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Ranking All 32 NFL Starting Quarterbacks: Where Does Alex Smith Fit In?

The quarterback position here on Niners Nation is likely the most discussed topic out of anything outside of a game thread. Even more so when it's discussion about 49ers quarterbacks. Even if it means wasting countless hours talking about and debating on how the 3rd stringer is the future of the franchise. Or arguing about how Alex Smith is a bust or just an average quarterback, or if he will turn in to the next Joe Montana or Steve Young (for a select few). 

We will never see another Steve Young or Joe Montana simply because they were one of a kind. And considering that their careers happened back to back, 49ers fans were very spoiled for a lot of years. Even a really good player like Jeff Garcia never quite lived up to those expectations.

The younger generation of 49ers fans may have a better grasp on reality in terms of this position than some of us older ones do simply because they did not experience the glory years which were so great. In many ways, some fans still have those same expectations and will not rest until the ghosts of those two players live in another.

So here we wait.

Since Jim Harbaugh was hired to be the 49ers head coach, some have even speculated that the 49ers would tank the season just so they could draft Andrew Luck who played quarterback for Harbaugh at Stanford. This scenario is about as likely as me getting bitten by a Shark in the desert. Pretty nutty to be quite frank.

Anyhow, it's always a fun topic. It's always fascinating to argue about or discuss. It always seems to be the center of everything that revolves around the NFL.

You may be anxious at this point to see where exactly I have Alex Smith ranked and where exactly he fits in out of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Well then, join after the jump to see where he, and the rest of this years starters could fall in to place.

No. 1 - Tom Brady (New England Patriots): When he is not being pulled around by his hair by his wife, he is the National Football League's best player at the position. There's really no denying it. He's helped his team to 3 Superbowl victories and appeared in another losing to the Giants. He is one of the most accurate players in the league. He is one of the best touch passers the game has ever seen; outside of Joe Montana of course. 

No. 2 - Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts): Manning is the Oreo cookie eating champion, 1 time Superbowl winner, 1 time Superbowl loser. He has made some pretty entertaining commercials over his career. That entertainment does however come second to his entertainment on the field. He is the most commanding field general in the NFL. One slip up by the defense and usually it leads to six on the scoreboard.

No. 3 - Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints): Whatever happened to that thing on his face? Is it still there? Haven't seen it in a while. Anyway, probably a bad joke but that's all I got. Brees was considered too smurfish (speaking solely on size 'cause he's obviously not blue) to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. He has defeated all odds and then some. Similar to Manning, the defense cannot sleep for one second or he'll light up the scoreboard on moments notice.

No. 4 - Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers): The one thing we know about Aaron Rodgers is that he was not drafted by his hometown favorite 49ers in 2005 and is still a bit bitter despite what he claims. Every time he plays the Niners he tries his best (and usually succeeds) to stick it where the sun don't shine. He plays the game very similar to Tom Brady. Once Brady reitres, Rodgers will most likely take the "belt" from him.

No. 5 - Phillip Rivers (San Diego Chargers): Okay, so he looks a little bit like Sloth from the movie Goonies. So what? That doesn't make him a bad quarterback. In fact, it makes him quite scary when he audibles to, "HEEYYYY YOOUUU GUUYYS!". Anyway, he's pretty good. He throws ball well, he throws ball very well.

No. 6 - Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles): How much is that doggy in the window? ...the one with the muzzly mouth?  Okay, dog jokes are old. Vick is one of the most dynamic dog fight....ur... quarterbacks in the NFL. He has the ideal skill set that most head coaches would die to have from the position. Running, throwing, kicking, he can do it all. He can even play a bit of free safety when he throws a pick as some of us saw last night as he speared Troy Polamalu in making the tackle.

No. 7 - Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons): He's a clean shaven guy. He likes his razor commercials. But he really needs to step up his game if he wants to catch up to Manning (Peyton that is). Matty Ice may not be as cold as Ice Cube or Coors Light but he's pretty cold to opposing defenses. He is perhaps one of the best quarterbacks at going through reads. He now has another target in Julio Jones. Watch out this year for the Falcons.

No. 8 - Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers): Too many jokes to even consider here. I really can't go there. The dog thing with Vick was pushing it. So I will just be a straight shooter here. When he is outside of the pocket, he is lethal. If you keep him in the pocket, then he is still a bad guy off the field even if he is married.

No. 9 - Matt Schaub (Houston Texans): Matt Schaub is perhaps the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. He is one of the best at reading and dissecting defenses. He also has a pretty good portfolio...just ask Charles. Oh wait, that's Schwab. Nevermind. Anyway, in some ways I feel like he should be higher than 9, in others I feel like he should be lower. It balances out though and here he is.

