It’s still far too early to be drafting teams, but the time seems as good as any to start arguing with my fellow armchair Quarterbacks about rankings. When the Brett Favre comeback rumors start up, you know it’s time. In the past I’ve held closed door meetings to discuss my internal rankings, but I thought it would be nice to welcome the public to the ongoing debates between myself, Virgil and Irwin R. Schyster. This list will be subject to much change. I slapped this together in the span of one night’s time with minimal effort. Free agency and further preparation will take their toll here, and possibly your input. Feel free to share your thoughts. Please use your outdoor voice, it’ll be hard for you to get my attention while I’m soaking up every bit of Brett Favre juiciness the media creates out of thin air.
1. Drew Brees NO 33 or more TD in each of the past three years, 4,300+ yards in each of his five years with New Orleans, missed only two games in the past seven years. Drew Brees is automatic. Too reliable to pass up as the top QB, even though Miami passed on him in favor of Dante Culpepper (remember that? lol).
2. Peyton Manning IND Peyton is Mr. Reliable, he hasn’t missed a game yet (208 straight). If the Saints pass less often with the Mark Ingram-Pierre Thomas tandem and the Colts young receivers (Collie and Garcon) step up their game, you could slot Peyton atop your ranks.
3. Aaron Rodgers GB If he stays healthy he could prove to be the best fantasy QB in the game, especially with a full season of Jermichael Finley. However, Rodgers gets hit often and he sustained multiple concussions last season. The number one sign of too many concussions: strapping on the imaginary heavyweight championship belt. Uh oh.
4. Michael Vick PHI Vick is another injury risk. He’s getting older and he subjects himself to punishment with his ability to scramble. Plus I’m not willing to pay the full price for all those long TD passes. His 12 completions of 40+ yards were second to only Philip Rivers (14). You can get burnt paying for those big plays.
5. Tom Brady NE I like the passing offense, strong o-line and the blend of old and emerging talent (Welker, Branch with Gronkowski, Hernandez, Tate). Brady was just fine without Randy Moss, he threw 26 TD against 0 INT during the team’s last 11 games. I may end up ranking Brady ahead of Rodgers and Vick.
6. Philip Rivers SD Rivers is reason No. 5 to not be the first person to select a QB in a snake draft. He threw for 4,700 yards and 30 TD while Vincent Jackson (and Marcus McNeil) held out, Antonio Gates missed six games and Malcom Floyd nursed himself. Rivers has averaged over 30 TD during the past three years, he’s great.
More after the jump
7. Tony Romo DAL Jason Garrett is now in charge, the team added a few behemoths to the o-line and Romo throws it at Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Roy Williams, Jason Witten, Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood.
8. Matt Ryan ATL Ryan continues to improve (28 TD – 9 INT in 2010) and the team made a big move during the NFL Draft to acquire WR Julio Jones, a playmaker from Alabama. Will we see 30 TD from Ryan in 2011? Likely.
9. Matt Schaub HOU The 24 TD were a disappointment after throwing 29 TD in 2009. Schaub needs someone to step up along side Andre Johnson. Maybe it’s time for Jacoby Jones to take his game to the next level, maybe not. A full season of Owen Daniels will certainly help.
10. Ben Roethlisberger PIT Was on pace for 4,000 yards passing and 23-24 total TD during his suspension shortened season. Hopefully Heath Miller can be more involved in the pass game this season (blame Willie Colon).
11. Joe Flacco BAL After Week 2 he threw 24 TD against 5 INT (plus one rushing TD). I’m very tempted to rank Flacco above Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger. He’s underrated at Y! as the No. 15 QB (95 o-rank).
12. Eli Manning NYG The lesser Manning threw for 31 TD last season, but no one noticed because of the 25 INT. Some of those were the Wide Receiver’s fault (through the hands), Eli isn’t 25 INT bad. Nicks, Smith and Manningham make for a nice trio of targets.
13. Matt Cassel KC This may be a bit aggressive, but he did throw for 27 TD against 7 INT in 15 games last season. Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin will make for some big redzone targets. Baldwin, the 26th pick in the NFL Draft, is 6’4 228 lbs [highlights here]. Plus Moeaki is a year older and McCluster and Charles can take it the distance.
14. Jay Cutler CHI The Bears didn’t do much during the draft to help Cutler. He’s still throwing to Knox, Bennett, Hester and ignoring Greg Olsen. They did draft an offensive lineman in the late first round, but Olin Kreutz could leave when free agency opens. The Bears allowed a league high 56 sacks and lost a couple signal callers to sack-related injuries. Kreutz was the 8th best pass blocking Center (Pro Football Focus) so losing him would only makes things worse for Cutler.
