AFC East Quarterback Rankings

Heading into the 2007 campaign, how do the quarterbacks in the AFC East compare? lead NFL analyst Tom Marino provides his scouting insight on the four men who hope to lead their team to a successful season. Check out his rankings and analysis inside...

The AFC East's top-rated quarterback is no surprise to any fan, sportswriter, broadcaster or persons associated with the game of football. Tom Brady, a relative unknown sixth-round draft selection out of the University of Michigan, burst onto the scene due to an injury to Drew Bledsoe. And as though it was scripted by the football gods, he led the upstart Patriots to an upset victory over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl (costing this writer a Super Bowl ring and about another $20,000 in bonus money). Over his seven-year playing career (six as a starter), he has led the Patriots to two additional Super Bowl titles and has also put up some very respectable and consistent playing numbers.

He is without question one of the top players in the game today, but I'm not about to rank him with the top people to have lined up at the quarterback position just yet. I really like the way he distributes the football, his short and intermediate accuracy, and his killer instinct down in the red zone. He is cool under fire and knows where to go with the football. Conversely I believe he is very much a product of the system (lateral passing game), and has shown a tendency to hold the football while delivering the ball late on many vertical routes.

With his high-powered supporting cast and outstanding coaching, I would expect nothing less then another solid season from this big-game performer, but I've got to tell you that some Patriots fans might be somewhat surprised with my thoughts on where he projects in my overall league quarterback rankings.

Look, I'm a Boston guy. I grew up a fan of the greatest sports franchise ever; the Boston Celtics (11 championships in 13 years). I loved Cousy, Heinsohn, Sharman, the Jones boys (K.C. and Sam), and most of all Bill Russell.  But even during those glory years, I recognized Wilt Chamberlain (and still do) as the greatest center in professional basketball history.

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The Dolphins played "chicken" all spring and waited until mid-summer to acquire Trent Green from the Kansas City Chiefs, but this veteran signal caller, is very familiar with Cam Cameron's offensive philosophy and will assimilate quickly into the playing system.

Entering his 14th playing season, Green has proven to be a very savvy performer and an extremely accurate thrower who put up some exceptional passing numbers for the Chiefs before being injured and missing half the 2006 playing season. He throws on time, is accurate, smart, makes good throwing decisions and has a world of practical experience. I really like his stroke and I expect him, even at the advanced football age of 37, to lend some much needed stability to the Dolphins quarterback position while also assisting with the development of rookie second-round selection out of BYU, John Beck.

The Chiefs obviously feel his talent level has regressed over the last two seasons while the Dolphins hope that Trent can give them the best quarterback play since Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino (I do like that name) retired after the 1999 season.

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The 2007 season will mark the beginning of Bills quarterback, J.P. Losman's fourth professional year (third as a starter), and he appears poised to take his game to the next level. The California native out of Tulane (via UCLA), has a live arm, is a particularly good athlete for the position, throws effectively on the move, and can make plays with his feet. He can get a little ragged with his mechanics and was at times inconsistent with his throwing accuracy. But based on his 2006 showing, he certainly looks like the real deal.

The Bills made a very wise and calculating decision when they selected Trent Edwards with their third-round selection in the 2007 player draft. Considered by some scouts (myself included) as the best-kept secret and the top collegiate quarterback prospect in the country, he is an insurance policy should Losman go down with an injury or decide to leave the club via free agency at the conclusion of the 2007 season (look for the Falcons to make a serious run at this future star). For now, this is the rapidly improving J.P. Losman football team, and if the Bills can adequately protect him and give him the necessary support on both sides of the football, the sky's the limit with this player.

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Talking about products of the system, lets' keep my next statement just between you and me. I have never been a big fan of the Jets' Chad Pennington, either at the collegiate or professional level. I can still remember viewing both he and Marc Bulger on consecutive days along with veteran scouts from the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons and have got to tell you, there was never any doubt in our minds as to whom was the better prospect and player.

Pennington's professional numbers have always been more then respectable, but tell me just when was the last time you saw the NFL's 2006 Comeback Player of the Year throw the football effectively down the field?

He does have good touch on his flair control, sets up screens well, and was for the most part an accurate short passer (delays and arrow routes).  But can he effectively throw the out from the far hash, the dig and or comeback? Not to my way of thinking.

As I stated in my first article in this series, a strong throwing arm is preferred, but not essential for success at the quarterback position. But it is my opinion that this first-round selection out of Marshall's ball simply appeared to lose interest when thrown into the boundary or perimeter of the football field.

AFC East Quarterback Rankings

1.  Tom Brady
2.  J.P. Losman
3.  Trent Green
4.  Chad Pennington

Tom Marino has over 35 years of experience as a professional scout working for the NFL's Bears, Saints, Rams, Giants and Cowboys along with both the WFL and USFL. As's Lead NFL Analyst, he has primary responsibility for network reporting, the NFL Draft, Free Agency databases and rankings.

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