No. 10 - Eli Manning (New York Giants): Baby brother is not quite as good as big brother. He is a self-proclaimed top five quarterback. Sorry, Eli I just can't get on board with that. Coughlin's train has left without you. You are a turnover machine. When you're not turning the ball over, you're riding your brothers coat tail in making commercials. You're not as funny and without Peyton, you'd be Alex Smith...sorry guys.

No. 11 - Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions): "Ahhh, my shoulder"... What a tough quarterback. I mean that honestly. He really needs to stay healthy this year. If he can, the Lions can go a long way. Stafford can be a top five quarterback in a few years if he can just take his linemen out to dinner a little more often.

No. 12 - Kyle Orton (Denver Broncos): I really think he ought to go back to the doped up hippie look he had in Chicago. He may not play as good but he'll at least look cool. Orton is not only accurately inaccurate with beard growing, but he is an accurate quarterback. He goes unnoticed more than he should in the league because he just shuts up and plays the game, unlike his jersey selling back up who could be sliding all the way down the ladder to No. 3 on the depth chart.

No. 13 - Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams): Bradford's new BFF is Josh McDaniel a.k.a "I wish I was Bill Belichick but never will be", the new offensive coordinator for the Rams. He's pretty good at it, so the Rams will have every chance to improve on offense this year. Bradford is only in his second year but shows promise to be a top 5-10 quarterback really soon. In adding Mike Sims-Walker, the Rams now have a larger target with upside for Bradford to look for.

No. 14 - Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys): 1-800-JESSICA-SIMPSON... someone please pay the teleprompter guy to keep that on the scoreboard for the duration of the game when the 'Boys visit the 'Stick this year. Better yet, have her sing the national anthem. Anyway, he is a good regular season quarterback but when he gets to the playoffs he crumbles like coffee cake. Romo will really need to pick up his game as his time is running out with an impatient Jerry Jones as the owner. He has the skill set to take them to the promise land if his head does not get in the way.

No. 15 - Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Holy 'fro Batman!! Where did that thing go man? And did you all know this guy can spin a football on his finger like a basketball? It's not going to get him to the Superbowl but it's a cool trick none the less. I have a really hard time seeing Freeman ever being more than a decent quarterback. In some ways, I can see him being like Donovan McNabb, never being able to get over that hump. But I could be wrong. Time will tell.

No. 16 - Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens): Why would you draft the guy from the movie replacements? He doesn't really look like Keanu Reeves but he plays like him in that movie. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Shane Falco, Joe Flacco...whatever. He's okay... but, you know, nothing to flip your lids about.

No. 17 - Donovan McNabb (Minnesota Vikings): How long will we have to wait for this "special season" you were talking about on Twitter, or that video, or whatever Donny? McNabb knows how to hand the ball off and that's good because he'll be doing that to the best running back in the NFL in Adrian Peterson. But McNabb will only be in Minnesota for a short time span. Poooor Vikings fans... CHRISTIAN PONDER IS YOUR FUTURE!!!

No. 18 - Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears): He's Chicago's quarterback (cue T.O. crying).... no, but really, he's actually a pretty good quarterback when he's not throwing interceptions. Hey, but he's tough because Brian Urlacher said so. Cutler will be in his second year of a Mike Martz (get your quarterbacks lit up) offense. He's probably going to take a beating again this year, so we will see how truly tough he is. He's got a long way to go for a Superbowl despite their NFC Championship appearance last year.

No. 19 - Mark Sanchez (New York Jets): GQ Magazine (next month's edition) will feature a cage fight preview between Sanchez and head coach Rex Ryan. I got my money on Ryan. He's got Buddy Ryan blood flowing through his veins. Sorry Kevin Gilbride, you're never going to live that one down. Back to Sanchez.... he's less than average. Just look at his completion percentage. Rex Ryan says, "He's got a loooonggg way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning" all the while dogging Tom Brady. Listen to Rexie because he likes feet.

No. 20 - Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers): Is he a bust? Not a bust? Bust? Not a bust? Average? Or bust? Bust? Or Average.... Is Alex Smith a bust? Okay so maybe he's a bust... or maybe not.... or maybe... but he's still starting. Is this his last chance? Or is next year his last chance? Will he finally get over the hump? Or will he slide down the hill? Or will this be his last chance? Is this as annoying as Favre Watch? Or less? Favre Watch? Less? Anyway, Alex Smith is not as bad as some let on, nor is he as good as some let on. I think No. 20 is a perfect ranking spot for him in the preseason. Yes, I watched the Saints game and yes the offensive line was offensive (not to be confused with offensive).

