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NFL Top 100: Players' List Reveals NFL Is Entering New QB Era

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJune 28, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after an 8 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the 2012 NFL Top 100 list, and last year's top player, Tom Brady, slid down into the No. 4 overall spot. Rodgers isn't the only young gun who made a big move up the board this year, though.

This shift signals a changing of the guard. Sure, the usual suspects like Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and Michael Vick are still on this list. But besides Drew Brees, who came in at No. 2, many of the mainstays at quarterback fell significantly from where they were in 2011.

Whether you agree or disagree with these results, you must remember that this list has been made by the players themselves. Obviously, they see the shift, and in time, even the staunchest Brady fan will start to see the truth.

Brady is not the best quarterback in the NFL anymore.

Not only that, but there were three young guns added to this year's list who weren't even on last year's list: Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow. Newton and Stafford are clearly on their way up, and they will be even higher next year.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions dives for the touchdown against Roman Harper #41 and  Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Tebow selection brings with it a fair amount of criticism, but nobody can deny his ability to win games. Players respect what he brings to the table, and they rewarded him for it by including him on their list.

Let's take a quick look at the way last year's list—courtesy of NFL.com—matches up to this year's list.

First, the veteran quarterbacks that took a tumble:

Name Age 2011 Ranking 2012 Ranking
Tom Brady 34 1 4
Peyton Manning 36 2 50
Michael Vick 32 20 70
Philip Rivers 30 26 61
Tony Romo 32 72 91
Donovan McNabb 35 100 Not on List
       

Now, let's take a look at the quarterbacks who made big moves up the board in 2012:

Name Age 2011 Ranking 2012 Ranking
Aaron Rodgers 28 11 1
Ben Roethlisberger 30 41 30
Eli Manning 31 Not on List 31
Joe Flacco 27 90 74
Cam Newton 23 Not on List 40
Matthew Stafford 24 Not on List 41
Tim Tebow 24 Not on List 95

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after his team scored a touchdown during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by S
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's clear the older players are on their way down, while the younger players are rising up the ranks. 

Two quarterbacks with a lot left in the tank, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman, also took a tumble and didn't make this year's list. They have plenty of years left in their careers to get back on top, though, and I expect both of them to play well in 2012.

The game is ever-evolving, and the stars of yesterday are slowly fading away. There will always be new stars to take their place, though, and that is exactly what we're starting to see.

Which players were overrated? Which players were underrated? Let us know in the comments section below, and stay tuned to Bleacher Report for all your NFL news, opinion and analysis.

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