2004 NFL Draft: Six Years Later

2004 NFL Draft: Six Years Later
2004 NFL Draft: Six Years Later
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Sean McCormick

In 2004, Football Outsiders published its first "Six Years Later" review of a past NFL draft. That article reviewed the pick of the elder Manning brother as the NFL world prepared for the arrival of the younger Manning brother. Now it's 2010, and we're finally in position to look back on Manning vs. Rivers and the other debates of the first draft we actually got to discuss here at FO.

The top of every draft class is hyped to the moon in the run-up to draft day, but nearly everyone agreed that the 2004 class was something special. It had a Manning and a Winslow. It had the "U." It had top quarterbacks, elite cornerbacks, and explosive wide receivers by the bushel. Yep, by all accounts, this draft class was going to take the NFL by storm. But did it? Let's go back and look at the good picks, the bad picks, and the things every general manager knows now and wishes he knew then. (And if you want to see what reporters and draft analysts thought they knew then -- even though now we know that they didn't know what they thought they knew -- check out the first-ever version of another annual FO tradition, the FO Draft Report Card Report.)


Conventional wisdom: There were three elite prospects in this draft class, with each one providing a little something different. Did you want a guy with impeccable bloodlines? All you had to do was select Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning, the son of former No. 2 overall pick Archie Manning and the younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick Peyton Manning. Did you want a four-year starter whose intelligence and character reminded scouts of a young Tom Brady? North Carolina State's Philip Rivers was your guy. Did you want a 6-foot-5 specimen with an unpronounceable name and the best physical tools of the bunch? There was one of those, too, thanks to Miami of Ohio's Ben Roethlisberger.

Highest pick: Eli Manning, Ole Miss, first overall to the Chargers

Best player: The big cliche with picking from the top group of prospects is that you can't go wrong with any of these guys, and while it almost never works out that way, it did in 2004. No quarterback class, not even the famous class of 1983, can outshine the performance of Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Manning, who have combined for three Super Bowl championships, a bevy of playoff appearances and oodles and oodles of yards. Rivers has been the most prolific, Roethlisberger the most iconic, and Manning the most controversial, but it's safe to say that all three players are the centerpieces of their respective franchises. Reporters and draftniks were fairly split over whether or not the Chargers made the right move when they swapped Manning for Rivers and picks. Ron Borges made himself look like, well, Ron Borges when he wrote, "It's not easy to have the first pick in the draft and still blow it, but the Chargers managed to do so." He slapped San Diego with a "D" grade. Pete Prisco and Dan Pompeii, in contrast, loved the trade and approved of what the Chargers did with their extra picks. Midway through the 2006 season, when the Giants were struggling and the Chargers were pounding everyone in sight, this was looking like one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory, but with the precipitous decline of Shawne Merriman, the scales have evened out a bit.

Biggest bust: J.P. Losman, Tulane, 22nd overall to the Bills. After missing out on the studs at the top of the draft, the Bills traded back up into the first round to take the Tulane gunslinger. Losman was small, but had a cannon arm and a reputation for great athleticism. As it turns out, a cannon arm and great athleticism are overrated if you can't make quick decisions with the ball and take sacks like the second coming of Rob Johnson. Losman put together some highlight-reel deep throws to Lee Evans, but he never developed into a dependable field general.

Best value: Matt Schaub, Virginia, 90th overall to the Falcons. Schaub was the best quarterback in Atlanta from the moment he was drafted, but he was doomed to ride the pine behind Michael Vick for the foreseeable future. (How ironic that one looks in hindsight.) The Texans were shopping for a quarterback after deciding they'd had enough of the David Carr experience, and they sent a 2007 second-round pick to Atlanta for Schaub. Many touchdown throws to Andre Johnson later, that move looks pretty good; last year, Schaub even kicked the injury bug and started all 16 games for the first time.

Running Backs

Conventional wisdom: The consensus top back in the class was Oregon State's Steven Jackson, who was considered a franchise back and worthy of a high first-round pick. The only question was if there was a team at the top of the draft whose needs matched up with Jackson's talents. Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones was an intriguing player who had the potential to slip into the back end of the first round, and both Michigan's Chris Perry and Florida State's Greg Jones each had their fans among NFL scouting departments.

Highest pick: Steven Jackson, Oregon State, 24th overall to the Rams.

Best player: Jackson. Once Jackson started to slip, most people assumed the Cowboys would take advantage at pick 23, but Bill Parcells opted to trade down and select Julius Jones in the second round. Oops. The Rams scooped up Jackson with the next pick. Sometimes top backs are lucky to slide a bit in the draft. The position has a short shelf-life, and the backs get to go straight to competitive teams rather than waste their best years getting obliterated behind bad offensive lines while they wait for the team to improve. Jackson no doubt had visions of being the feature back that carried the Greatest Show on Turf through the end of the decade. Instead, the Rams promptly fell off a cliff, and Jackson was left to get obliterated behind a bad offensive line for five years, and without the comfort of a top-five contract to soothe the aches and pains. We're rooting for Steve Spagnuolo to get the Rams turned around quickly, if only to reward Jackson for his thankless service.

Biggest bust: Chris Perry, Michigan, 26th overall to the Bengals. This pick looked fishy at the time, as the Bengals had effective power runner Rudi Johnson already on the roster. Perry was supposed to add a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield for Carson Palmer, but he only appeared in 35 of 80 games due to injuries, and he put up DVOA ratings of -20.8% and -55.2% during the two seasons when he actually caught passes.

Best value: Michael Turner, Northern Illinois, 154th overall to the Chargers. Turner was drafted to provide quality depth behind Ladanian Tomlinson, but he flashed such ability during his limited touches that it was only a matter of time until a team decided to make Turner a feature back. The Falcons made the investment, giving Turner a contract commensurate with a star rather than a rotational player, and in his first season in Atlanta, Turner rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. If Turner can steer clear of future overuse, he figures to throw up impressive stats for several more years.

Wide Receivers

Conventional wisdom: This was considered to be the deepest position in the entire draft, as evidenced by the NFL-record seven receivers who were selected in the first round. Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald was the jewel of the group, a physically dominating talent capable of playing in any offense. Outside of the top five, there were still plenty of options. Wisconsin's Lee Evans and LSU's Devery Henderson were speed receivers capable of getting behind NFL defenders. Texas' Roy Williams and LSU's Michael Clayton big, physical frames to block out defensive backs. Rashaun Woods was a dominant receiver at the college level, but while some scouts marveled at his production, others were concerned that he was a system player who would struggle to transition to the pros.

Highest pick: Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh, third overall to the Cardinals.

Best player: Fitzgerald. With the inevitable aging of Randy Moss, Fitzgerald has emerged as one of the two most physically dominant receivers in the NFL (the other being Andre Johnson). Fitzgerald doesn't have the pure raw speed of other elite receivers, but he has good football speed, as evidenced by his 63-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII. More importantly, he has the best set of hands and the best body control of any receiver in recent memory. He can catch the ball despite a defender having perfect position on him.

Biggest bust: Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State, 31st overall to the 49ers. Woods looked the part of a big-time wide receiver at OSU, setting Big 12 records in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, but his professional career went off the rails almost immediately and never recovered. In his first mini-camp, there were whispers that Woods wasn't smart enough to pick up the offense. He finished his rookie season with only seven receptions for 160 yards and spent his sophomore year on injured reserve with torn ligaments. The 49ers decided they'd seen enough and traded Woods in 2006 to San Diego for cornerback Sammy Davis, but Woods didn't even make it out of the Chargers' training camp.

Best value: Bernard Berrian, Fresno State, 78th overall to the Bears and Jerricho Cotchery, North Carolina State, 108th overall to the Jets. Berrian's ability as a deep threat was somewhat obscured by the poor quality of his quarterbacks, but he had a breakout season during Chicago's 2006 Super Bowl run and was able to parlay that into a six-year, $42 million contract with the Vikings. Cotchery doesn't make that kind of coin, but he's been a steady performer since assuming a starting role in 2006.

Tight Ends

Conventional wisdom: With the emergence of the pass-catching tight end who could split wide or play on the line and attack the seam of a two-deep zone, teams started to place a higher premium on the position. That higher premium meant that teams were willing to consider drafting tight ends in the rarified air of the top five or six picks in the draft -- a place traditionally reserved for quarterbacks, left tackles, defensive ends, and whatever receiver Matt Millen happened to covet that year. The test case for how high a tight end could go was University of Miami star Kellen Winslow, who was the son of a Hall of Famer and a better talent than fellow-Hurricane Jeremy Shockey ever was. Herm Edwards declared Winslow to be the best player in the entire draft. While no other tight end prospect was close to getting a green room invitation, there were several highly regarded prospects, including Florida's Ben Troupe, Ohio State's Ben Hartsock and Georgia's Benjamin Watson.

Highest pick: Kellen Winslow Jr., Miami, 6th overall to the Browns

Best player: Chris Cooley, Utah State, 81st overall to the Redskins. One could make an argument for Winslow, who has been dynamic when he's been healthy and paired with a competent quarterback, but you could count the times that has happened on one hand (and still have four fingers left over). Instead of the star-crossed "soldier" with his broken fibulas and staph infections (not to mention motorcycle accidents), we'll go with Cooley, a two-time Pro Bowler and blogosphere all-star. Cooley first emerged as a quality receiving threat out of the H-back position midway through his rookie season, and he maintained his production until last season when he was sidelined by a broken ankle.

Biggest bust: Ben Troupe, University of Florida, 40th overall to the Titans. Troupe was considered a poor man's version of Winslow when he came out of Florida, but he was never able to climb above second-string on the Tennessee depth chart, and after brief and undistinguished stints with Tampa Bay and Oakland, Troupe washed out of the league altogether.

Best values: It sure isn't Winslow, who cost the Browns first- and second-round picks and then gave them only two full seasons and two near-total injury washouts. Cooley, clearly.

Offensive Line

Conventional wisdom: Iowa's Robert Gallery was the next great tackle prospect, a superb technician who would make a seamless transition to the pros and add his name to the list of highly drafted success stories like Tony Boselli, Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones and Orlando Pace. After Gallery, there was a major drop-off, as there were question marks with every other tackle prospect and a paucity of interior line talent. Arkansas' Shawn Andrews was a giant road-grader with nimble feet, but his weight issues were a major red flag for interested parties. Miami's Vernon Carey was a solid player on an elite offensive unit who didn't project clearly to a position. It was thought that he might be a left tackle, might be a right tackle, or might fit best at guard.

Highest pick: Robert Gallery, Iowa, second overall to the Raiders.

Best player: Chris Snee, Boston College, 34th overall to the Giants. Snee was engaged to coach Tom Coughlin's daughter at the time the Giants opted to select him at the top of the second round (then general manager Ernie Accorsi said he would not have made the selection if Coughlin was uncomfortable with it), and it would be easy to criticize Coughlin for showing signs of nepotism if the pick didn't pan out. But the pick did pan out, as Snee grabbed hold of the right guard job as a rookie and has shown no signs of relinquishing it. Snee was named All-Pro in 2008 and 2009, and he helped the Giants post the best ALY between the tackles in 2008.

