The Top 6 Quarterbacks in the NFL

When we talk about the best quarterbacks in the NFL, everyone has an opinion and those opinions are up for debate. Of course, when you want to debate a position, people need to use the same criteria for that debate. If not, then the debate is useless. For this exercise, I not only am looking at the natural physical traits of the player (arm strength, athleticism etc.) but also the intangibles. At the quarterback position, intangibles make a huge difference. A player's ability to lead, react to circumstances on the field, and come up with big plays when they are needed separate the good quarterback from the bad. That said, these are my top quarterbacks in the NFL right now. The top five in my opinion are the only true “franchise” quarterbacks in the league. Tom Brady – New England All we need to know is Tom Brady has won four Super Bowls as quarterback of the New England Patriots. His ability to come up big when it is needed is second to none in the NFL right now. As an athlete, Brady would rank in probably the bottom five of all the starting quarterbacks, but his instincts, accuracy, and ability to lead are rare. He is a fierce competitor with a strong will to win. He can read defenses as well as anyone, and even though he is a marginal athlete, he still has the feel for pass rushers and the quick feet to step up and keep from getting sacked. As long as I have been involved with the NFL game, I don’t think I have ever seen a quarterback who has more consistency. When he came out of Michigan, I don’t think there was a soul who would have thought that he would be even half as good as he turned out. It’s a credit to him and his desire to be a great player that have kept him this good for such a long period of time. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay When you look at the pure physical traits, Rodgers may be the best in the league right now. He is a very good athlete, with a quick release, uncanny accuracy and a strong arm. Like Brady, he is a very strong leader and is highly respected by both his teammates and his coaches. He has rare toughness and courage. He has played and come up big numerous times while hurt. He reads defenses very well and is consistently able to check into the right call. As a pure passer and athlete, Rodgers is ahead of Brady, but Brady has those four Lombardis, and that is the difference for me. Peyton Manning – Denver Peyton Manning is not what he used to be, as injuries have taken their toll. He was never a top athlete, and his arm strength was always good but not outstanding. What makes Manning so good is his passion for the game. His football character is outstanding, and he is a perfectionist. That will to be great drives him and also makes him as strong a leader as there is in the game. What he expects from himself, he expects from his teammates, and they had better be ready to perform! Manning is more of a coach on the field than any quarterback I've seen. While he may not have the title, he is the offensive coordinator. All plays go through him, and he makes the decision at the line of scrimmage as to what is going to be run. Like Brady and Rodgers, he has rare touch and accuracy, and that more than makes up for not having a cannon arm. Drew Brees – New Orleans Brees doesn’t have the physical traits of most of the others and he lacks ideal quarterback size, but he is a winner! Like the other three, he has a strong passion for the game and a strong will to win, and that helps him overcome his physical deficiencies. Brees is barley six feet tall and has very average arm strength, but he has top instincts and decision making skills. He seldom makes a poor decision or turns the ball over. While he lacks a great arm, his quick release helps him with his accuracy. You can never count the Saints out when Drew Bees is in the game. Russell Wilson – Seattle At just over 5’10, Wilson is not a prototypical quarterback. He is an excellent athlete with very quick feet, and that allows him to play bigger than his natural size. His ability to keep plays alive and throw on the run are as good as any quarterback. Other than running back Marshawn Lynch, Seattle doesn’t have any top game breaker offensive players at the skill positions, yet they have been to the last two Super Bowls and won one of them. How do they do it? Russell Wilson! Going into last season, I felt Wilson was good but not worthy of being a true “franchise” quarterback. After back to back excellent seasons and NFC Championships, he is now in that category and should stay there a long time. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Luck is one of the few quarterbacks to live up to being taken first overall in the draft. The Indianapolis Colts have to be thankful that when they let Peyton manning go, he was replaced by Luck. How many teams get that opportunity? While Luck has great physical traits and has become a strong leader, I am not ready to label him a “franchise” quarterback yet. He has shown steady improvement in his short career, but he still needs to win more big games. Every quarterback above him on my list has won a Super Bowl. Luck hasn’t been to a Super Bowl yet. That day will come, and he may turn out to be as good a quarterback for the Colts as Manning was. In another year. He may break into my top five. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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