QB rankings: Favre still among best

Ask most Green Bay Packers fans who's the top quarterback in the NFL and they probably would say Brett Favre. Yes, and no. Favre remains one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks, but the Packers signal caller isn't what he once was. That's saying something, considering Favre threw for more than 4,000 yards and 30 TD passes last season.

Favre remains one of the NFL's top 10 QB's, but he has been passed by some younger players. Indianapolis' Peyton Manning has to be the NFL's best. He threw an NFL record 49 TD passes last season, and outside of his lack of mobility, there's nothing wrong with this model of a quarterback.

Some would argue New England's Tom Brady is the NFL's top QB, and there's a legitimate argument here. Anyone else currently quarterbacking a team with three Super Bowl rings on his hand?

No.

Still, if I could coach a team for this upcoming season and I was allowed to draft a QB, I couldn't look by Manning. That's what these rankings are based on. Not what have they've done in their career, but if you had a team for this season, who would you want? Favre comes in at No. 6 in this ranking. I know No. 1 or No. 4 (his jersey number) would be a better place, but it's time to recognize some quarterbacks are just better than he is. Still, Favre is a treasure to watch.

The top 10:

1. Peyton Manning, Colts: Pluses — Manning is as smart as they come, works hard and can make every throw. Minuses — Not very mobile; hasn't won the big one.

2. Tom Brady, Patriots: Pluses — Always makes big plays in big games (see his three Super Bowl rings for proof); accurate passer. Minuses — Isn't as physically gifted as most QB's, but has it really mattered?

3. Donovan McNabb, Eagles: Pluses — Great leader, who produces with or without a Pro Bowl receiver; good runner. Minuses — Hasn't always made big plays in big moments (see NFC championship games).

4. Daunte Culpepper, Vikings: Pluses — Throws a good deep ball, and can run well, despite weighing around 260. Minuses — Small hands lead to too many fumbles.

5. Michael Vick, Falcons: Pluses — Gee, I wonder. He runs as fast as most running backs; has played well in big situations (he led Atlanta to an upset playoff win at Lambeau Field) in his second season; has a strong arm. Minuses — Still raw as a quarterback; not a typical pocket-passer.

6. Brett Favre, Packers: Pluses — Strong arm; smart; clever in the pocket; great leader. Minuses — Forces too many passes; not as mobile as he once was.

7. Drew Brees, Chargers: Pluses — Accurate passer; can scramble for yards. Minuses — Has only shined one season; not the strongest arm in the world.

8. Jake Delhomme, Panthers: Pluses — Gamer, as was proven two seasons ago when he led Carolina to playoff road wins at St. Louis and at Philadelphia; good leader. Minuses — Can be inconsistent, like last season, when he started slow and finished strong.

9. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks: Pluses — Statistically, he's productive; not afraid of big situations. Minuses — Has not led team to a playoff win; sometimes throws into coverage.

10. Trent Green, Chiefs: Pluses — Good pocket passer; shows good touch on jump-ball type passes in end zone. Minuses — Not very mobile; hasn't shown the ability to carry his team.

JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10
Jake Plummer, Broncos:
He can make a coach go nuts, but last season Plummer played solid and was actually a help to the offense. It took a while.

OVERRATED
Aaron Brooks, Saints:
Former Packers draft pick has great talent, but has never gotten the most out of it. Throws bad passes and isn't a good leader.

UP AND COMERS
David Carr, Texans:
He took a beating early in his career, but he's ready to explode as WR Andre Johnson has matured.

Byron Leftwich, Jaguars: He's big, can run and throw. Sound like someone else (Culpepper)? He is on the verge of being really good, and it could some this season.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Last year, he rode the coattails of a running game and defense, but with a full season behind him, "Big Ben" will show why he was a first-round pick. He's a good passer.

Eli Manning, Giants: Yes, he struggled last season, but he's too good not to improve. As long as his skilled talent around him stays healthy, Eli will make strides.


Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.


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