Biggest bust: Robert Gallery. Draft experts used names like Anthony Muñoz and Tony Boselli to show that that left tackle was the safest position in the draft and to justify taking Gallery with a top pick, but they conveniently left out the name Tony Mandarich'. But Mandarich is the player whose pro career has most closely resembled Gallery's. Gallery's technical skill and the relative dearth of quality pass rushers in the Big Ten camouflaged the fact that he simply wasn't quick enough out of his stance to take away the outside edge from NFL defensive ends. The Raiders flipped Gallery back and forth between left and right tackle, desperately trying to find a position for him. In the end, they accepted reality and shifted him inside to guard, where his slow feet would be less of an impediment. Like Mandarich, Gallery has developed into an acceptable interior player, but that's not exactly what you're looking for from the second pick in the draft.

Best values: Jake Scott and Jacob Bell have both been consistent and productive interior players in the AFC South, and both players were selected after the fourth round. Both players were in demand in last year's free agent crop, with Bell moving from Tennessee to St. Louis, and Scott sliding into Bell's old spot with the Titans.

Defensive Line

Conventional wisdom: This was not one of the stronger defensive line crops in recent memory, and despite the high demand for pass rushers, there was no lineman who was expected to go anywhere near the top of the draft. The best prospect was probably Oklahoma's Tommie Harris, a lightning quick three-technique defensive tackle with a propensity for showing up on the injury report. Miami's Vince Wilfork was a mountain of a man with the build to play the nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. USC's Kenechi Udeze and Ohio State's Will Smith were both well-rounded defensive ends who didn't have the pure pass-rushing skills to be taken in the top half of the round. Jason Babin did have those skills, but he was considered a wild card because of the low level of competition he faced at Western Michigan.

Highest pick: Tommie Harris, Oklahoma, 14th overall to the Bears.

Best player: Vince Wilfork, University of Miami, 21st overall to the Patriots. The Belichick-era Patriots have a well-deserved reputation for trotting out aging veterans on defense, but that's only true of linebackers and defensive backs. Wilfork completed New England's starting trio of young first-round linemen, sliding immediately into Ted Washington's spot and proved every bit as stout at the point of attack. The Patriots just committed $40 million dollars, including $18 million guaranteed, to make sure that Wilfork will continue to man the center of their defense for another five years.

Biggest bust: Kenechi Udeze, Southern California, 20th overall to the Vikings. Udeze went one pick before Wilfork, and at the time, he seemed like a perfect fit for the pass-rush starved Vikings. Udeze played well as a rookie, notching 36 tackles and five sacks, but a knee injury cut short his sophomore season after only three games. Udeze started for another two seasons, but he was never able to improve on his rookie sack total. In 2008, Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia, a development which forced his retirement from football.

Best value: Darnell Dockett, Florida State, 64th overall to the Cardinals and Corey Williams, Arkansas State, 179th overall to the Packers. The Cardinals made it three-for-three in the 2004 draft when they selected Dockett at the top of the third round. The Florida State defensive tackle was undersized but proved to be extremely disruptive, as he proved to a national audience during an MVP-caliber performance in Super Bowl XLIII. Corey Williams played well enough in his first few seasons in Green Bay to convince Cleveland that he was a blossoming star and worth trading a second-round pick for, but he proved to be a bad fit as a 3-4 end in Cleveland's system, so they traded him to Detroit this offseason for nickels on the dollar . Jim Schwartz's scheme should be a lot friendlier for Williams, who could easily rebound to the form he showed as a Packer (sticking Ndamokung Suh next to him wouldn't hurt).

(Ed. Note: Yes, as noted below in the comments, the original article completely forgot Jared Allen. Sorry about that.)


Conventional wisdom: The top two linebackers on the board were a pair of Hurricanes, each with a distinctly different skills. Jonathan Vilma was a fast but undersized middle linebacker whose instincts reminded draft analysts of Ray Lewis. D.J. Williams had prototype size to go along with his blazing speed and was devastating in run support, but there were some questions about how instinctive he was. Georgia Tech's Daryl Smith, Oklahoma's Teddy Lehman, and Auburn's Karlos Dansby were considered second-round prospects.

Highest pick: Jonathan Vilma, Miami, 12th overall to the Jets.

Best player: Karlos Dansby, Auburn, 33rd overall to the Cardinals. Dansby proved to be a tremendously versatile linebacker who rarely needed to come off the field. He is equally adept at run support and pass coverage and is a willing and capable blitzer. After being franchised by the Cardinals for two consecutive years, Dansby entered this offseason as the second-most attractive player on the free agent market behind Julius Peppers. Miami quickly rewarded Dansby with a five-year, $43 million contract, and they'll play him on the inside of their 3-4 next to Channing Crowder.

Biggest bust: Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma, 37th overall to the Lions. Lehman was a star for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, winning the Dick Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker his senior season, but he simply could not hold up to the pounding of the NFL game. After starting all 16 games his rookie season, Lehman's career degenerated into a long string of injuries and ineffective seasons. He bounced around from Detroit to Tampa Bay, back to Detroit, to Buffalo, and finally to the UFL.

Best value: Dansby.

Defensive Backs

Conventional wisdom: This was considered to be a very strong group of cornerbacks, with both top-end talent and depth. Virginia Tech's DeAngelo Hall, South Carolina's Dunta Robinson and Ohio State's Chris Gamble were the headliners. Players like USC's Will Poole, Oklahoma's Derrick Strait, Montana State's Joey Thomas and Arkansas' Ahmad Carroll added depth to the group and convinced teams that they could find potential starters at any point during the first day. The crown jewel among the secondary players, however, was Miami's Sean Taylor. Taylor was the mirror image of his teammate Kellen Winslow Jr. -- a big, fast, rangy safety who had the ability to lock up the new breed of tight ends with close man coverage or to drop back and play centerfield in a Cover-1 look. Many scouts thought Taylor to be the most talented player in the draft. Georgia's Sean Jones and Iowa's Bob Sanders were also quality safety prospects, likely second-round picks.

Highest pick: Sean Taylor, University of Miami, fifth overall to the Redskins.

Best player: Bob Sanders, Iowa, 44th overall to the Colts. Taylor never did revolutionize the position, but he did turn out to be an excellent player -- until he was tragically murdered in his Miami home during the course of a robbery. Otherwise, he might have had a longer career and more value than Sanders, the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year. The knock on him at Iowa was that he was undersized and potentially too fragile to hold up in the NFL. He has done nothing to disprove that notion.

Biggest bust: Ahmad Carroll, Arkansas, 25th overall to the Packers. Carroll's nickname coming out of college was Batman, but he should have been called Robin considering the way he constantly had yellow flags tossed in his direction. Carroll was a walking pass interference call during his stay in Green Bay. He's currently the fifth corner in New York behind such luminary talents as Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman.

Best value: Gibril Wilson, Tennessee, 136th overall to the Giants. Wilson looked like a pretty sweet pickup for the Giants early on, a second-day selection who came on and became a competent starter for four seasons, chipped 11 interceptions and a half-dozen sacks along the way. Good value, right? Needless to say, this convinced Al Davis to make him the third-highest paid safety in the NFL. He spent a year cleaning up the mess left by the rest of the Raiders' poor run defense, then got cut. The Dolphins snapped Wilson up, gave him a spin for a year, then decided they'd seen enough and cut him as well, which just goes to show that once you go through the Al Davis vortex, you may never fully recover.

Special Teams

Conventional wisdom: Not a banner year. The reigning award-winners were Jon Nichols of Ole Miss (Lou Groza Award) and B.J. Sander of Ohio State (Ray Guy Award).

Highest pick: Nate Kaeding, University of Iowa, 65th overall to the Chargers.

Best player: Chosen with one of the picks acquired in the Manning-Rivers trade, Kaeding ranked among the league's top placekickers but inexplicably melted down during this year's playoff game against the Jets. Don't take specialists in the third round, people.

Biggest bust: B.J. Sander, Ohio State, 87th overall to the Packers. Green Bay inexplicably traded a fifth-rounder to Miami to move up and grab Sander, who despite winning the Ray Guy Award had only started for one year in college. It was the only time since 1985 that a team has traded up in order to select a punter. Sander spent his whole rookie year inactive, was the worst punter in the league in this second season, and never played in the league again. Don't take specialists in the third round, people.

Best value: Josh Scobee, Louisiana Tech, 137th overall to the Jaguars. Scobee's field-goal performance has been up and down, but he's been one of the top kickoff men in the league for six years. Scobee's been about 98 percent of the player that Kaeding has been, and all the Jaguars needed was the patience to wait two and a half rounds. Don't take specialists in the third round, people.

Past articles in this series:


203 comments, Last at 30 Mar 2010, 7:30am

#1 by iapetus (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 11:16am

Typical mainstream media article ignoring the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of a conspiracy against the small market teams. I demand that Reggie Williams is given his rightful place as biggest WR bust of the 2004 draft, or at the very least an honourable mention.

Points: 0

#5 by MilkmanDanimal // Mar 19, 2010 - 11:40am

I was actually going to argue for Michael Clayton, for no other reason than Clayton had a great rookie season and then basically fell off the planet. The guy proved he had the talent to play in the NFL, and then threw it away. And then got a contract extension.

Sure, you can say Rashaun Woods couldn't play, but Clayton could. He just chose not to after his rookie year. That makes him a bigger bust, IMO.

Points: 0

#92 by sanderrp@gmail.com // Mar 20, 2010 - 1:16pm

That's a bit of a stretch. At least Clayton is still on a roster, albeit barely.

But don't worry, in 2014 Dexter Jackson will surely be named as the biggest receiver bust of the 2008 draft.

Points: 0

#9 by Anon (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:14pm

Reggie Williams may or may not be the biggest bust as a wide receiver from this draft, but he is definitely the biggest brain fart by an organization:

#9 Reggie Williams
#11 Ben Roethlisberger

Thank you Shack Harris!

Points: 0

#81 by sebajoe1 (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:06am

Byron Leftwich had just finished his rookie season. Was Jacksonville supposed to take quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive years?

Points: 0

#138 by iapetus (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 8:43am


1) Yes. Yes they were. Take the best available player and if that leaves you with a glut of talent at the most premium position in the game, you've got some excellent trade bait once you've decided which guy to go with.

2) Of course not. But they *should* have traded down, knowing there were other teams who wanted Roethlisberger at that spot, and if they couldn't do that in time, they should have called the other teams' bluff and taken him anyway, then shopped him around on the day.

Points: 0

#29 by sam // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:40pm

Given that Reggie was the 9th pick of the draft, and who he was picked ahead of, I think you do have to give it to the Reggilution.

sam! or the original sam from the old FO

Points: 0

#2 by wr (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 11:17am

The link to the Draft Report Card Report doesn't work.
Looking back, the Cardinals really cleaned up in that draft.

