Breaking down NFC South QBs with Dilfer

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has an extensive analysis of the league’s quarterbacks and includes some interesting stuff on the guys from the NFC South.

Dilfer has Drew Brees rated just behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and says the New Orleans quarterback is only a championship ring away from being in the category of elite quarterbacks. He’s not far off on this one. A Super Bowl win by the Saints undoubtedly would put Brees into another stratosphere, but I think he’s already very close to that. I think a winning season and a playoff win or two would at least put Brees into the argument with Manning and Brady.

After Brees, Dilfer sees a pretty big drop off in the NFC South quarterbacks. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is next on his list and he falls into the category "Knocking at the Door." Dilfer said the only negative on Ryan is he hasn’t played enough. That will change soon. When Ryan starts his second season, I think he’ll break down the door and boost himself in the eyes of everyone.

Dilfer puts Carolina’s Jake Delhomme in a category called "Glad They’re Ours." I’m sure a few Panthers fans aren’t so happy they have Delhomme. But Dilfer is a voice of reason as he calls Delhomme’s playoff disaster against the Cardinals an "aberration." I tend to agree. Delhomme’s last game was horrible, but his body of work in Carolina has been solid.

Dilfer puts Tampa Bay rookie Josh Freeman “In the on-deck circle’’ and says it’s way too early to form an opinion. Can’t argue that. We’ll find out about Freeman when he gets on the field.

When Freeman gets on the field depends largely on how Byron Leftwich fares as the starter and Dilfer puts him in the “Just Win, Baby’’ category. That’s a very accurate description of the situation for Leftwich. Freeman is going to be the quarterback at some point. The only way Leftwich stays on the field is if he wins some games.