No. 21 - Matt Hasselbeck (Tennessee Titans): His brother's wife will get more televised attention than he will this year. Jake Locker could be the guy by season's end. But it's not very likely. Hasselbeck has a few good game left in him..and I stress few. The Titans have bigger fish to fry than worrying about a quarterback, after all it's just a quarterback.. and I say that in a Chris Johnson type of way.

No. 22 - Jason Campbell (Oakland Raiders): Somebody tell me why this guy has not received an endorsement deal from Campbell's Chunky soup? Terrell Davis' Mom must have exclusive rights or something like that. Campbell is about average and middle of the pack. No less, no more. Okay, well maybe less on some Sunday's. Anyhow, maybe this Saturday, huh? Yeah? Okay.

No. 23 - Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs): Mr. Dawson's Creek... I really don't have much else for him than that because his personality is about as vanilla as his game. He's pretty overrated even here at No. 23. Cassel will get the ball in the general area of guys like Bowe and Baldwin but it will be the ground game that carries the Chiefs as it usually does.

No. 24 - Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo Bills): He's cold. Buffalo is cold. I really have nothing with Fitzpatrick other than his name rhymes with Schlitz-Catholic. Whatever that is. He could be a bit higher by seasons end but it's a long shot. Buffalo still has to address the receiver position. You think they'll give T.O. a call? I don't.

No. 25 - Colt McCoy (Cleveland Browns): The biggest thing in Ohio is Colt McCoy's Texas accent. Things evidently aren't bigger in Texas though because Colt's game is, well, ranked about 25th. At least by my standards. He has some potential and could wind up being a Drew Brees caliber player one day. I like Colt McCoy, I really do. I just think it's going to be a long road ahead for him. Greg Little and Josh Cribbs could provide him with more spark, but it's going to rely on heavy doses Peyton Hillis once again this year. Barring the Madden Curse.

No. 26 - Kevin Kolb (Arizona Cardinals): Is there anything else besides Korn on the Kolb jokes? If so, let's hear them below. I believe that Kolb will be a sliver better than Derek Anderson, or anything that the Cards had last year. The only shot he has is to throw it to #11 every down because we all know Beanie fumbles, and the offensive line is still the offensive line, Daryn Colledge or no Daryn Colledge the Cards are still the Cards and always seem to play the wrong cards. Kolb's not going to help the defense and not so much the offense either. Small sample size, average stats, phat contract, equals recipe for disaster.

No. 27 - Tavaris Jackson (Seattle Seahawks): Ohhh...boyyy!!! Running back Tavaris Jackson will also be playing quarterback this year. The Seahawks have a lot of players to get the ball to and nobody to get it to them. It's either T-Jax who plays like a T-Rex, or Clipboard Jesus. Those are some dynamite options, eh? Scary stuff. Anyway, he'll manage to squeeze out a few games but it was a bad idea to get rid of Hasselbeck. They should've kept him and drafted a quarterback this year. Hey Seattle, Terrelle Pryor is on the market... but... you already have enough wide receivers.

No. 28 - Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins): Grossman showed up to camp looking like Seabass from the Raiders. If John Beck takes the job this week, there's always the possibility of kicking Rexie. I believe that the Redskins will be improved this year but their record will not indicate so. They could very well be in the market next year for quarterbacks like Andrew Luck or Landry Jones. But let's face it, whether it's John Beck or Rex Grossman, it really doesn't matter.

No. 29 - David Garrard (Jacksonville Jaguars): It's possible that Garrard is as good as done in Jacksonville but for now, we'll just assume the job is his. Blaine Gabbert or David Garrard and a banged up Maurice Jones-Drew... This could be Del Rio's last year in Jacksonville and they could very well be the front runners to move to Los Angeles when the time comes. I think it's going to be rough either way. Garrard seems to be going the opposite direction as a coach would hope in his development.

No. 30 - Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers): Icon, entertainer...and hey, didn't look too bad at quarterback this past weekend. Newton will get his first ever start. The new coaches are going to live and die by Cam Newton. Good for the kid. And good luck because the Dolphins will be bringing the heat tonight.

No. 31 - Chad Henne (Miami Dolphins): Getting boo'd at your own training camp has got to be pretty bad. As bad as it gets. Even Niners fans at least wait till game time to boo our quarterbacks. It's really got to be tough being a Dolphins fan. At least since 1972. This is another team that could quite be in the running in drafting a quarterback next year. And not only that, but drafting top 5.

No. 32 - Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals): I feel horrible for big ol' red. He's gonna have a rough road this year. If Cedric Benson cannot stay healthy, the Bengals could quite possibly tie the Detroit Lions record of a few years ago in going 0-16. That franchise is in turmoil and Carson Palmer is going to be sitting on his couch, drinking beer and laughing every minute of the way.


Hope you all enjoyed these rankings as much as I liked writing them, and if not, oh well.