Points: 0

#4 by Anonymous (not… (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 11:36am

From the report card: 'As for which writers were right and which writers were wrong when it comes to the six teams that caused the most disagreement, come back in April 2010 for Michael David Smith's article "The 2004 Draft, Six Years Later."'

Or in March 2010 for Sean McCormick's article of the same name ;)

Points: 0

#6 by Danish Denver-Fan // Mar 19, 2010 - 11:51am

I'm not quite ready to call the talent, percieved or actual, in the 2004 QB-class higher than that of 1983. Yet, anyway.

Points: 0

#8 by Joe T. // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:11pm

I agree. 11 Super Bowl appearances and 3 first ballot HoFers.

Even with their success thus far the 2004 QB class still have an uphill climb. I would say that Roethlisburger was most likely to make the HoF, but he may have deep-sixed his chances with his extracurricular activities.

Points: 0

#16 by Fan in Exile // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:49pm

I think especially with how both the Steelers and the Giants relied on their defenses for their championship seasons. It was not the QB play that got them that far. Although Ben did play much better in his second.

Points: 0

#22 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:13pm

My view is that Rivers, although he hasn't yet done enough to merit even consideration for enshrinement, is such a good player that he will in all probability get in unless he suffers a serious injury in the next few years. Roethlisberger will get in as a result of being a very good but not great quarterback on some outstanding teams, much like the last Steeler QB to go to Canton. Manning won't make it unless the Giants win some more championships, nor should he (whether they do or not). I highly doubt that he will be one of the best five quarterbacks in the league at any point in his career, never mind as often as a Hall of Famer should. I certainly think he's hugely unlikely to ever have a dominant season. Lack of peak performance alone should exclude him from consideration.

Points: 0

#27 by commissionerleaf // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:34pm

I'm not sure why Eli gets such hate from the fan base. He's been one of the top 16 quarterbacks in the league virtually every year he's played, thrown 20+ touchdowns every full season, cut his interceptions down somewhat since the Super Bowl year, and this year had his best season as a pro, despite a cast of characters at wide receiver who were mostly just out of diapers. And he's not old; at his age, many quarterbacks are just getting into their prime.

If his receivers develop a little bit and his offensive line recovers, he could easily be a top 5 QB next year. I still think he's a better quarterback than Rivers when I'm -watching- football rather than looking at numbers, and I'm confident that he will be a successful quarterback for years to come.

Points: 0

#36 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 2:28pm

Why does Eli get hate from the fan base?
- His dad said/leaked that he didn't want to play in SD, which at the time was like the Detroit Lions of the NFL before the spectacular drafts they put together.
- He's a Manning.
- He plays in New York
- He's quiet and not a super-likeable, sound byte, alpha male that fans usually like... Like say Brett Favre.
- His career started off slow, and picked up steam
- The strengths in his game are less visible... ( this is a biggie)

Eli Manning is what, about 27 years old? Remember the argument against the Giants last year? That they had no receivers? How'd that work out? Steve Smith did better than pretty much anyone would expect, and Mario Manningham who was a raw and not very good WR put up respectable numbers even though he was NOT a good WR.

Eli Manning should be able to play at least at this level until he's what, 35 years old? That means maybe 8 to 10 more seasons of good QB play for the Giants. He runs a complicated offense and now has young WR's who can and should continue to mature. I'd argue that RB is more fungible in the Giants offense ( and not just due to the line) than most teams but because of the QB's impact.

Big Ben's skill set seemed to be more NFL ready as he was more of a scrambler, big guy, and played for a team that made his transition about as easy as possible. Rivers landed on a good team, and has has good talent and coaching his career.

Points: 0

#46 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:26pm

Eli's 29. I don't deny that he's a good quarterback, I just think that it's likely he's already pretty close to being as good as he ever will be - and that puts him somewhere in the Kerry Collins-Drew Bledsoe part of the quarterback spectrum. Not a bad use of the first overall pick, but not a superstar, not a hall of famer, and not as good as Rivers or Roethlisberger. A guy who'll go to a few pro bowls in his prime, but never get serious all-pro consideration. I agree that the mental side of his game is largely excellent, but he's just not an accurate or consistent enough passer to ever be truly elite. Rivers' passes may look horrible, but they go where they're meant to. Eli's too often don't.

Points: 0

#67 by Dales // Mar 19, 2010 - 7:15pm

Kerry Collins and Drew Bledsoe are pretty far apart in my spectrum. Through year five, Bledsoe had accumulated AV (pfr) of 46 and Collins a 26. They finished with 137 and 104 respectively.

I think Eli's career path is above theirs at the same point.

Eli's was about the same (47) but he had scored a stellar zero in his first season-- meaning that over the other four Eli had scored higher on average. Bledsoe's next year was nothing special while Eli's was a fairly substantive step forward (AV not yet available, though).

Two of the three (Rivers, Eli) appear to me to still be improving-- and the other is the one that I would choose as my QB if 1) I had to pick, and 2) I could convince myself that he's not going to implode off the field.

I agree with your delineating between superstars and hall of famers. Not every superstar is a HOFer. I think that clearly, all three of them (Eli, Rivers, and Ben) are comfortably in the superstar class-- obviously we differ in opinion there.

Eli gets downgraded, I think, because he is not his brother and because of his hang-dog look when he screws up, but mostly because he's the little girl with the curl. When he's good he's very very good, but when he's bad, he's horrid. I say it often- he makes throws that only the great ones can make, and he makes throws that only the horrible quarterbacks make. He's actually a pretty unique player.

Points: 0

#71 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 8:39pm

By "Collins-Bledsoe" I meant .Collins to Bledsoe. - I see them as the endpoints, with Bledsoe obviously at the upper end and Collins at the lower. Also, note that Bledsoe and Collins were both younger than Eli when they entered the league (a lot younger, in Bledsoe's case). Bledsoe through his age 28 season had 89 AV. What I'm saying is that Eli's combination of arm and smarts will allow him to be an effective player for a very long time, racking up a bunch of yards, AV, career DYAR or whatever other counting stat you like. He may very possibly combine Bledsoe's longer and higher peak with Collins' greater longevity, allowing him to surpass both. However, I don't think he is accurate enough or consistent enough to ever be a truly dominant player. Maybe you're right - maybe that does/would/should make him a superstar. I still think he's clearly the least likely of the three to merit enshrinement in Canton.

Roethlisberger's a really tough player to assess because his style of play is so unusual. Rivers just looks wierd; Roethlisberger is wierd. I can easily understand why opinions of him vary so wildly. He's more valuable to the Steelers than either of the other two would be, but I think almost every other team in the league would rather have Rivers, and I think Rivers is more valuable to the Chargers than Roethlisberger is to the Steelers. I also think that given his tendency to hold onto the ball (and hence get hit), his reliance on his physical skills, and his apparent nose for trouble off the field, he is likely to have a much shorter time as a first rate starter remaining than the other two. He's a seriously rich man's Daunte Culpepper - look what happened to Culpepper when he got injured.

Points: 0

#74 by td (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 10:15pm

Eli has also played his entire career in the Meadowlands, maybe the windiest stadium in the league, which has contributed somewhat to his having less impressive stats. It will be interesting to see if the new stadium makes a difference, and, if so, how much of one.

Points: 0

#76 by Greg Trippiedi // Mar 19, 2010 - 10:32pm

Good point. I'm interested as to when we will start to see stadium-effect analysis on NFL passing games. Seems like (and I made this argument in favor of Quinn going from Cleveland to Denver) that there will always be some passers who are completely different players in some environments than others.

Eli's game against the Redskins in Week 15, 2007 comes to mind. The wind was as bad as I've ever seen it, and he and Todd Collins were dreadful. The Redskins eventually took the game out of Collins' hands and won, while the Giants kept throwing it with little success, and lost.

Points: 0

#87 by C (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 9:02am

Great Points about Eli Playing in a hard stadium for QB's. I'd say Chicago and the Meadowlands were probably 1 and 2.

Phillip Rivers was playing in sunny San Diego his whole career so he has an advantage over Big Ben and Eli stats wise. He might have better stats but he doesn't have rings like the other two. NJ and Pitt are both cold, but the wind in the Meadowlands make it horrible.

I bring up that Giants game with the wind, but the FO don't control for that and that's a major problem. How can you judge QB's playing in freezing weather with super strong winds? The other major game that comes to mind is the week 17 Patriots/Bills game a few years ago where I guess the Patriots didn't even throw 1 pass in the second half because there were like extreme winds in Buffalo. Neither DVOA or traditional stats take that into consideration, but gamblers do.

The point about it all too is that Eli has a better career QB rating on the road if I'm not mistaken. He can get the unimportant stuff out of his mind, and he's in more ideal weather conditions in virtually every road game he plays in.

In reality, a guy like Cutler with a super strong arm is ideal for Chicago because the weather will affect him less. Eli's arm is above average so the wind hurts his game because he throws downfield as much as anyone. Then again Pennington had the weakest arm in the league but he threw mostly short passes.

Points: 0

#95 by Jerry // Mar 20, 2010 - 3:18pm

Unfortunately, it's not like the play-by-play includes a wind speed for each pass. There's a listing of gametime wind speed, but it doesn't account for gusts or changes.

Points: 0

#96 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 4:12pm

If it is so easy to play in sunny southern california then why was brees a shadow of his new orleans self when he was playing here? Goes to show that weather didnt affect him and if it did it was even harder to put up good stats than it is in new orleans. Dont come back with the weak ass argument that he had no players around him..... he had gates and LT. Im not bashing brees, i think hes underrated. There are 4 quarterbacks that are the cream of the crop and its Brady, Brees, Manning and Rivers. Eli in the same sentence as Rivers is just absurd. Im sure since Dilfer has a ring he is also a better pro than Rivers. Give me a break. Heres the argument people like you make.

Steve kerr is a better nba player than karl malone because malone didnt win any championships. Robert horry needs to be in the hall of fame because he has 6 rings. Russel is the best basketball player ever because he won 8 straight titles (what about his teammates? does that make them #2-#12 on the all time great list?)

The championship discussion is only made by losers. Its the cap off of the discussion and frankly whenever i hear it i just think "man that guy is an idiot". Everyone has that friend that whenever you talk about your team doing better this year they remind you that the steelers have the most championships. Most of the nfl fans werent watching football in the 70's and whoopty freaking do im glad you got to enjoy that victory that they had before you were born or started to follow football. Everyone knows the championship discussion is a joke, thats why whenever they start bringing up championships they get a smirk on their face and the conversation switches from intelligent to retarded.

I heard a stat on here where some guy was defending eli. Hes been in the top 16 his whole career or something like that. Really?!? ha. how many top 5's? Basically you are saying he is an average - above average quarterback in the nfl. Sorry but Rivers was up for MVP the last two years. That means he was atleast in the discussion as the #1 quarterback and last year he finished third for qb voting and second this year. Eli will never get close to an mvp because its not within his variance. Even if everything goes perfect in a season for him he will still finish 16th-10th among quarterbacks. He is not good.

