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Tom Jones ranks NFL quarterbacks

Josh McCown is a nice guy, Tom Jones writes, but the Bucs almost certainly are going to use their first overall pick to take a quarterback. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]

Josh McCown is a nice guy, Tom Jones writes, but the Bucs almost certainly are going to use their first overall pick to take a quarterback. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
Published Feb. 16, 2015

Welcome to our annual tradition of ranking the quarterbacks of the 32 NFL teams. Each year after the Super Bowl, we rank the quarterbacks based partly on success and partly on statistics, but mostly on the good old-fashioned eye test.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

He was the NFL's MVP after another remarkable season. He threw 38 touchdown passes and just five interceptions in 520 attempts. His quarterback rating of 112.2 was staggering. If you were starting an NFL team from scratch and had the first pick of the entire league, how could you not take Rodgers?

2. Tom Brady, Patriots

After winning his fourth Super Bowl, he's now in the conversation for best QB ever. At 37, he showed no signs of slowing with a 33-TD, nine-interception season.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

The two-time Super Bowl champ is coming off his best statistical season, including being tied for most passing yards in the NFL with 4,952. He is so good that he has turned a Steelers offense always known for running the ball into one that relies on the arm of Big Ben.

4. Tony Romo, Cowboys

Romo has always taken heat for not being clutch, but he kept those detractors silent this season. He bravely fought off injury and had the best statistical season of any NFL QB, with the highest QB rating (113.2) and completion percentage (69.9). All he needs now is a championship.

5. Andrew Luck, Colts

He threw for more than 4,700 yards (third best in the NFL), and there's no question he is on his way to being the best quarterback in the league. It's hard to believe this was just his third NFL season.

6. Peyton Manning, Broncos

Don't be fooled by Manning's poor finish. He was hurt. He still is an elite quarterback and good enough to lead any team to 11 or 12 victories. Will he play one more season?

7. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

He has two Super Bowl appearances in his first three seasons. He didn't finish strong, and maybe he is a tad overrated by some. But most teams in the NFL would trade their quarterback for him.

8. Drew Brees, Saints

He remains one of the most prolific passers in the game. His 4,952 yards tied for the league lead, but he tossed 17 picks.

9. Joe Flacco, Ravens

He's not considered one of the top quarterbacks, but his career playoff numbers show he is one of the most clutch QBs in the game.

10. Matt Ryan, Falcons

He had a bit an off year, but the whole team was out of sorts. He still has as much talent as any quarterback in the NFL.

11. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers

Speaking of off years, Kaepernick left many doubting if he already has lost his 2012-13 form. Have faith. The skill is there.

12. Matthew Stafford, Lions

He was blessed with great receivers, but any QB who can lead the Lions into the playoffs deserves major props.

13. Philip Rivers, Chargers

It's hard to ignore the big numbers he puts up every season. But frankly, that's the only reason he is this high on the list. His lack of playoff success probably should have him lower.

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14. Eli Manning, Giants

It's not Eli's fault the Giants have fallen on hard times, and he had a pretty decent season. But I'm now doubting if he will ever win that third Super Bowl.

15. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

Palmer has had quite the career resurgence. He had the Cardinals at 6-0 before he was lost for the season with an injury. And to think, Greg Schiano wanted to bring him to the Bucs a couple of years ago.

16. Cam Newton, Panthers

He remains somewhat inconsistent. When he's good, he's really good. But the only reason he led Carolina to postseason is because the NFC South was so horrible.

17. Nick Foles, Eagles

An injury cut short a mediocre season (10 TDs, nine interceptions). Maybe I wouldn't be down on Foles if I didn't have the feeling his team was down on him.

18. Sam Bradford, Rams

In talent, Bradford might be a top-10 guy. But he can't stay healthy. So he probably shouldn't be.

19. Alex Smith, Chiefs

Reliable. Protects the football. Wins games without being spectacular. The drawback is he doesn't seem to be able to win games by himself.

20. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

My gut tells me Tannehill, who threw for more than 4,000 yards and had more than twice as many TDs (27) as interceptions (12), is just about ready to take another giant step forward.

21. Andy Dalton, Bengals

He's nice and steady in the regular season, as proven by four consecutive playoff appearances. He's completely forgettable in the playoffs, as proven by his 0-4 playoff record.

22. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings

He's the best QB of the 2014 draft class so far. He's stuck with lousy team but isn't out of his element in NFL.

23. Jay Cutler, Bears

If I ran an NFL team, I would want no part of this guy, who tied for the NFL lead with 18 picks. Only his skill set has him at No. 23, but there are several QBs ranked below him that I'd rather have.

24. Derek Carr, Raiders

He had a surprisingly decent season despite playing for one of the worst teams. It looks like he has a chance to be a good NFL quarterback.

25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans

He didn't have a bad season, and it will be interesting to see if he continues to develop under coach Bill O'Brien, whose speciality is working with QBs.

26. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

I think Bortles has a chance to be a really good quarterback, but it's just so hard to tell because he plays for such a bad team. He was sacked 55 times.

27. EJ Manuel, Bills

He lost the starting job this season to Kyle Orton, but the Bills hope the former FSU QB has a promising future.

28. Robert Griffin III, Redskins

It's hard to imagine that RG3 can't play anymore. Don't give up on him yet, but his arrow is definitely pointing down.

29. Brian Hoyer, Browns

He started great, then fell apart. The Browns are so unconvinced, they might let him leave for free agency though their other QB, Johnny Manziel, is in rehab.

30. Geno Smith, Jets

The Jets need to look elsewhere. The only reason they might give Smith another shot is because they invested a high second-round draft pick on him.

31. Josh McCown, Bucs

He's a nice guy, but the Bucs almost certainly are going to use their first overall draft pick in May to take a quarterback.

32. Zach Mettenberger, Titans

He's a kid who was thrown into the fire, but the Titans likely will explore quarterback options in the draft.

tom jones' two cents

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