The League

Rob Rang
Draft Guru

Rob Rang

Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com

Rivers Rising Fast

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to argue against Peyton Manning as the quarterback to lead any franchise. His accuracy, relentless work ethic and understanding of the offense is second to none -- perhaps in NFL history. Considering the loss of Marvin Harrison and the change in coaching staff, however, Manning enters the 2009-10 NFL season with more question-marks than in recent years.

Tom Brady, when healthy, is the best argument against Manning. His recovery from the torn ACL, however, remains a concern. Like Manning, Brady will be adjusting to new coaching, with his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now operating as the Broncos' head coach.

Still, Manning and Brady are the current legends to which every young quarterback will be measured -- much as Montana, Elway and Marino were previously.

If building a team at this point, there are several young quarterbacks which NFL scouts would love to use as their centerpiece. Atlanta's Matt Ryan appears to have the Manning-like focus to be great. Jay Cutler might have the best arm in the league. It is difficult to argue with Ben Roethlisberger's Super Bowls. Aaron Rodgers is making it easier for general manager Ted Thompson and Packers fans to get past a certain #4 playing for the rival Vikings.

The young quarterback I like best, however, is San Diego's Philip Rivers. Not only is he returning to the same coaching staff, with talented skill position players around him, I love that he recently signed a long-term deal, has proven his toughness with injuries and has a proven track record of playing well in the biggest games.

When Rivers left NC State, many draft analysts and pro scouts questioned his quirky throwing motion and marginal mobility. For me, the most impressive characteristic he showed throughout his career was his ability to win the big game. With Rivers as their starting quarterback, the NC State Wolfpack won four consecutive bowl games. Rivers won MVP honors each time. Despite the four years of starts on film, Rivers showed his competitive fire by signing on for the Senior Bowl. Naturally, he won that game (and MVP honors), as well.

Rivers' development last season (he broke Dan Fouts' record with 34 TD passes), including an 11-1 TD to INT ratio over the final four regular season games to lead the Chargers to the division title and his gritty playoff performances in the win over the Colts and loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers, only provides more proof that Rivers is rising.

By the time his new six-year contract with the Chargers is up, I wouldn't be surprised if he's won another couple of MVP honors -- perhaps one as the league's regular season honoree and another in winning a Super Bowl.

By Rob Rang  |  August 31, 2009; 1:29 PM ET  | Category:  Philip Rivers , Quarterbacks , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Who's Your Quarterback? | Next: Manning's the Man

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I said all along that when all was said and done, Phillip Rivers would prove that the Giants made a mistake swapping him for Eli, even if Eli's last name was Manning... and at the end of their careers, Rivers will have accomplished more with less than Eli.

Stoney, NCSU '72

Posted by: StoneyFF | September 2, 2009 1:00 AM

I said all along that when all was said and done, Phillip Rivers would prove that the Giants made a mistake swapping him for Eli, even if Eli's last name was Manning... and at the end of their careers, Rivers will have accomplished more with less than Eli. Rivers has one intangible that stands him apart... he's a winner inside.

Stoney, NCSU '72

Posted by: StoneyFF | September 2, 2009 1:06 AM

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