In the 2014 edition of Athlon Sports’ Pro Football preview, we called on Ourlads Scouting Services to rank the NFL’s best at every position on the field. When it comes to determining who is the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback, etc., who better to make that determination than a company that’s been in the gridiron talent evaluation business for nearly three decades?
If there ever was any doubt about the importance of the quarterback on an NFL team, look no further than the five Super Bowl MVPs among the top 10 at the position. And that group doesn’t include Russell Wilson, who led the Seahawks to the world title this past season, just his second in the league. Don’t overlook the NFC North either, as three of its four signal-callers crack Ourlads’ top 10.
Rankings courtesy of Ourlads Scouting Services
2014 NFL Player Rankings: Quarterbacks
1. Peyton Manning, Denver
The reigning NFL MVP threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with the second-highest passer rating (115.1) in the league. His arm strength is not what it has been in the past, but his anticipation and ability to get out of a bad play are unparalleled.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Was derailed for seven games with a broken collarbone but came back to lead the Packers on a late run for the division title. Continues with his outstanding accuracy and decision-making. Good timing and touch on passes. Has vision, feel and natural running ability.
3. Tom Brady, New England
The consummate pro overcame a leaky line, a young receiving corps and a depleted stable of tight ends to play in the AFC Championship Game. Age has not slowed his quick release and accuracy. Poised and confident.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans
Turned 35 in January, but is coming off a year in which he threw for more than 5,000 yards and 39 touchdowns and won a road playoff game. Slides away from the rush and throws well on the move. Has outstanding touch and timing to keep receivers on their routes.
5. Philip Rivers, San Diego
Cut down on his interceptions while maintaining his gunslinger style and passed for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2013. Plays with great patience, intelligence and confidence. A good improviser.
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle
Has now officially answered all of the questions about his height, arm strength and the ability to win from the pocket. Threw for more than 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns in his Super Bowl-winning season.
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Cut down on interceptions and continued to grow in his second season. He proved that he could win the game in the pocket but is mobile and athletic enough to avoid a rush to extend a play.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Is 32 years old and had a solid season in which he played all 16 games for the first time since 2008. He almost pulled out a playoff berth with a late-season run. A playmaker who can extend a play and pressure the defense.
9. Jay Cutler, Chicago
Battled injury and still passed for 2,621 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. A competitive leader who can take a hit and throw under duress. Adjusts his throws well under pressure.
10. Matthew Stafford, Lions
Completed 2013 with 4,650 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He is physically gifted with excellent arm strength. A streaky passer who is more on than off.
11. Tony Romo, Dallas
12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta
13. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco
14. Cam Newton, Carolina
15. Nick Foles, Philadelphia
16. Sam Bradford, St. Louis
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City
18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
19. Jake Locker, Tennessee
20. Eli Manning, NY Giants
21. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay
22. Joe Flacco, Baltimore
23. Carson Palmer, Arizona
24. Robert Griffin III, Washington
25. Michael Vick, NY Jets
26. Ryan Tannehill, Miami
27. Geno Smith, NY Jets
28. Matt Cassel, Minnesota
29. EJ Manuel, Buffalo
30. Matt Schaub, Oakland