NFL fans can rejoice! The worst of the offseason is over. The lull that is the month and a half between the post-draft minicamps and OTAs and the start of training camp is the worst part of the year. Deep in the deadspot of the NFL offseason, I tried to bide the remaining time until training camp and pre-season started by sharing with all my diligent readers my own personal QB rankings.
As with the end of every NFL offseason, very little is predictable and much is in the air. With big offseason moves and even bigger signings, the NFL is in a different place than it was a year ago. And year to year, the ability for a QB to remain elite and top of the league isn’t as simple as it seems to the casual fan. A QB’s career is non-linear, in the sense of an up-year isn’t followed by more up-years, and a down-year can always be bounced back from. Such uncertainty can muck up the arranging of the NFL’s top throwers, and leave a lot to debating, bickering, arguing and yelling. And if you think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most by posting my personal rankings, you’re gosh darn right.
Quarterbacks aren’t the only ones out on the field though, so to completely attribute a QBs stats and wins to the quarterback is a horrid idea. To counter that, I’ve tried to include my thoughts on a QB’s help, including coaching, offensive line, wide outs, run game, defense, etc. There’s more to a QB’s game than just tossing the ball.
To rank them, giving a number next to a signal-caller in descending numerical order is the easiest, most basic way. There are certain tiers that only certain QBs fall into though. For all QB’s outside my top 10 I only ranked by tier, as I could spend all day arranging and rearranging my rankings. I also truly did not want to write about those who I believe falls outside the top half or so of QBs currently out there. So instead I’ll be placing all 17 of these fellas into their respective tiers along with a description of my reasoning and ranking. Then when we get to the top 10, that’s when you’ll get my true rankings. Some might be more of a go-figure, especially once you get towards the end. Others might cause outrage and distress. Either way, I’m always right and it’s probably best to remember that. So without further ado, I present to you…
Jameis Winston: 24 years old
6’4, 231 lbs
2017 Stat Line:
Passing – (3,504 YDS / 19 TDS / 11 INTS)
Rushing – (33 ATT / 135 YDS / 1 TD)
Oh the wonderful enigma that is Jameis Winston. Always flashing potential and bright spots among a sea of bad decisions and immaturity. I’ve always been hopefully rooting for the best out of him. And yet season after season, it’s always the same story. “The Bucs could be sleepers this year, especially if Jameis can mature and be a better decision maker.” It’s the same story since college for him, since being scouted for the draft, and since being drafted. It’s almost like someone took college Winston and tossed an NFL jersey on him. He’s always shown he has the skill to be a Pro, with a strong arm, ability to extend plays, and make some throws not many QBs out there can make. These are the same skills that got him drafted, but the same question marks surrounding his first-overall selection still remain.
His aptness for extending plays is basically a coin toss. When you mix his play extension with the bad decision making that has haunted his career up until this point, he ends up leading his teams to turnovers or loss of yards just as often as he hits a big play and leaves us in awe. For every throw to that shows off his capability to hit targets at every spot on the field, even under pressure, there’s an interception from trying to get rid of the ball while under similar pressure. This decision making and maturity has been the focal point of scrutiny for Winston since college, on and off the field. But there’s a reason he still makes this list.
Winston has displayed plenty of touch at all levels of the field to pair with his pro bowl-caliber arm. He has the traditional footwork and release you want out of a QB, even while the pocket is collapsing around him. He has great mobility and accuracy while on the move when he does escape, and keeps his eyes downfield looking for an open receiver while under pressure. Pair all this with plenty of weapons around him albeit without an elite o-line. Winston is, to me, the franchise QB for the Bucs. He might not get a payday like fellow NFC South QB Matt Ryan, but Tampa Bay won’t let him go. On paper, Tampa is at least an 8-8 squad. It isn’t Winston’s fault their defense finished last in the league. I’m hopefully excited for Wintson and the Bucs next year, as I have been pretty much every off season. QB’s are luckily one of the few positions in pro-sports that can still progress even later in their career, and I’m optimistic that’s what we see from Jameis.
