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. Campbell fits in nicely with their offense, he just needs to make better decisions on a consistent basis.

21. Marc Bulger (STL)

Bulger may be past his prime, and he cannot get the job done on his own. He is a safe and reliable player when he has weapons around him.

Bulger’s best year was when he had Holt and Bruce to throw the ball to and offensive line issues have hurt Bulger in recent memory. He makes good decisions and has basically fought adversity his entire career.

None of the receivers St. Louis has can compare to Holt or Bruce, but Jackson will take a lot off of Bulger.

The offensive line did improve from the past two years, so Bulger may have some success, but it shouldn’t be consistent for an entire NFL season.

Bulger is a guy who has the ability to lead the Rams offense in the right direction, but he needs more help in order to be a top quarterback like he was three to four years ago.

22. Matt Cassel (KC)

This is going to be the biggest quarterback question in the NFL. Can Matt Cassel continue to play like he did in New England? As of right now, I give the coaching staff credit for preparing such an inexperienced player in such a short amount of time.

Cassel did show that he can make pinpoint passes with good reads. He won’t have the same offensive line that he had in New England, but the skill players around him could be huge factors in this guy’s development.

Cassel doesn’t have to come in and win games immediately. As long as he plays consistent, smart and limits turnovers, Cassel should fit in very comfortably with the Kansas City organization.

He doesn’t have to impress this year, but he can’t play out of rhythm, either. Overall, Cassel’s numbers this year shouldn’t highlight what he can become in Kansas City long-term.

23. David Garrard (JAC)

This is one of the most difficult quarterbacks to contain in the league. He has a strong, accurate throw and the mobility to escape most rushes. I honestly do not know what went wrong for Garrard last year.

Obviously he turned the ball over a lot more, but what could have caused that? He had a lot more pressure as someone to take over the team last year and seemed to make bad decisions throughout most games.

Torry Holt’s arrival will boost his chances at success this year, and the offensive line will be ready to roll.

Garrard’s success and attitude comes from everyone else around him; so if Jacksonville can roll on all cylinders this year, Garrard might put up successful numbers.

He is a solid starting quarterback who needs to prove he can take over as a franchise leader of this Jaguar club.

24. Shaun Hill (SF)

This is a very under-rated player. Hill has the determination and desire to lead an NFL offense into the post-season.

Well, at least this year he does (mainly because of Singletary). Hill should have mediocre to above-average success under Singletary; not to mention reliable targets in the receiving game and a running back who can change a game with one play.

Hill is good enough to manage this offense with the coaches and players around him. He turned the ball over a lot last season, but expect a more educated quarterback behind center for the Niners.

25. Brady Quinn (CLE)

With the few games Quinn played last year, he impressed me. He still has a couple playmakers around him, but not as many as he did last season.

Quinn needs to prove he can fill in as a franchise quarterback, because that’s what Cleveland drafted him for. He has a quick, but accurate delivery that is tough for opposing defenders to knock away.

He can fit tight windows, but his lack of experience may hurt his overall success this season.

His struggles shouldn’t disappoint because he will make stupid decisions at times this year; but speaking long-term, his talent is definitely good enough to lead a franchise in the future.

This should be a “growing pains” season for Quinn.

26. Vince Young (TEN)

He probably won’t get the PT to put up successful numbers, but he has proven he is a winner. Despite his ugly stats when he did play, Young continues to take any offense he starts for to the post-season.

His determination and skill set him apart from most quarterbacks, but his bad decision making ultimately cost him his starting job.

He is still young though, and he obviously has to learn what risky throws are worth the risk. His NFL knowledge is the only thing that should come into question when discussing Vince’s weaknesses.

Overall, he is a talented and determined player with a lot more heart than brain. Instead of complaining about his PT, he should be taking as many notes as possible from Kerry Collins.

27. Trent Edwards (BUF)

This will be the year Buffalo determines if they believe Edwards is the quarterback for the franchise. The addition of Owens pretty much gives Trent no more excuses to fail.

Buffalo could have the one of the best one-two receiving duos in the league, and Marshawn is as determined a runner as any other player.

The offensive line might not help Edwards out as much as his skill players around him, but the front office seems to be confident in their decision making.

Edwards is a smart, composed player with a great attitude. Hopefully, he can overcome his concussions and play with a determination to play well.

He doesn’t have to win games for Buffalo, but just be consistent and confident.