Points: 0

#98 by Nathan // Mar 20, 2010 - 4:39pm

maybe cause playing in a dome is even easier than playing outside in the sun?

Points: 0

#114 by Dave0 // Mar 21, 2010 - 3:24am

If it is so easy to play in sunny southern california then why was brees a shadow of his new orleans self when he was playing here?

Drew Brees was awesome in San Diego.

Points: 0

#115 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 4:55am

Yeah he was awesome when he was getting benched for doug flutie and leading the team to the #1 overall pick. He had 1 good season in san diego and 1 above average season in san diego. He had 0 total awesome seasons in san diego. you are crazy.

Points: 0

#117 by Dave0 // Mar 21, 2010 - 10:53am

2004 was awesome. 2005 was good. if either season happens in brees' new orleans career they fit right in and nobody bats an eyelash. please stay off the crack.

Points: 0

#120 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 2:42pm

awesome constitutes throwing for 3100 yards? how many quarterbacks played awesome this year? heres his stats for 2002 -2005.

2002: 21st in dyar, 25th in dvoa, 3201 yards, 17 td's, 15 int.
2003: 41st in dyar, 40th in dvoa, 1984 yards, 11 td's, 15 int.
2004: 7th in dyar, 4th in dvoa, 3166 yards, 27 td's, 7 int.
2005: 8th in dyar, 9th in dvoa, 3421 yards, 24 td's, 14 int.

Brees has not once thrown for less than 4300 yards in new orleans.... which is 900 more yards than his BEST season in san diego. His lowest finish in dyar while with new orleans is 5th.... which is better than his BEST season in san diego. His lowest finish in dyar while with new orleans is 12th.... but his other 3 years in new orleans he finished 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd in dvoa. I can do td's and int's as well but it will just make you look like even more of a buffoon.

If any of his seasons in san diego happen while brees' is in new orleans people would wonder what the hell is wrong with him. Maybe its not so easy to throw a pass in san diego as you thought since Brees couldnt do it with nearly the effectiveness as Rivers.

Points: 0

#122 by Dave0 // Mar 21, 2010 - 3:40pm

i don't know why you brought up 2002 and 2003, when i already said i wasn't talking about those years.

i don't know why i'm bothering, but it is easier to post world-beating dyar and raw yardage numbers when one is putting the ball up a league-leading number of times, which brees has done twice in four years in no. a fourth place finish in dvoa doesn't qualify as a great year?

by the way, i think rivers is a wonderful quarterback, and you make me embarassed to be a charger fan.

[oops--edited to say 2002 and 2003, got year wrong]

Points: 0

#123 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 4:05pm

you never said you werent talking about 2002 and 2003. you said that he was awesome in san diego. Well earth to dave, he was in san diego from 2001-2005. Come on dont change the argument after the fact. He didnt play much in 2001. He was awful in 2002-2003. He was good in 2004. He was above average in 2005.

My point for saying this stuff isnt to bash brees. He is a great player. He didnt play great in san diego, and my opinion is that he would have played great in san diego if it was as friendly to pass there as most readers are implying. Rivers shouldnt be penalized cause its sunny where he plays. He isn't in as pass friendly of an offense. He is averaging close to 70 less pass attempts per year than manning since hes became a starter. Despite this, he still is putting up better numbers than manning.

Points: 0

#125 by Dave0 // Mar 21, 2010 - 4:48pm

i didn't mean he was nothing but awesome in san diego. my bad.

but the differences between his last two years in san diego and his four in new orleans can easily be attributed to his reps.

or, if you wish, you can attribute it to his having had difficulty passing outdoors for half his games in sunny san diego, and i certainly won't stand in your way because it's not a conversation i care to be involved in.

Points: 0

#157 by commissionerleaf // Mar 22, 2010 - 4:55pm

I was the one defending Eli.

First, Rivers has only been "in the conversation" for the MVP the last two years as far as you were concerned. As I've said before (maybe in this thread), he isn't even top 5 in the discussion if one isn't a Chargers fan in particular (last year: Brees, Brady, Manning, Warner, Favre). And that's leaving out Revis, DeMarcus Ware, and Chris Johnson.

Second, there's a big difference between "above average" and a top 16 ranking many years in a row. There are guys in the Hall of Fame who haven't managed four consecutive top 16 seasons. Manning, Rivers, and Roethlisberger are all franchise quarterbacks... and that's all. Any team should be happy to have one of them, but none of them have proven to be particularly special yet.

Points: 0

#158 by Nathan // Mar 22, 2010 - 5:00pm

I'm a Pats fan and Brady did not play very well last year. He maybe put up OK numbers (thank you Tennessee, thank you Wes Welker) but there were several games where he looked pretty bad. Definately not MVP worthy. I think if you hypothetically swapped Brady for a bizarro Rivers that new the offense last year the Pats would have been better, not worse. For what it's worth.

Points: 0

#173 by RickD // Mar 23, 2010 - 11:42am

The FO player stats positively loved Brady last season. He was first in DYAR and second in DVOA.

Points: 0

#177 by Nathan // Mar 23, 2010 - 12:02pm

He played against tough pass Ds so that explains the stats but I still maintain that if you watched the games he looked rusty and timid much of the time. Threw off his back foot a lot the first half of the year and missed some easy throws high. Majority of his production was on long drives that were constant 7 yards over the middle to Welker over and over, drives that couldn't sustain themselves and died out. Ineffective in the red zone (I think this is a product of the offense). Can't remember him throwing, let alone hitting, a single fade all year. Seemed off on the deep ball with a few exceptions. Bubble screens seemed more clamped down on than the previous years. Didn't seem to make the same clutch throws that he has in the past but wasn't helped out by his receivers a few times (Galloway, Faulk bobbling 4th and 2, Edelman dropped one or two). And in general, his accuracy seemed off. It wasn't so much that he was straight missing guys after the first 6 games or so but he wasn't making the perfect throws that we're accustomed to seeing. Guys were having to stretch out to make plays on 3rd and long, and that contributed to drops.

All that being said, I think he was just shaking off the rust and expect him to be back to form next year. But I think people are catching up to the spread and I think it's damn near useless inside the 20. I had more faith in the Pats ability to score from the 30 than the 15 last year.

Points: 0

#183 by commissionerleaf // Mar 23, 2010 - 2:06pm

DYAR and DVOA were part of what I was referring to, but more than that was his performance in the Buffalo game, which was the first time (and I watched 2007) that I've thought he might actually be as good as Peyton Manning. The throws to Ben Watson were so good that it just didn't matter what the defenders did; like Peyton's lob to a quadruple-covered Dallas Clark in the Super Bowl or Michael Jordan shooting a fadeaway.

I think that Brady really needs a consistent set of receivers because what he does well is break down defenses. The failure of the Joey Galloway Experiment and Welker's injuries hurt him more than most quarterbacks because he isn't a great technical player like Manning or Warner. He's more similar to Drew Brees; dependent on scheme to create big plays, but accurate and consistent on short throws. That's why the Ben Watson seam routes were so impressive - Brees throws half his picks trying to hit that.

It's true that he was inconsistent, but against great defenses with an ever-changing group of receivers, he had a tough sell.

Points: 0

#186 by Nathan // Mar 23, 2010 - 2:40pm

I think that Brady really needs a consistent set of receivers.

J-A-B-A-R G-A-F-F-N-E-Y :(

His stats were never that good but for 3 years he seemed to come through when everyone else was covered. I'd be real pleased with Moss, Welker, Gaffney, and Edelman.

Points: 0

#77 by Greg Trippiedi // Mar 19, 2010 - 10:38pm

Eli is also oh-for his career in the playoffs at home. I'm pretty sure that he'll hold that distinction among all SB winning quarterbacks for quite some time.

Points: 0

#83 by C (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:40am

Actually that would make Eli Manning more like a Donovan Mcnabb but with a ring.

- Both guys are very smart or smarts is a big part of their game
- Both guys are inaccurate
- Both guys have their fair share of haters
- Both guys value was very misunderstood
- Neither guy was ever like a top 3 QB
- Mcnabb gets hurt a lot, Eli starts every game
- Eli's teams always make the playoffs ( except last year), Mcnabb similar
- Both guys have really only had one big play WR ( ok now 2 for Mcnabb).

They are both good smart players ( that were underrated by many) despite being drafted high. I think in the comments so far people overrate how pretty of a ball you throw, but underrate that Eli/Mcnabb make the correct reads and CHOOSE the right player to throw the ball too. THAT's that hard part. Anybody can throw a spiral, not everybody can read an NFL defense when you are being bum rushed by 4-7 250 to 320 pound beasts.

Points: 0

#100 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 20, 2010 - 5:15pm

That's an interesting comparison. I think McNabb's high's are higher, and he's lows result in incompletions rather than interceptions.

Points: 0

#75 by Greg Trippiedi // Mar 19, 2010 - 10:27pm

Part of those "drafts they put together" involved picking up a better quarterback and multiple high-value picks from the Giants in the 2004 draft. Agreed that SD used to be a talent-void wasteland, but there is no move that better signifies the end of the dark years in San Diego than that trade.

Mind you, a lot of that talent was already in place at the time of that trade, but I'm thinking that the Chargers don't reach the heights they did in 2006 and 2007 without both Rivers and Merriman (even though it's likely Brees would still be there if not for Rivers).

Points: 0

#53 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:56pm

I think people really underestimate just how efficient Big Ben was early in his career. Yes the Steelers didn't ask him to throw much, but when he did he was getting 10 yards a pop.

Also he played legitimately great in the 2005 playoffs until the Superbowl. Everyone only remembers the last game though.

Points: 0

#84 by C (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:43am

I agree with this point 100%. It's a very underrated point.

Points: 0

#145 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:54am

It's hard to see that the '04 class would ever equal the '83 class.

The '83 class has two legitimate candidates for Best QB Ever. And then there's Jim Kelly, who I would still rate as better than any of the '04 QBs.

Roethlisberger's career is flagging (and his off-field antics are ridiculous). Eli cannot be counted on to perform at an elite level. Rivers is probably the best of the three (even though he's the one who hasn't won a Super Bowl), but he's not quite smart enough to be a big-time QB in the playoffs, it seems.

Points: 0

#162 by Dales // Mar 22, 2010 - 6:59pm

Interesting thing about that 'best QB ever' type of debate-- have you looked at Elway's numbers next to Eli's through the same point in each's career?

Eli's completions percentages are better, but they are close. Their yardage is extremely close. Eli threw 23 more TDs and 8 fewer interceptions. Their adjusted net yards/attempt are very similar through age 28, with Eli having the advantage. Eli's sack rate is lower. They don't have AV up for Eli's 2009 season yet, but it looks to me as if the difference between their AV through their 6th season will be almost entirely due to the Blutarsky Manning put up in his rookie year (or, alternately, due to the contribution of Elway's legs).

