Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. See his page for earlier ranked quarterbacks. Up next: number 3.
#3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
After missing the entire 2011 season with a neck injury which required four surgeries, no player has come back from a career-threatening injury in a more spectacular fashion than Manning. Well, maybe Adrian Peterson would disagree with that.
Manning had a season worthy of MVP candidacy, and finished second in that voting to Peterson last year. At his age (37), and with what he’s been through in terms of a health standpoint, it’s remarkable that Manning is still playing at such a high level.
With Manning at the helm in Denver, this year could possibly be the last opportunity for The Sherriff to capture that elusive second Super Bowl ring. He has the pieces around him to do it; it’s just a matter of execution and good fortune.
Physical traits and athleticism
His listed height is 6-5, so Manning is tall for a quarterback. This has helped him succeed throughout his career – short passes simply don’t get batted down at the line of scrimmage with Manning under center. He’s not a runner, as we know. He finished 2012 with a grand total of six rushing yards. But that doesn’t matter – most would agree his pocket play has served him well over the course of his career. Grade: 8/10
With the nerves regenerating from his neck to his arm after the neck surgeries, Manning’s arm strength in 2012 was not at the level that it was before the four surgeries. This year, two full years removed from surgery, he should be able to put more zip on his throws and complete his famed deep ball to receivers more easily. Grade: 9/10
Manning exhibits outstanding arm and lower body mechanics, something that’s expected out of a 16-year veteran. Aside from a horrible throw in the AFC Divisional round game where he threw across his body without setting his feet, Manning is sound with most of his mechanics. His footwork and quick release are part of what makes him as great as he’s become. Grade: 9.5/10
Out of every quarterback who’s ever played, I find it difficult to compare Manning to any of them in terms of mental knowledge of the game. He’s probably the best quarterback at the line of scrimmage in NFL history – I’ve seen nothing like what he does at the line. He burned the Jets in his last game before the injury against the Jets in the playoffs, audibling at the line to run plays on 3rd-and-long because he saw, at the line, that the run play had the tactical advantage. I had no choice but to give Manning the full grade for this category. Grade: 10/10
Manning’s intangible traits are off the charts. He worked his tail off to get into football shape before the 2012 season – we saw what kind of year he had. Over the course of his career, he’s been able to make no-namers into stars. He makes everyone around him better, and it starts in the film room rather than on the field. Grade: 9.5/10
The future Hall-of-Famer has had one heck of a career. Football fans everywhere are hoping that this isn’t his last year. Denver has already been pegged as an AFC favorite, so we’ll see how it plays out over the course of 2013. Overall Grade: 46/50