NFL Power Rankings: Who Are the NFL's Best Quarterbacks?

Carl RagsdaleCorrespondent IIIJanuary 17, 2011

NFL Power Rankings: Who Are The NFL's Best Quarterbacks?

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    The NFL regular season is over, and it included some memorable and historic performances by quarterbacks. From the bad to the good to the great, I decided to do a power ranking of the NFL's quarterbacks.

    Included are all quarterbacks who met the minimum 14 passes per game in the ranking which gave me 31 quarterbacks, one from every team except the Browns. I then included Colt McCoy in the ranking so that all 32 teams would be represented.

    Also, I am only using performances in the regular season to judge a quarterback's ranking, so a great performance or poor performance in a recent playoff game won't be considered.

    With that said, read on to find out who the best were.


32. Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 51.7 (32nd)

    Yards Per Attempt: 5.2 (32nd)

    Touchdown Percentage: 1.003 (32nd)

    Interception Percentage: 3.010 (19th)

    Passer Rating: 58.4 (32nd)

    Clausen was a rookie quarterback on a very bad team. The Panthers' offense only managed 12.2 points per game. While not all of those struggles are Clausen's fault, he was far from efficient in his passing opportunities, ranking dead last in many key passing categories.  

    He might develop into a good quarterback in a few years, but, for now, he has the worst performance of the year.  

31. Derek Anderson, Arizona Cardinals

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 52.5 (31st)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.3 (29th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 2.141 (31st)

    Interception Percentage: 3.058 (20th)

    Passer Rating: 65.9 (31st)

    Anderson had one decent year in 2007 but has been completely inept ever since. His struggles continued this year even though he had Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston as his top receivers.

    Anderson only started nine games, being replaced by Max Hall and John Skelton at various points in the year.

30. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 60.6 (19th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.0 (18th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.073 (25th)

    Interception Percentage: 5.307 (32nd)

    Passer Rating: 69.9 (30th)

    Brett Favre will be a Hall of Fame quarterback and has most of the NFL career passing records, but his performance this year was terrible.

    Between numerous injuries and his 24 turnovers (19 interceptions, 5 lost fumbles) in 13 starts, Brett Favre was benched late in the season in favor of Tarvaris Jackson and then Joe Webb.

    Brett Favre recently filed his retirement papers, and barring another drama-filled off season, his NFL career is over.

29. Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 61.4 (16th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.7 (25th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.061 (26th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.876 (28th)

    Passer Rating: 75.4 (26th)

    Chad Henne is the type of player that shows you flashes of potential but has yet to get to the level where he should be. Every now and then, you get a really good pass or a solid game, but there are just too many bad games for Henne to make it out of the bottom five.

28. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 59.6 (23rd)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.9 (19th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.094 (20th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.924 (18th)

    Passer Rating: 82.1 (21st)

    There is no excuse for the 49ers' offense. They have Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and early round draft picks all over their offensive line.

    The 49ers' offense is underachieving, and Smith's performance is a big part of that. He has just never lived up to the number one overall draft pick that was spent on him.

27. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 57.6 (29th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.6 (26th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.036 (12th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.878 (16th)

    Passer Rating: 82.2 (20th)

    Kerry Collins started nine games after Vince Young was put on injured reserve. He had a couple of good games, most notably against the Eagles, and some terrible ones, including a game against the Dolphins where he averaged 2.6 yards per attempt.

    Combine that with the fact that he's only started nine games with the fact that in four of those nine starts he had a passer rating of 61 or worse, and Collins is number 27 on the list.

26. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage:61.8 (14th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.8 (23rd)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.436 (17th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.412 (24th)

    Passer Rating: 82.4 (19th)

    Even though Carson Palmer had receiving weapons all around him, he failed to deliver an impressive showing. His interceptions cost the Bengals several winnable games, and as a result the team finished 4-12.

25. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 59.9 (22nd)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.8 (24th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 2.703 (29th-tied)

    Interception Percentage:3.829 (27th)

    Passer Rating: 73.2 (29th)

    The only thing people seem to remember about Matt Hasselbeck from this year are his performances in the playoffs.

    However, Hasselbeck had only 12 touchdowns and 22 turnovers (17 interceptions, 5 lost fumbles) in 14 starts, and wasn't particularly efficient all year.

    His impressive playoff games might be enough to save his job though.

24. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 60.8 (18th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.1 (16th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 2.703 (29th- tied)

    Interception Percentage: 4.054 (29th)

    Passer Rating: 74.5 (28th)

    In eight starts, McCoy played well for a rookie even though the Browns don't have a great receiving corps. His two atrocious games at the end of the season as well as the fact that he only has eight starts hurt his ranking a little bit.

23. Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 61.8 (13th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.5 (29th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.846 (23rd)

    Interception Percentage: 2.885 (17th)

    Passer Rating: 81.3 (23rd)

    Hill had a decent year as a replacement for the injured Matthew Stafford, but will be just a backup for the foreseeable future.

22. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 58.3 (26th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.2 (15th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 2.966 (28th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.178 (21st)

    Passer Rating: 77.1 (24th)

    McNabb had a drama filled season in which we was benched by Mike Shanahan. His 77.1 passer rating was his second worst as a pro, and, for the first time in his career, he finished a season with more interceptions than touchdowns.


21. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 57.8 (28th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.8 (22nd)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.215 (10th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.401 (23rd)

    Passer Rating: 81.8 (22nd)

    While anybody that plays quarterback for the Bills is usually near the bottom of the barrel these days, Fitzpatrick had a decent year.

    Fitzpatrick led several games that were nearly upsets, including overtime losses to the Ravens and Steelers, and close losses to the Chiefs, Bears, and Patriots.

    He also had three games with three or more touchdown passes. Not too bad for a career backup.

20. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 54.8 (30th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.5 (27th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.353 (24th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.564 (15th)

    Passer Rating: 75.3 (27th)

    While the recent playoff win against the Patriots is still fresh in most people's mind, let's not forget that the Jets' offense was completely inept during several games.

    Sanchez has a ton of potential and showed it a few times during the season. He also had a few good late game performances. However, he just needs to develop into a more consistent quarterback before he gets the elite label.

19. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage:60.0 (21st)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.0 (31st)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.051 (27th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.542 (14th)

    Passer Rating: 76.5 (25th)

    Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. Those were Sam Bradford's two leading receivers. For a rookie quarterback to come in, start from day one on a team that bad, and nearly get them to the playoffs is impressive.

    Bradford has a ton of potential and will only get better over the next few years.

18. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 62.9 (9th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.4 (10th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.75 (5th)

    Interception Percentage: 4.638 (31st)

    Passer Rating: 85.3 (17th)

    Eli Manning might have made the top 10 if not for the turnovers. He had a good completion percentage, YPA, and he had 31 touchdowns, but he turned the ball over 30 times this year. That lands Eli in the upper teens.

17. Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 59.0 (24th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.3 (14th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 3.951 (22nd)

    Interception Percentage: 2.432 (12th)

    Passer Rating: 84.5 (18th)

    Jason Campbell was put in a situation where he wasn't asked to do much, and he was fairly efficient in his passes. He did have three awful games during the year where he had passer ratings of 42.9, 10.7, and 26.2 but also had five games where his passer rating was above 100.

    Overall, it was a decent year for Campbell, but it was far from an elite one.

16. Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 65.7 (5th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.4 (9th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.031 (13th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.774 (26th)

    Passer Rating: 88.9 (14th)

    Jon Kitna was put in as the starter once Tony Romo was injured in week 7. His 88.9 passer rating was a career high and he played well enough to help the Cowboys win a couple of games. Every stat except for his interception percentage is among the top 14 quarterbacks in the league.

15. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 58.8 (25th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.3 (12th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.016 (21st)

    Interception Percentage: 1.807 (7th)

    Passer Rating: 87.5 (15th)

    Orton was the scapegoat for the Broncos' inability to run the ball or play defense. At one point during the year, Orton was on pace for 5,000 yards. A couple of poor games followed by Orton being benched abruptly ended that goal, however.

    Orton still had a solid year and could be a starter somewhere. It doesn't look like it will be in Denver, though.

14. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 64.5 (7th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.5 (8th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 6.284 (2nd)

    Interception Percentage: 4.098 (30th)

    Passer Rating: 90.8 (13th)

    The Jaguars often fly under the radar, and as a result people don't realize that Garrard is a pretty good quarterback. Garrard accounted for 28 total touchdowns in 14 starts. A high turnover rate is the only reason he wasn't a top 10 quarterback this season.

13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 60.4 (20th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.6 (7th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.324 (8th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.704 (25th)

    Passer Rating: 86.3 (16th)

    Cutler is one of those quarterbacks that is almost great. He had some outstanding single game performances during the year even without great receivers or great pass protection.

    However, turnovers have always been a problem with Cutler, and he had 22 turnovers this year.

12. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 63.6 (8th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.6 (6th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.181 (19th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.091 (9th)

    Passer Rating: 92.0 (9th)

    Schaub posted yet another solid season as the Texans' quarterback. If the Texans didn't have an atrocious defense, the Texans might have won more games and Schaub would get the recognition that he deserves.

11. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 68.1 (1st)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.0 (17th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.015 (14th)

    Interception Percentage: 3.343 (22nd)

    Passer Rating: 90.9 (12th)

    Brees was another quarterback who suffered through too many turnovers. Terrible games against the Browns and Cardinals cost the Saints the chance to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

    Overall, it was a hangover year for Brees after posting the eighth highest single season quarterback rating in NFL history last year. However, he had enough good games to get a Pro Bowl berth and a spot just outside of the top 10.

