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If Clayton can do it, so can IPosted Monday, September 6, 2010, at 6:18 PM
I have always had mad respect for ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton.
I think he really knows the game and studies it just as much, if not more, than most analysts are providing opinions regarding the league.
Recently, Clayton posted his rankings of the NFL's current quarterbacks.
He divided the quarterbacks into three categories, including the Elite (the first 14), the Chad Pennington Division (the next eight) and the Hit or Miss Division (the remaining).
There really weren't a lot of surprises among the rankings.
But after reading the list, I thought I'd tackle the subject as well.
Quarterback is the most celebrated position on the field in football. The name of the quarterback is generally the most recognized.
So, naturally, ranking them in order from top to bottom makes sense.
Many quarterbacks have been left off this list, like Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow, etc. I elected to rank who I believe to be projected starters.
Therefore, I thought I'd go ahead and take a stab at it. So here goes:
1. Peyton Manning -- Sure, he's only won one Super Bowl, but few can argue he is the benchmark quarterbacks are measured against. Seven-straight 12-win seasons speaks volumes
2. Drew Brees -- He has quickly become the NFC's version of Manning. He's also younger and just now coming into his stride.
3. Tom Brady -- It's hard to argue against three Super Bowl rings and the leadership.
4. Aaron Rodgers -- He has finally come into his own and is now out of the Favre shadow. Expect big things from this guy.
5. Ben Roethlisberger -- If only he could stay out of trouble and stay on the field.
6. Philip Rivers -- Without him, San Diego is pedestrian or worse.
7. Joe Flacco -- He is an emerging young talent who will lead Baltimore for several seasons.
8. Tony Romo -- I've never been completely sold on Romo, but you can't argue with the numbers. He just needs to produce in the playoffs.
9. Eli Manning -- He doesn't have his brother's fire, but he has won a ring.
10. Brett Favre -- He leads my favorite team and yet, I can't place him higher than here.
11. Donovan McNabb -- He's been to the big game and is now on a new team with the Redskins. I expect a big season.
12. Carson Palmer -- With the addition of Terrell Owens in Cincinnati, I think he's in for a bigger year than 2009.
13. Matt Ryan -- He's the undisputed leader of the Falcons and should be in for a big year.
14. Kyle Orton -- This is where I break slightly from Clayton. I have always believed Orton to be highly underrated. He has won more than 60 percent of the games he has started.
15. Matt Schaub -- Clayton had him ranked 14th, I have him 15th. He's up higher if he stays healthy.
16. Jay Cutler -- He's from Indiana and has a rocket arm. Jeff George was also from Indiana and had a rocket arm. Cutler hasn't led a team to the playoffs yet and is 24-29 as a starter. The comparisons are worrisome.
17. Vince Young -- See Orton. Young, although not flashy, finds ways to win, when his head is screwed on straight.
18. Jason Campbell -- Has always had huge upside and could surprise in Oakland.
19. Matt Hasselbeck -- Grizzled veteran is on the downside of his career.
20. David Garrard -- Like most, I agree in reference to Garrard. This could be his final hurrah in Jacksonville.
21. Mark Sanchez -- Clayton had him 23rd. He helped the Jets reach the AFC title game last year and should be better this season.
22. Chad Henne -- Has chance and all the tools to move up this list quickly.
23. Alex Smith -- Finally flashed his potential last year.
24. Matt Cassel -- Has shown he can play in this league, but needs to be consistent.
25. Matthew Stafford -- Survived his rookie year and should be much improved.
26. Josh Freeman -- The future looks bright for this youngster.
27. Kevin Kolb -- The new starter for Philadelphia needs a year to prove himself, not just a couple of games.
28. Matt Moore -- Has shown he can play in the league, but needs to do it for a full season.
29. Sam Bradford -- Only a rookie, but he's very accurate.
30. Trent Edwards -- This is probably the end of the road for the Buffalo starter.
31. Derek Anderson -- Hoping to resurrect career in Arizona.
32. Jake Delhomme -- See Edwards above, only with Delhomme, it's in Cleveland.