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2015 was a great season for quarterbacks (QBs) to breakout or make their presence felt. You had the familiar group of faces who continued to thrive but there were some up-and-coming QBs that dazzled and shock teams, not to mention fans throughout the season. In saying that, this season will showcase some of the most athletic, strongest arms, duel threat and savvy quarterbacks we’ve seen in NFL history. This article will rank the top 10 quarterbacks headed into 2016.
The quarterbacks are judged by the following criteria: Stats from last year, skill set, the ability to be clutch, and winning.
10.) Eli Manning (2015 stats)- 4,432 yds; 35 TDs; 14 int; 62%; Passer Rating (93.6); 61 rush yds
You can’t teach a old dog new tricks but you can get him to play with new toys. Manning is probably the happiest he’e ever been in having a home run hitter in Odell Beckham Jr. Manning has quietly put up two great seasons back to back. With no signs of him slowing down, he’s primed to cash in another great year with Ben McAdoo as their new head coach and possibly getting a healthy Victor Cruz back to boost the passing game.
9.) Blake Bortles (2015 stats) 4,428 yds; 35 TDs; 18 int; 58%; Passer Ratings (88.2); 310 rush yds
Bortles might surprise some people with being so high but he is surrounded with the best receiving core on this list. Having two studs in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns not to mention Julius Thomas, the sky is the limit. Bortles grew into his own last year by putting the team on his back during crunch time. His running ability is very underrated, which creates passing lanes and set up the pass for later (and he’s a good runner too). The young gun slinger will continue to get more comfortable and confident.
8.) Carson Palmer (2015 stats) 4,671 yds; 35 TDs; 11 ints; 63%; Passer Ratings (104.6) 24 rush yds
Palmer had a career year and you would think he would be higher right? Palmer turns 37 years old in December and with the injuries and surgeries he’s had in the past including the rise of David Johnson, the Arizona Cardinals will take pressure off of Palmer and rely more on the running game. He’s still sharp, accurate and one of the smartest QBs in the game.
7.) Andrew Luck (2015 stats) 1881 yds; 12 int; 58% Passer Rating (74.9) 88 rush yds
It seemed like the monsters in the movie “Space Jam” invaded Luck’s body last year. Yet still, we can’t deny his uncanny competitiveness, leadership, accuracy and running ability. Still a top tier quarterback in this league, Luck should bounce back from his embarrassing year especially after the Indianapolis Colts attempted to patch up the offensive line in the NFL draft.
6.) Drew Brees (2015 stats) 4,870 yds; 32 TDs; 11 ints; 68.3%; Passer Rating (104.6); 14 rush yds
This guy seems to never slow down. Brees has shown no signs of old age (37). He continues to throw for a ridiculous amount of yards which he has averaged 5,042 yards in the last six seasons. What is more impressive is he is not passing the ball to any household wide receivers. Why six? As great as Brees has been, other quarterbacks dream of playbooks of 75% passing plays.
5.) Ben Roethlisberger (2015 stats) 3,938; 21 TDs; 16 int; 68%; Passer Rating (94.5); 29 rush yds
“Big Ben” seems to get better with age. Roethlisberger’s knack for coming up huge in clutch moments while playing hurt separates him from other quarterbacks. But what makes him more dangerous is his rapport with arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger has been given the keys to which means the onslaught shall continue. The question is can Roethlisberger stay healthy.
4.) Aaron Rodgers (2015 stats) 3,8121 yds; 31 TDs; 8 int; 60%; Passer Rating (92.7) 344 rush yds
He is the most skillful QB on this list. Then why No. 4? Rodgers is coming off a subpar season (for him) although he missed his best receiver in Jordy Nelson. Yes, he dealt with offensive line problems but as great as he is, it seems like defenses are no longer scared of him and now are defending him better than they ever have.
3.) Cam Newton (2015 stats) 3,837 yds; 35 TDs; 11 int; 58%; Passer Rating (99.4) 636 rush yds
Newton showcased his talents and wittiness last year proving he was the best player by popular demand. He threw, ran, lead and entertained all season long (without his best wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin) to a Super Bowl birth. Newton has the ability to take over a game by either passing and/or rushing. So how can he be ranked third and he was the MVP? His accuracy isn’t the best and besides Bortles, Newton was the only other QB to throw less than 60% on this list.
2.) Russell Wilson (2015 stats) 4,024 yds; 34 TDs; 8 int; 68% Passer Rating (110.1); 553 rush yds
Wilson broke out with his best career year yet. He overcame numerous obstacles such as a depleted offensive line, Marshawn Lynch playing only seven games, star tight end Jimmy Graham missed the last five games and Wilson still managed to lead the league in QB Passer Rating. Wilson did a lot of his damage within the pocket as well. Why so high? When finally getting the chance to play “lets throw it instead of ball control”, Willson excelled and yet still was dangerous running the ball. Yes, it sounds like Newton but Wilson percentage was 10% higher and which made him more efficient and second if not first in being the most clutch QB in the game.
1.) Tom Brady (2015 stats) 4,770 yards; 36 TDs; 7 int; 64%; Passer Ratings (102%); 53 rush yds
Mr. Tom Brady looks better than he ever has. The fact that he will be 39 years of age when the season starts and he hadn’t slowed down speaks volume to his work ethic. Brady was a 4th and goal away from sending the AFC Championship game to overtime. He is probably the most clutch QB in the NFL and his ability to see the field and defenses separates him from the pack. He’s the most competitive player in the game and when you body that with will, long levity and preparation, you get the No. 1 quarterback going into the 2016 season.