10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 62.6 (10th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.4 (11th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.112 (11th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.045 (8th)

    Passer Rating: 93.6 (7th)

    When people think of the Ravens, they just assume that the Ravens are winning with the running game and the defense as usual. However, Flacco posted a solid year while flying under the radar.

    Flacco ranked in the top 11 in every efficiency category listed here, one of only five quarterbacks to do so. The other four? Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Michael Vick. That isn't bad company to have.

9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 61.7 (15th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 8.2 (3rd)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.370 (18th)

    Interception Percentage: 1.285 (3rd)

    Passer Rating: 97.0 (5th)

    Roethlisberger's performance flew under the radar because of how well the Steelers' defense played as well as his off field events. However, Big Ben was on pace for over 4,000 yards if he had played 16 games and he still had the fifth highest quarterback rating in the NFL.

8. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 58.2 (27th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.9 (20th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 6.000 (3rd)

    Interception Percentage: 1.556 (4th)

    Passer Rating: 93.0 (8th)

    Matt Cassel was a complimentary piece to a very good Chiefs' running game, but he played his part extremely well. His 27 touchdowns and 93.0 passer rating are career highs.


7. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 66.3 (2nd)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.9 (21st)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.860 (16th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.504 (13th)

    Passer Rating: 91.9 (10th)

    Peyton Manning was second in the NFL with 4,700 passing yards, but also had 679 passing attempts, easily first in the NFL. Manning was using the short pass to compensate for the fact that the Colts couldn't run the ball, which inflated his completion percentage but knocked his yards per attempt down.

    The Colts did have injury issues and that did hurt his passing numbers, but it's hard to put him higher than seven when you consider how unimpressive his efficiency numbers are and the quarterbacks that are ahead of him.

6. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 61.4 (17th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.3 (13th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.274 (9th)

    Interception Percentage: 1.266 (2nd)

    Passer Rating: 95.9 (6th)

    The Buccaneers are a team that lack star power at the skill positions, but they have a very good and very underrated quarterback in Josh Freeman to make up for that.

    Freeman led five fourth quarter comebacks in the Buccaneers ten wins, and finished in the top 15 in yards per attempt, touchdowns percentage, interception percentage, and quarterback rating.

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 62.5 (12th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 6.5 (28th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 4.903 (15th)

    Interception Percentage: 1.576 (5th)

    Passer Rating: 91.0 (11th)

    "Matty Ice" was another quarterback who was exceptional late in games. Ryan had six game winning drives and five fourth quarter comebacks during the season, leading the Falcons to the best record in the NFC.

4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 62.6 (11th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 8.1 (4th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.645 (6th)

    Interception Percentage: 1.613 (6th)

    Passer Rating: 100.2 (4th)

    Michael Vick is one of the great comeback stories in the NFL. No need to repeat it here. Now, Vick is a productive pocket passer as well as an amazing athlete. He accounted for 30 touchdowns and nearly 3,700 yards of offense in 12 games.

    Vick also had two of the best single game performances by a quarterback in NFL history. In week 10 against the Redskins, Vick led the Eagles offense to 45 points in the first half, while throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for two more.

    In week 15 against the Giants, Vick led the Eagles from being down 31-10 with less than eight minutes left in the game to a win, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another in those final eight minutes.

3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 66.0 (3rd)

    Yards Per Attempt: 8.7 (1st)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.545 (7th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.403 (11th)

    Passer Rating: 101.8 (2nd)

    Philip Rivers was outstanding statistically. When you consider that his number one receiver and starting left tackle both missed much of the year due to holdout, and that his starting tight end was injured for a large part of the year, it becomes even more impressive. The Chargers did not have a single receiver with more than 800 receiving yards or a single running back with more than 800 rushing yards.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 65.7 (6th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 8.3 (2nd)

    Touchdown Percentage: 5.895 (4th)

    Interception Percentage: 2.316 (10th)

    Passer Rating: 101.2 (3rd)

    Aaron Rodgers was the poster boy of Pro Bowl snubs this year. Rodgers had a dominant year with 32 touchdowns and only 12 turnovers in 15 starts. Not to mention that his starting running back and tight end were both injured.

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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    Statistics (Rank):

    Completion Percentage: 65.9 (4th)

    Yards Per Attempt: 7.9 (5th)

    Touchdown Percentage: 7.317 (1st)

    Interception Percentage: 0.813 (1st)

    Passer Rating: 111.0 (1st)

    Was there any doubt? Brady's 111.0 passer rating is the fifth highest single season passer rating in NFL history. Brady had 11 consecutive games without a single interception or lost fumble, and threw multiple touchdowns in nine of those games.

    Brady also led a patchwork offense that was missing three starting offensive lineman for much of the year, not to mention overcoming his number one receiver being traded as well as the Patriots' third down running back, Kevin Faulk, going on injured reserve.

    Tom Brady will be league MVP, and easily had the most impressive season of any quarterback in 2010.