Jared Goff, 23 years old
6’4, 223 lbs
Passing – (3,804 YDS / 28 TDS / 7 INTS)
Rushing – (28 ATT / 58 YDS / 1 TD)
After a disappointing rookie season, Goff followed a similar path that fellow 2016 draftee Wentz took. Neither were ready to lead from the get-go, which should be completely acceptable to fans and team personnel alike. Very few QB’s are ready to come in and produce immediately on a pro level, and even less are put into a position to do so. And Goff’s 2016 season was no different. 2017 is where some major help was introduced to the team in the form of Sean McVay. What must’ve seemed like a godsend to the Rams and fans of the former 7-9 squad, McVay came in and turned around an offense that was dead last in points and yards in 2016 to first in the league in both in 2017. While the switch from Jeff Fisher to McVay is the main help the Rams needed, that shouldn’t take away from the typical growth you’d love to see from your franchise quarterback.
No amount of coaching or offensive schemes could prevent Goff from running directly into pressure or tripping over his own two feet in 2016. His sophomore year was a whole different story. He looked much less awkward in the pocket, even under pressure, and his footwork was night and day. And although there was a huge statistical leap everyone could see, along with a big bump in the wins category, there are still plenty of growing pains. He could be slow to get the ball out at times, which one could attribute to the 1st read offense he played in. His first read was usually where he could find his open receiver, and if there was no open receiver he could be slow to get through his progressions and find somewhere to throw, generally leading to a dump-off pass. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it exposed some flaws when he didn’t dump it off. He had a clear inability to throw the ball downfield with accuracy, which took away his best receiver’s best skill set (See: Watkins, Sammy).
Despite his growing pains, the future is bright for the Rams. With an all-pro, top of the league RB like Gurley, the best defensive player in league Aaron Donald, and a QB with plenty of upside and potential like Goff, the Rams have great young talent for years to come. And for Goff, he’ll look to climb the league rankings and build off his first two years.
Derek Carr, 27 years old
6’3, 214 lbs
Passing – (3,496 YDS / 22 TDS / 13 INTS)
Rushing – (23 ATT / 66 YDS / 0 TDS)
Despite not being too far removed from an MVP-candidate season, I’m not entirely a believer Carr is worth 25 million a year. He has a sub .500 record as a starter despite having plenty of help around him. Its unfortunate the Raiders 12-4 season ended the way it did, because the Raiders have been a blunder since then. Its not just Carr who has regressed, but the offense as a whole. Moving on from Musgrave to Downing as offensive coordinator downshifted their speed a bit, and the defense’s lack of a secondary didn’t give the offense a chance to get back in games. The firing of Jack Del Rio was obvious, although the hiring of Jon Gruden at that price isn’t something I can agree with straight out the gate. I still am convinced Carr can bounce back and expand on a great season not too long ago.
Carr has the arm to put the ball all over the field, although he doesn’t truly show the touch you might expect from a QB with his price tag. He’s still got great arm strength, short throws accuracy, form and footwork. Even with an elite offensive line, he can reset his feet after being pressured off his spot, and keep his eyes downfield doing so. He doesn’t have the deep ball down really, but his decision making is above average and he doesn’t force it like other QB’s might.
He can definitely be the one to lead his team to the Promised Land, and he isn’t all to blame for the Raiders disappointments. He has an O-line that once was top 5, if not top 3, and looked nothing like that last year. Had his line performed like it had 3 probowlers on it, like it did in 2017, it could’ve opened up the run game for a RB by the name of Marshawn Lynch. This run game, the offensive line finding its form again, and a secondary to pair with the elite pass rush already in place can turn around the Raiders leaving a healthy Derek Carr to do what Derek Carr does best. I’m fully expecting a bounce back from the Raiders and Carr next year.
Philip Rivers, 36 years old
6’5, 228 lbs
Passing – (4,515 YDS / 28 TDS / 10 INTS)
Rushing – (18 ATT / -2 YDS / 0 TDS)
A grossly underrated QB for a majority of his entire career, Rivers continues to lead his team in his later years despite much help recently. He is still a quality QB, an elite QB I might even say, after years of being elite even without much representation as such. While he might not be as accomplished as the other older QB’s I have on my list, he can still do it all.
He is a true game controller with nearly unmatched ball placement. He doesn’t have the textbook throwing form, which has been that way his entire career, but he obviously still makes it work. There is not much more I can say if you can disagree with Rivers’ placement as an elite QB, other than to watch him play.
He dropped from 21 ints in 2016 to 10 last year, all the while throwing a net 7.6 yards per attempt which would rank 5th best of his career. A smart observer could also see the correlation between his bump in statistics last year and the amount of help surrounding him last year. He hasn’t lost a step yet, and with a healthy Chargers team around him and a suddenly frightening defense to relieve plenty of pressure off the offense, the upcoming season looks very promising for all the fans out there.
