The Big 12's top five quarterbacks

Putting together our Top 25 player lists wasn't an easy task. Deciding why a defensive tackle should be ranked higher than a cornerback is pretty arbitrary. But, position rankings are simpler. So we'll take a look at those beginning Thursday with football's glamor position: quarterback.

1. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M

Johnson topped our overall players rankings, so there's no surprise he leads the quarterback rankings too. He threw a league-most 30 touchdowns and ran for more than 500 yards and eight scores. He needs to improve his accuracy (59.6 completion percentage), but you could probably say that about every college quarterback. The talent around him at receiver and running back makes his job easier, and he sounds ready to make the jump. Better numbers won't do anything to validate him as a star. All that's left is to win games -- more than the six the Aggies won in 2009.

2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor

Putting Griffin here is a bit of a leap of faith, but if he ends up being faster -- as he said he is -- Griffin might make some folks look pretty foolish. Griffin's upside is probably higher than anyone's on this list, but we won't have any idea how close he'll get to reaching it until he steps back on the field with a reconstructed knee. He was given a medical redshirt and will just be a sophomore this year after winning Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2008 and missing the final nine games of 2009. All four guys on this list are better pure passers than Griffin, but his accuracy on short throws is remarkable, as are his decisions. If he inches closer to the level of those around him, it wouldn't be out of the question for Griffin to surpass Johnson with a 3,000-yard passing, 1,000-yard rushing season.

3. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

I'd support nicknaming Gabbert "The Prototype." All has gone according to plan for the Tigers' 6-foot-5, 240-pound passer. Come to Missouri as the nation's fifth-best quarterback and No. 38 prospect overall in the 2008 class. Sit behind former star Chase Daniel for a season with a clipboard and headset. Take the reins as a sophomore. Put up big numbers. Now it's winning time. Eight wins in 2009 is nothing to be ashamed of, but he'll be hungry for more as a junior. Standing between him and a North title is a Nebraska defense that forced him to play most of his sophomore season with a bum ankle.

4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

Jones' transition to starter wasn't as smooth as Gabbert's, but he still performed well in a less-than-ideal situation. Stepping in for injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford, Jones racked up more than 3,000 yards passing and started just 10 of 13 games. But Jones' best games came at home against subpar defenses like Idaho State, Tulsa, Kansas State and Texas A&M. Away from Owen Field against top teams like Nebraska and Texas, he had a pair of freshman-like performances, completing less than 45 percent of his passes against Nebraska, and just over 55 percent against Texas. In the two games, he threw one touchdown to seven picks. If he can take those home performances on the road and learn to compete against more talented and complex defenses, he'll shoot up this list.

5. Steven Sheffield, Texas Tech

Another small leap of faith here in betting Sheffield wins the starting job over Taylor Potts, who started the majority of the 2009 season. Sheffield's mobility may better suit Neal Brown's variation of the Air Raid, which gives quarterbacks the freedom to tuck-and-run at any moment, but durability has become a concern for the senior, who broke the same bone in his foot for the second time this spring after suffering the same injury last season.

Honorable mention: Taylor Potts, Texas Tech; Austen Arnaud, Iowa State; Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State; Garrett Gilbert, Texas;