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- NFC QB Rankings - Who Leads?

Chris Pokorny August 17, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

Tell Chris your opinion.

The AFC quarterback rankings are already finished, so it's time to move on to the NFC quarterback rankings. I didn't project anyone from the NFC to have a "surprising" season this year, even though Mark Brunell and Chris Simms both warranted that last year after solid performances.

NFC East - Top Quality

When it comes to the NFC East, there isn't a quarterback that features glaring weaknesses. Brunell, McNabb, and Bledsoe are all veterans that have led their teams to success in the past. And, the only quarterback with youth on his side - Eli Manning - finds himself on top of the division.

1. Eli Manning - New York Giants - Last year, the younger brother of Peyton Manning looked a lot like his brother to begin the season, but that changed towards the end of the season. He made way too many mistakes and was throwing more interceptions than touchdowns per game. With experience comes maturity for some players, and that's what we'll see with Eli this year. When you compare his rookie season to last year, he had already made significant progress. Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey, and Tiki Barber are all returning, which are three weapons any team would love to have. Expect Manning to come on really strong this year, and even challenge his brother for the amount of touchdowns thrown.

2. Drew Bledsoe - Dallas Cowboys - Although he still had his share of mistakes, Bledsoe saw a revival of his playing ability after switching from the Buffalo Bills to the Cowboys. He'll be without Keyshawn Johnson this season, but he's gained something much greater - Terrell Owens. No one doubts the trouble that Owens causes, but no matter what quarterback he plays with, good relationship or bad, he produces. Patrick Crayton was impressive as a rookie last year, and Terry Glenn is still a comfortable option for Bledsoe. Still, Bledsoe's mistakes will prevent him from becoming the best quarterback in the division.

3. Donovan McNabb - Philadelphia Eagles - McNabb, with the proper talent surrounding him, would be the top quarterback in this division. Hank Baskett has showed a lot of big-play ability and Reggie Brown hopes to become a No. 1 target, but let's be honest: do any of the Eagles' receivers compare to the other teams in the division(Cowboys with Owens, Giants with Burress, and Redskins with Moss)? Brian Westbrook has a lot of versatility in the running game, but just like the receiver positions, he doesn't compare to the likes of Barber and Clinton Portis. His best attribute is to make plays with his feet, something the rest of the quarterbacks in the division aren't exactly capable of.

4. Mark Brunell - Washington Redskins - Last year, Brunell became the starting quarterback during Week 1, and never looked back. A lot of his success came through the deep ball to Santana Moss and short touchdown throws to the fullback. You can't blame him for his gameplay, because most of what he did simply worked. There's nothing stopping him from putting up the same numbers he did last year, but the Redskins will be about running the football again, assuming Clinton Portis comes back in time for the regular season.

NFC North - Take Your Pick

Brett Favre definitely has the best legacy in this division, and perhaps among active quarterbacks, but does he really have it anymore compared to the rest of the quarterbacks in the division? Sadly, looking at the other quarterbacks, it doesn't get a whole lot better.

1. Brett Favre - Green Bay Packers - Despite all of the injuries the Packers have been through the past few years, Favre has battled through all of the tough times. After the Packers were horrid at times last year, Favre decided to come back and give it one more shot, despite many fans believing he should hang it up. Favre can still sling it better than anyone in this division. Heading into camp, his offensive weapons are healthy, and the last time that happened, the Packers were in the postseason.

2. Brad Johnson - Minnesota Vikings - Were the Vikings wrong to get rid of Daunte Culpepper? When you take a look at last season, no one would've wanted the guy. However, we all know Culpepper can play better than that, but the Vikings made a decision they thought was best for the overall team and new coaching staff. Johnson has always been a smart, game-managing quarterback, as he showed during the Vikings "almost" surprise turnaround at the end of last season. He doesn't have a true No. 1 receiver on his team though, and the running game is testing a career backup in the starting role. Unfortunately, Johnson can only do so much with what he has.

3. Jon Kitna - Detroit Lions - Getting rid of Joey Harrington is a decision I've been calling for years, and it has finally happened. Kitna has been better-than-average during his career, and almost turned the Bengals into a playoff team after he was supposed to be simply a "temporary" quarterback in Cincinnati. He played so well as a starter though, that the Bengals originally were hesitating having to remove him of his duties. Kitna will definitely move the ball better for the Lions, but the real question will be whether or not the three former No. 1 draft picks are ready to receive.

