Make no mistake, quarterback remains the “it” position in the NFL. Not only is it the most popular one, it’s also the most scrutinized and arguably the most important when it comes to team success.
For poof of this, look no further than this year’s quarterback rankings. Athlon Sports’ rankings, which were done in conjunction with Dan Shonka of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services and appear in the 2016 NFL Preview magazine, are headlined by a trio of signal-callers who have two things in common – each has won a league MVP award and has led his team to the Super Bowl. In fact, the latter accomplishment applies to each of the top six on our list, a group that has combined to win nine times out 14 Super Sunday appearances.
Rankings courtesy of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services, which has been in the football talent evaluation business for more than three decades.
2016 NFL Quarterback Rankings
1. Cam Newton, Carolina
Collected 48 of 50 votes to win the NFL’s MVP award for the 2015 season. The athletic competitor passed for 35 touchdowns and ran for 10 more scores.
2. Tom Brady, New England
The future NFL Hall of Famer and 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback responded in the face of adversity with 4,770 yards passing and 36 touchdowns. He was intercepted only seven times. He is scheduled to serve a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Had a blip on the career radar in 2015 after losing prime target Jordy Nelson. His 60.7 completion percentage was the lowest in his eight years as a starter.
4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
With Antonio Brown and a healthy Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers can score on anyone. Big Ben holds numerous career franchise passing records.
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans
The 15-year veteran averaged 7.8 yards per attempt and had 10 games of over 300 yards passing. It was the fifth time in his career he has done so.
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle
Wilson has won 46 regular season games, more than any quarterback in his first four years in NFL history.
7. Philip Rivers, San Diego
Rivers is the franchise leader in career completion percentage and passer rating. He completed a career-high 437 passes in 2015.
8. Carson Palmer, Arizona
Was voted to the second-team All-Pro squad after passing for a career-high 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns and averaging 8.7 yards per attempt.
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta
Became the fifth-fastest quarterback to pass for 30,000 yards, accomplishing the feat in his 117th game. One of four passers to throw for 4,000 yards in each of the last five seasons.
10. Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants
Has not missed a start in 11 years. He is the franchise leader in passing attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and interceptions.
11. Tony Romo, Dallas
12. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
13. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
14. Joe Flacco, Baltimore
15. Kirk Cousins, Washington
16. Matthew Stafford, Detroit
17. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago
19. Alex Smith, Kansas City
20. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo
21. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia
22. Ryan Tannehill, Miami
23. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
24. Derek Carr, Oakland
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota
26. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
27. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Free Agent
28. Brock Osweiler, Houston
29. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco
30. Josh McCown, Cleveland