(Above: Brees is worthy of a top-five pick.)
I still maintain that there's enough depth in this year's draft class that you can find a stud quarterback well into the middle rounds, but if you're struggling to figure out different player's stocks, look no further than my series of fantasy articles.
There are only two rules when drafting quarterbacks.
Don't get involved in a preseason battle, and be weary of the old, wily veterans.
1. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints
Pros: Threw for over 5,000 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, and retains the same system and explosive weapons.
Cons: Faces two playoff-type divisional rivals with good defenses, and doesn't have a proven running game.
Outlook: Brees is the best quarterback in the league right now, and has the weapons to match any other team, score-for-score. The big key will be his supporting defense.
2. Tom Brady- New England Patriots
Pros: Has Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and still has that unpredictable Belichick system.
Cons: Major knee surgery and a year away from the game.
Outlook: Brady seems to have made a full recovery, and shows nothing to suspect he can't get back to his 2007 form, when he threw 50 touchdowns and went undefeated in the regular season.
3. Peyton Manning- Indianapolis Colts
Pros: He's Peyton Manning, and he still has the dependable Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.
Cons: He lost Tony Dungy, Tom Moore, and Marvin Harrison.
Outlook: Can Manning surivive on his own, or will he regress as Brett Favre did when Mike Holmgren left town?
4. Kurt Warner- Arizona Cardinals
Pros: An excellent receiving corps that goes four deep, as well as a new commitment to the ground game.
Cons: That whole "ground game" thing, and the fact that he's 37.
Outlook: Warner is still fresh after spending several seasons on team's benches. Unless there's an injury, he should continue adding to his 2008 numbers.
5. Tony Romo- Dallas Cowboys
Pros: With Terrell Owens in Buffalo, he's growing more comfortable in the offense, as well as a leader.
Cons: Lost an explosive weapon, and didn't get a true replacement.
Outlook: The idea here is that Dallas will get their rush attack going, and that will open things up for Romo. Jason Witten should continue to be a reliable target, while the development of Miles Austin is crucial.
6. Philip Rivers- San Diego Chargers
Pros: Has ascended to a Pro Bowl level of play, is a leader of the team, and has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
Cons: Outside of Vincent Jackson, no scary wide receivers. Needs more help from his defense.
Outlook: Rivers should stay close to his 2008 numbers with the improvement of Vincent Jackson, as well as a healthy LT picking up the slack.
7. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers
Pros: Rodgers still has an excellent receiving corps, with two young guys in Jordy Nelson and James Jones who will fight hard for time behind Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.
Cons: The offensive line isn't elite, and neither is the paltry running game. Still, if you watched them last year, you know Rodgers' fate truly lies in the hands of that new 3-4 defense.
Outlook: You can talk Rodgers down for his lack of fourth-quarter heroics all you want, but the kid can play. Expect him to be just as good as in 2008.
8. Donovan McNabb- Philadelphia Eagles
Pros: McNabb just inherited two new offensive weapons in rookies Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, as well as a healthy Kevin Curtis. This is good.
Cons: Brian Westbrook is out after knee surgery, and McNabb is getting older.
Outlook: With age against him, Andy Reid may be tempted to pull the chord if the Eagles have another slow start. Still, after the emotional run last season, it's unlikely McNabb and company drop off that quickly.
9. Matt Ryan- Atlanta Falcons
Pros: He now has a star at every major offensive position, and his defense continues to get better. Talk about a supporting cast.
Cons: Will the running game continue to be so good that we won't see what he's truly capable of?
Outlook: Atlanta was a surprise last year, so if they will contend again, Ryan will have to win some games with his arm. He should easily top 3,500 yards and 20 scores in year two.
10. Jay Cutler- Chicago Bears
Pros: Cutler has better options than advertised, and has an extremely versatile running back at his disposal.
Cons: A new team and a new division can irk anyone—possibly even the confident Cutler. Can he really throw for 4,500 yards with Devin Hester and Earl Bennett running routes?
Outlook: I get the feeling Cutler made Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal look just as good as they made him look. Expect Devin Hester and Greg Olsen to have breakout years.
11. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers
Pros: He just won a Super Bowl, and still has a ton of talent surrounding him.
Cons: When he's asked to throw a ton, it usually doesn't end well. With only one "elite" fantasy season under his belt, the two-time champion remains a risky pick.
Outlook: Big Ben can throw the ball, but if the Steelers want to go after a second straight Lombardi trophy, it'll be by running the ball.
12. Matt Schaub- Houston Texans
Pros: Schaub retains arguably the best receiver in football, as well as solid options in Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter. Steve Slaton is a fantastic weapon that could also get more involved in the passing game.
Cons: Dude needs to stay healthy.
Outlook: As long as Schaub can stay on the field, he has 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns written all over him.
13. Carson Palmer- Cincinnati Bengals
Pros: Palmer still has some talent on his team, and he's still got an elite arm. He could surprise some people.
Cons: There are a ton of questions surrounding Palmer and his offense.
Outlook: While Palmer continues to boom with confidence heading into 2009, the skeptics are saying another 4-11-1 season is very possible. Palmer remains a high risk/high reward pick.
14. Eli Manning- New York Giants
Pros: Manning has cut down on his mental errors and turnovers, and is becoming a more polished quarterback.
Cons: Manning lost Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and Jeremy Shockey within one full year, and now he has to start all over again.
