- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Professor's quarterback grades are in.
ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton provided his 2012 quarterback rankings. Here is how he ranks the AFC East quarterbacks:
Clayton: "He should easily throw for more than 40 touchdowns. Defenses are trying to find ways to stop his two-tight-end sets, which is why the Pats sought an upgrade at wide receiver."
Analysis: This is right on the money. Maybe you can debate Brady ahead of Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. But you won’t find too many people that would complain with Rodgers at No. 1. Brady is 35 but still playing at an elite level.
Clayton: "Chan Gailey's spread offense is perfect for Fitzpatrick. He's good at making quick decisions. He's accurate throwing short."
Analysis: I still don't know exactly what to think of Fitzpatrick. Is he the quarterback we saw in the first half of last season or the second half? I know injuries played a part in Fitzpatrick's struggles. But I don’t want to hear any excuses in 2012. It's time for Fitzpatrick to prove he's the franchise quarterback the Bills are paying him $59 million for.
Clayton: "If Tim Tebow takes red-zone plays away from Sanchez, he'll have more interceptions than touchdown passes. Plus, the Jets don't have a lot of weapons on offense."
Analysis: I do feel like I have a good grasp on Sanchez. This is his fourth year as a full-time starter, and his ceiling isn't much higher than what he's shown. Sanchez is not a Pro Bowler, but you can win with him if everything goes right around him. The problem is the Jets don't have stud receivers, an elite running game or consistent pass protection. It could be a tough year for the Jets' offense.
Clayton: "The problem is not starting Tannehill as a rookie. The problem is the surrounding cast. Miami doesn't have enough good receivers to give him a chance to be successful."
Analysis: Tannehill has a lot of natural ability and can make all the throws. However, Clayton is right. Who is Tannehill going to throw to? The Dolphins don't have the enough playmakers around their rookie quarterback. Miami is doing the right thing to play Tannehill now. But the Dolphins should have done more to boost their receiving corps in the offseason.