He has the talent around him to succeed; but when it is said and done, the success for Buffalo as a championship organization in the future comes down to Trent Edwards.

28. Kyle Orton (DEN)

Orton actually had a very low-key, yet successful season last year. He played with a ton of poise and always rallied his team through the air when they needed it.

He did deal with a lot of pressure, considering Forte was still learning the game and their receivers were still developing.

Orton has great accuracy with the long ball and steps into a pocket with tons of confidence (despite pass rushes).

He kind of reminds me of a young Kerry Collins; and since McDaniels did hand-pick Orton from Chicago, his career might be bright in the future. Will it be bright this year for Orton?

Denver still has a lot of questions as an organization as a whole, but Orton has the ability to lead a team deep with the right coaches, system, and players around him.

29. Tarvaris Jackson (MIN)

When Brad Childress said he was the next Donovan McNabb, I tried to figure out why.

He didn’t play so hot when he was the starter last year; but after being benched, a light turned on for Jackson.

He limited his turnovers during the back-stretch of the season. He only showed signs of improvement concluding last year and should play with a little more attitude this year (mainly because I don’t believe Sage Rosenfels has any business in the starting quarterback talk).

If he can develop an attitude from his quarterback competition and make the decisions he made at the end of last season, then Jackson could be a nice fit for Minnesota in the future.

His consistency needs to be proven, but he has the talent and mindset to be a dangerous player in this league.

30. JaMarcus Russell (OAK)

He has a strong arm and a big body. He still has a lot to learn about the NFL game and needs maturing. He has the talent and size to be an effective player for this franchise, but his football knowledge is lacking.

He has improved since his rookie season and the Fargas/McFadden combination helps Russell through the ground and air. The Oakland offensive line has been horrible since their Super Bowl appearance.

The defense is good enough to give Russell opportunities to win close games. He is progressing each year, but still has a long way to become a top quarterback in this league.

DHB is a bigger asset than most people realize and could be the receiver that connects best with Russell on that team.

31. Derek Anderson (CLE)

Failed when given the franchise job in Browns Town, and will now probably have to wait his turn behind the lovable Quinn unless he gets traded out (or Quinn gets hurt).

32. Jeff Garcia (OAK)

He can still be a productive leader for Oakland, and may even start over Russell. His leadership and success comes and goes each season (a more inconsistent Pennington), but he has proven he can lead an offense to the post-season.

33. Chris Simms (DEN)

He hasn’t played since his spleen almost burst in Tampa. He proved he does enough to win games on a consistent basis and faced death while playing a football game. How do you not like this player?

34. Dante Culpepper (DET)

He has progressed nicely each year after his knee surgery. He told the media he didn’t go to Kansas City because he found a team that will give him a long-term chance.

Long-term or not, he should get the start in Detroit this year. He is the best option at quarterback and it will give Stafford time to learn the position.

35) Kellen Clemens (NYJ)

The same thing in Detroit applies here. New York should start the quarterback with better knowledge of the playbook and NFL in general.

36. Luke McCown (TB)

I’m not sold on McCown as the future quarterback for Tampa. He is a back-up at best and has yet to show any signs of becoming a serious franchise player. McCown might be the starter at the beginning of the year, but probably won’t finish as it.

37. Matthew Stafford (DET)

Let him sit out an entire year so he can learn the NFL game as well as the Detroit offense. His skill and attitude remind me of a Phillip Rivers, but his knowledge is not even close. That is what Stafford needs to work on.

38. Alex Smith (SF)

He is not good enough to be an NFL franchise quarterback. Smith is a reliable back-up for most NFL teams; but as a serious starter, he has had more than enough opportunities to prove it.

The only way he can get better is with a fresh start, but don’t expect high numbers from Smith now or in the future.

39. Mark Sanchez (NYJ)

If Sanchez can stay composed and confident, he might be a successful quarterback. He still has a lot to learn (as does every rookie), but the team around him will only make him better. His attitude is great and he seems like a great team player.

For a franchise’s sake, I would bench him for (at least) the first half of the season. He can be the Jets' golden boy; but patience is a virtue, and the Jets organization, I think, should be patient with him.

40. Matt Moore (CAR)

I believe Moore is ready to start for some NFL teams right now. He played impressive his rookie year, filling in for the injured Jake Delhomme.

Everything about Moore looked impressive except for his timing when making decisions. That comes with being a rookie, however.

Given the right place and time, Moore could be a franchise leader for a football club in the future.

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