Jimmy G, 26 years old
6’2, 226 lbs
Passing – (1,560 YDS / 7 TDS / 5 INTS)
Rushing – (15 ATT / 11 YDS / 1 TD)
There is one word I can use to describe Garoppolo properly. Winner. A winner off the field, recently snagging one impressive porn star. And a winner on the field, going 7-0 for his career so far. Although he’s only played in less than half a season’s worth of games, it’s apparently enough games for some to rank the likes of him and another shooting star on this list way higher than they should. And while I am a true Jimmy G believer and a believer the 49er’s turned their franchise around in one trade last season, seven games a top 10 QB does not make.
There are question marks surrounding the new stud in San Fran. First of all, he has played in two of the greatest offensive systems in recent memory ala Bellicheck and Shanahan. While I don’t believe the system should necessarily take away from what a QB has accomplished, hence another certain name higher on this list, it should be noted. What he has done in these offenses is fantastic though. He fully displayed great arm strength, placement and mobility even while not surrounded with the best of weapons on the 9er’s last year. He completed an impressive amount of YPA, tossing the pigskin downfield without question even without a fear inducing squad surrounding him.
His stats outside of the win column aren’t mind blowing, but there is far more to a QB besides boxscore stats. And being a winner, which Jimmy G does best, is one of the most important stats I could ask out of a QB. I’m fully excited to see what this up-and-coming stud has to offer this season and for seasons to come.
Deshaun Watson, 22 years old
6’2, 221 lbs
Passing – (1,699 YDS / 19 TDS / 8 INTS)
Rushing – (36 ATT / 269 YDS / 2 TDS)
Another file under the half-a-season-played category, Watson too has impressed any doubters so far. He started off on a blaze, highlighted by the outrageous 79 point, 854 passing yards Texans v Seahawks game. He led Texans fans to high hopes not only for last season but for seasons to come. Long over are the miserable, alcohol-poison inducing days of Osweiler and Savage. The reign of Watson has begun, and rightfully so for the city of Houston that has endured a turnstile of dumpster-juice QB’s.
Any proof between the drop-off of Watson and any backup behind him, just look at the offense’s PPG difference. Their league-burning 34 ppg with Watson drops to a tear-inducing, laughable 13 PPG without him. And though he sits at 3-3 so far and might not have the unblemished record like Garoppolo, all three of those losses were in one score games. Meaning the Watson hype-train could’ve gotten even more overloaded and out of control had he won those one score losses. There’s plenty of reasons DW is on this list and in this tier, but there’s also reasons I’m slightly skeptical of ranking him any higher.
He was blessed with an RPO-heavy offense surrounded by weapons, including one of the leagues best and most criminally underrated wideouts in Hopkins. This is also a far-cry from the scheme the offense saw in 2016 which consisted of a metric ton of inside runs, followed by dumpoffs to the flats and force-feeding Hopkins even in double and triple coverage. There is also plenty for Watson to work on, which mainly consists of the mental aspects of the game. He makes poor decisions and too often stares down defenses, telegraphing his passes. But these can easily be chalked up to growing pains and ones you could reasonably expect for Watson to overcome over the next few years.
He has all the physical aspects and abilities to excite and build off of. Even though there are only 6 games of NFL tape on him now, defenses will still be sure to adjust and prepare for a new revamped Houston offense this upcoming season, and I’m looking forward to see how Watson and the Texans as a whole handle it. After half a rookie season, Deshaun Watson is already well on his way to the revitalization of Texans football.
Dak Prescott, 24 years old
6’2, 238 lbs
Passing – (3,324 YDS / 22 TDS / 13 INTS)
Rushing – (57 ATT / 357 YDS / 6 TDS)
If this was written after last year, Dak might’ve been sneakily tiptoeing into the top 10 on my list. This also highlights my hesitation to over-rank one and two year QB’s after a good season. Compare to his 2016 year, and leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 season, Dak looked very average last year. Many may be quick to point to injuries, especially to the O-line, the lack of help, the piss poor defense and the loss of Zeke, but he still underperformed.
The loss of a top-5 RB like Zeke allowed defenses to dial in, and exposed some of Prescott’s flaws. He showed off his mobility once again during his sophomore season and his accuracy on the move, but just a clear inability to hit pretty much anywhere outside the numbers. He also is not anywhere as close to as skilled as former Cowboys QB Romo was at touch passes and ability to throw receivers open. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro-Dak, and very certain he is the signal-caller to lead the Cowboys through the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
Dak is a true leader, which might not be something casual fans see. He has already earned his Masters in workplace leadership and is working on his doctorate in Psychology. He is well respected in the locker room by his peers and has all the tools to be elite for years to come. With Zeke back eating next season, better injury luck and a hopefully upgraded defense, Dak and the Cowboys should be back to form next season and a dangerous group to face.