Outlook: While his options aren't proven, the talent is there for Manning to have a big year. But is he ready to carry this team on his shoulders?
15. Matt Cassel- Kansas City Chiefs
Pros: He displayed the size, arm, poise, and confidence everyone wants in an NFL quarterback last year. Too bad Randy Moss and Wes Welker didn't come in the trade.
Cons: Cassel sees a huge dropoff in talent, as well as protection. I would have liked his chances better if he still had Tony Gonzalez around.
Outlook: Much like last season, it's likely Cassel will have to make adjustments, but could find a groove near the middle of the season.
16. Matt Hasselbeck- Seattle Seahawks
Pros: Hasselbeck still has the talent to get it done, and now has healthy, talented options at receiver. That connection he made with tight end John Carlson last year could evolve into something special.
Cons: Can his receivers stay healthy, or will it be another disaster in store for Seattle? More importantly, though, can he stay healthy?
Outlook: As long as Hasselbeck's back is aligned, he should be able to run the offense well enough to keep his job. Getting back to his 2007 form is realistic.
17. Jake Delhomme- Carolina Panthers
Pros: He still has Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. Oh, and the league's best running duo.
Cons: Despite his sexy offensive weapons, he still doesn't have a truly reliable second receiving option, and hasn't had a tight end in years.
Outlook: If the ground games continues it's hot success, Delhomme and the passing game may be an afterthought.
18. Trent Edwards- Buffalo Bills
Pros: Is landing Terrell Owens a pro or a con? Still, with two "elite" receivers and a good rush attack, Edwards should be able to make a considerable leap.
Cons: Edwards doesn't have a cannon arm, but he's very accurate and cerebral. Owens is considered both a pro and a con at this point.
Outlook: Even if Owens coming to the team doesn't spell out a playoff appearance, it should at least boost Edwards' numbers. Over 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns is the least we can expect.
19. Kyle Orton- Denver Broncos
Pros: Orton was already coming into his own in Chicago, and now he walks into an offense with Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley, and Tony Scheffler.
Cons: Just like his trade partner Cutler, it could take time for Orton to adjust, even with such gaudy weaponry.
Outlook: Orton will beat out Chris Simms, without question, and will go on to shock a lot of people. Just look at what he did with very little offensive weapons, and part of it on a bum ankle, no less.
20. David Garrard- Jacksonville Jaguars
Pros: While Matt Jones was certainly making strides, Garrard finally gets a legit number one receiver in Torry Holt.
Cons: However, outside of Holt, there's nothing to get excited about if you're Garrard. He's probably crossing his fingers that Jack Del Rio brings Jones back.
Outlook: If the Jaguars go anywhere, it'll be on the legs of Maurice Jones-Drew. Still, Garrard is not the problem in Jacksonville, and could repeat his 2007 performance.
21. Chad Pennington- Miami Dolphins
Pros: Pennington showed some true grit and determination last year, and another year in Miami's system could prove to be very beneficial.
Cons: Pennington's favorite target, Greg Camarillo, is still out with last year's knee injury, while Tedd Ginn Jr. has yet to take hold of his supposed star status.
Outlook: The Dolphins drafted Pat White, and even before doing so, let it be known that they fully intend on having Chad Henne under center in 2010. Either Pennington will respond with another huge season, or it's going to get ugly.
22. Joe Flacco- Baltimore Ravens
Pros: Flacco has a year under his belt, and still has all the tools necessary to be successful.
Cons: Flacco's growth will have to come from his own development because he has sub-par talent around him.
Outlook: Flacco still doesn't have any dependable elite weapons, so it'd be unrealistic to hope for him to make the leap to QB1 in his second season.
23. Jason Campbell- Washington Redskins
Pros: He's still playing for Washington, and at least for now, he's still the starting quarterback.
Cons: He tends to play stiff, doesn't have great chemistry with his receivers, and doesn't have the full confidence of his front office.
Outlook: Campbell has good talent around him. Now it's all up to him to take that next step. Can he? Let's just say I wouldn't bet my fantasy season on it.
24. Marc Bulger- St. Louis Rams
Pros: Bulger has been blessed with a complete offensive overhaul, while he still has the dynamic Steven Jackson, as well as a several new, speedy receivers.
Cons: He's Marc Bulger, and he cannot be trusted.
Outlook: I don't know how anyone can draft this guy with a straight face. However, if the offensive line can keep him off his butt, he does have the arm and accuracy to make the right throws. Too many ifs, though.
25. Kerry Collins- Tennessee Titans
Pros: Backed by one of the league's best running duo's, Collins will try to improve on last year's numbers with the addition of rookie receiver Kenny Britt, as well as ex-Steeler, Nate Washington.
Cons: Collins still has a good arm, but he's never been a prolific passer. Besides, the Titans know how to win football games, and it's not be throwing the ball.
Outlook: Collins is a stopgap if your quarterback is hurt later in the year, but not a guy you want to ride into the fire with.
26. Brett Favre- Free Agent
Pros: If he signs with Minnesota, Favre will inherit a familiar offense with familiar coaches, as well as the game's most explosive running back.
Cons: Favre will be 40 shortly after the season starts, and even he is still uncertain about his health.
Outlook: Regardless of your opinion on Favre, he's the best quarterback available, and he's easily better than Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. With Adrian Peterson carrying the load, an average season of 3,500 yards and 20 scores could be expected.