Today, ESPN's Jamison Hensley took a look at the top five quarterbacks in the AFC North. Yesterday, we saw that a first-round running back for Cleveland was able to immediately snatch the No. 2 spot in the division at that position. Would Cleveland's first-round quarterback be able to do the same? This shouldn't be to anyone's surprise, but the answer is "no," as Brandon Weeden was ranked at No. 4 on the list, behind veterans Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, and second-year quarterback Andy Dalton.
4. Brandon Weeden, Browns: He hasn't been declared the starter like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but everyone knows this is Weeden's job to lose. His size and arm strength makes him the favorite to beat out Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace for the job. The biggest knock on Weeden, besides his age, is his decision-making when pressured.
I'm going to continue to let my hatred for Flacco bleed out here: by the end of the season, I would love it if he ranks behind Weeden. Not that Cleveland has had a better quarterback in recent years, but I really think the guy has held Baltimore back from doing greater things. I don't hate him because he plays for Baltimore; just watch some of the missed throws and terrible decisions he makes on any given Sunday, and you should know what I am talking about.
Dalton had a great rookie season a year ago, but struggled a bit against the AFC North. We'll see if he's able to continue to benefit from having A.J. Green bail him out late in games with spectacular catches, or if he falls into a sophomore slump.
Roethlisberger is Roethlisberger -- you can't deny the success he's had with the Steelers, but it sure is fun to watch him get broken in half (alas last season against Cleveland).
Who grabbed the fifth spot in the rankings? It would have to be the best "backup" in the division. Colt McCoy would seem like a potential candidate given the amount of starts he's had, but instead the honor went to Byron Leftwich of the Steelers, who does have a lot more starting experience than McCoy does. It's weird with Leftwich, though -- it doesn't even seem like he's in the division because he suffered two major injuries the past two years in the preseason.