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Andy Dalton, top-10 quarterback? 'Top 100' ranking stokes great debate

The latest episode of "The Top 100 Players of 2016" aired on Wednesday night, counting down from No. 40 to No. 31, and one of the most noteworthy players revealed was Andy Dalton, coming in at No. 35. That means Dalton is ranked by the players as the eighth-best quarterback in football, ahead of such luminaries as Philip Rivers, Eli Manning and Andrew Luck.

To Dalton's credit, he is fresh off the best season of his five-year NFL career. In addition to guiding the Bengals to a fifth straight playoff appearance, Dalton racked up 25 touchdown passes -- against only seven picks -- and posted a sparkling 106.2 quarterback rating over 13 games. Still, there are those who question Dalton's standing among the best signal callers in the game.

So, what do you think: Is Andy Dalton a top-10 NFL quarterback?

"The Top 100 Players of 2016" airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network until the full list has been revealed. The conversation continues on the "Top 100 Players Reaction" show, which airs immediately after at 9 p.m. ET.

In looking at Dalton's career, some would say he's not an elite or a clutch quarterback, or that he hasn't made the right plays in crucial moments. But for me, it's about what he is doing right now. Last year, before he suffered his thumb injury, Dalton was a top-five quarterback because of the record the Bengals had (10-2 at the time), how efficient they were and how well they played. There were points in the season where the Bengals were just plain dominant.

Yes, he had a ton of weapons, but he didn't turn the ball over as much as he had in previous years and got the ball in the end zone. He has matured into a veteran quarterback who's proven he belongs in the top 10. It's tough because Dalton is a talented player ... but there are some freaks at that position, guys who are blessed with raw ability. Just look at Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers or even Joe Flacco. These quarterbacks are seriously talented, and there are at least a handful more I could list. Andy is a solid quarterback and he's close, but I wouldn't put him in the top 10.

With Hue Jackson jumping ship to Cleveland, it's going to be tough for Dalton to maintain the level of play he displayed last season. Jackson meant so much to that offense, so Dalton is going to have to take command now -- and I'm not sure if he will do that. Look at the competitive nature of Philip Rivers or Tom Brady. These guys have an edge to them, and I don't know if Dalton has that. Dalton's leadership is going to be a big deal this year without Jackson in Cincinnati. He has the potential to be in the top 10, but I wouldn't put him there quite yet. This is going to sound ugly, but there are some bad quarterbacks in the league, and Dalton is definitely not one of the bad ones. He was having the best season of his career in 2015 -- before he was injured -- throwing 25 touchdown passes against only seven interceptions in 13 games. He also has made good decisions in the pocket, so I think he's definitely pushed himself into the top 10. Depending on the day, it's going to be a dog fight between Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck for that 10th quarterback spot. Both have been stars in the league. The only thing is, Luck has won in the playoffs and Dalton has not. However, I would take Dalton all day in the regular season.

Everybody in my top 10 has won a playoff game, and most of them have won Super Bowls. It's hard to compete with some of the league's quarterbacks if you don't win in the postseason. I can justify Dalton being a top-10 quarterback if you take his postseason record out of the mix. In the regular season, he's been great and has improved each year. I think he would solidify himself in the top 10 with a better postseason performance. Hopefully, he stays healthy and that happens for him this season.

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