QB lists are probably the most common rankings you see in football. It’s the most fun position to rank, and you see more of QBs than any other position so it’s one of the easiest positions in football to decipher. I created my rankings for the starters of the upcoming 2013-2014 football season and this season only. In other words, if I had to pick a QB for my team, this is the order I would go in for this season.
The criteria I used are numbers, situation, past results, and potential. I have divided the QBs into tiers. Players within the tiers are all extremely similar in talent. You can rearrange the order however you prefer and I won’t have a problem with it. However, these rankings are the most objective way to rank them.
Tier 1: Elites
1A: Can be considered best QB in NFL
1. Peyton Manning (Any arrangement of these 3 is acceptable)
2. Tom Brady
3. Aaron Rodgers
• These are the only 3 QBs who you can make a legitimate argument to be the best QB in the NFL. Any order of them is fine, but this is the best order. You can put these guys on any team and they’ll make the playoffs.
• I’ve got Rodgers at 3rd because he’s never had a weak offensive supporting cast and I don’t know how he would do with one. Brady had them early (but was nowhere near current level) in his career and Peyton had one in 2010.
• I put Peyton at 1 because no player can take a team to another level like he can. That 2010 team had a worse supporting cast than the 2-14 disaster team in 2011. Despite that, Peyton managed to take it to the playoffs and if it wasn’t for the stupidity of Jim Caldwell, who knows how far that team would have gone in the playoffs.
1B: Is elite, but cannot be considered best in NFL
4. Drew Brees (Any arrangement of these 3 is acceptable)
5. Eli Manning
6. Ben Roethlisberger
Rationale: You’d trust these guys to win a football game for you on any given day against any opponent. Unfortunately, this list isn’t about just one game. It is about which QB puts their team in the best position to go all the way for an entire season. Despite consistently having a dearth of talent, these 3 have not shown that they can consistently make their team a threat like the former 3 elite QBs have.
Tier 2: Knocking on the Door
7. Matt Ryan (Is objectively 7th)
8. Russell Wilson (These four can obviously be arranged in any order you choose)
9. Andrew Luck
10. Colin Kaepernick
11. Robert Griffin III
• Ryan has the longest track record of these guys which is why he is rated the highest. He has performed at an elite level during the regular season for the past 3 years. Though highly unlikely, there is the potential that the next 4 guys crash and burn because they don’t have a track record of success. The odds of crashing are considerably lower for Ryan.
• I put Wilson ahead of the other 3 because he is the most complete player. His decision making ability in pocket and bootleg passing is better than both Luck and Kaepernick. Wilson is also a much smarter runner than RGIII. Until RGIII shows that he’ll stop taking unnecessary risks running, he’ll be too risky to rank higher.
Tier 3: We can win with you, but not because of you
12. Joe Flacco (Just for Ravens fans)
13. Matthew Stafford (Any arrangement of the following 6 is acceptable)
14. Phillip Rivers
15. Jay Cutler
16. Matt Schaub
17. Tony Romo
18. Alex Smith
• Basically, all 7 of these guys are fine QBs who can have success in the right system. However, teams cannot expect them to elevate the level of the team or consistently come through in the clutch. They can be the QBs of Super Bowl teams, but they will not be one of the main reasons why the team won the SB.
• Flacco is the highest because he showed that his team can actually win with him, which the rest of the guys have not. This is not a slight to the Ravens. They had a great team that was in contention annually because of the sum of their parts, not because of Flacco. He has never put up elite numbers despite having an incredible defense, O Line, RB, every year, and a great receiving corps for the past 3 years. His postseason numbers were great last year, but the film was terrible. All he did was chuck the ball up in the air and have his receivers come up with numerous jump balls. He’s not worth his contract and the Ravens will see that this year.
• Stafford is the 2nd highest on this list because he is the youngest of the group and has the most potential. Rivers is next because he was the closest out of these guys to being an elite QB at one point in his career.
Tier 4: Need to see more from you
19. Cam Newton (Newton and Dalton should be 19 & 20 respectively)
20. Andy Dalton
21. Josh Freeman (Any arrangement of the latter 4 is acceptable)
22. Ryan Tannehill
23. Sam Bradford
24. Jake Locker
• These are all younger QBs who have a lot of talent, but have too many off days to trust. Any and every one of these guys could end up as a franchise QB, or a backup by the end of the season.
• Newton is a top 10 fantasy QB, but in real life, he’s not that valuable. He’s brilliant at running with the football, but his IQ when in the pocket is terrible. He takes a lot of sacks and most of those are his fault. He makes too many poor decisions to depend on.
Tier 5: I would love to have you as my backup
25. Matt Flynn
26. Michael Vick
27. Carson Palmer
28. Kevin Kolb
29. Christian Ponder
Rationale: These guys have been in the league for a while and have not performed at their peak level recently (Palmer and Vick) or have not done enough to impress anyone (Flynn, Kolb, Ponder). They would make awesome backups because they can fill in at any time and win a couple games without dragging down the offense. However, you are in trouble if they are your starters. Flynn is the highest of this group because he is younger than Vick and Palmer, and has more potential than the others (albeit because of a lack of playing time). It wouldn’t surprise me if any of these guys broke out with a huge year since they are all in a position to do so, but I don’t like the odds for any of them.
Tier 6: You should not be starting in the NFL
30. Brandon Weeden
31. Blaine Gabbert
32. Mark Sanchez
Rationale: Both Sanchez and Gabbert are proven terrible NFL QBs. Gabbert had trouble doing everything outside of handing the ball off to MJD, and Sanchez managed to turn a couple of 14+ win teams (in 2009 and 10) into 9 win teams despite the fact that he too only had to hand the ball off. Weeden hasn’t stunk for as long as the latter 2 which is why he is ranked the highest, but when you factor in his age, 29, he doesn’t have much time for improvement.