Please note that I am not saying that Manning is as good as Elway. Obviously, some of the above stats are partly explained by differences in eras. I am just noting the similarities in their statistical profiles as passers through age 28. Now, if Manning can win another Super Bowl and win some more playoff games with late heroics, play 10 mostly injury free more seasons, and have some of his best statistical years to come, then...

ETA: actually, Eli shows up in Elway's list of similar players after years 4 & 5 of their careers (and I am sure he'll be in the list of similar players after year 6 once they add 2009 to the comps).

Points: 0

#171 by Theo // Mar 23, 2010 - 6:50am

Manning - not great, yet.
Roethlisberger - great
Phillips - great?

Elway - HOF
Kelly - HOF
Marino - HOF
(Eason) - good, not great.

The 3 2004 QBs need to add something before they can outshine the 1983 class.

Points: 0

#185 by Nathan // Mar 23, 2010 - 2:18pm

Replacement level mediocrity who played his worst when it mattered most and repeatedly had to get bailed out by an aging Steve Grogan...

Points: 0

#7 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:06pm

One point on the Giants trade with the Chargers.

Yes, in 2006 people ( not myself) were saying it was a lopsidded Hershal Walker like trade as Eli bloomed later than people would have liked. The Giants received the #1 pick Manning, the Chargers received the Giants pick #4 pick Rivers, and a future first and a 3rd.

The future first Became Merriman, the 3rd became Kaeting who are both very good players. The fact that the Chargers NAILED the picks makes the TRADE look better for SD, but what if the Chargers didn't draft Shawn Merriman with the pick but some bust? I think that clouds people's memory with that trade.

What if there was a hypothetical trade where the Lions traded Ernie Simms to the Patriots for a 6th round draft pick, and that 6th round draft pick becomes Tom Brady. You shouldn't so much consider the PLAYER that was picked with the draft pick, but the value of the draft pick itself. How the heck can you assume a team will make the "correct" optimium pick with their draft pick? That happens about how frequently? If you trade a team a 6th round draft pick, you can't assume they will pick the Tom Brady. Same with round 3, same with round 1 even.

As far as QB's go, I knew JP Losman was going to be a bust, I liked Rivers in college, but wanted the Giants to grab Manning. It's close to call between the three of them, but the funny thing is that each one is probably on a team that maximizes his value as the offenses caeter to each QB's strength. Big Ben and Eli have SB's, but Rivers was VERY good last year and could have earned on.

The thing about Matt Schaub is that he was picked in round 3, but he was a round 1 NFL prospect for much of college, but got injured and slipped in the draft. I always said he should start over the dog killer, but at this point he's not as good as his statistics are as he's in a very QB friendly offense in Houston with Kubiak ( and Shanny Jr. ran LY). Schaub put up nearly top notch stats, but I wouldn't say he's a top notch QB just yet.

Points: 0

#12 by dmb // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:33pm

C, I absolutely agree that those sorts of draft trades should be based on the value of the picks, not the players selected with them. However, even looking at it that way, the Chargers still came out pretty far ahead in that deal. Enough people would prefer either one of the quarterbacks that you could call that even ... so the Chargers got a first and a third while exchanging players of close to equal ability. (And if you're like me and would take Rivers over Manning, then they upgraded their QB while receiving additional high picks for their efforts.) Throw in the fact that everyone knew that the Chargers would have to trade Manning, and it's pretty remarkable that they got that much value out of the situation.

Of course, your point that each QB managed to find situations that utilizes their strengths is a good one. Without that trade, it's possible that both Manning and Rivers would look worse than they do today.

Points: 0

#51 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:44pm

Everyone hates rivers for some strange reason. He is clearly better than Eli and Ben. Does everyone forget that hes been in the running for mvp the last 2 years? This trade was unfair regardless of whether merriman wasa bust or not because they simply traded for a better quarterback and gained a first and third rounder out of already getting the better quarterback! Hate rivers all you want but the longer he plays without getting injured the more and more he will shove it down haters throats that he is much better than anyone gives him credit for. It is quite sad how little anyone here actually watches san diego games.

Points: 0

#62 by commissionerleaf // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:46pm

Watching Rivers play does not inspire nearly as much confidence as reading his DVOA rating. His ratings and numbers have been pretty good for a while now, he's just the opposite of clutch and looks awful out there. And, good as his numbers are, he's not Drew Brees in the stats department.

Nobody hates Rivers, it's just that he's a good young quarterback like any other and some people haven't anointed him for the Hall of Fame yet. Jake Delhomme had two consecutive good years, too.

Points: 0

#69 by Danish Denver-Fan // Mar 19, 2010 - 7:32pm

He's an top tier QB, no doubt. I don't care much about his weird mechanics or the floaters he hangs up there, because he gets the job done.

I hate... nah probably just dislike him, because I think he's an ass. Some of the reason for that you can find in my username, sure, but it's still my feeling, that consensus is that Rivers, at best, behaves like a spoiled brat.

Points: 0

#70 by Nathan // Mar 19, 2010 - 8:22pm

People want to dislike Rivers because he seems like a dick. I know I did. We all called him "Quivers". But yes, he is very good. Also the playoff game with the ACL tear while LT sat on the sideline wearing his Darth Vader mask warmed me up to him a fair amount.

Points: 0

#85 by C (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:44am

I dislike Rivers because he's a crybaby. I wish Jay Cutler whooped him when they were talking trash.

I dislike Rivers but admit he's very good.

Points: 0

#88 by Dave0 // Mar 20, 2010 - 10:30am

yeah i can see how you'd want that to happen because cutler is a sterling example of a non-annoying human being.

oh wait...

Points: 0

#118 by huh? (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 11:55am

A Cutler fan calling someone else a crybaby? Is this bizzaro world?

Points: 0

#127 by Neoplatonist B… (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 6:12pm

Though if you play the AFC championship game 6 days after arthroscopic surgery on your knee following a torn ACL, in my book you've earned the right never to be called a crybaby again.

Points: 0

#73 by Justin Zeth // Mar 19, 2010 - 8:53pm

To date, Roethlisberger > Rivers > Manning.
If you were drafting them today going forward, it's Rivers > Manning > Roethlisberger.

Even if he were a saint off the field, Roethlisberger's style on the field all but assures his career will be short. One of these years he'll take one concussion too many or blow a knee or tear up his shoulder, and it will be over. If you put the over/under for him at 5.5 more seasons as a full time starter in the NFL, I would be comfortable betting under on Roethlisberger. Rivers and Manning will go well over, barring a catastrophic injury.

My own opinion is that when it's all said and done, it will be Rivers > Roethlisberger > Manning, and it will be pretty clearly so. Eli Manning will likely have the longest career, but he's average most of the time, good in his best years, never really worthy of his super-duperstar status. When it's said and done, his career will likely not turn out too differently from Vinny Testaverde's, semi-fluky championship aside.

I think the one of the three most likely to one day enter the Hall of Fame is, by far, Eli Manning; I think the least likely to enter the Hall of Fame, two championships be damned, is Ben Roethlisberger.

I think 50 years from now, Philip Rivers will be regarded somewhere between Drew Bledsoe and Warren Moon, depending how long his career goes. Eli Manning will be Joe Namath, the professional superstar who statistically-minded folks wonder just why the hell he's in the Hall of Fame. Ben Roethlisberger will be mostly forgotten by non-Steelers fans, unless his off-field escapades land him in prison for 15 years or something.

Points: 0

#146 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:57am

Eli doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of making the HoF. (Nor does Rivers, though at least that could conceivably change.)

Roethlisberger is much closer.

Points: 0

#141 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:41am

I disagree. At least somewhat. The most lopsided trade in professional sports history was the Joe Barry Carroll-for-Robert Parish-and a #1 pick trade, and that's because the Celtics used the pick to get Kevin McHale. You have to consider McHale's value there.

Points: 0

#184 by PatsFan // Mar 23, 2010 - 2:09pm

I don't know. What about Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan for Bill Russell?

Points: 0

#10 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:26pm

Oh and who were the winners of the draft???

1. Eli Manning ( I know they drafted Rivers but got the rights to)
2. Chris Snee
4. Reggie Torbor
5. Gibril Wilson

That's a franchise QB, All Pro Lineman, a verge pro bowl caliber S, and depth at LB.

I do like the Cards draft
1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Dansby
3. Darnell Dockett
Also some offensive lineman depth

That's an All Pro WR, Pro bowl LB and pro bowl DT and some depth on the lines.

Points: 0

#13 by JasonK // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:40pm

You probably have to dock the Giants some points because they gave up their 2005 first-rounder (and a 2005 5th) to get those guys. Also, Torbor has never been much more than a role-player; he only has 21 starts in 6 seasons. That's probably above the expected baseline for a high 4th-round pick, but not by much.

Points: 0

#33 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 2:09pm

I see your point that you "could" dock the Giants some points, but everything isn't fair. Like don't you think the team with say the #1 draft pick that has the #1 pick in each round of the draft SHOULD have a better draft than say the team with the 20th pick in every round?

If the team with the 20th pick of every round adds just as much talent as the team with the #4 choice in every round it's more impressive for the team with the lesser pick because it was harder to do so.

I'm just saying.

Points: 0

#148 by scyber (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 1:51pm

Of course, even with limited picks in 2005 the Giants still wound up with Justin Tuck, Corey Webster, and Brandon Jacobs. That is a pretty great draft on its own. There is no guarantee that having a #1 pick in '05 would have made that draft significantly better.

Points: 0

#20 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:06pm

Both the Giants and the Cardinals did very well out of that draft, it's true, but I'm not sure either got as much as the Chargers:

1 (4) - Philip Rivers
2 (35) - Igor Olshansky
3 (65) - Nate Kaeding
3 (66) - Nick Hardwick
4 (98) - Shaun Phillips
5 (133) - Dave Ball
5 (154) - Michael Turner
6 (169) - Ryan Krause
7 (204) - Ryon Bingham
7 (209) - Shane Olivea
7 (254) - Carlos Joseph

I don't think the Rivers-Manning-Roethlisberger competition is close. The other two are good (Roethlisberger especially), but Rivers is the best quarterback of his generation, never mind his draft class.

For the rest, that's arguably the best kicker in the league over the period of his career to date, a very good but not quite elite 3-4 OLB, a very good running back (even if he never had the opportunity to be more than an excellent back-up in San Diego), a solid starting 3-4 DE, a useful rotation DL, and a pair of offensive linemen who started and were effective from the word go, one of whom has even been to a Pro Bowl. Even Dave Ball's had some value (though most of it in other spots). The only out-and-out busts out of those 11 players are Krause and Joseph - a sixth rounder and a 7th round compensatory pick. That is spectacularly good going.

Points: 0

#25 by Shalimar (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:22pm

2005 and 2006 were also great drafts for San Diego. I'm not sure what happened after that, but there seems to have been a significant change in strategy and luck starting in 2007.

Points: 0

#30 by MilkmanDanimal // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:47pm

Wait, wait, "best QB of his generation"? Exactly how big is this "generation" you speak of? Are you saying he's a better QB than the usual Brady/Manning argument?

