In this first installment of NFL Power Rankings by position, its time to figure out which QB is the best in the business right now. In attempting to do so, past performance, physical talent/ability, mobility, playoff performance and more are all considered.
However, this is not a list based exclusively on past performance or playoff success. Just because one player "won a Super Bowl ring" and another did not is only one factor to consider when evaluating players.
And without further ado, here are the Power Rankings of the 10 best QBs in the NFL.
As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.
A year ago, Eli Manning would have been significantly higher on this list. However, after leading the NFL with 25 interceptions in 2010 and struggling down the stretch, the younger Manning's stock has fallen. He still has the talent to produce at a high level and he's still young enough to rebound, but right now he's an interception waiting to happen.
Sorry, Giants fans. Eli is top 10, but not much more at this point.
Joe Flacco has everything a coach could want in a young franchise QB: A strong, accurate arm, good size and toughness, a high football IQ and a willingness to learn and improve. In each of his first three seasons, Flacco has improved across the board, increasing his passing yards, passing touchdowns, yards per attempt and QB rating, all while playing a bigger role in the usually forgotten Ravens' offense.
Flacco will likely never be a superstar in the mold of some of the other players on this list, but right now he's quietly blossoming into the Ravens' franchise quarterback and advancing up the ranks of the NFL's best QBs.
Like Flacco, "Matty Ice" has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL. He has everything a coach could want in a young QB and more. In 2010, he set new career highs for QB rating (91.0), completion percentage (62.5%), and passing touchdowns (28), while leading the Falcons to 13 wins and the NFC regular season crown.
In addition to the physical tools and concrete stats, Ryan seems to have ice in his veins when the game matters most, calmly marching his team up and down the field as the seconds tick away in the fourth quarter. That is an invaluable trait for any QB to have—just ask Tom Brady.
One day, I would not be at all surprised if Matt Ryan's name was atop this list. He's that good.
Big Ben's numbers took a bit of a hit last season, as his completion percentage, QB rating and yards per completion all dropped from their respective 2009 marks. Despite the drop, Roethlisberger did manage to lead all QBs in fourth quarter QB rating while leading the Steelers to the Super Bowl.
Roethlisberger also receives credit for being one of the most physically imposing QBs in the entire NFL, able to withstand hits from defensive ends and blitzing linebackers to buy time and make a play downfield. He has the mobility to get out of the pocket and run, and he's pretty good inside the pocket, too.
Tack on his playoff success and the only thing missing here is a bit more maturity and leadership ability. If Big Ben can return to his 2009 form and step up in those two departments, he'll be a top 5 QB in the NFL without question.
Philip Rivers has been one of the best QBs in the NFL over the past three seasons, posting more than 28 touchdowns, less than 13 interceptions, and more than 4,000 yards in each . He hasn't missed a game in five years, he's carried the load for a Chargers team that has been in transition and without its best weapons for stretches, and he's been a leader on and off the field for the franchise.
In terms of talent, Rivers is a very solid pocket QB. He has a very accurate cannon for an arm, excellent vision and an exceptional pocket presence. The only areas where Rivers struggled was late in close games, posting a 67.2 rating in the fourth quarter with the game within seven points and in the last two minutes of a half, where he posted a 73.7 rating.
Those two things aside, Rivers has been an elite NFL QB for the past few seasons and in all likelihood will remain as such for the foreseeable future.
While some may say that this is a high ranking for a QB like Vick, it's difficult to ignore his phenomenal physical talent. He has one of the best (if not the best) arm in the NFL, elite speed and elusiveness, a high football IQ and tremendous leadership ability on the field.
Vick put all of that to work in 2010, posting a 100.2 QB rating (106 in the fourth quarter) while completing a career-high 62.6% of his passes for 3,000+ yards and 21 TDs with only 6 INTs. He also racked up 676 yards on 100 carries to go with nine rushing TDs.
Had Tom Brady not posted one of the greatest regular seasons in NFL history, it is likely Vick would have been named NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. He is the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL at the QB position, and that is why he cracks the top 5.
Manning has been one of the NFL's elite QBs for the past decade, consistently posting stellar numbers and leading the Colts to numerous playoff berths and a Super Bowl title. But even the great Peyton Manning is not immune to the effects of age.
He posted one of the worst seasons of his career in 2010, throwing for 15 interceptions in his final 9 games, posting his lowest QB rating mark in nearly a decade, and failing to break 7.0 yards per attempt for the first time since 1998. And in the offseason, Manning had neck surgery for the second time in 15 months, this time to remove part of a bulging disc.
But fear not, Colts fans. Manning certainly has the talent to move up a few spots on this list. I wouldn't be surprised if the Peyton of old returned in 2011 with a vengeance.
Drew Brees has been one of the best QBs in the NFL during his time in New Orleans, quietly posting mind-blowing numbers and leading the Saints to the playoffs yet again. He led the NFL in completion percentage again in 2010 with a 68.1% mark, threw for 4,600+ yards, and did so without the benefit of a running game.
The only blemishes on Brees' resume were his increasing INT totals (22 in 2010) and the Saints' early playoff exit. But the latter cannot be blamed on Brees, who threw for over 400 yards and 2 TDs while posting a very solid 95.4 QB rating.
Let me explain, Packer nation.
This was a very difficult choice to make. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has been stellar, throwing for almost 4,000 yards, 30 TDs, and less than 13 INTs in each of those three seasons. He's been exceptionally good in the playoffs, as evidenced by his shiny new Super Bowl ring.
In terms of talent, Rodgers is the complete package. He has a strong, accurate arm, a great football IQ, and surprisingly high mobility. And before the comments of "he didn't have a running game" or "he did it all without Finley" happen, let me say that he also had the best WR core in the NFL to play with and he had a pretty decent pair of players in Kuhn and Lee to ease the pain of loss.
Rodgers is a top-2 QB in the NFL. That's pretty good.
When it's all said and done, Tom Brady will likely go down as one of the best to ever play the QB position. And just when we had seen the best he had to offer, he had one of the greatest regular seasons in NFL history. Brady threw for 36 TDs and only 4 INTs. He's thrown 114 TDs in his past 49 starts (Rodgers has 86 in his past 48 regular season games), and he's done it all with a group of WRs recovered from the scrap heap and a running game that involves the undrafted BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead (who was cut by the Jets).
36 touchdowns and four interceptions. That's absolutely amazing. Its one of the major reasons Tom Brady is the best QB in the NFL right now.