NFL Starting Quarterback Power Rankings
NFL Starting Quarterback Power Rankings
Sometimes I feel like I don’t get paid enough to do my job. And I am sure there are NFL quarterbacks who feel the same way. But at the same time, it appears this season there are plenty of quarterbacks who seem to be making much more money than their work on the field would indicate they deserve. It’s remarkable to me just how hard it is for an NFL franchise to find a great quarterback.
Trying to sit down and rank all 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL has been quite a challenge. Part of the challenge is what criteria to include. I won’t bore you with the details of it, but team success is a part as well as individual statistics, but another part is the eyeball test. Yes it’s subjective, and yes it’s imprecise, but I like to think that irrespective of any stats, I can tell a good quarterback when I see one. And you have to take any sort of ranking like this with the consideration of who the quarterback is throwing to.
The other challenge is which quarterback on a given team to include. For example the Kansas City Chiefs are starting backup quarterback Brady Quinn, but their starter is Matt Cassel. Neither are very good, but they are not identical. Same for the situation with the Tennesee Titans who are starting veteran Matt Hasselbeck over Jake Locker who is also hurt. In the case of the Titans I ranked Hasselbeck, because he’s playing well enough I don’t think Locker is getting his job back, but Cassel, because Quinn won’t be out there long.
A final note about my rankings. I basically have this list broken into 4 groups. The bottom 5, who I consider the worst of the worst. A sort of middle 10, who are all very close, but worse than the group ahead of him. Then a next 10 that up the talent even more, and The elite 7, the guys in my opinion of who are the best of the best right now. That’s not to mean next year or even later in the season things can’t change.
So without further ado, I give you my rankings for every starting quarterback in the NFL. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and tell me how wrong I am.
32-John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals fans were clammoring for Skelton when starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was struggling, and now they are getting their wish. This team is winning in spite of awful quarterback play.
31-Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gabbert came into the league as a first round pick and with tons of potential. But his development has stalled out from lack of confidence and lack of consistency with he and his teammates.
30-Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
I think Cassel has some talent, but his head is not wired for the NFL. All the talent in the world can't overcome a ten cent head.
29-Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
At times Sanchez looks like he should be rock bottom on this list, but at others he looks passable. But no matter what, the Sanchez experiment is not looking good.
28-Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Call me a doubter but I think Wilson's success if more about being new to defenses, and a product of a stout run game and defense, than any significant quarterback skills. Is he terrible? No, but not great either.
27-Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Fitzpatrick is super smart. Just not super good at football.
26-Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
Palmer has never been the same since his knee injury. He's got the arm to sling it around, but makes too many bad reads and bad decisions.
25-Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
If Vick were any other player, he'd have been benched a long time ago. He turns the ball over too often, and hasn't been a playmaker for years.
24-Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
I like Weeden's potential, and the skills he's shown even if he is a rookie headed toward 30. Just needs to get some pieces in place while he's still young enough to play.
23-Matt-Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans
When Hasselbeck stepped in for Locker, you saw a calm and controlled player who can run an offense. He's not flashy, but he's a smart veteran who doesn't make mistakes.
22-Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman flashes greatness at times, and he's not afraid to sling it all over the field, but I still don't like the decisions he makes and his lack of focus and consistency.
21-Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill has shown some real flashes of talent, especially considering how little he's actually played quarterback. Could end up being a special player.
20-Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
When Ponder came into the league I said he was the most NFL ready of the first round quarterbacks, and it looks like he's taken that next step toward being a top quarterback in this league.
19-Alex Smith, San Fransisco 49ers
Moving Smith up or back 5 spots from here wouldn't be a shock to many, depending on which side you are on. I'd like him more if he trusted himself to go downfield more instead of dink and dunk.
18-Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Last season I didn't believe Newton couldn't do what he did. Now this year I can believe he can't do it again. The skills are there, but just needs to squash the attitude and focus on his game. Make your teammates better, and focus less on you, Superman.
17-Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
When you consider that Luck is playing with less talent than any other rookie quarterback, what he's able to do is why he's destined to be a special football.
16-Sam-Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Most probably don't have Bradford this high, but when he has time to throw he might throw the prettiest ball in the league.
15-Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Griffin III is my top rookie quarterback mainly because he's so athletic and has been put in a position to showcase his skills. I still think his career is going to be cut short if he can't adapt to the game.
14-Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
I probably have Romo a little high, so bare with me. I just think that when he's on, he's as good as anyone in the top 5. They just need more of those moments during the season.
13-Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
I've always been a fan of Flacco and his big arm. He catches heat for his playoff record, but one catch by Lee Evans last season and the whole situation is changed.
12-Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
I have to admit I thought Dalton would fizzle out in the NFL, but he's shown he not only has all the physical tools, but can handle the mental side of it as well. Seems to get better every week.
11-Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
This season has been a disaster for Stafford, but from what I have seen it's not his doing. Still makes great throws but drops and a lack of running game are really hurting him.
10-Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
I know Cutler takes a lot of heat for being kind of a jerk and all that, but on the field he can flat out spin it. I love a guy who's fearless with a cannon and Cutler can make throws no one else on this list can.
9-Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
I hate putting Rivers this high, because as a person I'd never want him on my team. But his ability to make plays without a lot of talent around him is impressive.
8-Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
I wasn't sure that Manning would ever be healthy again, or that he'd be able to succeed in his new digs, but he's proven me wrong on both points. He might no be 100% but a 90% Peyton Manning is still really good.
7-Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
If you think Schaub is too high, just watch him play. He doesn't have the biggest arm or can run all over defenders, but a perfect fit in Houston, and plays with confidence. I love his game and how he makes the great players on his roster even better.
6-Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
If you enjoy ugly football, Roethlisberger is your guy. His style might be less than stylish, but there isn't a quarterback in the league who can do more when everything falls apart then Big Ben. He won't win any beauty pageants for his play, but he wins.
5-Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
At the start of the year I'd have put Ryan back 5 or 6 spots, but he's done a remarkable job leading the Falcons offense, and being able to distribute the football to all those playmakers and keeping everyone happy.
4-Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees might be my favorite quarterback to watch play on this whole list, because he is fearless is just as happy throwing it 50 yards downfield as he is a dump off to a running back. Tremendous leader and impressive resume'.
3-Tom Brady, New England Patriots
This year hasn't been ideal for Brady, but that is less about him, and more about the rest of his team. Few quarterbacks in the history of the game can dissect a defense with small cuts like Brady can.
2-Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is probably first on 9 out of 10 lists like this. He's certainly the most impressive combination of athleticism and pure football skills of any quarterback in the league.
1-Eli Manning, New York Giants
Probably a bit of a shocker here, but give me the guy who is clutch. Clutch when it counts and no matter who he's got out there to throw to, he just knows he's going to make the play.