1. Packers — Aaron Rodgers
The reigning NFL MVP has a Super Bowl ring and is just entering his prime at age 28. His quick decision-making compensates for an average offensive line. His 68.3 completion percentage last season was second-best in the league.
2. Saints — Drew Brees
He set an NFL single-season record last year with 5,476 passing yards. His 71.2 completion percentage also was the best in NFL history, breaking his 2009 mark of 70.6. He consistently puts the ball in a spot for receivers to gain yards after the catch.
3. Patriots — Tom Brady
Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl last season despite a bit of a dropoff. He's out of the top two after mechanical flaws led to 12 interceptions. At age 35, he must improve his footwork and base to remain elite.
4. Giants — Eli Manning
His stats aren't always the best (25 INT in 2010), but he threw for a career-high 4,933 yards last season as the Giants transitioned to a pass-heavy attack. He has eclipsed 4,000 passing years each of the past three seasons. Manning has two rings; Jim Plunkett is the only retired quarterback to win two Super Bowls and not be in the Hall of Fame.
5. Cowboys — Tony Romo
Romo was the NFL's third-most accurate (66.3 percent) and fourth-best rated (102.5) passer last season. His statistical excellence in 2011 (31 TD/10 INT/4,184 yards) is widely overshadowed by clutch failures. The Cowboys missed the playoffs in three of the past four years, and they lost their opener in 2007 after finishing with the NFC's top seed.
6. Broncos — Peyton Manning
Manning is as smart a quarterback as any in NFL history, but he must re-establish himself with a new team after missing a year with a neck injury that compromised nerves in his throwing arm. He could easily regain a spot near the top of these rankings, but he had to install his offense with a Broncos team transitioning away from Tim Tebow. His grade is incomplete.
7. Lions — Matthew Stafford
The No. 1 pick in 2009 was brilliant last season as he improved his decision making in his first injury-free campaign. His 97.2 passer rating was fifth-best in the NFL. Only Brees and Brady beat his 41 TD passes.
8. Falcons — Matt Ryan
Ryan has evolved in almost every facet since being drafted third overall in 2008. His reads are better. His arm is strong and he can extend plays with his legs. Receiving tandem of Julio Jones and Roddy White will make him even better.
9. steelers — Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger, Brady and Eli Manning are the only QBs on this list with two Super Bowl titles. He's extremely tough and consistently plays despite injuries. His size (6-5, 241) and willingness to take a hit allow him to extend plays as well as anyone.
10. Chargers — Philip Rivers
He has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in four straight seasons, but 2011 was a down year. For the first time since 2008, his passer rating (88.7) was below 101.4. A career-high 20 INT had a lot to do with that.
— By Rich Campbell
11. Texans — Matt Schaub
His 61.0 completion percentage in 2011 was his worst in five seasons with Houston
12. Eagles — Michael Vick
A poor ratio of 18 TD/14 INT last season, plus missed another three games due to injury
13. Panthers — Cam Newton
Reigning Rookie of the Year was a nightmare for defenses because of his size and arm
14. Ravens — Joe Flacco
Last season's 57.6 completion percentage was his first below 60 in four NFL seasons
15. 49ers — Alex Smith
Rejuvenated by coach Jim Harbaugh, Smith had 17 touchdowns and only five INT last year
16. Bears — Jay Cutler
Proof that a quarterback must have a quality supporting cast to be elite
17. Bengals — Andy Dalton
Promising rookie season included 20 TD, 13 INT and solid passer rating of 80.4
18. Bills — Ryan Fitzpatrick
Led the NFL last season with 23 interceptions but still completed 62 percent of his throws
19. Raiders — Carson Palmer
At age 32, let's see if he can recapture past success in his second year with the Raiders
20. Buccaneers — Josh Freeman
A major disappointment last season (16 TD/20 INT) after a breakout 2010
21. Jets — Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow
Sanchez's inaccuracy is exceeded by Tebow's, although Tebow will siphon Sanchez's snaps
22. Chiefs — Matt Cassel
Chiefs got it wrong in giving Cassel $28 million guaranteed in 2009
23. Colts — Andrew Luck
This year's top pick demonstrated great pocket presence and throwing ability in preseason
24. Redskins — Robert Griffin III
Griffin's full talents were kept under wraps during a bland preseason
25. Rams — Sam Bradford
The 2010 No. 1 pick is rotting on a terrible team and behind a terrible line
26. Titans — Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck
They'd be ranked much higher if Hasselbeck were still the starter
27. Vikings — Christian Ponder
Completed only 54 percent of his passes in 11 games as a rookie
28. Seahawks — Russell Wilson, Matt Flynn
The 5-11 rookie must answer questions about his size; Flynn couldn't beat out a rookie
29. Cardinals — John Skelton, Kevin Kolb
Kolb was a mirage for a team looking to replace Kurt Warner as a franchise QB
30. Dolphins — Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore
Tannehill is an all-around athlete many around the league expect will succeed
31. Browns — Brandon Weeden
Must improve his decision making to bring his collegiate 72.3 completion percentage to the NFL
32. Jaguars — Blaine Gabbert
Struggles to stay poised against the pass rush; finally has some receiver help in Year 2
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.