After watching NFL Network and ESPN fail at ranking their top five quarterbacks in the game today, I've decided it was time to show them what's up with a list of my own. I put together a list of the top 10 quarterbacks. Hopefully this will eliminate any complaints about guys being left off the list.
In addition to my top 10, I added a couple honorable mentions (players who just missed the top 10 list), a couple quarterbacks who are 'on the verge' of being the next big thing/elite NFL QB. I even included a short list of QBs who are on the decline and are no longer considered elite.
Carson Palmer, CIN
After a disappointing, injury-littered 2008 season, Carson bounced back nicely, throwing for 3,000 yards and 21 TDs last year. Expect a healthy, hungry Palmer leading Cincy's team this season.
Joe Flacco, BAL
In his second season last year, Flacco set career highs with 21 TDs and 3,600 yards with a weak WR corps. But Baltimore went out and acquired former Cardinal Anquan Boldin and former Patriot Donte' Stallworth to complement veteran WR Derrick Mason.
Donovan McNabb, WAS
McNabb's stock may have been damaged a bit when he left the pass-happy Eagles and arrived in D.C. But, nevertheless, McNabb's ability is still there and, as long as he has the right targets around him, should have a very productive season under center.
On the verge:
Chad Henne, MIA
The addition of All-Pro Brandon Marshall to go along with Miami's state-of-the-art running game should complement Henne greatly.
Manning topped 4,000 yards for the first time and set a career-high in TD tosses last year with 27. As long as he can limit the turnovers, Manning could see himself a top 10 QB in the next couple of years.
Still has a ways to go:
Vince Young, TEN
His passing mechanics have improved, but he still resorts to using his legs a little too often. Being a little more consistent would help his case, as well.
Matthew Stafford, DET
Stafford would have a better chance at becoming elite if he wasn't stuck in Detroit.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ
Once he manages to limit his turnovers (20 INTs as a rookie last season) and completes more than half his passes we could see him as an elite passer...maybe. Give him a few years.
Over the hill:
Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
Injury issues continue to dominate Hasselbeck's career. The acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst may be a sign that Seattle wants to go a different way sometime in the near future.
Jake Delhomme, CLE
The fact he has gotten away from Carolina and is starting over in Cleveland is a good sign for Delhomme. Change can be a good thing. But that still doesn't take away from the fact that Jake is aging quickly and may have lost his touch.
10. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Big Ben would be ranked higher on my list if he was not making off-field headlines during the off season. His 4-6 game suspension has hurt his 2010 value greatly, but he still cracks the top 10 simply because of the fact that he makes big plays when the game is on the line and has numbers to prove his elite status.
Despite being sacked a career-high 50 times last season, Roethlisberger put up a season QB rating of 100-plus for the second time in his six year career. He also passed for 4,000 yards for the first time in his career, which included a franchise-record 503 passing yards against the Packers on December 20.
Throughout his career, the 28-year old gunslinger has 17 fourth quarter/OT comebacks. The truth is, Ben knows how to win and his two Super Bowl rings tells the story.
When he comes back from his suspension this season he will get right back to what he does best, and will most likely climb up my list in the process.
In just two seasons at the helm in ATL, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 20-10 record as starter and carried them to a playoff appearance. In 14 starts this past season, Ryan threw for just short of 3,000 yards and set a career-high in TD passes with 22.
Had Ryan started all 16 games this season, Atlanta may have had a chance at making the playoffs. Running back Michael Turner has been a great addition for Atlanta over the last couple of seasons, and has really made Ryan's NFL transition much easier.
With Turner and emerging receiver Roddy White on his side, Ryan is poised for a career season this year.
8. Tony Romo, DAL
The only thing Romo's resume is missing is playoff success. Tony, whether you're a fan or not, is an elite QB during the regular season, but when playoff time comes, he drops out of the top 10.
Romo has put up a record of 38-17 over the last four seasons, which includes two seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards and a combined 107 TDs. All this makes him a top five fantasy quarterback, but because of his playoff struggles (1-3 record as starter) Romo misses my top five.
With rookie Dez Bryant and last year's surprise emerging receiver in Miles Austin at his disposal, Romo should continue to put up solid regular season totals. As for playoff success? That all depends on his maturity.
7. Brett Favre, MIN
We still have no idea whether Favre will return to Minnesota this year or not, but chances are he will. And, once he returns to the field I assure you he will be throwing as hard as ever.
Last year, the 40-year old had arguably one of his best seasons, leading the Vikings to the Conference Championship--falling just short of the Super Bowl. Favre threw a career low seven INTs (discounting his rookie season with ATL in '91 in which he threw two INTs on four pass attempts), and put up the second-best passer rating in the league (107.2) behind only Drew Brees, the Super Bowl champ.
