By Ashley Dunkak

CBS DETROIT – Twenty-six league insiders, including general managers, coaches and scouts, engaged with ESPN in a project to rank the NFL’s quarterbacks and separate them into four tiers. Detroit Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford ranked 13th on the list.

Stafford has often been described as supremely talented but lacking in decision-making, and ESPN summed up his potential with the following blurb:

“There’s a feeling among evaluators that Stafford, more than any other QB outside the top five, has the talent to ascend into the first tier. He is arguably the most intriguing starter in the league.”

One head coach noted to ESPN, however, that Stafford will need to continue working on his mechanics if he is to make good on all that potential.

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck landed in the first tier, and Stafford fell near the bottom of the second tier. Ahead of Stafford in that group were Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco.

Stafford was rated ahead of Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler, among others. Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl two seasons ago, and Smith guided the Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs this past season.


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