In this "Age of the Quarterback" the gunslingers who run the offense in the National Football League are now bigger, faster and stronger than in years past. They have turned into multi-faceted athletes that can run as well as pass. The new era has turned out quite a few rising stars over the past couple years. Here's my list of the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL going into the 2013 season:
32. Mark Sanchez - Do I really have to explain this. One of only four starters with more INTs than TDs, second in the league in sacks and started almost the whole season because his backup was Tim Tebow. At least Rex Ryan believes in him enough to get his portrait on his arm.
31. Matt Cassel - In eight games, Cassel came away with just one victory throwing a mere six TDs and 12 INTs. Thank God for Andy Reid and this seasons No. 1 Draft Pick!
30. Blaine Gabbert - As a University of Missouri alum, it's hard for me to do this, but Gabbert was just flat out bad this year posting a 1-9 record as a starter with only 9 TDs and 6 INTs and getting dropped behind the line 22 times.
29. Jake Locker - The third quarterback with more picks than scores (11/10), Locker completed 56% of his passes and had a starting record of 4-7.
28. Brandon Weeden - With a mediocre supporting cast, Weeden's 3300/14 5-10 season was capped by his 17 INTs and a 72.6 Quarterback Rating.
27. Nick Foles - Going a mere 1-5 filling in for the injured Michael Vick, Foles put up an impressive 1699/6 followed up with five INTs and 20 sacks...in just six games.
26. Michael Vick - His athleticism seems to decline more and more every year. I think age is finally catching up to him as he has yet to have a healthy season since his dog days of gambling. In 10 games he went 3-7 with 12 TDs and 332 yards on the ground. However, he was sacked 28 times and couldn't get anything going in Philly.
25. Ryan Tannehill - In his rookie season, he put up mediocre numbers, not horrible. Over 3200 yards, 12 TDs and a 58% completion rate. Another one that just couldn't get anything going in an equally mediocre offense in Miami.
24. Jay Cutler - A dismal season for Cutler and the Bears, and they went 10-5. Cutler barely hit 3000 yards, had 19 TDs and 14 INTs and averaged just 7 yards per pass.
23. Christian Ponder - Having Adrian Peterson on anyone's team will make the QB better. In this case, it may have been his only saving grace. He did almost hit the 3000 yard mark and had 18 TDs, but after being sacked 32 times and throwing 12 picks, he shows alot to be desired for next season.
22. Sam Bradford - The stagnant Rams saw glimpses of hope throughout the season with Bradford at the helm. 3700 yards, 21 TDs and a QB Rating of 82.6. He was also tied for second in the league with four 4th quarter comebacks.
21. Ryan Fitzpatrick - With an average receiving corp, the Harvard grad led his Bills to a 6-10 record throwing for 3400 yards and 24 TDs and an 83.3 QB Rating completing only 60% of his passes.
20. Alex Smith - Smith probably should be higher on this list, however, his lack of game time late in the season put a damper on his numbers. In his 9 games, he led the 49ers to a 6-2-1 record with 1737 yards and 13 TDs with only five INTs. Not bad for a second stringer.
19. Josh Freeman - Though the Bucs only went 7-9 this year, Freeman still threw for over 4000 yards and 27 scores with an overall QB Rating of 81.6. Not bad for a guy with an average supporting cast.
18. Carson Palmer - With an injury plagued offense that only put up 4 wins, Palmer still completed over 60% of his passes, threw for over 4000 yards, had 22 TDs and had a total QB rating of 85.3
17. Colin Kaepernick - I want to rank him higher, but it is hard after only starting seven games. He did lead the 49ers to a 5-2 record in that time span as well as taking them to the Super Bowl. He had a 98.3 QB Rating, with over 1800 yards, 10 TDs and 415 yards for five TDs on the ground. An improvement from the aforementioned Alex Smith, but not enough to field time to rank him higher. Check back midseason, 2013.