- Carson Wentz, 25 years old
6’5, 237 lbs
Passing – (3,269 YDS / 33 TDS / 7 INTS)
Rushing – (64 ATT / 299 YDS / 0 TDS)
Here comes the wonderkid to kick off my top 10. While many may think the would-be MVP should be higher in my rankings, trust me I understand your complaints. Many-a-rankings definitely have him higher than I, but an outstanding season is still only one season. Despite barely cracking my top 10, Wentz still made all the strides you’d love to see from your QB after a below average rookie season and slow start to his sophomore season.
Wentz was checking off all the typical boxes you’d like checked off, including yardage, TDs, INTs, and ratio. He also topped off on other stats like the best of all stats, wins, and some interesting like second most redzone touchdowns in the league last year. Wentz looked more like an NFL QB last year as well. He improved his footwork and ability to disguise his plays, not letting defenses read him like a book. He avoided staring down his receivers and became much better at processing and progressing though his reads. This lead to much better timing on his passes, giving his wideouts much better chance at the ball. Pair all this with some great escapability and also a greatly refined intermediate accuracy, avoiding the overthrows in the middle of the field that plagued his rookie season. So why after all this praise and an admittedly MVP-caliber season, must Wentz only be at 10th on my list?
There are a couple of reasons. While his intermediate accuracy improved, his short, underneath and long throw accuracy still suffered ranking bottom half of the league in both. Wentz also had the luxury of playing in an almost unmatched offensive system last year, surrounded by weapons, protected by his O-line, and backed up by a great run game and a top 10 defense. And finally, although it does sucks for this note to hurt his case, when Wentz went down, his backup continued to win. Considering winning is the desired outcome no matter who is on your team, a backup who had yet to accomplish much as a QB in the league so far stepped into the same system and kept the winning ways. Ol Big Dick Nick lead the exact same team Wentz was leading to win after win all the way to a Superbowl win over TB12 and the Patriots.
Now this is not to take away from Wentz entirely, as I still have him in top 10 after only two years. That is no small feat. But an improvement in his accuracy and ball placement, along with more seasons like he’s had, he’s easily going to be ranked higher than he’s at right now. The Eagles are still the team to beat, and even more so with their true signal-caller at the helm.
- Matthew Stafford, 30 years old
6’2, 220 lbs
Passing – (4,446 YDS / 29 TDS / 10 INTS)
Rushing – (29 ATT / 98 YDS / 0 TDS)
I’ve struggled a bit with the bottom of my top 10, flip flopping around with a lot of these. Even once I figured out who cracked the top 10, ranking them in order has been a struggle too. I figure this is where I’ll start getting a lot of arguments directed at me. But after this past season, I’ve been convinced that Matt Stafford deserves a spot in every top 10. He led a Lions team that was well below average in everything except passion to a 9-7 record. The only elite thing that Matt has helping him is his weapons around him.
Stafford has one of the best receiving duos in all of football with Tate and Jones, with Ebron and Galladay more than capable of supporting them. Toss in two great receiving backs like Abdullah and Riddick and their shows why their passing game is the only bright spot. He utilizes all this help around him properly, showcasing his skill of throwing his stud supporting cast open. Not only does he properly use his cannon of an arm, he’s also the one to lead his team to playoff contention every year for the past 4 years. And trust me, its not the run game or defense that’s keeping them in games. There’s a reason he puts up the numbers he does. While Stafford is extremely talented, there’s also reasons he’s only docking in at number 9 for me.
Watching him play, he seems almost purely predicated on big plays. His ability to methodically move the ball consistently is not a strong suit. But often its not all his fault he resorts to this method. His team blows leads constantly and refuses to find a way to threaten teams with a ground game. But despite continuous use of his crazy arm strength to move the ball deep, he still finished dead last in the 2017 season with a league-low interception rate. The Lions also don’t have bad backs toting the ball either, I honestly think they’re misused and under appreciated. They also have to run behind an awful O Line that not only can’t properly open holes for the run game, but ole`d their way to 47 sacks on Matt Stafford last season.
