ESPN Insider thinks Orton top QB available

May 27, 2011, 11:21 PM | Updated: May 28, 2011, 12:47 am

PHOENIX – When it comes to grading the top quarterbacks available by either free agency or trade in the NFL, the Eagles’ Kevin Kolb seems to be the most popular name.

Not all share this assessment.

ESPN Insider KC Joyner believes the Denver Broncos’ signal-caller Kyle Orton, who is believed to be available via trade, is the best option for a team searching for a new quarterback.

“Even if he isn’t a truly elite quarterback, he’s the best available quarterback this offseason,” said Joyner.

The analyst compared Orton’s and Kolb’s ability to avoid mistakes.

“Kolb has a penchant for taking more on-field risks than just about any quarterback around. His 4 percent bad-decision rate last year was tied for the third-highest total in that category. Since the definition of this metric is when a quarterback makes a mistake with the ball that leads either to a turnover or a near turnover (e.g. dropped interception), it means Kolb was making a mistake about once in every 25 pass attempts.”

“Now contrast that with Orton’s 1.9 percent bad-decision rate (tied for eighth-best in the league), which means he made an error of this nature about once in every 50 passes.”

Joyner also compares Orton’s numbers to some of the game’s best.

“Since 2008, 17 quarterbacks have won at least 20 regular-season games, an elite group including Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Orton.

If we take the cumulative numbers each of these quarterbacks posted during this time frame, we find that the median passer rating mark was 88.3.

Orton’s passer rating in that time frame was 84.8. That’s a mere 3.5 passer rating points away from being in the statistical middle of an elite group of NFL quarterbacks.

In that same time frame, Orton posted a 2.2 percent interception rate, a total that was bested by only two other 20-win quarterbacks (Brady and Rodgers).”

It’s believed that the Broncos won’t settle for anything less than a first or second round pick for Orton.

The Arizona Cardinals have already stated the organization will be aggressive to find a new quarterback.

If the Cardinals are going to give up a high round draft pick via trade, it might be wise for the team to acquire a quarterback who has accomplished something in the NFL like Orton rather than a complete unknown in Kolb.

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ESPN Insider thinks Orton top QB available