Manning still No. 1, but Palmer closing fast

So who's the NFL's best QB? Who's the worst? And where does your team's QB rank? Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton ranks the QBs 1-32.

Originally Published: December 5, 2006
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.

So, who's the best QB in the NFL right now? Who's the worst? And who's in between? Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton ranks the QBs 1-32. Also, you can rank the QBs, too.

QB rankings
Rank (LW) Player Team Comment
1.(1)
Manning
Peyton Manning
Colts He threw for 351 yards and one TD in a tough road loss at Tennessee, but he also threw two INTs. He just couldn't put away a pesky Titans defense even though he connected well with his two big WRs, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, for 10 receptions for 229 yards. He is still the most accurate QB in the league.
2.(3)
Palmer
Carson Palmer
Bengals With improved pass protection, he has passed for 1,224 yds and 10 TDs in his last four games while only throwing two INTs. He is doing a great job of getting the ball to his two main weapons, WRs Chad Johnson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh. This is an explosive passing game right now.
3.(2)
Brady
Tom Brady
Patriots Although he wasn't magical, he was the same unflappable Brady versus Detroit using a lot of no-huddle and spread formations to stretch the Lions' defense. He completed passes to nine different receivers and played pitch and catch to his receivers in the short-to-intermediate passing game.
4.(6)
Brees
Drew Brees
Saints He did not utilize the vertical passing game that we have seen in recent weeks, but he did get the ball to Reggie Bush (nine receptions for 131 yards) and was very effective in the underneath passing game. Brees is taking what defenses are giving him.
5.(5)
Romo
Tony Romo
Cowboys He did not have a great game statistically (two INTs and no TDs), but he still made key plays when he had to in the win. He was 6-for-8 with 91 yards in the fourth quarter in a gutsy road win at New York. The confidence and leadership qualities are getting better each week.
6.(4)
Rivers
Philip Rivers
Chargers He did not have a great statistical game in a win at Buffalo, but when you have LaDainian Tomlinson rushing for 178 yds and TE Antonio Gates catching seven passes for 90 yards, you can afford a ho-hum day. He made no major mistakes and threw 0 INTs.
7.(10)
Pennington
Chad Pennington
Jets He led the Jets to a 31-0 first-half lead at Green Bay and never looked back. He threw two TDs, but also two INTs. Still, he exploited a weak Packers secondary with excellent touch throws and continues to hit his receivers perfectly out of their breaks.
8.(7)
McNair
Steve McNair
Ravens He spread the ball around to eight different receivers in a loss to Cincinnati, but he couldn't come up with enough big plays to win this low-scoring, defensive game. There is still room for improvement in the red zone, but he is still a dangerous veteran QB.
9.(16)
Manning
Eli Manning
Giants He played a very "clean" game in a bitter home loss to Dallas, throwing for 270 yards, two TDs and no INTs. He managed the game well and made better decisions, but it wasn't enough.
10.(12)
Green
Trent Green
Chiefs In his third game back after his concussion, he finally played a complete game. He threw for four TDs and finished with a QB rating of 129.8, but he also threw a costly INT and lost a fumble in a devastating loss at Cleveland. Still, he does look better each week.
11.(8)
Favre
Brett Favre
Packers He had to throw the ball too often and too early because the Jets jumped out to a big lead and that led to two INTs and some forced passes. When he did complete passes, they were mostly dump-offs to backs and short throws to TEs.
12.(9)
Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck
Seahawks He did not dazzle the Denver defense with a great passing night but he played smart and efficiently and took what the Broncos gave him. He still doesn't look very comfortable behind center and the Seahawks' passing offense is not very explosive.
13.(13)
Vick
Michael Vick
Falcons His passing stats were awful (only 122 yards in a win over Washington) but the Atlanta rushing game (256 yards) keyed the win. Vick made two key TD tosses and didn't make any critical mistakes or bad decisions. He continues to create passing opportunities with his scrambles.
14.(17)
Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers Without a great run game versus Tampa Bay, Big Ben had to carry the load and responded well. Although his stats were not great, he showed good movement in the pocket and he found his TEs for big plays.
15.(15)
Grossman
Rex Grossman
Bears How can you win a game, clinch your division and finish with an embarrassing 1.3 QB rating? Well, Grossman rode his defense and special teams to an ugly win over Minnesota. He completed 6 of 19 passes for 34 yards and three INTs against a suspect Vikings defense. He now has 14 INTs in the last seven games.
16.(14)
Delhomme
Jake Delhomme