Points: 0

#35 by Bobman // Mar 19, 2010 - 2:18pm

Thanks for taking the bait; I didn't have the energy.

Not sure how one measures an athletic generation (not by Favrian standards, that's fer sure--if you played the Kevin Bacon game with Old Brett you'd be able to link Johnny U and Eli Manning's as-yet-unborn son witihn a couple degrees of separation). But if guys have 5+ years of overlap in their careers, and have played each other 6, 7, 8, 10 times, you have to consider then the same generation, no?

Using JUST Manning/Brady as comps, Rivers came out 6 years and 5 years later than they did, so if they had 8 year careers, I could see them being different "generations" with almost no overlap and maybe never facing each other. But so far, Manning has faced Rivers-led teams 6 or 7 times including playoffs, and will most likely have another 5+ meetings over the next 5 years or so. With roughly 10-11 years of overlap, um, they're contemporaries. And Rivers ain't the best. Brady is one year closer to Rivers in NFL age, but after that knee seeming to take a toll, maybe he doesn't last as long as Manning (who I think will end up doing osme Favre-chasing late in his career--sticking around to gobble up what records he can). Still, Brady and Rivers will overlap by at least 9 seasons, making them contemporaries as well.

One could also throw Brees into the mix, and of course, Michael Vick. (gotcha)

One classic (for me) example of this is that Manning and Marino are different generations. 1983/1998 sets that up clearly, but more importantly, their careers barely overlapped--I think they had two overlapping seasons (maybe 3?), and even a handful of head to head games (since they were in the same division). But I don't think anybody would say they were the same generation. Maybe you need at least 10 years between players of more typical career length, and 15 years between long-lived guys like these.

Points: 0

#43 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:13pm

I guess I take a "generation" as being a much shorter period than others here. My life and that of my uncle will probably mostly overlap - each of us will probably be alive for about two thirds of the other's life. That doesn't mean we're the same generation. Rivers is entering his prime at a time when Brady and Manning can reasonably be expected to be exiting theirs (though I wouldn't be too surprised if Manning continued playing at a very, very high level for an annoyingly and unusually long time).

Obviously, where you draw the lines is kind of arbitrary. I think I would regard the elite quarterbacks of the oldest generation that still has representatives in the league as being Favre, Warner and McNair. The next generation down is headlined by Peyton, Brady and Brees. Rivers is of a generation with Palmer, Rodgers, Cutler, and obviously Roethlisberger, Eli and Schaub.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that Rivers will ultimately be considered a better quarterback than Peyton. I am quite certain that he won't. I do think he will be a first ballot hall of famer, and that the only serious competition for the title "best quarterback drafted between 2002 and 2006", which is roughly what I meant, is Rodgers.

Points: 0

#47 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:27pm

Aaron Rodgers will win at least two Super Bowls in the next decade with the Packers, and the Green Bay Packers will be deemed the team of the decade. I'd fight for Aaron Rodgers.

Points: 0

#78 by Greg Trippiedi // Mar 19, 2010 - 10:48pm

If Aaron Rodgers went to two pro bowls the rest of his career, I think the Packers should be happy with the outcome. That's a very young team, so it's hard to say with any certainty that they won't win a super bowl, but I think a lot of people are overestimating how close the Packers actually are to "having all the pieces."

Case in point: the Clifton/Tauscher re-signings. And that Al Harris is unquestionably going to be back in the starting line-up coming off a major knee injury at age-35.

Points: 0

#86 by C (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:50am

It's not so much about the Packers having all the pieces in place because I'd agree that they don't yet.

I'd easily take that bet that Aaron Rodgers will make 2 more pro bowls in the NFC in his career. That would be hella easy money.

Points: 0

#55 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:07pm

4 year window huh? That's a pretty small generation. Rivers is 28 assuming he played at a high level until he's 35 and retires shortly after that puts the end of his career at 2017 or so. With the same assumptions for Drew Brees, Brees retires after the 2015 season. Do those two years of playing really make him a new generation?

Points: 0

#72 by Mr Shush // Mar 19, 2010 - 8:53pm

5 years, but still, yeah, that's clearly a lot smaller than most people would think of. Fair enough. And yes, I'm arbitrarily slicing up the population into generations much as is done with terms like "baby boomers" and "Generation X". That means that Carson Palmer ends up as part of the same generation as Jay Cutler and not Brees, even though he was drafted closer to Brees. Apart from anything else, I find it hard to put Brees in the same bracket as the guy who was drafted to replace him.

As to the decline/retirement issue, I guess we'll see. My suspicion is that the attributes that help make guys high first round picks but are widely (and to some extent rightly considered by intelligent fans to be over-valued) - size and arm strength - may not contribute too much to a player's peak performance, but that they do have a major effect on how long he's able to keep playing at a high level, and how able he is to avoid serious injuries. Hence Favre and Testaverde. So I suspect Brees and Brady will show noticeable decline younger than Peyton, and Rodgers, Romo and Schaub younger than Eli, Rivers or Cutler. That's just my hunch.

This has all got a bit semantic: all I was originally trying to say was that, of the players now in the NFL whose best years are probably still ahead of them, I think Rivers will ultimately have had the best career and is the most likely to end up in the Hall.

Points: 0

#129 by JIPanick // Mar 21, 2010 - 9:50pm

He wasn't drafted, but Tony Romo entered the league in 2004 and is pretty clearly better than Aaron Rodgers. I'd put him as River's closest competition for "Best QB to enter the league between 2002-2006".

Points: 0

#130 by Independent George // Mar 21, 2010 - 9:58pm

Clearly? I'd say he's arguably better than Rodgers.

Points: 0

#132 by JIPanick // Mar 21, 2010 - 10:11pm

Last year he beat Rodgers in both DVOA and DYAR, beat him in 2008 DVOA and very likely would have topped Rodgers in DYAR had he not missed three games, and that's without giving Romo credit for his spectacular 2007 season and first-class half season in 2006 while Rodgers was bench-warming.

Beyond that, Rodgers is a sack machine, with ~530 yards lost to sacks over the past two years to Romo's ~315.

Seems pretty clear, IMO.

Points: 0

#133 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 12:48am

But isnt Rodgers quickly gaining the distinction of the best rushing quarterback? I know its not hugely valuable but im sure a lot of those sack yards were on plays where he decided he would take off. If you add rushing yards to the subtracted sack yards im pretty sure rodgers would be ahead of romo.

Points: 0

#136 by JIPanick // Mar 22, 2010 - 1:50am

Rodgers has about 150 DYAR on Romo rushing the ball over the last two seasons combined. His DVOA is higher than Romo's in '08 but lower in '09 (where Romo ranked 1st in DVOA and Rodgers ranked 1st in DYAR). That's a point for Rodgers but not nearly enough to tip the scales. I know that comparing rush DYAR to pass DYAR is tricky but Romo had ~300 pass DYAR on Rodgers this year alone.

Points: 0

#139 by Mr Shush // Mar 22, 2010 - 9:03am

Romo's a better quarterback now, but he's nearly four years older than Rodgers, and I suspect his skillset is one which is more susceptible to premature decline. I believe Rodgers will have the better career going forward, and the better career overall, even if Romo is still the better player in 2010, which he may well be.

Points: 0

#140 by Dean // Mar 22, 2010 - 10:33am

Not sure what you're smoking, but I would take Aaron Rogers over Romo any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Rogers is already the better player, he's younger, and he's still improving.

Points: 0

#142 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:46am


At some point, Romo's miserable playoff record has to count against him.

Points: 0

#152 by JIPanick // Mar 22, 2010 - 3:56pm

"Clutch QB" is a myth. Romo hasn't been particularly bad in the playoffs anyway, ESPN hype notwithstanding. He got clobbered against Minnesota, but was decent against Seattle and New York and killed Philly.

If you want to argue Rodgers is better than Romo, you're entitled to your opinion. However, the numbers don't support it.

(Given the age difference, however, I agree that Rodgers would probably be the more logical choice if you could pick one or the other to play out his career for your favorite team.)

Points: 0

#163 by R. Carney (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 7:28pm

Actually, last year the numbers did support it. Rodgers had more TDs, less INTs, better YPA, and a much higher rating than Romo (103.2 Rodgers, 97.6 Romo). Football Outsiders stats aren't the end all be all of comparing players. Use the eye test. Rodgers was flawless in the playoff game against Arizona, ran ragged behind the worst O-line in football, throws one of the best, most catchable balls in the sport, and doesn't make the bone-headed decisions that Romo tends to make. We're splitting hairs here, but all things being equal I'll take Rodgers all day over Romo, Eli, and maybe even Rivers for that matter. As for performing in the playoffs, I don't hold Romo's failures against him like many do, just like I don't praise Eli for heaving a prayer up that David Tyree (whaaaaa???) somehow comes down with. My personal, non biased (Bills fan) eye test sees Rodgers as having the best release, best poise in the pocket, and best mobility of any of these guys. You can make arguments for any of these guys until you're blue in the face, and none are wrong. I wish we had any one of these guys in Buffalo.

Points: 0

#165 by JIPanick // Mar 22, 2010 - 9:41pm

Rodgers had fewer yards and half again as many sacks, if you want to exaggerate meaningless differences.

Actually, Rodgers had 9 fewer attempts, 49 fewer yards, 2 fewer picks, and 4 more touchdowns. His was also better by - get this - .05 yards per attempt: less than two inches. That's utterly trivial differences in all categories. Now, go look at the strength of the pass defenses each faced and use the 'eye test' there. That's decidedly non-trivial, and it's not close. The difference between Detroit and Washington (or Chicago and New York, or even Philly and Minny) will make one quarterback look (there's that eye test again) a lot better than another than another when he really isn't. FO stats just happen to have SOS built in, that's why I started with them.

Romo was actually one of the best in the league at protecting the football this year. Maybe you were watching 2008 by mistake when talking about bone-headed decisions? I've seen every game he's ever played and, while he was prone to take the occasional dumb chance up until this year, his "bone-headedness" is blown way out of proportion by the media. Probably because of all the Favre comparisons.

As far as GB's O-line goes, I think they get too large a share of the blame for Green Bay's excessive sack totals (and Rodgers not enough). Go dig through the archives at P-F-R's blog if you have time, see if you can find the posts on which stats have the highest year-to-year correlation on teams that change quarterbacks and quarterbacks that change teams.

Finally, while Rodgers had an excellent game against Arizona, no two turnover game by a QB will ever be 'flawless'.

Points: 0

#31 by commissionerleaf // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:56pm

Until Brees left, he wasn't even the best quarterback on his -team-. Rivers is very good, but he's no Drew Brees. He's more in the Matt Schaub category of competent passers whose offenses make them look like special players.

Points: 0

#34 by C (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 2:12pm

He's not the best QB in a generation... sorry, not even close.

but he's a much better overall player than Matt Schaub. I will give you points on the comparison to Schaub though because I both think they more than other people benefit from the coaching and talent around them.