Favre underwent ankle surgery this off-season and has been seen working out at a local high school, which leads many to believe he will, in fact, return for his 20th NFL season. As we all witnessed last season, Favre hasn't lost his touch and is still in physical shape to play quarterback at the NFL level.
If/when he returns, Favre will put up solid numbers for the Vikings and lead them back to the playoffs, in what should be his final season.
6. Philip Rivers, SD
With Pro Bowl WR Vincent Jackson out at least the first three games of the season due to his violation of the league's personal conduct policy (he could end up sitting out up to 10 games due to his contract dispute), Rivers' numbers will take a hit. But, Rivers' career-high 34 passing TDs came in '08 when Jackson wasn't quite as big a threat to defenses.
In four full seasons as San Diego's starter, Rivers has put up a record of 46-18, thrown for 14,000-plus yards and tossed 106 TDs. In postseason play, Rivers has struggled at times (3-3 as starter), but does have the ability to take this team to the Super Bowl considering he has matured greatly over the past couple of years.
Rivers fell one win shy of a Super Bowl appearance in 2007 but has managed to get San Diego to the playoffs all four of his years as San Diego's starter. Consistency is one of his biggest strengths, and many experts believe he is ready to take the next step: Super Bowl.
Schaub's Texans are just a step or two away from making the franchise's first playoff appearance, and it all hinges on this guy's right arm.
Schaub broke in to the fantasy world last season with his 4,770 passing yards and 29 TDs (67.9 comp %) as signal caller on one of the league's best passing attack. The underrated wide receiver Andre Johnson made for a great target for the one-time Pro Bowler.
With Johnson and Kevin Walter running routes for Schaub again this year, don't be surprised if Schaub tops 30 TDs and comes close to 5,000 yards yet again. Especially if Steve Slaton returns to his 2008 form. The arrival of former Auburn tailback Ben Tate will take pressure off both Schaub and Slaton, leading to more production both on the ground and through the air.
4. Aaron Rodgers, GB
Unlike NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes, I believe Rodgers is a top five quarterback.
After backing up legend Brett Favre for his first three seasons, Rodgers stepped in and had immediate success two years ago. Rodgers started all 16 games in the 2008 season, throwing for 4,000 yards and 28 TDs (GB went 6-10).
The following season, last year, Rodgers topped that performance with 4,434 yards and 30 TDs, leading the Pack to an 11-5 record and Rodgers' first playoff appearance. Rodgers impressive performance of 8,801 passing yards and 59 TDs and just 21 INTs in two full seasons at the helm.
Green Bay's early exit in the playoffs didn't help Rodgers' case too much, but the Packers will, without a doubt, find themselves a top the NFC North.
3. Tom Brady, NE
Brady's name alone may have put him in the top three, but let's keep in mind that last year he was just one year removed from a serious knee injury and he still managed to lead the Pats to a playoff appearance while putting up decent numbers (65.7 comp %, 4,398 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 passer rating).
Brady puts up great numbers and wins games year after year, making him one of the most accurate passers in the game. Consistency and reliability are among his many strengths. He may struggle at times when under pressure, but when he gets the ball out on time he is usually right on target.
Brady started all 16 regular season games in seven of his 10 seasons in the league as he put up a regular season record of 97-30 (14-4 in postseason). Once Wes Welker returns in September/October, Brady's numbers should go up tremendously.
Expect five or six more productive seasons from the 32-year old Brady.
2. Drew Brees, NO
As much as I hate to be the one to put the Super Bowl champ behind the Super Bowl runner-up, I feel as though I have to.
Brees has a very strong and accurate arm, and targets to his disposal. With four straight seasons of 4,000-plus yards, 26-plus TDs, the only thing Brees doesn't have going his way is his height of six feet. As we have already discovered, Brees' height doesn't stop him from throwing TDs and winning games.
Let's face it, Brees wins the top spot as best fantasy quarterback, but his plethora of football knowledge just doesn't quite match up to Manning's. Though his will to win and ability may. As long as Brees is under center, the Saints will be scoring 30-40 points a game.
Like I said above, Manning is without a doubt the smartest quarterback, if not player, in the NFL. Who needs an offensive coordinator when you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback.
Manning and Brees both have a ring, but Peyton has twelve seasons of 3,000 passing yards and a 131-61 regular season record. With 50,000 career passing yards and the third-most passing TDs in league history (366), you can't go wrong with one of the most successful signal callers in history.
There's no question that Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and, despite losing the Super Bowl last season, Peyton's Colts seem to be the favorites instead of the defending champion Saints.