Sports fans debating topics that have no definitive answer is a tradition as old as time. Best basketball player of all time: MJ or LeBron? Could the best team in college football beat the worst NFL team?
While we realize there will never be an answer to these questions, it can still be fun to give your two cents on the topic.
The latest debate is ranking the 10 best QBs in the NFL, courtesy of ESPN’s Get Up:
Is Dak Prescott’s spot at 10 warranted, or did ESPN get this one wrong? Let’s dig a little deeper:
ESPN got it mostly right
The QBs positioned first through eighth are accurately ranked. People love to bring up age as a reason why Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady should be behind young stars like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. But with the debate being on who are the best QBs for the 2022 season, it makes sense that Rodgers is the top dog.
Once you hit the ninth spot, things get dicey. Deshaun Watson had a dominant 2020 season. His 4,823 passing yards led the NFL, and his 33 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions were an impressive ratio.
But having missed the entire 2021 season while his sexual abuse allegations were being sorted out should certainly bump him out of the top 10. He’ll undoubtedly have rust to shake if he can take the field this season. And that’s a big if because the NFL is now investigating Watson’s actions, and he could still face a suspension.
So combining the lengthy time since his last NFL snap with the possibility he could miss time should slide him out of the top 10.
Lamar Jackson overlooked
Jackson was the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, despite having won the Heisman Trophy during his days at Louisville. Here are the QBs selected before him: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. Mayfield and Darnold have already been traded from the teams that drafted them, and Rosen is currently a free agent that’s played for a different team each season of his three-year career. Jackson and Allen have been the only two successful QBs from the entire draft.
NFL media members look down on Jackson because of his run-first style. Just yesterday, Jackson got into a war of words on Twitter with former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Bernard Pollard when he claimed no free agent wide receivers sign with the Ravens because they’re wary of playing with Jackson. We won’t post the Tweets here because the language got colorful, so we’ll leave you with this link to Jackson’s Twitter to take a look for yourself.
While Jackson hasn’t ranked in the upper half of NFL QBs in terms of passing yards, his style of play has proven to be effective. The Pompano Beach, Florida-native led the NFL in passing touchdowns in 2019 while on his way to winning MVP honors
The Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs last season because Jackson was injured and only played 12 games. But he’s led them to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons as Baltimore’s starter. He only has one playoff win to show for it, but it’s common for young QBs to struggle to find postseason success.
Dak or Lamar?
Comparing Jackson to most NFL QBs is like comparing apples to oranges. Jackson’s big play ability as a rusher opens things up down the field because defenses are forced to play up in an attempt to stifle Jackson’s running plays.
Meanwhile, Prescott is more of a pocket passer and after his season-ending ankle injury in 2020, he rushed for only 146 yards in 2021. He had been far more active as a rusher in his first four seasons. But Mike McCarthy has said that the Cowboys’ offense will feature more plays with Prescott as a ball carrier.
Because Jackson missed a majority of last season, we’ll compare Prescott’s 2021 season to Jackson’s 2020 since that was the last full season each QB played:
- Passing yards: Prescott – 4,449 yards, Jackson – 2,757 yards
- Rushing yards: Prescott – 146 yards, Jackson – 1,005 rushing yards
- Total yards of offense: Prescott – 4,595 yards, Jackson – 3,762 yards
- Total touchdowns/total turnovers (interceptions + lost fumbles): Prescott 38/16, – Jackson – 33/13
Prescott winning three of the four categories gives him the nod to take the nine spot, while Jackson takes the 10 spot in our edited rankings.