Gil Brandt Ranks 2004 Quarterback Class Heading Into 2014

The quarterback class of 2004 turns 10 years-old this season and to honor the anniversary, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt has decided to rank what is left of them, according to who he’d pick to lead an offense in 2014.

To nobody’s surprise, topping Brandt’s list is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was the third overall quarterback taken in the 2004 NFL Draft and here are a few of the reasons as to why he chose him over Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.

Though it might have been a bit obscured by the Steelers’ disappointing season, Big Ben still produced in 2013, posting the second-highest totals in passing yards (4,261) and touchdown passes (28) of his career — ninth- and seventh-best in the NFL, respectively. Yes, he was sacked 42 times, but a whopping 15 of those sacks came during Pittsburgh’s 0-4 start, when the team was hampered by lackluster offensive line play.

He’s got great size and excellent athletic ability, and he can still make all the throws. Furthermore, it looked like he was speeding up his reads and making quicker decisions toward the end of last season, his second working with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Brandt goes on to rank Manning second and is quick to point out that he lacks the arm strength and athleticism that Roethlisberger possesses.

Rivers is Brandt’s third choice followed by Matt Schaub and Luke McCown.

Brandt is spot on with his rankings although I could see where there could be some discussion between Manning and Rivers as to who is second behind Roethlisberger.
Who would you rank second behind Roethlisberger?

  • Weiss Chad

    Manning..Everything in nfl is about Super Bowl rings.Mannings got two rivers 0

  • William Weaver

    Trent dilfer 1 Marino 0.. Proof Super Bowl assessment is flawed to say the least. Defensive line play beat the patriots in the undefeated season. QB play is important but it can’t be all about the superbowl. I don’t think Eli is better than Rivers. I am not sure Rivers is better but atleast equal too. Big Ben 2 Peyton 1.. Do you think the steelers would draft Big Ben again if they had a Peyton option? Peyton lost another Super Bowl but Joe Montana wouldn’t have done any better that day. Or Matt Shaub wouldn’t have done any worse.

  • srdan

    People are rough on manning. Say what you want, when the game is on the line, he is as good as it gets. I personally think its because he is not very smart which helps him forget the last play. Whatever the reason, when its on the line, he plays.

    His brother is like a porsche, when things are going great he purrs along. As soon as he hits a couple potholes (sacks) that porsche has a hard time regaining its momentum. I’ll stick with our chevy lol.

  • CW

    Depends on how Rivers and Manning do over the next couple of seasons really. Manning might have the lead right now, but that’s more about rings than quality of performance. Manning has the credibility of a Super Bowl champion, but if Rivers keeps going the way he did last year after a down year or two prior to that and Manning does not rebound significantly then Rivers deserves the second spot behind Big Ben in the 2004 quarterback class.

  • Weiss Chad

    Peyton’s career would have been over in four yrs playing behind that steelers line

  • Brandt Nailed it. Manning is a better QB than Rivers. Both have consistency issues, and Rivers has the better arm, but Manning is far better and less likely to melt down under pressure.

  • Weiss Chad

    I’d rather have dilfers one mediocre year than Marion’s record setting years.dilfer delivered what Marino didn’t.Marino was an awesome record setting qb w nothing to show for it but personal records.By the way he should have been a steeler..They really blew that one.Of course Marino was better but he never delivered the hardware ..

  • William Weaver

    Dilfer had the best defense in the past 30-40 years! Give that to Marino and watch the superbowl trophies multiply. Dan Fouts is another great one that never had a defense. I love Big Ben and we are lucky to have him but even he will tell you, we won his first superbowl in spite of him. That was a great line too by the way! QB play was the weak point of the 05 team. He progressed nicely because we were able to bring him along slowly. Remember 20 or fewer passes? Throw Big Ben on the jaguars coming out of the draft . What happens then?

  • Weiss Chad

    I agree

  • Jason White

    As long as Rivers has an offensive line his play is superior to Eli Manning’s. Manning may have Rivers in the Superbowl department but Rivers is far more talented.

  • Weiss Chad

    This is easy..Ben wins Super Bowls on any of these teams.Rivers wins only in New York as well as Eli.Neither are still playing if they played for steelers as both would be handicapped

  • cp72

    I don’t think Rivers gets enough credit. He’s a great competitor that hasn’t had the best supporting cast. I would not take Eli over Rivers.

  • Tough call between Rivers and Manning. I’d probably give Manning the nod if I had to win one game. Boy am I glad we have Ben though. I’d take Ben over any QB in the NFL if it came down to one game.

  • Virdin Barzey

    This is a no-brainer

  • CrazyTerry

    Ben had a bad SB, but you gotta be kidding me. without Ben, Steelers don’t make it to the SB that year. Ben took a mediocre team theyear before and got it to 15-1. And his injuries in the SB year were what led us to lose 2 games and the division title thanks to Maddox. That was not a wild card team based on talent. .If Ben is healthy all year, Steelers are easily the #2 or #3 seed.

  • William Weaver

    He did have a good run in the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl. If you remember correctly it was because he shocked everybody by actually throwing the ball effectively because he hadn’t proven he could do that. Especially in the first half against the broncos! Joey Porter killed the colts late in that game. Even the 2008 team was a defensive based team. 14 straight games without allowing 300 total yards. Without James Harrison and the entire defense returning the int for 6 before the half that game might be different. Love what Ben can do but you can’t give credit for a Super Bowl in such a team game. I know it is normal to do so but wrong unless his play in the game warrants it. Heck, I could have played QB for the 85 Bears and still beat the Patriota!!

  • Chris Maxwell

    Ben is number 1, but #2 is hard to choose.
    Rivers had all the talent and always failed in AFC championship games ( Bill Cowher) anyone? Eli always been garbage during the regular season but has been one of the best Big Game players in the league even better than his choker brother.

  • Madi

    I’m the first to say that Super Bowls are a team statistic. It drives me nuts that ANYONE puts Brady ahead of Peyton. All Brady has on him is rings, which he got by being on a much better team all the time, compared to Peyton’s Colts with no OL and no defense.


    That said, Eli Manning really earned his two Super Bowls. He’s no Trent Dilfer. He played unbelievable ball, not just in the Super Bowls, but also in the playoff runs, and brought his team back from behind twice in the big game. His Super Bowl rings aren’t just a team stat; he really carried the weight.


    Ben also earned his two rings (one bad game aside, his run in ’05 was outstanding), and he’s played better and more consistently than Eli in all the years that weren’t Super Bowl wins. Plus he has one more appearance. He’s #1, Eli’s #2. Rivers, who hasn’t been able to get to the big game, and also hasn’t been as consistent during the regular season, is the clear #3 to me. Still time to change that, though.