• We take your typical quarterback rankings up a notch by conducting a quarterback draft, based on who you want playing for your team in the Super Bowl tomorrow.
By SI.com Staff
November 10, 2016

It’s no secret this NFL season that quarterback play has been subpar, and without the comfort of the same four or five future Hall of Famers like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees dominating the game every week, the landscape is much tougher to dissect. Sure, there’s a clear No. 1 in Patriots QB Tom Brady, but the jumbling of remaining quarterbacks is striking.

In order to display this disparity, SI.com’s Melissa Jacobs, Chris Burke, Andrew Perloff, Jonathan Jones and Greg Bedard decided to conduct a quarterback draft to provide a glimpse into just how valuable we consider these signal-callers. 

Our snake draft went seven rounds (35 picks) because sorting out the bottom feeders is part of the fun. The criterion is simple: What quarterback would give you the best chance to win the Super Bowl tonight? Schematics and skill players should not be considered.

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So with the first pick in the draft…

Melissa Jacobs Chris Burke Andrew Perloff Jonathan Jones Greg Bedard
1. Tom Brady
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Russell Wilson
4. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Drew Brees
10. Matt Ryan
9. Eli Manning
8. Cam Newton
7. Philip Rivers
6. Andrew Luck
11. Matthew Stafford
12. Derek Carr
13. Andy Dalton
14. Sam Bradford
15. Joe Flacco
20. Kirk Cousins
19. Tyrod Taylor
18. Dak Prescott
17. Jay Cutler
16. Alex Smith
21. Carson Palmer
22. Marcus Mariota
23. Tony Romo
24. Jameis Winston
25. Carson Wentz
30. Colin Kaepernick
29. Trevor Siemian
28. Blake Bortles
27. Ryan Tannehill
26. Jimmy Garoppolo
31. Jared Goff
32. Ryan Fitzpatrick
33. Case Keenum
34. Derek Anderson
35. Brock Osweiler

Melissa Jacobs

With the first pick in the draft, let’s face it, I inherently won this thing by being able to select Tom Brady, still remarkably in his prime at 39 years old. I'm also very confident in Matthew Stafford, who is having a magical season with five fourth-quarter comebacks to date; the unflappable quarterbacks win the Super Bowl. The other Matt, Matt Ryan, also happens to be playing the best football of his career. His 23–4 TD-INT ratio is spectacular, as is his ability to read the field and throw with precision. It’s easy to tie Ryan’s numbers to the superhero that is Julio Jones’s but in many ways I think the inverse can be said.

In Kirk Cousins, Carson Palmer and Colin Kaepernick, I have three quarterbacks with playoff experience. Palmer is the most fascinating of this crew, having a legacy turning disaster to avenge. After a slow start, he happens to be quietly thriving at the moment, topping 700 yards in the last two weeks. And instead of wasting my last pick on Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum or some other scrub that has no chance of playoff success, I went for the mysterious first-round pick who could be a bust or the next Joe Montana. Can the Rams please move on from the Jeff Fisher era so we can start to find out?

Grade: A+

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Chris Burke

Two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated to snatch up Rodgers after Brady went off the board at No. 1. Now, it’s a little tougher decision—both because of Rodgers’ play and the guys who went directly after him. All things considered, though, if we’re wiping the slate clean of things like current scheme and just asking a quarterback to win a game tonight, I’d have no trouble trusting Rodgers in that scenario. He may only have the one Super Bowl thus far, but he’s delivered time and again in big games.

The only spot I’m left reconsidering elsewhere is in Round 2. I could have had Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford; I went with Eli Manning. That was based on Manning’s proven playoff experience, but it’s been awhile since he played in the postseason or a Super Bowl. In a bubble, he’s not better than Ryan or Stafford right now. The four QBs I took after Carr would give me a chance, in different ways—Taylor and Mariota because of how tough they can be to game plan against, Siemian he has shown in limited experience that he can game manage, Fitzpatrick because ... well, maybe I’d get that occasional, random Fitzmagic gem. 

Grade: B+

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Andrew Perloff

I focused on two aspects—the fact that the game is tomorrow, and I don’t know anything about the team surrounding and protecting the quarterback. I can see the appeal of a Matt Ryan, but he fits with a certain kind of offense. My No. 1 guy Russell Wilson is more scheme-versatile and can do a lot with a little. And he’s proven that he can win a Super Bowl and go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady in the postseason. I looked hard at Big Ben but was worried about his knee. Cam Newton also provides insurance if the team around him doesn’t have great weapons.

After that, things get unorthodox … Dalton was the healthiest and most consistent QB in the next tier of guys. Then Prescott got the nod because he’s been on fire since August. I’m guessing Romo is healthy enough to go one night. Bortles might recapture 2015 Bortles. And Keenum is actually playing better than most folks realize—he just gets no help from his receivers.

Grade: B

Jonathan Jones

There are three active quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls and I landed the second-best one while picking fourth—not too bad. And of the quarterbacks who have never won a Super Bowl, I got the one who has had the best career and who is doing more with less than anyone else. I'll take Big Ben and Philip Rivers all day in this draft. Bradford has shown this year he's a quality quarterback if he can just get a competent line in front of him.

After those I have a frustrating bunch of three. Cutler, Tannehill and Jameis are all flawed, but not fatally. And I clearly won the final round by scooping up backup Derek Anderson. I have a great group, the best group. 

Grade: A

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Greg Bedard

Having the back-to-back picks at the end of the first round, I knew I needed to hit big and it was a three-man race between Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan. Couldn’t really go wrong with any, but Ryan’s propensity to turn it over late in games tipped it to Brees and Luck. Joe Flacco has a history over being money in big games (not so much other times), and Alex Smith won’t lose you a game. After that I went with the most promising youngsters, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo, and they could have been flipped. Mr. Irrelevant was the Brockstar, Brock Osweiler. He’s better late in games. Just hope I have a good rushing attack if it comes to him.

Grade: A

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