Picking game's top QB pits young guns against veterans

There are several great quarterbacks in today's NFL, but if you had to choose the best, who would it be? We asked our analysts to answer that question.

Vic Carucci: Classic battle between rivals

Picking between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning isn't easy, but I'll go with Brady by a slight margin. He and Manning share exceptional throwing skills and a tremendous knowledge of the game. Both also display superb command at the line of scrimmage and consistently make proper reads and adjustments. Where I give Brady the edge, though, is that he has achieved his elite status despite being surrounded by less talent during much of his career and through multiple reinventions of the Patriots' offense. He has succeeded with different coordinators and dramatically different approaches to the passing game, most recently the shift from the deep ball to a greater emphasis on tight ends.

Charles Davis: Still the Man

The top QB in the NFL? That question is always asked, and the answer seems to often hinge on who won the Super Bowl last. But, in this case, it's sustained excellence that tilts things in the favor of Peyton Manning. The numbers can be recited, and they build an incredible case. However, you can actually use a number against him. The number "one," as in "one Super Bowl win," since other prominent QBs have more rings (Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger). But just try to imagine the Colts winning without No. 18 at the helm. Hard to see, isn't it?

Pat Kirwan: You can't go wrong with these guys

Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are always in the conversation. Philip Rivers needs to win a Super Bowl, and he will get in the discussion. Aaron Rodgers just joined the debate, and Ben Roethlisberger believers will fight for him down to the wire. For me, it is still Tom Brady. In four Super Bowls, he has three wins, seven touchdown passes and just one interception in 156 pass attempts. Last season, while the team was undergoing a youth movement, he still led the NFL in passer rating (111) and threw 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Brady is 14-5 in postseason play, and there is still a very good chance he makes it to another Super Bowl.

Jason La Canfora: Modern-day Montana

Tom Brady has the best numbers -- save for the time he was injured or recovering -- and he has the most rings of any other QB today, and he will get more. He's done it with top receivers (Randy Moss and Wes Welker), and he's done it with no-name players. Nothing fazes him. Still in his prime; younger than Peyton; better than Peyton, especially on the biggest stages. Pinpoint precision. Throws a perfect hitch and long ball. He's a natural-born competitor and a stone-cold killer in the clutch. A leader of men. He's Joe Montana, folks. Only probably even cooler.

QB quandary

Tune into "NFL Total Access"

(7 p.m. ET) this week as NFL Network, in conjunction with NFL.com, examines the risky business of drafting quarterbacks.

» Monday: Evolution of the QB position in the NFL

» Tuesday: Hits and misses: 1983, '99 case studies

» Wednesday: Ripple effect when missing big

» Thursday: Is Cam Newton the next big QB?

Watch the entire 2011 NFL Draft live on NFL Network starting Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET.

Michael Lombardi: It's all about winning

Quarterbacks should always be judged on wins and ultimately on Super Bowl victories, therefore my No. 1 quarterback is still Tom Brady. He is the ultimate winner, the ultimate leader and the ultimate competitor. He is never satisfied with any personal awards, only winning the Super Bowl. For me, that is the ultimate yardstick when measuring greatness.

Steve Wyche: Doing more with less

While this might seem like a two-horse race between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, you can't leave out Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers. That said, Brady is No. 1, especially after the season he had in 2010. Brady had a staggering 111 passer rating and led the Patriots to a 14-2 regular-season mark. What makes him the best in the game right now, though, is that he seamlessly navigated through an offensive change during the season when the Patriots parted with Randy Moss and shaped their passing game around their tight ends. Those tight ends were also rookies that Brady had to get up to speed. Brady did more with fewer weapons -- on both sides of the ball -- than any other quarterback in the NFL.

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