The fantasy draft feature on franchise mode was the greatest thing that could have happened to a boy without neighbors. More than I enjoyed butchering my friends in games, more than I enjoyed creating ‘Ron Mexico’ and leading him to a half dozen titles and more than I enjoyed replaying devastating loses with lopsided, reverse outcomes, I enjoyed drafting a team the most.
Typically, I would not even make it a full week before re-picking a new team. The idea of controlling my team’s fate was wonderful. The most important aspect of these fictional squads was the quarterback. With 32 starting quarterbacks at my disposal, I could pick anyone in the game. Ruling out age, salary and attitude, I could select the guy I wanted to carry my fake team to the fake promise land.
This is the first year I have chosen not to purchase the game. Despite being sixty dollars richer, I find myself longing for the power that comes with selecting a roster. Which quarterback would I take in 2013? Would I still pick Tom Brady, first? Would I go with a read-option stud like Russell Wilson? Would I give Phil Rivers a change of scenery? These questions got me thinking; if I could pick ONE quarterback to win a Super Bowl, THIS season, who would it be?
31) Geno Smith: He has plenty of talent, but I seriously question his decision-making ability. He didn’t play well at WVU against top teams, so why would he play well against top defenses in the NFL? It’s flawed logic like this that will keep the Jets out of the postseason.
30) Terrelle Pryor: He’s very inaccurate, but it’s fun to watch him run around back there! As soon as he learns which foot to throw off of, he’s moving up.
29) Christian Ponder: If quarterbacks were rated on the attractiveness of their wives, Ponder would be at least 10 spots higher.
28) Brandon Weeden: He is inaccurate, a poor decision maker and he’s old. I guess he’s better than Ponder, though. Hoyer has effectively ripped the job from his arthritic hands, so he’s lucky he’s this high on the chart.
27) Jake Locker: People seem to forget that it takes most quarterbacks a few years to acclimate to the game at the professional level. Locker has taken his lumps, but he will continue to develop. Luck vs. Locker games will be fun to watch in the future.
26) Sam Bradford: He’s not a kid anymore. There is still hope here, but one can only wonder what would have been had he not stayed at Oklahoma one year too long.
25) Ryan Tannehill: My pick for “Most Likely To Make Me Regret Putting Him This Low”. I should move him up now and avoid eating crow…
24) Cam Newton: This is way low compared to “experts”. Look, I think Cam has all the physical tools to be a successful quarterback. However, his questionable character, lack of leadership and inability to win against tough teams scares me.
23) Josh Freeman: The 23rd pick has traded Josh Freeman to the 25th pick for Ryan Tannehill. Hey, Freeman, grab some pine!
22) Carson Palmer: He’s either the best, bad quarterback of the era, or the worst, good quarterback. I’m leaning towards the former.
21) Michael Vick: Maybe he could be higher, but he’s one concussion away from brain damage. Stay in the pocket, Mike! If he finishes the season, I’d be fairly surprised. He limped off the field after Week 3.
20) Matt Schaub: He’s just good enough to keep, but just bad enough to keep his team from winning a title.
19) EJ Manuel: While Kaepernick, Vick and others instinctively run before passing, Manuel is the opposite. He runs out of necessity. He’s exhibited decent pocket presence, and I think Manuel to Woods will be popular TD combo for the next several seasons.
18) Tony Romo: Seems about right. *While I still have your attention...Kyle Orton, the league's best backup, would probably be between Palmer and Vick, had he been eligible for this list. That guy led the league in yards before Denver went all in with Tebow.*
16) Alex Smith: Warren Sapp recently said KC needs to keep Smith on a pitch count. It’s a brilliant idea. Smith has limited arm strength, but he is the ultimate game managing quarterback. He won’t win you many games, but he won’t lose you many, either. If you want to play a drinking game that will conserve your beverage, drink every time Smith dials up a pass more than five yards downfield.