Lions fans and coaches alike should be grateful Stafford is built more like Brett Farve and less like RG3 because he would’ve been snapped in half. His durability alone sets Stafford apart and puts him in elite status in at least one category. He also shows off sneaky mobility (AKA He’s white) and an ability to make throws from all different platforms while creating on his own outside the structure of the offense, which helps while trying to avoid being pummeled by defenders tearing through his line. He could still definitely improve on his ball placement and decision making, looking more for the easy pass rather than the big play. But still, Stafford is the head of the only above-average part of a playoff team. Very little QBs would be able to succeed put in his position, and as things are, the Lions would be lost without Stafford.
- Marcus Mariota, 24 years old
6’4, 222 lbs
Passing – (3,232 YDS / 13 TDS / 16 INTS)
Rushing – (60 ATT / 312 YDS / 5 TDS)
I’m sure this comes as a surprise to many of those reading this entry from me, but I need you to hear me out. Don’t bring up raw stats or passing numbers, just do one thing for me. Watch some… whew this is hard. Watch some Tennessee Titans games. Marcus Mariota will shock and leave you in awe. His game is just so aesthetically pleasing and something out of a textbook on “How To Be A Great QB”.
Mariota’s poise and pocket presence is outstanding, especially for a QB his age. He has an amazing feel in the pocket as well, stepping up and embracing the pressure. All the while, he’s literally controlling defenses with his eyes, creating openings that otherwise wouldn’t be there for him, to thread the needle to his receivers. A lot of the pressure falls on Mariota as well, considering the lack of weapons he has to utilize his ability to pinpoint his passes.
Not only does he have a lack of quality receivers, he also suffers from one of the worst offensive systems in the league. Mike Mularkey’s system gives no cushion or comfort for Mariota, tries to use and aging Demarco Murray over a Derrick Henry with a much better YPC last year, and doesn’t even provide an elite defense to help while Mariota is off the field. If not for Mariota’s ability to lead his teams to the playoffs in the weak AFC, Mularkey would’ve rightfully been fired. If only.
Marcus Mariota had some of the worst luck last year too, with 16 interceptions on only 14 interceptable passes. Let me say that again. 16 ints. Only 14 interceptable passes. To put that into perspective, fellow young guns Wentz and Watson had only 10 interceptions on 32 interceptable passes the previous season. With that math, Mariota would’ve only thrown 5 INTs in 2017. He doesn’t have a case of poor decision making, just super shitty luck.
Marcus Mariota is a great QB, and I just hope people realize that truth. He has a great arm, textbook mechanics, wonderful poise and absolutely pure passing abilities. He is more than capable on the move too, showcasing time and time again his mobility and accuracy even while on the run. Even while playing through hamstring and quad injuries last year, he helped lead a Titans team to overachieve. Should the Titans do him justice, which they took a step in the right direction this offseason by firing their OC, people will come around and see what some like I see.
- Ben Roethlisberger, 36 years old
6’5, 240 lbs
Passing – (4,251 YDS / 28 TDS / 14 INTS)
Rushing – (28 ATT / 47 YDS / 0 TDS)
While some may think I have Ol Ben here ranked too low, he’s still in the top 10. Try and suck it up, because he just isn’t what he used to be. He’s underperformed with one of the greatest offenses in the league surrounding him, playing in an amazing offensive system lead by Mike Tomlin. Now even though Ben did end up bouncing back, his first half of the season was awful. His mechanics were horrible. His decision making was horrible. He seemed unable at times to even look in any other direction than Brown, and couldn’t hit a deep ball to save his life. His horrible first half of the year was highlighted by a god-awful 5 interception game vs Jacksonville. There’s a reason he’s coming in at number 7 though.
After the bye week, he looked much more like classic Big Ben. He found his groove, looking much more comfortable in the pocket and not forcing the ball where it didn’t need to be. Along with his comfort in the pocket came his mechanics. Falling back into the form and release you come to expect from an accomplished Superbowl winning QB like Roethlisberger. He ended up leading the Steelers to a top seed and looked plenty at ease by the end of the season. He still struggled with the deep ball throughout, which led to an underutilization of Martavis Bryant, but everything else came around for the most part.
The only outlying blemishes on his second half of the season came once again from the Jags, losing a second and third time. The third time coming in the playoffs. Had Ol Ben conquered that Jaguar-shaped hill at home, it could’ve said a lot and quieted a lot more. But maybe that’s just a testament to had scary that Jacksonville defense was last year, because Big Ben at home is almost just as scary.
