2014 NFL Quarterback Power Rankings

Posted: January 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver Broncos

Over the next few months, SkoodSports will be doing a comprehensive rating of every starter at each position. We begin with perhaps the most important position in football. That is, the man under center. Obviously, every franchise dreams of having a franchise quarterback with the potential to lead them to greatness. But, these commodities obviously don’t grow on trees. It takes talent, poise, determination, and endurance to overcome the obstacles and become one of the best signal-callers in the game. These rankings below are based on a collection of information including: Regular season success (both in the long and short term), statistical achievement, postseason success, and “it factor.” Without further ado, here is SkoodSports’ 2014 NFL Quarterback Power Ranking:

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Was there any doubt that Manning would rank first? The warrior may be nearing his final battle. But, there are few that you’d rather have under center. Manning could become the first player in the history of the sport to win Super Bowls as the starting QB for two different franchises. He’s already broken the NFL’s single-season touchdown pass record twice with two different teams. One of the best, if not THE best of all time.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

After Manning, some would say that Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees deserve consideration. Well, it’s pretty clear that those people have no clue what they’re talking about. Tom Brady deserves just as much consideration as Manning got for the #1 spot. But, he falls just inches short based on the short-term statistical success that Manning has achieved. Brady has more rings. But, none have come in nearly a decade. Still, his success year after year stands out.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers already owns a Super Bowl ring and should grab at least one more before his career is over. The former Cal Golden Bears’ ability succeed both as a scrambler outside the pocket and as a typical pocket passer sets him apart from most in the league today. Rodgers has had some durability problems in recent years. But, once Brady and Manning call it quits, he likely becomes the de facto best QB in the league.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Another gunslinger with one Super Bowl ring, Drew Brees has perhaps the best statistical numbers of anyone on this list outside of Peyton Manning. The question of whether or not Brees’ success is aided greatly by playing in the Superdome are relevant. He’s also just 1-6 outdoors in his postseason career. But, there’s no denying the talent, leadership, and statistical dominance that the former Boilermaker has shown at the NFL level.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

I know; this seems strange. I’m no Big Ben fan. But, the guy has two Super Bowl rings and hoards of regular and postseason success on his resume. He’s been to four AFC Championship Games, three Super Bowls, and countless one night stands in bar bathrooms. Roethlisberger may not be likable. But, he fits the criteria of a top-five quarterback.

6. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Another quarterback coming off a brutal season, Manning makes the top-six of this list simply because of his recent postseason success. The regular season numbers for Eli are average at best and pathetic in 2013. But, when the game is on the line and the pressure is at its highest point, there are few better in the game than Eli Manning.

7. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Ten years ago, Eli Manning was selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers. Eli’s father, Archie, had no interest in his son playing in southern California. So, he orchestrated a trade to New York for the fourth overall pick, Philip Rivers. In the end, the Giants got two Super Bowls. But, San Diego still landed a franchise quarterback. The former NC State star had perhaps his finest statistical season to date in 2013, leading the Chargers from the brink of elimination on December 1st to a playoff win in Cincinnati.

8. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Now, we get to some of the future stars of the league. Andrew Luck has been crowned as the heir apparent to Peyton Manning on the top of this list by many, and it’s difficult to argue otherwise. The 2012 first overall pick has made the playoffs each of his first two seasons in the league. He also excels both as a passer and as a runner. The only concern that I have is the dramatic difference in turnover ratio between the regular season (when he looks like Tom Brady) and the postseason (when he looks like Jay Cutler).

9. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Deciphering where to place Flacco on this list was one of the more difficult decisions to make. The 2012 Super Bowl MVP deserves all the credit in the world for his success in both the regular season and playoffs since he was drafted in the 1st round in 2008. However, his statistical numbers don’t suggest that he’s a top-ten signal caller. In the end, Super Bowl titles speak louder than week eight touchdown passes. So, Flacco overcomes younger, more talented players to reach the top-ten.

10. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Despite the lack of fanfare coming into the league for Wilson, there’s little doubt that he belongs in the top half of the league’s quarterbacks. Whether or not he’s top-ten material is arguable. But, the success that he has achieved over his first two years in the league (most wins of any QB over his first 32 starts), is undeniable. He and the Seahawks can continue his legacy, and perhaps push him into the top-eight, with a victory on Sunday.

11. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matty “Ice” was anything but this season as he and the Falcons went from the best record in the NFC to a top-five pick in May’s draft. Injuries certainly contributed, as did a porous defense. But, Ryan wasn’t immune to gut wrenching mistakes. The former BC Eagle has led Atlanta to their most successful era in team history. But, postseason success has been hard to come by.

12. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

If this list were purely based on ability to throw the football, Kaepernick would rest securely in the bottom-ten. But, his undeniable athletic prowess and ability to change games with his legs is unrivaled at the quarterback position at this point. Kaep has played one-and-a-half seasons and already he’s played in two NFC title games. That’s impressive even if it has more to do with his defense than his play on the field.

13. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Where to place Foles on this list was a big question going in. After all, this is a young player who has not even played a full NFL season. But, the success that he experienced in 2013 (27 TD, 2 INT) is enough to get him in the top half of the league. If Foles can come out in 2014 and show similar success, it won’t be long until he is firmly in the top-ten.

14. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

The next three or four quarterbacks are excruciatingly close in ranking. Newton holds down the fort at 14 due in large part to his ability to change the game with both his arm and legs. The gunslinger has a division championship on his mantle. Now, he needs to look for that first playoff win next year.

15. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Dalton’s regular season success should have him above Newton and Foles. But, the former TCU Horned Frogs’ inability to push through in the playoffs is what keeps him right in the middle of the pack. Dalton is now 0-3 in playoff games, and looked absolutely lost in the Bengals’ Wild Card defeat at the hands of Rivers and the Chargers.

16. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Another difficult quarterback to place, Jay Cutler has had all sorts of statistical success since coming into the league in 2006. But, playoff appearances have been few and far between. In fact, he’s only made the playoffs once in eight seasons. Yet, somehow, the Bears felt it prudent to give him one of the richest contracts in football. Cutler is a good quarterback. But, his inability to win when it matters coupled with a fragile physique keeps him from being a great quarterback.

17. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

For all the statistical sensationalism, Tony Romo is merely an average quarterback. His inability to lead Dallas over .500 in each of the last three seasons further illustrates this belief. Really, Romo has only had two outstanding seasons. Those being in 2007 and 2009. In the former, he and the Cowboys fell flat on their face in their playoff opener against New York. Meanwhile, 2009 saw Dallas finally get a playoff win against Philadelphia before Romo was corralled by Minnesota in the Divisional Round. One playoff win in eight seasons is just not good enough.

18. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

A few seasons ago, Smith was considered a massive bust. The 2005 first overall pick went through a handful of offensive coordinators and three head coaches before he finally found his groove in 2011 under Jim Harbaugh. Despite leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game that year, Smith was unceremoniously benched and then traded in favor of Colin Kaepernick in 2012. One thing is for sure, you can do a lot worse than Alex Smith. He’ll never be the guy who wins the big one because of his inability to make the game-changing play. Still, Smith is the classic game manager who can win double-digit games per season.

19. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

A year ago, Griffin would get plenty of top-ten consideration. But, the hype surrounding the former Baylor Bear was clearly overstated. Prior to his Senior year at Baylor, Griffin did very little, and wasn’t even considered a top three round draft choice. But, two spectacular seasons suddenly made him a marked man, and that showed when he struggled in 2013, costing Mike Shanahan his job in D.C. It doesn’t help that Griffin has developed the reputation as being a primadonna.

20. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

Truth be told, few know exactly what is to come out of the 2010 #1 overall pick. Bradford had an impressive rookie campaign, followed by a dismal 2012. Last season, the veteran was enjoying a spectacular statistical season before going down with a knee injury for the remainder of the season. St. Louis will likely give Bradford one more season to figure out who he is. But, the clock is ticking on a quarterback that has yet to have a winning season despite an astronomical financial guarantee from the Rams.

21. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Ten years ago, Palmer would be the hot, young up-and-comer like Luck or Wilson. Now, he’s merely a has been whose career was sidetracked by numerous injuries over the last eight years. You could certainly do worse as a rebuilding squad. But, a contender like Arizona needs someone with a stronger future than Palmer.

22. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Surprised to see Stafford so far down this list? You shouldn’t be. The Lions’ gunslinger has been woefully inconsistent the last few seasons. His record down the stretch the last two years (lost final eight games in 2012 & six of seven in 2013) is quite glaring, as well. Stafford has the best receiver in football and plenty of talent behind him. Yet, he’s only made the playoffs once as a former #1 overall pick. His statistical success notwithstanding, Stafford has been a disappointment. Still, there’s room for improvement for a quarterback who is still quite young.

23. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill is intriguing because, while he’s performed quite admirably over his first two years, he has very little to show for it with regards to victories. The Dolphins were in line for their first playoff berth since 2008 this season, and yet Tannehill’s offense couldn’t muster anything in two late losses down the stretch. He holds on to the ball for too long, resulting in coverage sacks that could otherwise have been avoided. R.T. still carries with him a lot of upside, and could find himself in the top-15 at this point in 2015.

24. Josh McCown, Chicago Bears

The first non-starter to appear on this list, McCown proved last season with Chicago that his best days may lie ahead. A third round pick of Arizona in 2002, McCown has made a career out of being a journeyman backup. His numbers were never impressive prior to 2013, and success never was easy to come by, either.  Then came last year, when McCown threw 13 touchdowns and just 1 interception. The 34-year old veteran has an opportunity to find a starting job this offseason if he chooses to leave Chicago.

25. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Glennon came into the NFL as a mid-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2013. The former NC State star stands tall at 6’6 and, despite his goofy looks, had quite a rookie campaign for a mediocre team in Tampa Bay. By completing 59% of his passes and throwing 19 touchdowns to just 9 interceptions, Glennon showed new coach Lovie Smith that he may already have his quarterback of the future on the roster.

26. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

What a fall from grace in just one year for Matt Schaub. At this point a year ago, the former Virginia Cavalier would likely be in or near the top-15. Instead, the soon to be former Texans’ quarterback will have to find himself a backup job this offseason. After winning back-to-back AFC South championships, Schaub fell apart in 2013. He was ultimately benched by Houston after setting an NFL record for most consecutive games with a pick six thrown.

27. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans

Say what you will about the former Harvard Crimson star. But, Ryan Fitzpatrick has crafted a nifty little career out of being utterly and completely mediocre. His arm strength, decision making, and win-loss record are all very average. It should be no surprise, then, that the former Bills’ starter rests quite deep in our power rankings.

28. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

Plenty of upside for the 2013 first round pick. But, we just didn’t get to see enough of him during an injury plagued rookie season to say that he’s anything more than a question mark heading into 2014. There remains a solid chance that Manuel develops into a star. But, there also remains that seed of doubt that, in Buffalo, stars are rarely witnessed.

29. Kyle Orton, Dallas Cowboys

That’s right, another backup is on the list. Orton proved in his week 17 matchup vs. Philadelphia that he could still manage a game and put up impressive statistics. Orton’s ability to get the ball away quickly has always been his greatest strength, and he showed that during his one-game cameo last season. Of course, it was the Purdue grad’s turnover that ended the Cowboys’ hopes. So, let’s not get too carried away.

30. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

If you ask me, Vick could easily find a starting job heading into 2014. I mean, look at Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston. None of those teams have starters in place heading into the offseason. Granted, some will look towards rookies to fill their vacancy. But, as a short-term stopgap; there are few better options than Vick.

31. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Cousins hasn’t played enough to really give us enough to grade him on; and the success he achieved in 2012 was tempered by the failures of 2013 in Washington. But, the former Michigan State Spartan has a lot of perceived upside. He’s another potential starting quarterback for one of the teams mentioned above.

32. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings

Whether or not Matt Cassel returns to Minnesota next year is still in doubt. What isn’t in doubt is Cassel’s place in this league. The former Patriots’ backup turned Kansas City starter found success late in the season for the Vikings, leading them to victories against Philadelphia and Detroit whilst nearly beating Baltimore in a thriller. The signal caller should find a cozy backup position somewhere in 2014.

33. Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
34. Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns
35. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
36. Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
37. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
38. Case Keenum, Houston Texans
39. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
40. Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams
41. Josh Freeman, Minnesota Vikings
42. Thaddeus Lewis, Buffalo Bills
43. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
44. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
45. Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers 

 

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