15. Josh Freeman TB Freeman surprised many everyone with his 25 TD – 6 INT season. If you ignore the Week 16 tilt against the Seachickens he threw only 20 TD. Arrelious Benn didn’t live up to his draft status, but Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow are pretty good. The Tampa Bay o-lines stinks, but replacing free agents-to-be Trueblood and Joseph, poor pass protectors, with quality players would help.
16. Matthew Stafford DET Talented, sure, but this guy has played only 13 games during the two years he’s been in the league. You are playing a risky game if you’re drafting Stafford as your starting QB. I guess we could move him ahead of Freeman, possibly Cutler and Cassel, but he’s not touching my top 12 QB until he puts in a 14-game season.
17. Kyle Orton DEN The pass happy Josh McDaniels is no longer coaching in Denver, he’s a born again Offensive Coordinator in St. Louis. Also, that spikey haired virgin Tim Tebow will poach a few goal line TD. If you dislike the ‘combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” Running Back committees, you should hate Tim Tebow. He just might start the tandem QB revolution (probably not, but I’ll use any excuse to hate on Tebow).
18. Sam Bradford STL I like Bradford, but I don’t like the way he finished the 2010 season. Against a group of softies (ARI, NO, KC, SF, SEA) he threw just 1 TD against 6 INT. Those were some of the worst pass defenses in the league last year. Bradford will need someone to step up from the Wide Receiver corps (Avery, Alexander, Clayton or Pettis), Amendola is a complimentary receiver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradford finished the season near the Top 12 QB. I’m just a little skeptical after the collapse. I know players were hurt, but Alexander and Avery always get hurt. You can’t count on them. I’m probably underrating Bradford at this spot.
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF A year of experience under center, a desire to get Lee Evans more involved and a full season of Stevie Johnson as a starter will help Fitzpatrick build upon his success in 2010 (3,000 yards passing, 269 yards rushing, 23 TD, 15 INT).
20. Carson Palmer CIN I probably should have ignored this cry baby. He might retire [Ocho says so]. Andy Dalton would rank somewhere in the 28-30 range depending on where Chad Ochocinco ends up playing. There are a lot of “ifs” in Cincy right now. This team is not benefiting from the lockout.
21. Mark Sanchez NYJ Mark showed improvement in his second season, but he fell apart towards the end of the year (2 TD vs 7 INT his last five games). Which Mark will show up is the question. I believe Holmes and Edwards will be free agents, we’ll see what happens with that.
22. David Garrard JAX Mike Sims-Walker will be a free agent and the team took Blaine Gabbert (QB) with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft. Garrard isn’t a bad QB (28 TD in 2010), but last year was the first time he topped 20 TD. If the team hands the reigns to Gabbert at some point during the season… well, that wouldn’t be good for those who drafted Garrard.
23. Alex Smith SF Taking charge, leading the Niners camp, but Kaepernick will challenge. Jim Harbaugh will take over in San Fran so the coaching staff is not tied to Smith, he could be on a short leash.
24. Christian Ponder MIN Hard to trust a rookie, but Ponder looks NFL ready and has some nice targets (Harvin, Shiancoe and Rice if he re-signs). Adrian Peterson will be there to shoulder the load and set up the pass game. I’m trying to curb my Vikings homer mentality here.
25. Donovan McNabb WAS When you’re benched in favor of Rex Grossman, it’s time to retire.
26. Jason Campbell OAK Has averaged 14.5 Passing TD the past four seasons.
27. Chad Henne MIA The world’s favorite sleeper from last season didn’t pan out (15 TD – 19 INT). We’ll see what happens with their run game during free agency (Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are scheduled for free agency, the team drafted Daniel Thomas at RB). I should rank him ahead of McNabb and Campbell, shouldn’t I?
28. Cam Newton CAR Will Cam start? What will Steve Smith do?
29. Derek Anderson ARI I dare you to draft Derek Anderson. I double dare you.
30. Charlie Whitehurst SEA Will the team trade for Kevin Kolb? Will they re-sign Matt Hasselbeck? Does anyone care?
31. Colt McCoy CLE The Browns will be led by Hillis and Hardesty. Maybe Greg Little can energize the pass game.
32. Jake Locker TEN Rookie QB, meet your oft-arrested WR. Enjoy being mean mugged by Vince Young.
OK, so maybe I lied when I said minimal effort. Please tell me about the awesomeness of Michael Vick, I didn’t see his 9 Rushing TD (which was more than Jamaal Charles, MJD, Rice, McCoy, McFadden, Gore, Jackson, Forte and a gang load of other Running Backs had on the ground). What’s that? Brett Favre’s stubbly mug is on ESPN? I gotta go guys. The comment section awaits you.