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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Ranking the Beast quarterbacks

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

ESPN.com's John "The Professor" Clayton, a man who boldly refuses to take his allotted vacation days, has published his 2010 quarterback rankings. The Pro Football Hall of Fame McCann Award winner caused quite a stir Tuesday morning when he said the league currently has 14 "elite" quarterbacks. With all due to respect to The Professor, I've always thought you needed to accomplish something quite significant (like, say, a playoff win) to achieve "elite" status.

That's why my list would likely include about seven elite quarterbacks. Alas, no one at ESPN.com asked me to compile a list, so I'll simply poke holes in another man's hard work. The good news is that John has a lot of respect for NFC East quarterbacks. Here's how they ranked on his list:

Tony Romo
Tony Romo ranked No. 8 on John Clayton's quarterback ranking list.
8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Clayton's analysis: Now that Romo has won a playoff game, watch out. The only thing that could prevent him and the Cowboys from playing host to a Super Bowl [is] an aging offensive line faltering.

Arrow is pointing: Up

Mosley's take: I think this is actually a little low for Romo. It's hard for me to figure out why Aaron Rodgers has been automatically granted "elite" status. Did he win some playoff games that I missed?

9. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

Clayton's analysis: Mike Shanahan offers McNabb play-action options he didn't have with the Eagles' pass-heavy offense. With McNabb at the helm, the Redskins could be one of the surprise teams in the NFC.

Arrow is pointing: Spinning as he adjusts to a new offense

Mosley's take: I have immense respect for McNabb's fine work, but he probably wouldn't make my "elite" list. This is something that McNabb will undoubtedly use as motivation in 2010.

11. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Clayton's analysis: Despite recording his first 4,000-yard passing season in 2009 and already owning a Super Bowl ring, Manning doesn't get the respect he is due. He lacks the fiery leadership of his brother, but he continues to improve each season.

Arrow is pointing: Flat

Mosley's take: Manning put up solid numbers in '09, but I'm not sure he actually improved on his '07 and '08 performances. And I thought he received plenty of respect after the Super Bowl -- especially from this blog.

24. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles

Clayton's analysis: Kolb is the perfect quarterback for Andy Reid's West Coast offense, which is why the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins. Kolb is a rhythm passer out of three- and five-step drops, and he should have a big statistical year.

Chance of being elite: 50 percent

Mosley's take: You know the old saying: "If you can make it in Stephenville, Texas, you can make it anywhere." Clayton put Kolb in his "Hit-or-Miss Division." I believe Kolb will eventually be a "hit" in Philly.