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Carson Palmer QB ranking jumps in eyes of people in league

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Mike Sando's B rankings based on voting are out.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, there were just barely some quarterback rankings to share, but this set is different. Rather than one former quarterback ranking players himself, ESPN's Mike Sando compiled a list based on talking to a number of people in the NFL -- a total of 35 coaches and evaluators.

They were asked to place quarterbacks into five tiers -- Tier 1 being the best and Tier 5 being the worst.

Sando averaged the numbers and came up with the rankings. After being ranked 21st in 2014, well into Tier 3, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer's ranking took a leap. Sando's results have him 15th in the league and just barely in Tier 3. His average was 2.69.

Palmer has an 11-2 record in his last 13 starts and ranks ninth among qualifying quarterbacks in Total QBR (67.8) over that span, which dates to Week 11 of the 2013 season. So it's not a huge surprise that some of the voters said they would've been inclined to make him a 2, if not for the fact that Palmer is coming off a torn ACL at age 35.

"He plays well as a stationary dropback QB," a personnel director said. "He can find his receivers. If he is comfortable in the system, he can make all the throws, finding his first, second and maybe his third read. He is a system guy now."

A head coach said he thought Palmer was more of a backup at this point based on an inability to move. That was an outlier view, however. Thirteen voters placed Palmer into the second tier. Those placing Palmer lower pointed to injury problems.

"At one point, I'd have told you he is a 3," another director said. "I am saying he is a high 2. Coming out of Oakland I thought his arm was dying. I give Arizona credit. They saw something I did not. His arm has more life to it than I thought."

According to Sando, A Tier 1 QB can, mostly without much help, keep a team in contention. Tier 2 QBs aren't as consistent and need more help around them, but are good enough to be a championship QB. Tier 3 needs a lot of support. They are definitely starters, but it is much harder to compete at the highest level.

With Palmer, you can see why there is some wavering between the two tiers. There is no questioning his talent. He has always had the talent. But when you never win a postseason game and you play, until recently, on awful teams, you have to wonder. You see other quarterbacks elevate their otherwise less talented teams to the postseason and you wonder why Palmer hasn't had more success. Then you think about how he played for the Bengals and the Raiders and you understand why.

Injuries are a concern. But maybe it took just the right offense and scenario to finally turn Palmer into a winner.

I have said many times (although I do not know how many times in writing) Palmer is a Top 10 talent at QB, whose decision making in his career has been above average at best.

Now, with age and injuries, there is concern and with the talent around him you see why some would put him in Tier 3, but then you see the way he has handled himself and played over the last season and a half, and you see a Tier 2 guy.

Based on the players he is ranked around, it makes sense. He falls behind players like Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. He is ahead of Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill and Andy Dalton. That at least is in the right range.

Would you saw he is ranked correctly, and which tier does he belong in?