NFL.com have been releasing their top 10 quarterback rankings ahead of the new NFL season and there is where my inspiration came from for this article. The Quarterback is the most important position in all of football, if you have a great one, you're going to be challenging for the play-offs every single year, if you don't, you'll need everything to come together to even sniff post-season play.
Ranking the quarterbacks is quite a difficult thing to do, not necessarily at the top end, but from 20-32, that's where it gets difficult. I really want this thread to be a discussion piece. I know that several people will disagree with me and I'm not arrogant enough to suggest these are the definitive rankings or even the correct ones, this is just how I see it.
I've broken the Quarterbacks down into tiers and then offered a brief explanation to my thinking. I'm not basing this on the accolades the QB's have already won, I'm basing it solely on the talent of the player and how I see them doing in 2015.
TIER 1 - The Superstars
1) Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
2) Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers
3) Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
4) Tom Brady - New England Patriots
Thoughts: Here are the guys to build your franchise around. The players who lead their team to the post-season on a regular basis, the players who orchestrate game winning drive after game winning drive. They throw a lot of touchdowns, have a high QB rating and you can rely on them to come to play every single week. In 2014 these players combined for 143 touchdowns to 39 interceptions. I would trust all four of these players to lead my team to the play-offs and then perform once I got there.
TIER 2 - The Franchise Definers
5) Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
6) Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos
Thoughts: I may take some heat for having these two in their own category, especially considering that both have Superbowl rings and one will probably go down as one of the best if not the best QB of all time. However this is based on today, the talent right now. Peyton's arm seems to disappear as soon as you get to November/December and Drew Brees has started to make a few more mistakes than usual. I love both players and they'll both toss 30+ touchdowns in 2015 with 15+ interceptions.
TIER 3 - The Class Acts
7) Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys
8) Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks
9) Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers
10) Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
11) Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
Thoughts: Here are a group of players who'd I'd love to have on my team. Matt Ryan didn't have a great year last year but he has tremendous arm talent, Tony Romo had one of the best years in his career and behind that offensive line, I imagine he'll do the same again in 2015. Russell Wilson is a duel-threat guy who plays smart football, Rivers is inconsistent but he can make every single throw and then some and Joe Flacco is one of the best quarterbacks in the game once you get to the post-season, problem is he's only quite good in the regular season, which is why he just drops outside the top 10.
TIER 4 - The Good Guys
12) Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers
13) Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins
14) Alex Smith - Kansas City Chiefs
15) Eli Manning - New York Giants
16) Carson Palmer - Arizona Cardinals
17) Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49'ers
18) Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions
19) Teddy Bridgewater - Minnesota Vikings
20) Derek Carr - Oakland Raiders
Thoughts: All of the quarterbacks in this group have serious talent, whether it be the duel threat of Cam Newton, the potential of Carr and Brudgewater the intelligence of Alex Smith or the inconsistent elite talent of the likes of Eli Manning or Colin Kaepernick. I placed Ryan Tannehill in here, although he's a Dolphin I like his arm talent and although he only throws short sharp passes in that Ohio River offense (read this longform article by Chris Wesseling to understand why I'll never call it the West Coast Offense again). Carson Palmer was having a top 10 QB season before he got injured last season and I keep waiting for Matthew Stafford to have that elite year, but I'm getting tired of waiting for it now.
TIER 5 - The Inconsistents
21) Nick Foles - St Louis Rams
22) Sam Bradford - Philadelphia Eagles
23) Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals
24) Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears
Thoughts: I've placed Foles and Bradford right next to each other here and I can't wait to see who performs better this year. Bradford has all the talent in the world, but I don't trust him to stay healthy. Was Nick Foles 2013 performance based entirely on the Chip Kelly offense or does he have that talent, he doesn't have a great deal to work with in St Louis. Andy Dalton can look great, he can look terrible and in the end he's probably taking you to a mediocre season. If Jay Curler isn't the most frustrating quarterback in the league, I don't know who is. He has one hell of an arm and he can make all the NFL throws, but sometimes it looks as though he doesn't have a single ounce of football intelligence.
TIER 6 The Big Questions
25) Geno Smith - New York Jets
26) Brian Hoyer - Houston Texans
27) Matt Cassell - Buffalo Bills
28) Robert Griffin III - Washington Redskins
29) Johnny Manziel - Cleveland Browns
Thoughts: Here is a group of players who obviously have some talent, they just haven't put it together yet. A lot of these guys throw too many interceptions and not enough touchdowns. They have flashed some potential to develop into reasonable starters but haven't actually put together a run of games where their talent shines through. Manziel hasn't even shown that. However I'm basing this list on what I've heard this off-season, there is optimism around most of the players on this list and it wouldn't surprise me if at least one of these guys had a very good season, lets hope it''s Geno Smith.
TIER 7 - The Unknowns
30) Jameis Winston - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
31) Marcus Mariota - Tennessee Titans
32) Blake Bortles - Jacksonville Jaguars
Thoughts: I put the rookies in here because who knows how well they will adapt to the NFL. I also put Blake Bortles in here, mainly because he was absolutely terrible last year. He was poor under pressure, when he had time, when he was at home and when he was on the road. He had a sub 70 passer rating, completed less than 60% of his passes and threw considerably more interceptions than touchdowns.