Clayton: NFL QB rankings

ESPN.com has ranked the NFL's quarterbacks in a number of templates, be it Ron Jaworski's "SportsCenter" series in the spring or the position-by-position rankings this week from Scouts Inc. None of them, of course, has carried the institutional knowledge of ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, a Hall of Fame writer who introduced his rankings Thursday.

Clayton divides the rankings into three categories based on criteria he explains this way: "An elite quarterback has the ability to throw for 4,000 yards, complete 60 percent of his passes and generate more than 20 points a game. I divide the league into three categories. You have the elites. The next group is the Chad Penningtons, a position reserved for budding elites or quarterbacks who are good enough to take a team to the playoffs. The final group, which is smaller than most years, is the hit-or-miss division."

The NFC North has two elite quarterbacks, one Chad Pennington and one hit-or-miss starter, according to Clayton. The details:


1. Aaron Rodgers

12. Matthew Stafford

"Chad Pennington"

14. Jay Cutler


26. Christian Ponder