At 36, Ben has a couple more years to try and capture glory again, but maybe his time will be over sooner rather than later. After seeing a grown man bitch like he did after the Steelers selected Mason Rudolph in the 3rd round, I’m not sure how long Ben remains in Pittsburgh. But as it stands, Ben sits in one of the best positions a QB could, all the while having years of experience and winning under him. He can’t rely on his pure strength like he could back in the good ole days, and defenses can really make him struggle and knock him out of rhythm if they make him uncomfortable. He is still as talented as any other QB in the game when he’s on, and that’s what puts him at number 7 for me.
- Russell Wilson, 29 years old
5’11, 215 lbs
Passing – (3,983 YDS / 34 TDS / 11 INTS)
Rushing – (95 ATT / 586 YDS / 3 TDS)
A proven champion, Russell Wilson is slowly becoming the last remaining prominent member on the 2014 superbowl team. And unlike how things were with the Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch around him, he’s been asked to do infinitely more for the Seahawks. No other QB not named Cam Newton has been asked to do more for his team the past few years. Combining an aging defense with and abysmal run game and an O-Line made of wet tissue paper and swiss cheese will do that to a QB. This is an offensive line that couldn’t open a door for their running backs, and also forced their own Qb to tote the ball 95 times last year, mainly on undesigned scampers and scrambles. Yet with all these blatantly obvious holes on the squad, Pete Carroll has yet to properly evolve the offense and team as a whole to adapt for the change of personnel.
Wilson doesn’t have much outside of Doug Baldwin due to the inexplicable misuse of Jimmy Graham, who could’ve been the best weapon on the Seahawks since trading for him a couple years ago. And while Russell Wilson does what he can with what he can, he also has some bad habits that stem from this awful situation he’s been put in. He either seems to hold the ball too long or gets scared and ditches the pocket too early. His ball placement last year also seemed completely off, but there is only so much one can do.
Wilson, clocking in as one of the best 6′ and under QBs, is also one of the best and most miraculous I’ve ever witnessed outside of the pocket. The amount of Houdini moments I’ve seen from him, creating something out of less than nothing, is what amazes me. Time and time again, he’ll turn what should be a clear loss into a gain, pulling off impossible escapes and throws. This ability is fantastic for a team that consistently forces their QB into situations where this is needed. Luckily for Wilson, the Seahawks front office isn’t completely idiotic and let go of the trashcan they called their offensive coordinator.
Even after dealing with such a absurd situation for a QB, Wilson still lead his team to a 9-7 season, which would’ve been good for a playoff berth if not for the supremely loaded NFC. No QB should be asked to do as much for their offense like Wilson does, and almost no other quarterback out there would be able to succeed in such a situation like Wilson does. After a season in which he should definitely be considered for the MVP award, there should be no arguments with his placement in the top 10, or even where he stands now.
- Matt Ryan, 33 years old
6’4, 217 lbs
Passing – (4,095 YDS / 20 TDS / 12 INTS)
Rushing – (32 ATT / 143 YDS / 0 TDS)
One might be not so bold and say Matt Ryan regressed in 2017, but there are many reasons to explain why last year wasn’t so much a regression as it was a coming down to earth not only for Matt Ryan but the Falcons as a whole. Reason number one, he was a damn MVP. That’s hard enough to replicate for a QB season after season. Reason two, another obvious one, is the loss of Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan is an offensive mastermind who completely revamped the 49ers and Jimmy G (talked about already). The loss of Shanahan meant a new offensive system to learn. On top of having to learn an entire new system, it wasn’t nearly as perfected and effective as his last.
This is a system that required Matt to often stand in a much more condensed pocket, while making much more difficult reads, throwing into much more difficult and tighter windows. He still has an absurd amount of weapons around him, paired with a newly minted, arguably elite defense. But this new offensive coordinator calling the shots led to a regression of the offense as a whole, including the deadly running back tandem. A loss of nearly 500 total yards from the Falcons dynamic duo in the backfield is inexplicable, considering the amount of pressure the passing game should take off the ground game.New OC Sarkisan bottlenecked Matty Ice into force feeding Jones and Sanu way too often, limiting Gabriel and Hooper from their more than capable support roles in the offense. It also didn’t help that the offensive line didn’t have the picturesque injury luck they did in 2016.
Added onto this there has to be a certain amount of pressure for a QB coming off an MVP season and a superbowl appearance, especially one as disappointing as last year. But even dealing with all this, Ryan still lead his team to the playoffs and past the young deadly Rams squad. Matty Ice has always produced, showcasing the pure passing quarterback traits you love to see from a white boy back there. Granted he has generally always had help around him and more than capable coaching, but he’s capitalized on such a great situation. He’s a fantastic QB, obviously (see: salary). He still has another solid 5 years or so in his prime, and if he’s anything like his fellow NFC South counterpart, he’ll be a thorn in the Panthers side for a while.
