- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton completed his popular NFL quarterback rankings on Wednesday.
Here is a breakdown of where AFC North quarterbacks rank:
Clayton's ranking: No. 5
Analysis: Roethlisberger has always been hot and cold when it comes to rankings. Some analysts see his unconventional, backyard style and overlook Roethlisberger. But I agree with Clayton that Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback deserving of a top-five ranking. Roethlisberger is a great passer and a winner. Those are the two biggest ingredients I look for in the position.
Clayton's ranking: No. 11
Analysis: There are 13 elite quarterbacks listed this season and Flacco is in that group, according to Clayton. I disagree. Flacco is a good quarterback who is growing, but I do not consider him elite. The same goes for other quarterbacks like Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Eli Manning, who also are in the "elite" category. I would probably cut the elite group by more than half and stop after the top five.
Clayton's ranking: No. 25
Analysis: McCoy is in Clayton's hit-or-miss group. I agree with this assessment. McCoy looks solid in the preseason but still has plenty to prove. His size and arm strength are not ideal, and he played poorly in bad weather last season. We will find out what McCoy is made of in 2011.
Clayton's ranking: No. 33
Analysis: Dalton was rated the worst starting quarterback in the NFL by Clayton. He was No. 33 because Indianapolis Colts backup Kerry Collins (No. 29) might start in Week 1 in place of injured quarterback Peyton Manning (No. 3). There's nowhere to go but up for Dalton. He's been inconsistent this preseason and needs to grow with the young weapons around him.