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ESPN: Philip Rivers is a second tier quarterback

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Where does the Chargers quarterback rank among his peers?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN Senior Writer Mike Sando published his annual QB Tier Rankings today, and the San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers is ranked in the middle of "tier 2" and 8th overall. The rankings are the result of a voting panel made up of 42 "league insiders." Among them are 10 GMs, five head coaches, seven offensive coordinators, five defensive coordinators, eight personnel evaluators, and seven other team personnel.

They evaluated 33 quarterbacks and divided them into five tiers. They range from tier 1 which is defined as "can carry his team each week. Team wins because of him," to tier 5 which they define "do not think this guy should be starting."

Thanks to being allowed to remain anonymous, the insiders speak rather openly and at times harshly about the quarterbacks. Here's what they had to say about Philip Rivers:

"He physically makes the team better than what it should be because of his leadership, his work ethic, everything," an offensive coordinator said. "That, to me, makes him a 1. A good way to look at it, if you started the season with any team, no matter what they have, you gotta figure you are going to win at least eight -- Philip is usually going to give you eight wins just because of who he is. That to me says a lot."

The first tier is comprised of only three quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger. At this point in time, I don't think you can really argue with any of those names. Tier 2 has 12 players in it and is led by Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck. The only one of those players that you should really take issue with being ranked above El Capitan is Luck. While Luck is indisputably talented, he's coming off a season where he was and injured and wasn't one of the top 32 regular starters in the NFL.

Rivers, at this stage in his career, probably sits anywhere from 5th-10th in quarterback rankings. I would think closer to the 5th because he was still the 8th most productive QB last year with no offensive line and no running game. That said, when quarterbacks lose it, they lose it suddenly. So, if you're projecting future performance, you have to bake some of that uncertainty into your rankings.

Overall, this ranking struck me as mostly fair and reasonable. What do you think?