Sunday, June 23, 2013
Projecting top 10 quarterbacks for 2016
By Mike Sando
ESPN's Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth and Brian Dawkins recently offered thoughts on which current NFL quarterbacks will be setting the standard in 2016.
Cue the video atop this item for their thoughts.
I put together my own list as part of our Future Power Rankings package.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady didn't make my list because they'll be 40 and 39 years old, respectively, when the 2016 season rolls around. If they're still playing at a high level then, more power to them. Drew Brees and Eli Manning are a bit younger and figure to still be producing, but I nudged them to the side with an eye toward featuring younger players primed to rocket past them.
The age line had to be drawn somewhere. I drew it right around 35 even though Kurt Warner and some other quarterbacks have played well past that age. Ben Roethlisberger will be only 34 in 2016, but he has started 16 games in a season just once. His playing style could be tough to sustain as he ages.
I spent quite a bit of time tweaking my top 10 and never felt great about any particular order. There were so many tradeoffs to make and variables to consider. This was a projection, not simply a ranking of the 10 best quarterbacks right now. I tried to keep that in mind. The fact that more than 10 quarterbacks seemed worthy for inclusion on the list speaks well for the state of the position. The pool should only expand as players currently in college move to the NFL and exceed expectations in some cases.
NFC West quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford all earned spots on my list. I think there's a good chance those players will be among the 10 best quarterbacks in the league by 2016 even though it would have felt "safer" in the short term to project more established players.