For example, I highly doubt Rivers could run the Giants offense with the same effectiveness as Eli Manning. I think Rivers is in a situation that Rivers can excel in, and Manning is in a complex offense that he's capeable of running.

Points: 0

#44 by Neoplatonist B… (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:14pm

Nah. Rivers is one step ahead of that. Brees is at his peak: Rivers is still climbing. When he's done, he'll be in Manning territory. He's not there yet. Brees never will be, quite. When we're all old and gray and talking about the best there ever was, Brees will be a footnote, a name on the list. I have no idea where Rivers will be, and neither do you.

What's a generation? He's the best QB of his class, yes, and probably the best within a few years of his class. Better than Brady? Maybe as a player, but he hasn't accomplished as much. Better than Manning? He's got a lot to prove before he can say that. Better than Brees? If he continues on his current trajectory for as long as Brees has been improving, yes.

Points: 0

#105 by td (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 6:36pm

It's ridiculous to suggest that Rivers is definitely going to continue to improve like Brees has. That's a comparison you can make only after it happens. Furthermore, there's no question Roethlisberger has been better than him so far- five years starting versus three, comparable stats in a much worse environment (both in terms of weather and in terms of offensive personnel).

Points: 0

#106 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 7:00pm

its ridiculous to make a prediction? alright no more making suggestions OR going off of stats. Since Rivers numbers are way better than bens we still must go off of what td tells us AND we cant make a prediction about what is going to happen in the future because it doesnt benefit ben. I agree that i dont think Rivers will continue to improve. He can't. Hes already the best quarterback in the league according to the numbers. Yeah ben has had some awful personnel around him. Santonio and ward are both awful players i feel bad for ben for having to deal with both of them. Santonio and ward are better than the chargers top two receivers. Another biased post. thanks td.

And how come when people talk about weather affecting quarterbacks stats they only talk about how rivers and brees benefit? Didnt peyton play in a dome almost his whole career without it affecting peoples opinions of him???? More homerism. Complete contradictions. thanks people

Points: 0

#202 by Caleb (not verified) // Mar 28, 2010 - 7:51pm

"When we're all old and gray and talking about the best there ever was, Brees will be a footnote, a name on the list"

Why would a superbowl winning QB who put up 4000 and 5000 yard seasons be a footnote? Give me a break. He'll be a name on the list, yes... the list of "best ever."

Points: 0

#68 by Dales // Mar 19, 2010 - 7:22pm

"but Rivers is the best quarterback of his generation"

Wow. That's a pretty bold statement.

At the risk of sounding like a Rivers-hater, let me just say that it is not clear to me that I would rather have him over Ben or Eli, nor is it clear that I would rather have him over Romo or Rodgers. If you put a gun to my head, I'd probably take them in this order: Ben, Rodgers, Rivers, Eli, Romo.

In other words, it is not clear to me that he's the best of the right now, no less an entire generation.

Points: 0

#80 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 5:11am

then you my friend are an idiot. Rivers was in the discussion for mvp the last two years. Were any of those other 4 in the running for mvp in any season in their whole careers? His statement is less bold than yours

Points: 0

#90 by Oscar (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 11:33am

Who cares he was running for MVP? When it mattered the most (ie playoff game vs the NY Jets), he failed to deliver.

Put Eli or Rivers (or any other QB for that matter) behind the Steelers 2008 offensive line and the Steelers DO NOT win the Super Bowl.

Points: 0

#91 by BDC // Mar 20, 2010 - 12:53pm

By "in the discussion for MVP the last two years", you mean getting 0 votes two years ago? If that's the criteria then I would say yes, the other four were in the "running". Heck, put ME in the running two years ago too, I got just as many votes.

Or perhaps you are referring to this past year when he got two votes. We should just crown his ass already I guess.

Points: 0

#93 by Oscar (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 1:37pm

Kordell Stewart received MVP votes in 2001. Ben Roethlisberger has never received an MVP vote.

I bet that, when teams draft a QB in the 1st round, they tell him "We hope you can receive plenty of MVP votes" as opposed to "We hope we can bring multiple Lombardi Trophies to our franchise". Well, unless they draft for fantasy football purposes...

Points: 0

#97 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 4:22pm

Lombardi trophies are a reflection of how good the team is. MVP is an attempt to seperate the player from the team. All this championship talk is loser talk. Isn't that one of the ongoing jokes from the writers on this website? Championships dont determine how good a player is. I thought brees was unable to win the big one and wasnt an elite quarterback because he had no championships. Well now he has the same amount of championships as peyton AND hes put up better numbers for the last 3 or 4 years. Why is this guy not up in the discussion of all time greats when he retires? because he doesnt play for an east coast team like the steelers, giants, or patriots. I would take brees over manning in a heartbeat. Same with Rivers. There has to be a curse of california players. You east coasters cant stand when the west does good and instantly hate all its players. Theres no other explanation for why rivers and brees dont get more love. Eli? really?

and to the guy that said rivers had no votes 2 years ago check again. Get your weak shit out of here. He had two votes each year. Dont make up stats please! thanks

Points: 0

#107 by Westcoast (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 7:24pm

Huh? Ever hear of Joe Montana, Ladanian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Rich Gann? All MVPs. Only a Charger fan could think that championships don't matter. Rivers is a good not great so get over it. Oh the reason is because the entire eastern seaboard of the United States wants player on the western coast to fail. Yeah that's it. Weakest argument ever.

Points: 0

#108 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 8:41pm

They do matter but to a large extent they are flukey. Since tomlinsons didnt win any championships does that mean he is not as good as willie parker since he has two championships? Willie parker = ben. LT = rivers. Bens numbers suck but hes in the right place at the right time... just like willie parker. Tomlinsons numbers are great and hes in the wrong place at the wrong time.... just like rivers. Are you telling me that willie parker is a better player than lt because he has two championships? In the same right, ben should and will not be considered a better player than Rivers. Only biased east coast jackasses would think that. Just cause you think rivers is a jackass doesnt mean hes not a great quarterback. Sorry but according to the numbers on this website not only has he been WAYYYYYYY better than ben, he has also been the best quarterback in the league for the last two seasons. The problem is that when he makes it three seasons everyone will once again write him off. My argument is weak because i say Rivers is the best and have proof behind it? you all will see next year when he does it agian. and oh man when it happens these blogs will blow up more than they are right now. ill rub it in your face so bad that you wont watch football ever again through your teary eyes.

Points: 0

#116 by Jerry // Mar 21, 2010 - 5:15am

Apparently biased jackasses know no geographic boundaries.

Points: 0

#128 by Bowl Game Anomaly // Mar 21, 2010 - 7:25pm

Pittsburg is not on the East Coast.

Points: 0

#134 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 12:52am

Pittsburgh is closer to the atlantic ocean than some parts of california are to the pacific ocean.

If dallas is an "east" team and saint louis is a "west" team then im pretty sure calling pittsburgh an east coast team is not a stretch.

Points: 0

#102 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 5:48pm

or we should crown ur ass for making up stats. you are the new delusional buffoon. he had two votes two years ago and he had two votes this last year. You will never have as many mvp votes as rivers and neither will ben or eli. Rivers will end his career with infinity times more mvp votes than those two players combined! So yes like i said, he was in the mvp race two years in a row. Sorry to prove you wrong on such short notice

Points: 0

#111 by BDC // Mar 20, 2010 - 10:48pm

Do you just make this stuff up as you go along? You do realize that anyone on here can lookup and see that you are lying, and he received 0 votes 2 years ago?

Let's ignore that for a second though and assume you're correct. Really? That's your argument? The guy got two votes for MVP so he's the best ever? And I'M delusional? Most be the East coast bias I suppose.

Points: 0

#112 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 20, 2010 - 11:13pm

wow so you say im making this up after i say your making it up. lets get the facts here douche

-Manning finished far ahead of Miami quarterback Chad Pennington and Atlanta running back Michael Turner, each of whom received four votes. Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson each got three votes. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers (2); Tennessee rookie running back Chris Johnson (1); and Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner (1) also earned votes.

If my math is right this means manning got 32 votes for 2008 nfl mvp. The other numbers are shown above.

"Do you just make this stuff up as you go along? You do realize that anyone on here can lookup and see that you are lying, and he received 0 votes 2 years ago?"

OWNED. im sure ill get a post about how i misinterpreted ur post or some bullshit like that. sorry guy but its too late, u already called me out twice and were wrong on both of them. just disappear.

Points: 0

#119 by Sean McCormick // Mar 21, 2010 - 12:16pm

Actually, you'll get a post from the site notifying you that your content has been removed unless you start being more civil with the other posters. No name calling, please.

Points: 0

#121 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 2:57pm

sorry. i lose my patience with blatant liars. wont happen again from here on out

Points: 0

#124 by Oscar (not verified) // Mar 21, 2010 - 4:40pm

Was Kordell Stewart better than Ben Roethlisberger?

Points: 0

#135 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 12:55am

Was kordell stewart in the mvp voting for back to back years? no, and no. Rivers isnt done either. This year he will be in the running again and make it a third straight year where he gets the award ripped away from him.

Points: 0

#143 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:52am

"Rivers was in the discussio for mvp the last two years".

Um, how?

What was this discussion like?

"If we ignore Peyton Manning, who might be second in the MVP voting to Drew Brees?"

"Being in the discussion" means nothing. So far, Rivers looks like a very solid regular-season QB who can be shut down in the playoffs by a good defense. He's not a big-game QB.

Roethlisberger, for all his faults, is a good big-game QB, and always has been. His regular season numbers have not been at the level of Rivers' for the past two seasons, but he's definitely the QB I would fear more.

Points: 0

#150 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 3:37pm

i stopped reading at "good big-game QB". That is one of the classic cliches like gotta establish the run and defense wins championships. Its a bunch of bologna

Points: 0

#174 by RickD // Mar 23, 2010 - 11:54am

Rivers has a mediocre playoff record where a couple good performances (wins vs. Indy) are balanced by stinker losses at home (like to the Jets). He's not a QB that is feared in clutch situations like Brees, Manning, or Brady.

Try to get over yourself just a wee bit.

Points: 0

#188 by Big Johnson (not verified) // Mar 23, 2010 - 3:31pm

Doesnt footballoutsiders take the same stance im taking? im pretty sure its not just me that thinks clutch performance is such a small sample size that a couple stinker losses are well within the realm of possibility. i remember when peyton manning wasnt considered a good clutch quarterback....

this is why i get angry at the fanbase. i am not entitled to an opinion even if it is backed up by the site.

Points: 0

#192 by JIPanick // Mar 23, 2010 - 4:47pm

"Big Game QB" and "Clutch QB" are both sample size/reputation myths. They have no basis in fact. Rivers' reputation comes from unjustified inflated playoff expectations for San Diego.