- Cam Newton, 29 years old
6’5, 250 lbs
Passing – (3,302 YDS / 22 TDS / 16 INTS)
Rushing – (139 ATT / 754 YDS / 6 TDS)
Let’s please avoid all the arguing over my bias with my love for the Panthers and my nonstop dickriding on Cam. Let’s just instead get down to the nitty gritty. Cam Newton is one of the most talented, unstoppable QBs in the league right now. He’s also something the league has never seen up until this point, and something it won’t see for a long time. A 6’5 250 pound monster, he is by far the greatest running QB of all time. His overall talent is something unseen before. He has the 2nd most total yards and touchdowns by a QB in their first 7 seasons in NFL history. Second. Most. And if you want to argue Arm Talent v. Overall talent as a QB, he’s got that covered too despite popular belief.
He has top tier ball placement and decision making, making throw after throw that no QB has any business making. He also might actually have a howitzer attached to his body, with arm strength rarely ever seen. This arm strength has led to a reliance on bad mechanics, but also allows him to fit the ball in places no other QB can, and launch the ball 50 yards down field without having to set his feet or step into his pass. This helps, considering Newton is asked to consistently fit the ball into tight windows, throwing to receivers who create more than a yard of separation between them and the defenders at the lowest rate in the league. Even I can mention the biggest question mark surrounding his game though. His inconsistency makes him one of the most infuriating players in the league. I do also believe this maddening inconsistency can be attributed to his poor mechanics, which he most certainly has. Its unfortunate he’s such an incredible athlete because it allows him to rely on his absurd arm strength rather than refining his mechanics and improving his consistency. But this isn’t the only reason for his week to week ups and downs.
No other team requires as much from their QB as the Panthers do from Cam Newton. Carolina started Kaelin Clay, Mose Frazier, and Brenton Bersin at wide receiver in a PLAYOFF game IN New Orleans. This isn’t just one game either. The dumpster-fire of a wide receiver group Cam Newton had to throw to wasn’t any better throughout the regular season. And even though the Panthers defense is often elite, and considered one of the top in the league, their defense last year was ranked dead last in points and yards allowed in the second half of the season. They also toted an average and inconsistent O Line, along with an offensive coordinator who finally got fired after never once finishing top 15 in the league in either yards or points in his career, excluding an outlier of a 2015 season led completely by none other than Cam Newton.
Defenses have to constantly account for Cam Newton at all times he is touching the field. Between his unworldly running ability, which unlike Wilson consists of mostly designed runs and very little scrambles, and his passing abilities Newton is unmistakably a top 5 QB in this league. His mental aspect of the game usually goes unnoticed and people don’t realize how much pre-snap work he does at the line. He’s quick on his reads and progressions, isn’t afraid to use his frame and stand in the pocket, and can place the ball with touch or heat at any level of the field. He truly is a game-changer, and a nightmare for defensive coordinators, and has earned his status as an elite signal-caller in the NFL.
- Drew Brees, 39 years old
6′, 209 lbs
Passing – (4,334 YDS / 23 TDS / 8 INTS)
Rushing – (33 ATT / 12 YDS / 2 TDS)
We’re reaching the untouchables in the league today. Kicking off the top tier, what I consider the god tier, is Drew Brees. One of the most accurate quarterbacks of all time, watching this unintimidating six-foot tall man pick apart the Panthers defense year after year enraged and amazed me all at the same time. An old-timer with an unmatched skill set, Brees is a proven winner and leader and one of the only players I’ve genuinely liked on a team that I genuinely hated for years.
After three 7-9 seasons in a row, which entertained me thoroughly, he finally has a fully capable team built around him. With a borderline elite defense and the most currently frightening dynamic duo in his backfield, he no longer has to rely solely on his air game to stay competitive. Along with a a full receiver corp including his running backs, and a solid offensive line, now is the time for Drew Brees and the Saints. With a QB that’s cruising for Canton leading a team with a wide open superbowl window, New Orleans is a force to be reckoned with.