16. Cam Newton - Superman didn't exactly repeat his performance from last year, but I wouldn't call it a sophomore slump either. He threw for 3869 yards and 19 TDs, but for me what makes him a better QB than those below him is his ability to move in space. He was second only to RG3 in rushing yards by a quarterback with 741 and eight TDs. Thats pretty impressive.
15. Andy Dalton - Another sophomore not showing signs of a slump, Dalton had 27 TDs, over 3600 yards and helped Cincinnati to a 9-6 record
14. Tony Romo - Many think that this is too high to be ranking Romo, however, his 28 TDs and nearly 5000 yards this season led him to a 90.5 QB Rating and within one game of making the playoffs.
13. Matthew Stafford - When you have a guy like Megatron to throw the ball too, getting up this high in the rankings shouldn't be too hard. The problem, there wasn't much else to throw too. He did, however, post almost 5000 yards with 20 TDs.
12. Andrew Luck - The Stanford ROY candidate had an amazing freshman year in NFL. Not only did he take over for one of hte best QBs off all-time, but he led Indy to an impressive 11-5 record, was seventh in the league in passing (4374), threw for 23 TDs and had a 76.6 QB Rating.
11. Eli Manning - The argument for eliteness is there. Not quite top ten due to his fall off near the playoffs, but still impressive nonetheless. He threw for 3948 yards, 26 TDs bringing his Giants to 9-7 this season.
10. Matt Schaub - Schaub threw for an impressive 64% completion rate, hit the 4000 yard mark, 22 TDs and had a 90.7 QB Rating in 12 wins with the Texans.
9. Russell Wilson - The second ROY candidate put the Seahawks on the map as a force to be reckoned with in NFC West. After winning the starting job during preseason, Wilson went on to throw for 3100 yards and 26 TDs while posting a 64% completion rate and 102.4 QB Rating, not to mention his 489/4 on the ground
8. Ben Roethlisberger - Though missing the playoffs for only the third time in nine years and throwing for only 3265 yards, his TD/INT ratio was unreal at 26/8 to go along with his 63% completion rate and a 97 QB Rating.
7. Joe Flacco - Super Bowl MVP, Joe Cool, threw for 3800 yards, 22 TDs and only 10 INTs. He was also tied for second in the league with four 4th quarter comebacks as well as moving his team into the postseason for the fifth straight year in his five year career. During this year's Super Bowl run, Flacco did not throw an interception during the entire postseason.
6. Robert Griffin III - ROY Winner for a reason. His 3200 yards, 20 TD's, 65.6% completion rate and 102.4 QB Rating led Washington to a 9-6 record, just making the playoffs. His rookie record of 815 rushing yards and seven TDs on the ground was what sealed the deal to make him the most well rounded QB in the NFL. Not to mention he scored me all kinds of points as my starting fantasy QB.
5. Matt Ryan - Fourth in the league in passing with 4719 yards and fifth with 32 TDs, Ryan started off the season 9-0 and took his Falcons to the postseason. He tied for the league lead with a 68.6% completion rate and a QB Rating of 99.1.
4. Tom Brady - Time and time again, he proves why he is one of the best. Fourth in the league in passing (4719), fourth in TDs (34) and only eight interceptions with a 98.7 QB Rating. Brady made it to the postseason yet again, 10 out of his 12 years as the starter in New England.
3. Drew Brees - I would like to rank him higher than this due to his league leading 5177 yards and 43 TDs, but his 7-9 record and 19 INTs prevent him from getting into the top 2. Still one of my favorites.
2. Aaron Rodgers - 4295 yards, 39 TDs, league leading 108 QB Rating, only eight INTs and an 11-5 record - he was near the top of the list for league MVP for sure.
1. Tim Tebow - Just kidding! Peyton Manning - 4659 yards, 37 TDs, a 105.8 QB Rating, and a 68.6% completion rate, a 13-3 record and just one play away from a Super Bowl appearance all after four neck surgeries, a completely missed 2011 season and the fear of never being able to throw again. Ladies and gentlemen, the Sheriff's back in town.