15) Colin Kaepernick: He can’t make tight throws. His accuracy really concerns me. My best friend, Josh, and I always argue about this. He thinks Kaepernick’s speed and arm strength make him a pure winner. I look at the facts; ONLY POCKET QB’s WIN SUPER BOWLS. At some point, teams will learn defend against the read option, and his inaccuracy will be exposed. Watch a 49ers game, and notice how all of his completions are wide-open throws. I hope his mom knows how to sew, because he surely can't thread the needle (Wow, that joke sucked). Maybe he will improve, but for now, I think he’s too raw to win a title for my fake team.
14) Robert Griffin III: A healthy RG3 would be higher, but he doesn’t looks as crisp as he did last season. What’s that, Sal? You want to switch Tannehill with RG3?! Hmm… Give me another couple weeks to think about that.
13) Jay Cutler: Really, Sal? You put Smokin’ Jay Cutler above Kaerpernick!? F*** you! Hey, say what you want about Cutler, but he’s the closest thing to Brett Favre we’re ever going to see in the NFL. He is accurate, but irrationally confident. This means lots of interceptions. It also means he makes some of the best throws in the game. His confidence overlaps into his personal life. Jay was able to snag one of Orange County’s finest females. Tune in for next week when I rank QB Wives…
12) Matthew Stafford: Has he ever beaten a team with a winning record? Maybe he has, but the fact that it took you a few seconds to think about it, makes my point. He also always looks like he’s wearing blush. No makeup in my Elite-11.
11) Andy Dalton: Reminds me of Flacco in his third season. Not great yet, but he’s on the right track. Still makes throws (good and bad) that leave fans, coaches and teammates scratching their heads. If he had a soul, he would probably be one spot higher.
10) Russell Wilson: For the exception of Tom Brady or Johnny F***ing Football, Wilson is my favorite QB to watch. He’s the same height as Brian Roberts, and he is an NFL starter. He’s got a big arm, he’s fast as lightning and he’s a great leader.
9) Voldemort: You know, Peyton’s brother. If your team gets into the playoffs, this guy will pull a Lombardi Trophy out of his ass. Good luck getting there, though. The King of Interceptions is playing without an offensive line and a running game, so expect a lot of "Mopey Manning" faces.
8) Ben Roethlisberger: He has two rings. Give him a line, and I think Big Ben still could get it done. Also, Todd Haley is terrible. That spread offense is fun, but you cannot totally neglect the running game. Baltimore and Pittsburgh was a fun rivalry because both teams were constructed with the same philosophies: hard hitting defenses and power running schemes. While the Ravens continue to hit on defense and run the ball effectively, Pittsburgh has let Bigger Than Most Linemen Ben run for his life behind a depleted line. Give Roethlisberger Reggie Bush, the Lions line and Calvin Johnson, and the Steelers win the Super Bowl. Or the Lions win the Super Bowl. I don't really know, but he's better than Matt Stafford. That is all.
7) Matt Ryan: Question: Is Ryan/Flacco the next generation’s Manning/Brady? LOL.
6) Andrew Luck: Answer: No, because Andrew Luck will be way better than both. He can make all the throws, and HE CAN RUN. Needs to improve decision making, but he is going to be good for a long time. You already knew that.
5) Joe Flacco: He’s elite.
3) Tom Brady: You can’t win a Super Bowl without a defense, but Brady has very close to doing that. He has never been the reason the Patriots have lost a playoff game. That’s pretty impressive, considering they’ve lost a lot of playoff games lately (Hello darkness, my old friend).
2) Drew Brees: 1, 2, win, for YOU. Drew Brees is the ultimate leader. He throws a lot of picks, but that’s because he throws three times more often than Alex Smith. Brees is not afraid to throw downfield and take shots. Big risk = Big reward, and I think Brees can still make average receivers look special.
1) Aaron Rodgers: He replaced Brett Favre in Green Bay. That’s like replacing boobs in a porno. All of a sudden, nobody misses boobs. For Bears’ fans, Rodgers has replaced Satan in Hell, except he’s way less cuddly. He’s a surgeon, in the sense that Dexter Morgan is a surgeon. Actually, he is more of a butcher. Matt Stafford and Big Ben may look more like butchers than Rodgers does, but ARod slices through more defenses. If the Packers find a way to play defense, he will win a title every year until Andrew Luck begins his reign of terror.
I know you disagree with some (most) of these rankings. Leave me a comment and make a case for YOUR guy.