Best of the AFC West: quarterback edition

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Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 4th of July, Chiefs fans! Thanks for joining me as I’ll be starting a new series ranking the best and worst players at their recognized positions. We will begin today by tackling the quarterbacks in the AFC West.

We have a wide range of diverse personalities and skill sets among these men who yield the power of throwing pigskins. You have a future Hall-of-Famer in Peyton Manning who’s a perfectionist and may suffer from some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder with his game preparation tendencies.

There’s also the ticking time bomb, Philip Rivers, who’s scheduled to have some sort of emotional melt down any Sunday the San Diego Chargers are playing. You have the happy-go-lucky sophomore for the Oakland Raiders in Derek Carr, who’s the baby of the group. Then there’s Kansas City’s very own “Mr. Conservative” in Alex Smith, who wouldn’t take a risk on a powerball-scratcher if his life depended on it.

So who are the best and worst of these men? We’re going to discuss that below but bear in mind this is going to be right now who the best is based on what I saw from last year not overall career.

Peyton Manning: Ranked #1

Last year, Peyton Manning continue his impressive career by surpassing Brett Favre for the most touchdowns thrown in NFL history. Although you could say he’s regressing, Chiefs fans must realize he’s still an elite quarterback until he statistically proves otherwise. Last year the oldest quarterback in the league still managed to throw 4,727 yards (4th highest in NFL) and 39 touchdowns (2nd highest in NFL).

His worst statistical throwing season was for 3,739 yards his rookie season which is still more than Smith has ever thrown for in a season. Pro Football Focus graded Manning at a positive 10.1 for the season which ranked him 10th among the league. Against Kansas City, he graded out at a positive 2.5 the first matchup in Denver and graded out at a negative 1.8 in K.C.

Under Pressure:

Stats below by PFF are based on passing under pressure.

  • No Pressure – 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, +15.7 score
  • Under Pressure – 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, -12.0 score

Philip Rivers: #2

Philip “cry baby” Rivers is one of the more controversial players we’ve seen play in our division. Away from his tantrums this guy can shred defenses when he has time to throw. Last year Rivers distributed the ball well where four players had over 700 yards receiving and managed to throw for 4,286 yards (8th best in NFL) and 31 touchdowns (8th best in NFL).

Pro Football Focus graded Rivers at a positive 13.7 for the season which seventh-best in the league. Against the Chiefs, PFF rated him at a positive 1.3 in San Diego and positive 1.4 in K.C. There is no question that Rivers is at least the second-best quarterback in the division and could even make an argument being the best.

Under Pressure:

Stats below by PFF are based on passing under pressure.

  • No Pressure – 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, +24.4 grade
  • Under Pressure – 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, -2.8 grade

Next: Carr or Smith for 3rd?