By Sean Sarcu @seansarcu on June 11, 2014
Four of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL have been in that group for years. The interest in ranking the top five comes from parsing apart the differences between those four, as well as figuring out who the fifth candidate is.
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Tom Brady is an excellent cerebral quarterback, but his down year last season makes it difficult to place him above any of these other four. It's fair to suggest that a good deal of Brady's struggles were attributable to a lack of weapons, but it's also fair to still expect him to do more than he did. The Patriots finished with a good record, but things didn't feel quite the same with No. 12.
Andrew Luck has forced his way into the top five after making fantastic progress in 2013. His difficult postseason aside, Luck vastly cut down on his turnovers this year, an important development after holding on to the ball was a major weakness of his game in 2012. His arm strength, mobility and football IQ are exemplary; he is primed to be a lock in the top five for many years.
Drew Brees has been a pillar of consistency for almost a decade, and he has been one of the NFL's truly elite quarterbacks for six years running. His arm strength remains well above average, and he coordinates one of the most innovative offenses in the league. He is a little more reliable than the still somewhat volatile Andrew Luck, which is enough to get Brees the No. 3 spot.
Peyton Manning has compensated for his weakening arm by further taking advantage of his utter mastery at the line of scrimmage and in the short passing game. Still, while he was beyond brilliant in 2013, a lack of mobility and limited ability to threaten defenses vertically makes it tough to justify putting him ahead of the guy in the top spot.
Aaron Rodgers is essentially the perfect quarterback. He is very mobile but doesn't get carried away with it like, say, a Colin Kaepernick type sometimes does. He can make every throw imaginable down the field and may well be the league's most accurate passer as well. Rodgers is an absolute surgeon on the field, and he is the NFL's best quarterback heading into the 2014 season.
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