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NFC West Position Rakings, Quarterback: Sam Bradford stands above the rest

SBNation's NFC West sites are getting together for player rankings within the division. This being the NFC West, there should be much room for debate about which players belong on the bottom of the list, what with so many to choose from on the other three teams. To open things up, we started with the big one: quarterback. As you can imagine, it was unanimous that St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford stands head and shoulders above the flotsam and jetsam under center in the rest of the division. 

Here's how I ranked the QBs:

1. Sam Bradford
2. Charlie Whitehurst
3. Matt Hasselbeck
4. Alex Smith
5. Arizona's mess

After the jump, a very thorough analysis of these rankings and some highlights from what the others said about this group of players. 

It's hard to limit myself on words about Sam Bradford. No, compared to other QBs in the league his season was mediocre. He was restrained by a lack of offensive weapons and a head coach unwilling to take the training wheels off the offense. And, of course, he had some very rookie moments. Still, over the course of the season he showed the talent that made him a slam dunk first overall pick in the draft. Bradford was at his best when he was unleashed, running the no-huddle and the two-minute offense that allowed him to make his own reads and call his own plays. With even a marginal upgrade at receiver, another year of experience between two young tackles and Josh McDaniels' offense he will thrive.

Sure, laugh at the Charlie Whitehurst pick, but he beat the Rams in week 17, with the division title on the line. Obviously, the guy's a joke, but it seems like his immediate future holds more potential than Matt Hasselbeck's. It's too bad the Seahawks didn't fix their offensive sooner, while Hasselbeck still had some tread left on his tires. It sounds like he's leaving the division.

Alex Smith? Potential? I want to live in this utopia, a place where Horatio Alger still exists even after six years of dismal to mediocre results. Rams fans used to think the same thing about Marc Bulger. His best bet is to find a new home, a fresh start, but even Peter King seems to think that Smith won't find work anywhere beyond San Francisco. The guy just lacks talent. If he had a history of better decision making, he might have a future as a transitional, game-manager type, but it's too late for him.

Speaking of Marc Bulger, is he going to sign with the Cardinals? At last report he had no interest trying to fill Kurt Warner's shoes again. Probably a smart move, and one that might have to do more with self preservation than anything else. There's not a quarterback alive who stands a chance behind that offense line.

Here are some highlights from what the others said about their own QB situations. Click on over to those sites to see what they had to say about Bradford (some of it might infuriate you). 

San Francisco - Niners Nation

While Alex Smith does still have upside, Smith has yet to prove he can consistently perform on the field and win football games for the 49ers. He's shown flashes of brilliance, but they've only been flashes. Until he proves otherwise he remains below even a geriatric Hasselbeck.

Seattle - Field Gulls

Charlie Whitehurst has been a backup QB his whole career and has two starts now under his belt. In those starts, he's 1-1, has passed for 507 yards with a 57.6% completion rate, 2 TDs, to 3 Interceptions and no fumbles lost. His loss came against a Giants team that blew the Seahawks away in every facet of the game and thus the loss can't really be attributed to Whitehurst. His win came in a loser-go-home, winner-go-to-the-playoffs game on national television where he played soundly and effectively enough to get the win. He has good arm strength, good mobility, and if he can manage to stop staring down his receivers he could be effective. With so little track record, it is difficult to rank him higher than the aforementioned three though.

Arizona - Revenge of the Birds

Anderson is what he is. He will make a couple of "wow" throws and then miss the guy that is wide open in the flat and standing still. Skelton never was supposed to see the field and is, even still, a project.There will likely be improvement from the Cardinals quarterback situation just due to a year of the offensive system under their belts.