Breaking Down John Clayton’s 2010 NFL QB Rankings

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is ranked as the 13th best quarterback in the NFL by ESPN’s John Clayton, but he should be higher…in my humble opinion

If I have said it once, I have said it 1,000 times…”The NFL is a quarterback driven league”.  So one of my favorite past times is comparing league quarterbacks against each other.  And this year, ESPN’s John Clayton helped further the debate by recently posting his annual quarterback rankings.  Clayton broke down the league’s starters into 3 divisions (The Elite, The “Chad Pennington” Division – i.e. “Caretakers”, and Hit-Or-Miss).

As usual the Professor did a nice job in weaving stats, analysis, and opinion.  But it would not be any fun if I didn’t poke any holes into his rankings.  Though I don’t have many contentions, I definitely think Clayton should have used my favorite quarterback barometer, Playoff Wins, more.

  • I think the Elite Division should only be Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Ben Roethlisberger.  These quarterbacks have gotten it done in postseason (i.e. Super Bowl winners) and they also have had great stats for more than 5 years.
  • There needs to be another division called “Fantasy Footballers”.  These are quarterbacks that have put up big stats in the regular season, but have not yet sustained postseason success.  Heck a couple of them haven’t even made it to the postseason or won one playoff game. This group would be Matt Schaub (no playoff appearances), Aaron Rodgers (no playoff wins), Jay Cutler (no playoff appearances), Tony Romo (playoff record of 1-3), and Carson Palmer (playoff record of 0-2 with both losses at home).
  • Another division also needing to be created is “The Old Heads”.  These are good quarterbacks that are a 5-year plus veterans that have had some success in the past.  I will put Donovan McNabb in this group — despite his 9-7 playoff record – but he can’t be considered “Elite” without the ring.  You can also add Philip Rivers — sorry San Diego fans…this 3-time Pro Bowler has a career 3-4 playoff record — Matt Hasselbeck and Eli Manning.  I know Archie’s youngest has a Super Bowl ring, but he also is a “team” quarterback that has only one 4,000-yard passing season and one 25+ touchdown season on his mantle -– both in 2009.
  • The “Young Guns”, who are quarterbacks working their way up.  I know some of them have already had some playoff success, but it is still too early to draw long term predictions.  This group would include Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Vince Young, Kevin Kolb, Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Matt Cassel and Sam Bradford.
  • No list would be complete without a group called “The Journeymen”.  These are guys just happy to be called a starter…well for now.  Byron Leftwich, Matt Leinart / Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, Jake Delhomme, David Garrard, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, Trent Edwards, and Kyle Orton — Don’t let his 29-19 starting record or last year’s almost 4,000-yard passing season fool you.

Here is my ranking list for the NFL’s marquee position

1) Peyton Manning

2) Drew Brees

3) Tom Brady

4) Ben Roethlisberger

5) Brett Favre

6) Philip Rivers

7) Aaron Rodgers

8) Donovan McNabb

9) Matt Ryan

10) Joe Flacco

11) Tony Romo

12) Carson Palmer

13) Eli Manning

14) Matt Schaub

15) Vince Young

16) Jay Cutler

17) Matthew Stafford

18) Kyle Orton

19) David Garrard

20) Jason Campbell

21) Kevin Kolb

22) Matt Hasselbeck

23) Mark Sanchez

24) Chad Henne

25) Matt Cassel

26) Alex Smith

27) Byron Leftwich

28) Matt Moore

29) Josh Freeman

30) Sam Bradford

31) Michael Vick

32) Jimmy Clausen

33) Derek Anderson / Matt Leinart

34) Trent Edwards

35) Jake Delhomme


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


One Response

  1. Dude you are a clown. Ryan and Flacco ahead of Eli? And Carson Palmer? You clearly know nothing about NFL QBs. Even putting Jimmy Clausen at 32. Most teams backups are better than this guy. You must have idiot written across your forehead.

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