Panthers Statistically, he had a decent night versus the aggressive Eagles defense, throwing for 269 yards and three TDs, but he had two critical fourth-quarter INTs that led to a MNF loss. He's not making clutch plays, not converting on third down and is making too many bad decisions for a veteran QB.
17.(11)
Bulger
Marc Bulger
Rams Bad red zone offense, too many penalties, a banged up Bulger (ribs), four sacks and three INTs led to a disappointing home loss versus Arizona. Bulger's numbers are decent but his offense lacks consistency and now he is alienating his teammates with negative comments.
18.(23)
Young
Vince Young
Titans He may not be posting great stats (15-of-25 for only 163 yards, two TDs and two INTs in win over Indy), but he is making plays with his feet (78 yards rushing) and is avoiding sacks. The game is starting to slow down for him and he has led the Titans to back-to-back come-from-behind wins.
19.(26)
Garrard
David Garrard
Jaguars He had an excellent day in a big road win at Miami, throwing for 229 yards and two TDs and posted an excellent 136.4 QB rating. The Dolphins loaded up to stop the run and that gave Garrard good perimeter matchups and his big WRs finally caught the ball and eliminated the drops.
20.(19)
Leinart
Matt Leinart
Cardinals Better pass protection and a better run game are leading to more confidence and better decisions. Although he did not post great numbers in a nice road win at St. Louis, he managed the game well and is improving. He finally had a run game behind him to take off the pressure.
21.(30)
Garcia
Jeff Garcia
Eagles For one night, in a great MNF win over Carolina, he looked like the Jeff Garcia of old. He was moving around the pocket, showing great command in the huddle and displaying great accuracy. He threw for 312 yards and three TDs. He even mixed in some deep throws and caught the Panthers sitting on routes. Can he keep it up?
22.(18)
Harrington
Joey Harrington
Dolphins He did not play awful in a home loss to Jacksonville, but he did throw two costly INTs and had a modest QB rating of 70.2. He just needs to play with more consistency, but the skills are there.
23.(28)
Kitna
Jon Kitna
Lions His pass protection was shaky versus the Pats and it led to five sacks, but his accuracy and decision making were also inconsistent as he threw three INTs and lost a fumble. He finished with a passer rating of 60.6 and the offense unraveled in the fourth quarter.
24.(20)
Losman
J.P. Losman
Bills A cold and windy day at home led to Losman struggling in a loss to San Diego. He threw two TDs but also two INTs and several other potential INTs were dropped by the Chargers' defense.
25.(22)
Carr
David Carr
Texans Talk about a bad day! Carr was only 7-of-14 for a measly 32 yards. When you factor in the 37 yards lost in sacks, Carr had minus-5 net passing yards – and the Texans won the game. The Oakland secondary is playing well, but it isn't that good!
26.(21)
Smith
Alex Smith
49ers In a loss at New Orleans, the Saints loaded up to stop RB Frank Gore and even though Smith had great passing matchups versus single coverage, he couldn't make enough plays. His accuracy and vision were not good, leading to three INTs.
27.(24)
Campbell
Jason Campbell
Redskins He still looks like a young and inexperienced QB at times. While he will tease you with some good throws, he will also make some bad decisions which lead to INTs. Right now he's not making enough key plays.
28.(25)
Johnson
Brad Johnson
Vikings He was simply awful in a loss at Chicago, throwing four INTs and showing no mobility. He may lose his starting job. He finished with a 10.3 QB rating and this pass offense is in shambles.
29.(29)
Gradkowski
Bruce Gradkowski
Buccaneers He continues to struggle and Jon Gruden may be close to pulling the plug on his young QB. He only had 175 yards passing while throwing three INTs versus Pittsburgh. It's not all his fault as his receivers are dropping a lot of balls, but he is clearly not totally comfortable in this offense.
30.(NR)
Anderson
Derek Anderson
Browns Starter Charlie Frye was knocked out of the game with a wrist injury and backup Derek Anderson did a nice job replacing him. Both Cleveland QBs combined for a respectable 23-for-34, 288 yards and three TDs in a safe, but efficient passing game.
31.(27)
Cutler
Jay Cutler
Broncos He looked like a rookie in a loss to visiting Seattle. Most of his passing yards came on short passes with some long runs after the catch and he threw two costly INTs. You can see his arm strength and good movement skills, but his decision making and accuracy must improve. He can't afford to turn the ball over like he did.
32. (31)
Brooks
Aaron Brooks
Raiders After a good start versus Houston and a rare offensive flow early in the game, the offense reverted back to form later in the game. Poor pass protection and inconsistent throws led to another Raiders loss. Brooks has arm strength, but all the other skills and intangibles are questionable.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.

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