4. Rex Grossman - Chicago Bears - I've said it before: I believe Brian Griese is better suited to start for the Bears. At the moment though, Grossman is the man, and even with Griese, the Bears' quarterback would be ranked fourth. The passing game is very limited in the team's offense, as the focus point goes to the running game. Muhsin Muhammad is a reliable receiver, but Grossman will never be able to get him the ball as much as Carolina did.

NFC South - Adding Weapons?

The Carolina Panthers made the right move in the offseason by adding another weapon in Keyshawn Johnson, which will really benefit Jake Delhomme. The same can't be said for the Falcons though, who may have to watch Vick run around all day again without actually throwing the ball when it matters.

1. Jake Delhomme - Carolina Panthers - The Panthers' issue offensively last year was not having any other weapons besides Steve Smith. That caused Delhomme to have a lot of success at times by throwing to Smith over and over, but it also cost him several games by throwing interceptions due to a lack of options. This year, he'll have Keyshawn Johnson on the other side of the field, a move that I still consider the most underrated of the offseason. Teams can no longer decide to double cover Smith without worrying about the other receivers. And, Delhomme won't have to worry if he sees the double coverage, because in all likelihood, that'll mean Johnson is man-to-man.

2. Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints - Brees is coming to the Saints in an attempt to revive a franchise that had low morale last year due to Hurricane Katrina. People aren't expecting Brees to make the Saints contenders this year or anything, but he is a very polished quarterback that has already shown he was capable of turning the Chargers around. If Brees struggles, people will understand, but if he thrives, he will earn praise around the league for turning yet another franchise around. Reggie Bush will become his new LaDainian Tomlinson by mid-season.

3. Chris Simms - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - After Brian Griese went down to injury last year, Simms was thrown into the mix all of a sudden. Although he didn't light it up, he managed the team well enough to still lead them to a playoff berth. Simms showed several flashes of throwing the ball well down the field to Joey Galloway. If Michael Clayton recovers from his sophomore slump, it'll give the Buccaneers the other receiving threat they need, much like Johnson with the Panthers(on a downgraded quality though). Even with a great performance though, Simms won't be an elite quarterback.

4. Michael Vick - Atlanta Falcons - The guy can certainly make plays with his feet, but when it comes to purely throwing the football, Vick still hasn't shown people much. It's hard to say "he'll be better this year", because that hasn't been the case at all the past several years. If a team locks down on his running ability, what is he going to do? It doesn't help that the Falcons have failed to develop or acquire a No. 1 receiver the past few years, and Vick's former No. 1 receiver, Brian Finneran, is already done for the year.

NFC West - Offensive Revivals?

Why is their a revival of offense in this division? In several other divisions, Matt Hasselbeck would be considered the top quarterback. However, I'm taking a risk and projecting two other quarterbacks to have outstanding seasons, and it just so happens both of those men used to be in a competition with each other.

1. Marc Bulger - Carolina Panthers - Due to a couple of injuries the past few seasons, Bulger has seemed to have fallen off people's radars. When healthy, Torry Holt and Steven Jackson are deadly weapons for him. The Rams' offense is finally under a new direction, which will hopefully prevent some of the questionable play calling that Mike Martz used to call. Bulger will need to put a lot of points on the board to win games too, because the defense still has some question marks.

2. Kurt Warner - Arizona Cardinals - Last year, Warner did well with the Cardinals, and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin quietly had tremendous seasons. The lack of a running game prevented the Cardinals from going any further though, and the organization hopes they've fixed that with the addition of Edgerrin James. The only thing that can hurt the Cardinals offense will be if Warner gets injured again, forcing Matt Leinart to become the starter.

3. Matt Hasselbeck - Seattle Seahawks - Losing Joe Jurevicius will hurt the Seahawks more than they think, because he was finally a receiver Hasselbeck could count on not dropping the ball. Nate Burleson never was able to shine properly with the Vikings but should be a nice compliment to Darrell Jackson. Still, with Shaun Alexander, Hasselbeck hasn't done anything wrong to drop from No. 1 to No. 3 in the division. The important thing is, the Seahawks still have the best overall team compared to Arizona and St. Louis.

4. Alex Smith - San Francisco 49ers - It'll be another long year for the 49ers, as well as Smith. He'll find more success than he did during his short stint last year with Antonio Bryant and Vernon Davis added to the team. He'll still have a lot to learn though, and should show signs of maturity after a full season under his belt.

That's it for the quarterback rankings. If you'd like to comment on these rankings, leave a message below.

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