2004 NFL Draft: Where these QB's Rate

With all the speculation surrounding quarterback Eli Manning and the first overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, the quarterback position rankings has become a highly debatable position.

The consensus number-one is Eli Manning from Mississippi. Armed with the intangibles and name, Manning is a blue-chip talent, but a couple others college quarterbacks have impressed NFL player personnel evaluators. Impressed may be an understatement, as the complexion of the quarterbacks may be in for a change as draft-day approaches.

Believed to be lined-up behind Manning are Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers.

Rivers, a record-setting quarterback from North Carolina State is rising up the draft boards quicker than any player in this draft. With numerous NFL scouts and player personnel evaluators of the belief he is the most NFL ready to step in and play immediately, Rivers has been a hot topic over the past few days.

The San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers are sold on the quarterback. Based on draft-selection value, the Chargers will not select Rivers with the first-selection in the draft, but the team continues to seek a trade to select a few positions later to select the quarterback.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers are quietly taking in all the rumors and fanfare that comes with the NFL Draft. Rivers is certainly a serious consideration for Pittsburgh, as the team has contemplated trading up in the draft for the opportunity to select him or Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger is that smaller-school talent that has impressed with his size, stature, and natural athletic ability. Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Dennis Green has openly stated Roethlisberger is a franchise-type quarterback and the New York Giants are considering selecting him with the fourth overall selection in the draft.

As is the case with any draft selection, the player could be a hit or miss. At the quarterback position, especially when the selection is a high first-round selection, the magnitude of the pick and the focus on the position are critical. With the escalating contracts of the game today, making a mistake on a player could hamper a team for years, on and off the field.

All three of the above mentioned players have excelled at the college level and should become productive NFL quarterbacks, but something tells me Phillip Rivers could ultimately become the ring-leader of success at the quarterback position coming out of this 2004 NFL Draft.

Now, to see if Pittsburgh, Buffalo, or San Diego has the same belief.

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