NFL’s top 5 quarterbacks for 2015

The best of the best at the most important position in football today.

With 12 quarterbacks in the top 100 of NFL.com’s top 100 players for 2015, the importance of the position is reinforced, as if any was needed.

Quarterbacks win games and sell tickets, and our top five for 2015 did that and placed highly among many of the major statistics in 2014. Expect to see all of these high-profile, high-production performers in the playoffs again this year.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Taking top honors in the Associated Press All-Pro team last year, Rodgers had one of his finest seasons in a career that has featured a passer rating of 100 or more each of the last six seasons. In 2014, his 112.2 rating was second-best in the league among starters and the second-best in his career. Most impressive was his touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio – 38-to-5. While he remains a threat to run – his 6.3-yard rushing average was the best of his career – he is even more dangerous throwing while on the run. With a receiving corps that features Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Rodgers averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, second only to Tony Romo’s 8.5 among starters, as was the 42.1 percent of his passes going for first downs. His 15 completions of 40 yards or more tied for the league lead, as well. In short, Rodgers was at or near the top of the charts in nearly every quarterback stat as he continues an impressive six-year run of immense efficiency.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Remember when analysts were waxing moronic on whether or not Tom Brady was starting to lose it after a couple bad games (for him) last year? Yeah, those were funny times. And then Brady won the Super Bowl. DeflateGate or not, Brady proved his greatness once again, as if anyone needed reminding of how successful he is 15 years into his Patriots career (apparently some did need that reminder). He only finished 10th among quarterback in yardage (4,109), but was as efficient as usual with a 97.7 rating, 33 touchdowns, nine interceptions and only 21 sacks. Quarterback wins is an imperfect statistic, but nobody owns it like Brady, who has a 160-47 regular-season record and 21-8 playoff record. He might not be available for the start of the 2015 season because of DeflateGate, but he just might end the season for every one of his opponents in the playoffs, just as he did in the 2014 postseason.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have a mix of veteran and young weapons surrounding luck this year with the addition of Andre Johnson to the receiving corps and Frank Gore to the backfield. Last year, Luck finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards (4,761), was seventh in quarterback rating (96.5) among starters, third in attempts (616) and led the league with 40 touchdown passes. But his stats might have been even better if not for the league-high 38 drops Pro Football Focus credited to his receivers. He had the most yards, most touchdowns, highest yards per attempt and highest touchdown percentage of his career, one that has ended with three Pro Bowl honors in his three seasons but no Super Bowl ring. Unfortunately, most of his playoff statistics take a dip from his regular-season statistics, so ultimately he will be judged by his performance in the playoffs going forward.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger and Drew Brees both averaged 309.5 yards per game sitting tied atop the league with 4,952 yards passing. While Brees had one more touchdown pass (33), Roethlisberger was more efficient, throwing only nine interceptions for a 103.3 passer rating, third among the top quarterbacks in the game. He doesn’t throw the ball away often and he doesn’t run often, but what he does is stand firm in the pocket and deliver it accurately without missing a down. His 8.2 yards per attempt was third in the league. His 11th season as a starter was perhaps his best, setting or tying career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Romo has always been a bit of the forgotten man in discussions of the elite quarterbacks, yet he has always been among the league’s best. Perhaps going undrafted has stuck with his continuing storyline, but last year Romo was best among the league’s starters with a 116.7 passer rating, a 69.9 completion percentage and an 8.5-yard average per attempt. He threw for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, and his 10 passes of 40 yards or more was tied for sixth. It took Romo four years to work into a starting role with the Cowboys, but he’s been handling that pressure well for the last nine years with only one season (2010) when he missed more than three games due to injury. This year, the challenge will be to continue his efficiency without DeMarco Murray for defenses to worry about.

Honorable mention: Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco.

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