In a major feature rolling out this entire week at ESPN, Scouts, Inc. have compiled their new player rankings for their top 200 players in the NFL and their list has San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers as the single best player in the AFC West.
Tom Brady leads the overall list at No. 1 and the top 10 is anchored by quarterbacks like Peyton Manning at No. 2, Aaron Rodgers at No. 5, Drew Brees at No. 6 and Ben Roethlisberger at No. 8. Rivers comes in at No. 12 overall and is the only player from the AFC West even listed among the top 25 players. Specifically, they write:
Rivers has a very strong arm and a quick delivery and the ability to make quick decisions. He is a very accurate passer who can make all the throws. He has very few interceptions relative to the number of touchdown passes he throws. Rivers does a great job reading coverages, going through his progressions and distributing the ball to all of his targets. He has become one of the most difficult quarterbacks in the league to blitz because of his ability to hit the receiver who settles into the vacated zone.
Certainly the stats back up the case for Rivers as the division's best player. He led the league with over 4,700 yards passing last season and consistently has the Chargers contending despite major turnover and drama with holdouts like Vincent Jackson, Shawne Merriman or Marcus McNeil. In just five seasons as a starter, Rivers has 136 touchdowns to only 58 interceptions and as long as he stays in San Diego, they'll always be among the favorites for the divisional crown.
Nnamdi Asomugha would have given Rivers a run for his money on the top players list, since the cornerback comes in at No. 16, but his recent signing with Philadelphia obviously negates that.