Despite his age, which some might use as an argument to say their superbowl window might not be so wide open, Brees still showed off with a 7.5 net YPA and 72% completion percentage last year. Even though raw stats or even advanced stats can’t always show all you need to know about QBs, it says enough about Brees that he still has plenty left in the tank. He’s had to deal with horrid defenses his whole career, hence the ludicrous amount of 5000 yard passing season (He’s the only QB to have more than one), but now he can just play. He can still do all he needs to do to continue to be elite, something not many QBs can say at the ripe age of 38.
- Tom Brady, 40 years old
6’4, 225 lbs
Passing – (4,577 YDS / 32 TDS / 8 INTS)
Rushing – (25 ATT / 28 YDS / 0 TDS)
The higher we get on this list, the less needs to be said of the quarterbacks being listed. Say what you will about being a system player, or his support, or whatever the hell else you want to argue about, TB12 is one of the greatest. By far he is the most accomplished and successful in NFL history. At 40 years old, Tom Brady put up 505 yards and 3 TDs in the SUPERBOWL. If any other QB did that, we would be shitting our pants and praising him.
This is a QB who had thrown 300 touchdowns before Bortles, Keenum or Foles (all Conference Championship QBs) were even in the league. And he won MVP just LAST YEAR at 40 years old. He is 12 touchdown tosses away from 500 total passing tds while only having thrown 160 interceptions. To put that into perspective, the average amount of interceptions thrown by the 10 QBs who have thrown 300 touchdowns in their career is 170. But his career statistics aren’t the only mindblowing facts I need to drop on you readers to prove his placement here.
Last year, the Pats had a 40 year old QB who threw a deep ball on 13.9% of his throws and had the 5th highest completion percentage on these passes in the league. His pre-snap reading and post-snap processing is entirely unbelievable, an all-time ability for any QB to ever play the game. There isn’t much here that I can say to convince anyone who doesn’t believe he deserves this spot and there isn’t much that I can say that fans who believe he deserves this spot don’t already know. His ability to be a top QB in this league at 40 years old is enough for anyone to say.
- Aaron Rodgers, 34 years old
Passing – (1,675 YDS / 16 TDS / 6 INTS)
Rushing – (24 ATT / 126 YDS / 0 TDS)
Finally, the number one spot and the end of this long ass read. I think the only argument here is whether I was correct in my number one and two placement on my list. Brady might be the most decorated and successful QB of all time, and definitely one of the greatest, but ARodg is by far the most talented quarterback in the game right now, and in my opinion he has an argument for all time. Not to argue and put too much on the All-Time part on account of me being 22 and only having seriously watched football for much less of those years. But that’s another story.
At 34 years old, Rodgers is about to cross the 300 TD threshold. Something only 10 other QB’s have accomplished. Crossing 300 is an accomplishment in and of itself, but doing so in the style Rodgers has is something else. When Tom Brady crossed that mark, he had thrown 115 interceptions. Rodgers is sitting at 78. Like I said, the average for the other QBs who have crossed this milestone off their list is 170. Even Matty Ice, another top 5 in my opinion, who is 40 touchdowns away from 300 passing touchdowns has 115 interceptions already. A QB’s touchdown to interception ratio isn’t the only stat that matters, but boy is that a ridiculous one for Rodgers.
Rodgers also checks off every single last one of the boxes you want checked off by a QB, all while dealing with rough conditions. Mike McCarthy’s offense is nothing elite to say the least, but Rodgers makes it elite. He’s had to deal with an injury plagued wide receiver corp for most recent years, a consistently subpar defense, and a laughing stock of a run game. Its a testament to Rodgers, and even Brett Hundley who I believe has the skills to be a starter in this league soon enough, that they’ve both been able to produce. Hundley is lucky to be learning under one of the greatest to touch a football.
Rodgers has poise under pressure, moving in the pocket avoiding defenders, resetting his feet with perfect footwork and throwing mechanics, all the while keeping his eyes downfield moving defenders around with his eyes. Then he uses his rocketlauncher of an arm to toss the ball with any amount of touch or power he needs, and fit it to any level of the field with unparalleled ball placement. His ability to produce and pick apart defenses no matter what is unmatched. While some may point to his lone superbowl win as an argument against his placement atop my list, superbowls are a team accomplishment. So stop that right now. Rodgers is by far one of the most talented ever, and is a lock for the hall of fame once his storied career is well done and over with.
So that’s it. My personal list of my current top QBs in the league right now. Feel free to argue or agree all you want, I love talking sports. I’m also not close minded, there is plenty that can change my opinions about pretty much any one of the qbs on this list or even not on it. Plenty of thanks to anyone who’s taken the time to read this.