Midseason NFL QB rankings

Matt Ryan cracks the Top 5 as Michael Vick plummets

Originally Published: November 9, 2012
By Ron Jaworski | ESPN Insider

With at least eight games played for every team, it's time to review the progress of all the NFL's starting quarterbacks. As you'll see below, we're starting to see some major progress by some of the game's youngest QBs … and some surprising regression from veteran starters.

At the backbone of these rankings is career achievement. Who has shown me the most over the longest period of time? That kind of consistency is what you would want to see if you were picking a QB to get you a win this week. But as with our Week 4 update, and now again at the midseason point, current play factors in as well -- though it often has more of an impact on the younger quarterbacks than the veterans. While recent performances have dropped some experienced passers down the list, one makes a long-awaited debut among the Top 5 and a pair of rookies make big leaps up the board.

At No. 1, however, Aaron Rodgers retains his crown.

Jaws' QB Rankings

1. Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers just quietly does his job every week. He had one poor game earlier this season, but he has been absolutely phenomenal since then. His deep ball accuracy is back, and when he has that weapon firing on target, he's deadly. I still believe there is a clear separation between him and my No. 2 QB, Tom Brady.

2 . Tom Brady

Brady is doing a great job of utilizing all his options right now. Some folks may be alarmed that the usual numbers aren't there, but the Pats have made a philosophical shift on offense and a lot of that reasoning is to keep Tom healthy. You don't need him in shotgun 50 times, and taking added hits. New England wants to be a more balanced offense with a more violent running game. They're getting there. While the Pats still have their trademark short passing game, they still lack an explosive playmaker downfield. But with Brady, there has been no falloff.

3. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning just gets better every week. It has been so much fun plugging in his tapes, dating back to the preseason, and seeing him evolve in this offense. Entering Week 10 it's clear he has more of an understanding of where players are supposed to be. At QB, the mantra is, "Be where you're supposed to be and I'll find you." It's clear that Denver's receivers are getting to those landmarks and Manning is finding them. He's also making the right call at the line, even when it won't pad his stats. If he sees the opportunity to run into a light box, he'll audible and hand off the ball. He doesn't care who gets the credit, and I give him credit for that.

4. Matt Ryan

Since the start of the season, this is the first time with a new name in my Top 5. That's a big deal. It is really hard to move guys back from this level, but Ryan has earned his way into this select company with his play, particularly his deep ball accuracy. Ryan has been making plays late and successfully managing critical situations. If that continues, Atlanta will be hard to beat and Ryan is going to put up some huge numbers.

Ron Jaworski

NFL analyst / writer
Ron Jaworski is one of the most popular and knowledgeable analysts covering the NFL today. Since joining ESPN in 1990, the former standout NFL quarterback has covered the league from virtually every angle -- sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host and both studio and game analyst. From 2007-11, Jaworski occupied one of the most coveted positions in sports as a Monday Night Football analyst.