The NFL FanHouse brain trusts got together to identify which young quarterback they'd want if the choices included Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler. Sure, there are some obvious oversights -- Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo immediately come to mind -- and Peter King will no doubt be miffed that Brett Favre and Tom Brady weren't included, but, hey, that's what our readers are for: to let us know (often loudly) when we're wrong.
Ryan Wilson:Jay Cutler is still maturing as an NFL quarterback and I think he has the most upside of the three. Yes, Eli Manning's won a Super Bowl and Philip Rivers proved his toughness during last year's postseason, but I think they're both pretty close to their ceilings as NFL players. That's not to say they're bad, just that Cutler could be much, much better. Particularly if Ed Hochuli referees every one of his games.
Michael David Smith: I think Cutler has the best arm of the three by a pretty wide margin. It's amazing how few people realized going into the draft that he was the best of the group of Cutler, Vince Young and Matt Leinart; Mike Mayock deserves a ton of credit for identifying Cutler's talent before just about anyone else.
Cutler has still only started 23 games in his career, so we still don't know a ton about him, but based on what we do know right now I think he's going to make about five Pro Bowls in the next 10 years.
Matt Snyder: I like Rivers for now and for the future. He's as tough as they come ... and he doesn't show up teammates like Cutler. I'm still wondering what's gonna happen the first time Brandon Marshall drops a ball and Cutler screams, "oh c'mon BRANDON!"
Seriously, though, the three are really, really close. I'm giving the edge to Rivers over Cutler based upon toughness, and having superior throwing talent to Manning.
Oh yeah, just because someone hasn't won a Super Bowl doesn't mean they never will. I won't buy any arguments based upon "championship ring credibility." Especially when these guys are so young.
Sportz Assassin: This is tough. I think Cutler has the most going for him. Quarterbacks tend to excel in Mike Shanahan's system so Cutler has a better chance to succeed. Not to mention he plays in such a dysfunctional division.
Of course, Norv Turner isn't bad at working with offenses, either, and Philip Rivers has more at his disposal. As a UNC guy, I hate Rivers (who went to NC State). But this kid has brass ones and all kinds of ability.
I'm not an Eli Manning fan at all. Yes, he showed a ton to us during the postseason, but I need to see it on a regular basis.
To me, the fact that Cutler is doing all this is such a short sample period really impresses me. If I had to draft between the three, I take Cutler.
Shane Bacon: I think you have to go with Philip Rivers.
Sure, Rivers has had Antonio Gates to throw to over the last few years but this is his first full season with an actual, experience (good) receiver in Chris Chambers. His numbers -- nearly 300 yards a game and a quarterback rating of 122.5 through the first two weeks -- show that when he has a No. 1 option, he's way better than what we originally thought.
He also has an edge that I don't see with Cutler. While Jay is slapping his legs when someone drops a pass, Rivers just looks like he wants to win, no matter the cost. Also he's not a wimp. And he does that cool lip curl smile thing that always makes me laugh. That's worth something.
Stephanie Stradley: I think you go with Cutler. The Denver system is kind to quarterbacks, and clearly they were still chasing their post-Elway quarterback. Think of how many QBs he outplayed last year while he had undiagnosed diabetes.
Mike Shanahan says it takes a quarterback three years in his system to really get it. We are in Year 3.
JJ Cooper: MDS, I'd agree with you on the Cutler five Pro Bowl thing, as long as he really wants to go to Hawaii -- a lot of guys beg off and he could end up getting a lot of invites.
But assuming that Brady comes back healthy, the AFC Pro Bowl battle over the next decade involves Manning, Brady (until they get old in, say, five years?), Ben Roethlisberger, Rivers, Cutler, some emerging quarterback who hasn't put it together yet (Brady Quinn, Jamarcus Russell?), plus some quarterbacks still in college.
Cutler may make it to five Pro Bowls, but if he does, it means he's outstanding.
MDS: Good points, JJ, but Cutler is only 25 years old. Manning is 32 with a bad knee. Brady will be 32 with a bad knee the next time he plays in an NFL game. It won't be long before Cutler is the perennial Pro Bowler in his prime, and Manning and Brady are the older guys who might have a couple of Pro Bowls left but also are noticeably not as effective as they used to be.