AFC West: Ranking the Quarterbacks

Josh BroudyCorrespondent IJune 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers drops back to pass against the New York Jets during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Along with my series, entitled "Biggest Strengths of NFL Teams," I will be ranking each position in the AFC West. I am most familiar with the division, as I am a diehard Raider fan.

Also, the last line of each ranking is a 'joke'. Whether or not they're funny is almost as perplexing a decision as to what shirt you're going to wear in the morning...

To start it off, here are the quarterbacks.

1. Phillip Rivers

This is a no-brainer. The guy has the moxie, the arm, and the respect of his teammates. Rivers has a fantastic arm, and puts great touch on his deep balls.

Rivers also excels in his play action. He tucks the ball behind his hip better than almost anyone else who plays the position. 

A concern this season is not about Rivers' play, but the absence of Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson.

Both players will likely miss every game until Week 10. McNeil, protecting the blindside, is a major part of Rivers pass protection. McNeil is a massive left tackle whose biggest strength are his freakishly long arms and great feet.

Rivers may be running for his life out there without McNeil.

Rivers can often be compared to the Mississippi. He throws a long deep ball. (Booooooo) Sorry, it was the best I could do.

2. Kyle Orton

It's pretty much of a logjam after Rivers.

Orton doesn't have a great arm, isn't super accurate, and basically doesn't show any physical qualities of a necessary starting quarterback.

Why is he ranked No. 2 on this list? A simple answer: He wins.

No matter if he's been in Chicago or Denver, he always seems to win. In fact his record as a starter is 30-20, despite not having great receiving options in Chicago.

But he also led the Broncos to a 2-6 record after Week 6. Now I realize the defense was disheartening, but the Broncos still only scored three touchdowns twice.

God, I hope he shaves that ugly beard.

3. Jason Campbell

So he comes from a really dysfunctional team in Washington, to a now somewhat less dysfunctional team in Oakland.

I don't blame Campbell for quarterbacking a 4-12 team last season. From the play calling situation to a lame-duck head coach was downright laughable.

But Campbell still has talent, and has somehow improved his completion percentage every single season he's been in the league. Campbell has a top five NFL arm, and really couldn't use it in Jim Zorn's system.

Coming to Oakland, he fits more into the Raiders vertical passing game. If Chaz Schilens continues to stay healthy, and Darrius Heyward-Bey and Murphy continue to develop, this will be an excellent year for Campbell.

Trust me, you know he ate Campbell's chunky soup. With all the hits he took last season.

4. Matt Cassel

I'd put Cassel further down the list, but he's slated as the starter yet again.

Cassel's stock has dropped wildly since a year ago. Maybe it's because Cassel had a 1) putrid offensive line, 2) lack of talent at wide receiver, 3) lots of dropped balls, 4) lack of talent himself.

This season WILL be better. But just slightly. The Chiefs brought in injury-prone guard Ryan Lilja at the guard spot opposite Man of the Year Brian Waters. 

The Chiefs really didn't address the WR spot, unless you call McCluster a true WR.

I just don't think Charlie Weis is that great of a coordinator. With the Patriots, he had only one season where his offense ranked in the top 10 with a franchise quarterback.

I'd make a joke about Cassel, but it seems to obvious what I would joke about. 

5. Bruce Gradkowski

Bruce brought a certain fire to the Raiders that they lacked under JaMarcus Russell.

His leadership led the Raiders to victories over the Bengals and Steelers, and he probably would've beaten the Redskins had he not injured his legs in the game.

Gradkowski doesn't have an NFL arm, but still puts his team in the best position to win. Gradkowski is also pretty mobile for his position.

6. Billy Volek

Volek has been scarcely used in the past couple of seasons, but when he's gotten in there, he's been fairly productive. Volek doesn't do anything special, but he is an ideal backup for Rivers.

7. Brady Quinn

In fairness to Quinn, he was stuck in a terrible situation in Cleveland. They gave him two rookie wideouts, traded away Braylon Edwards, and still expected him to play well. 

Predictably, Quinn got benched after three awful starts. 

Quinn's arm and accuracy have come into question. And when I watched tape of his starts last year, I couldn't blame his critics. His only good quarterback ratings were against Detroit and San Diego

By the way, I know for a fact he hates the color green. He saw way too much of it during the draft.

8. Brodie Croyle

Croyle is a whopping 0-8 as a starter. He actually has a decent arm, but never was able to put it together under Herm Edwards.

Doesn't Croyle sound like a name of a weird food? Maybe it's just me.

9. Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow will probably be used this season. McDaniels will probably give Tebow his own package.

But be warned. the Dolphins tried to do this with Pat White, and he was awful a season ago. 

As for quarterback, he's under good hands. Josh McDaniels' brother Ben is the QB coach. The reason he did this was because both McDaniels learned the same methods growing up. 

Still, the most high-profile rookie will be riding the pine for this season at least.

Shouldn't Tebow have been a Saint? Not funny....(crickets)

10. Charlie Frye

Frye is the consummate professional. He prepares extremely well and works hard. But he throws too many interceptions to ever be considered as a starter again.

Something tells me he'll live in China at some point in his life.

11. Kyle Boller

Boller likely will be cut by Oakland during the final cuts in training camp. The reason he's ranked here is because, well, the former first-round bust is still better than the last guys on the list.

To be honest, he should consider a career in the field. I mean he couldn't be any worse as an NFL quarterback.

12. Tyler Palko

All I know about the kid is that he's an old second-year player, and has some decent skills at quarterback. If he were thrown into a game, the Chiefs would be in more trouble then they already were.

I think he should really start his own milk company after his playing career. Hell, why not during it? He gets more than half of the action Hugh Hefner receives.

13. Jonathan Crompton

The rookie from Tennessee did make great strides last year. He actually has a solid arm. But Crompton was wildly inconsistent in his tenure as the Vols' starting QB. Should be interesting to see how he develops in training camp.

At least he's not far from his hometown.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.