And even if they weren't, the Chargers are and have been consistently weaker than the other top AFC teams (NE, IND, PIT, and BAL) even during their current run. Their record is inflated by beating up on the pansy (since 2006; in 2005 a Chargers team every bit as good as the others finished 4 games back of Shanahan's last good Broncos squad) AFC West but when they run up against first-class teams in the playoffs they lose despite playing at around their usual level. It's hard to call Rivers a 'choker' when he should have been expected to lose anyway.

Look at the DVOA ratings for the teams they played the last few years - in spite of San Diego being considerable favorites in both the their games against the Jets, NY had higher DVOA both times and won both times. That illustrates what I'm talking about.

I view them as analogous to the LA Rams of the 1970s: they ran roughshod over the weak West but got KO'd by Staubach's Cowboys or Tarkenton's Vikings in the playoffs every single year, just like clockwork.

Points: 0

#23 by Formersd (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:14pm

Round 1 Rivers + NYG #1 in 2005 & NYG #3 in 2004 (see below)
Round 2 Igor Olshansky - Productive 3-4 DE
Round 3 (from NYG) Nate Kaeding (discussed in the article)
Round 3 Nick Hardwick - Pro Bowl Center
Round 4 Shaun Phillips - Productive 3-4 Linebacker
Round 5 Miss
Round 5 Michael Turner - Pro Bowl RB
Round 6 Miss
Round 7 Ryan Bingham - Solid Depth Player for 4 years on DL

Free Agents
Wes Welker
Malcolm Floyd

Impressive haul especially when you add an additional #1.

Points: 0

#24 by Formersd (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:15pm

Mr Shush types faster than me and I missed Olivea.

Points: 0

#11 by Soulless Merch… // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:32pm

The draft that makes every Bills fan mutter "Four QBs in the first round...and we got the only one that busted. AAAGH!"

Just thinking about it makes me shake my fist at the sky and curse the cruel Football Gods.

Points: 0

#17 by justanothersteve // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:58pm

But did your team overall bust as bad as the Packers? Hard to do much worse than this through your first four picks:

No. Round Pick Player Name Position College
1 1 25 25 Ahmad Carroll DB Arkansas
2 3 7 70 Joey Thomas DB Montana State
3 3 9 72 Donnell Washington DT Clemson
4 3 24 87 B.J. Sander P Ohio State

And some fans still pine for Mike Sherman over the current Packers GM.

Points: 0

#19 by Eddo // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:04pm

I know that Ted Thompson has his detractors, but are there really Packer fans out there pining for Mike Sherman? Wow.

Points: 0

#42 by MountainTiger (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:00pm

Living in Colorado, I was shocked to go back to Wisconsin and discover my own brother making the argument that Sherman was better than Thompson. I personally don't understand why Thompson gets any hate at all, but at the very least the guy who ran himself out of town with the draft under consideration should not be preferred to a twelve year old who lives across the street from Lambeau running the front office.

Points: 0

#63 by justanothersteve // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:57pm

Thanks for the story. A lot of the love of Sherman was because he kept most of the team assembled under Ron Wolf. That he and his staff put together contracts that made it almost impossible to stay under the salary cap once Thompson arrived is an argument completely ignored. That he had to cut Sharper and Wahle because of the cap, then drafted Rodgers instead of someone to help the current Minnesota QB (who was already talking of retiring) make another Super Bowl run only compounds the hate. Combined with the ultimate sin of trading his lordship (when frankly I was amazed he had any trade value at all), there is nothing short of another Lombardi-era run that will satisfy Thompson's detractors. It reminds me when I was a teen and the local fans hated Dan Devine because he hadn't won like Lombardi. So Devine got canned, and Packers fans then got to endure 20 years of mostly sucky teams.

Points: 0

#64 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 19, 2010 - 6:24pm

Let's be honest here. He forced Favre out the door. That's not going to sit well with a lot of fans.

Points: 0

#66 by justanothersteve // Mar 19, 2010 - 6:46pm

Yes, he PO'ed all the Favre fans. But there's a difference between Packers fans and Favre fans. As far as we're concerned, the Favre fans can go follow him from team-to-team. Most Packers fans were as tired, if not more tired, of the annual Favre retirement talk even before TT drafted Rodgers. Most of the younger fans don't even know the horrors teams QBed by David Whitehurst, Randy Wright, a washed up Jim Zorn, Anthony Dilweg, and backups too awful to mention. Most years, we just hoped to make the playoffs. Some years we just hoped for a winning record. Favre was a great Packers QB. But the team is not the Green Bay Favres.

Points: 0

#56 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:09pm

At this point I feel Sherman is underrated as a coach, but to want him as a GM? Yikes.

Points: 0

#37 by dmb // Mar 19, 2010 - 3:03pm

I'm not a Packers fan, but as a native of Bozeman, Montana, I really really hoped that Joey Thomas would turn out to be a great pick. Oh, well...

Points: 0

#144 by RickD // Mar 22, 2010 - 11:53am

Hey, you had Jim Kelly. We had Tony Eason - and we drafted him in the same draft and before Dan Marino!

Points: 0

#14 by Joseph // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:40pm

This article illustrates how doing well in the draft really helps your team (duh). Fitzgerald, Dockett, and Dansby all played key roles in AZ's SB team--and nearly helped them win it.
Another group would be the Saints 2006 draft--Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, Roman Harper, plus backup T/TE Zach Strief. If you consistently pick up 3 starters + quality backups in the draft or UDFA's, you will build a consistently good team.
Because I grew up with the Saints, note that in '07 they selected #3 WR Meachem, OT Bushrod, plus picked up UDFA's #4 WR Lance Moore and starting RB Pierre Thomas. Then in '08, they selected DT Sedrick Ellis, CB Tracy Porter, OG Carl Nicks, and UDFA K Garrett Hartley.
Oh yeah--it doesn't hurt to make one of the best UFA signings ever by convincing Drew Brees to come to your team (or in the Cardinals' case, Kurt Warner).

IMO, this is why good teams try to accumulate draft picks--it's hard to consistently nail picks. If you have 10 picks, you have more margin for error. Everyone knows you won't always get it right. Nail the first rounder (Bill Polian), make solid choices throughout, and you'll probably get lucky with a mid/late rounder every couple of years.

Points: 0

#15 by franky (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 12:42pm

Nice article, albeit incomplete. Missed out on some of these other gems/great value of the '04 draft:

# 98 - Shaun Phillips
#124 - Jared Allen

Undrafted Free Agents:
Wes Welker
Jason Peters
Willie Parker

Points: 0

#32 by Bionicman // Mar 19, 2010 - 2:00pm

Excellent point, especially about Jared Allen. Getting one of the best DE's in the league in the fourth round is fantastic.

Points: 0

#45 by Neoplatonist B… (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:17pm

Malcom Floyd also went undrafted.

Points: 0

#155 by JIPanick // Mar 22, 2010 - 4:29pm

Tony Romo also entered the league undrafted in '04, IIRC.

Points: 0

#18 by Karl Cuba // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:01pm

Not even a mention for Shawtae Spencer? You can make an argument that he's the best corner in that draft, he was really good last year after a few years struggling with injury.

And you have to agree with franky, Jared Allen deserves a mention.

Points: 0

#21 by Shalimar (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:10pm

"Joe Gibbs had only two picks and he used the first one to get a potentially great safety in Sean Taylor when he could have had the perfect H-back in Kellen Winslow. Winslow seemed to be a perfect fit, but Gibbs settled on Utah State TE Chris Cooley in Round 3 to fill that role. He's no Winslow."

Points: 0

#26 by Reinhard (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:24pm

damn no love for Sean Taylor? He was a much better player than Bob Sanders... having his life robbed doesn't mean he wasn't a good draft choice.

Points: 0

#28 by Eddo // Mar 19, 2010 - 1:35pm

No one said he wasn't.

In fact, the article explicitly speculates that he would have been the best player in the draft had he not died tragically:
"Taylor never did revolutionize the position, but he did turn out to be an excellent player -- until he was tragically murdered in his Miami home during the course of a robbery. Otherwise, he might have had a longer career and more value than Sanders, the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year."

Points: 0

#61 by The Other Ben … (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:43pm

I wish I had thought of Sean Taylor in time for my brain to stop me from reading the D-backs section of this article. There should be a spoiler alert preceding his name for Redskins fans. We're talking about the NFL draft from only six years ago, and there he is. Such a heartbreaker. Thanks, great article, but now I'm depressed.

Points: 0

#137 by MFurtek (not verified) // Mar 22, 2010 - 2:47am

True, true, all true, sadly true, pathetically true.

Taylor was having an All-Pro 2007. His 2006 was miserable, I'm not sure if he had ever been asked to play whatever he was doing in 2006. But 2007 was a step up. I'm not sure I remember him taking a bunch of bad angles or getting caught out of position in support of the pass... no joke. It's a shame people don't really pay attention to safety play.

Best player I've had the privilege of watching for the 'Skins.

Points: 0

#38 by mm (not verified) // Mar 19, 2010 - 3:08pm

it was the only time since 1985 that a team has traded up in order to select a punter

Last year the Saints traded their 7th round pick and a 5th round pick from this year (2010) in order to draft a punter in the 5th round. He did pretty well his first year, kicking off in addition to punting.

Points: 0

#39 by Sean McCormick // Mar 19, 2010 - 3:09pm

Yep, Jared Allen was an omission--he's every bit as dominant as Wilfork, and at a more important position to boot. I don't know how I missed him when I was combing through the picks. Arguably the best value pick in the draft.

Points: 0

#50 by Lou // Mar 19, 2010 - 4:42pm

is a dominant 4-3 end more important to his defense than a dominant 3-4 NT? I would argue a 4-3 team could be top ranked with merely very good pass rushers, but a 3-4 needs a great Tackle to be one of the best. its close though

Points: 0

#58 by Thomas_beardown // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:12pm

No way. Good 3-4 nose tackles are rarer, that doesn't mean they're more important. Look who the Cowboys have been using for a nose tackle and they've had some good defenses recently.

Anyways, look at the franchise tag numbers. NFL GMs disagree with you too. Hell just look at how much money Wilfork and Peppers each got this offseason.

Points: 0

#176 by RickD // Mar 23, 2010 - 12:02pm

Each team needs two DEs, which is part of why the demand for DE play is higher. If you only have one high-quality DE, it's relatively easy for the offense to compensate to stop the effectiveness of the pass rush. (See, for example, the Super Bowl after Freeney started slowing down.)

Points: 0

#60 by Eddo // Mar 19, 2010 - 5:22pm

Patriots' defensive DVOA and ranking, since Wilfork was drafted:

Year ___ DVOA ___ Rank
2004 __ -11.1% __ 6
2005 __ + 8.9% __ 27
2006 __ - 9.3% __ 7
2007 __ - 5.0% __ 12
2008 __ + 8.4% __ 21
2009 __ + 1.7% __ 16

While your theory may be correct, it doesn't really apply to Wilfork; in only two years could you call Wilfork's defense "one of the best".

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Sean
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Sean McCormick. Use promo code WRITERS to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Sean.