Every week this offseason Blaine Grisak and Jake Ellenbogen will share their top-10 players from each position in the NFL. We’ll the discuss our lists and why we ranked players where we did as well as the position in general.
We also asked the rest of the Downtown Rams staff who their top-10’s were and will have a poll and its results at the end.
In this edition, Blaine and Jake unveil their top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the 2019 season and who is ready to take that next step.
1. Drew Brees – NO
2. Tom Brady – NE
3. Aaron Rogers – GB
4. Russell Wilson – SEA
5. Patrick Mahomes – KC
6. Andrew Luck – IND
7. Ben Roethlisberger – PIT
8. Matt Ryan – ATL
9. Jared Goff – LAR
10. Phillip Rivers – LAC
1. Aaron Rodgers – GB
2. Patrick Mahomes – KC
3. Drew Brees – NO|
4. Andrew Luck – IND
5. Russell Wilson – SEA
6. Tom Brady – NE
7. Jared Goff – LAR
8. Ben Roethlisberger – PIT
9. Philip Rivers – LAC
10. Matthew Stafford – DET
Blaine: In my top-10 quarterbacks I have Drew Brees leading the charge. I think when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, it doesn’t get any better than Brees. He’s as accurate as it gets, he can make every throw, he’s so poised in the pocket, and he’s as intelligent as it gets. There’s a reason at 40-years old he’s the best at his craft. Mahomes comes in at five, but will have plenty of room to grow this year. For me, it’s all about him being able to continue what he did last year. Rams fans will hopefully be happy to know that Goff comes in at nine and then rounding out the list I have Phillip Rivers at 10.
Jake: Well Blaine, I couldn’t deny anything you said about Drew Brees. I think he arguably could be considered the greatest signal-caller the game has ever witnessed. However, my “GOAT” as everyone likes to call it is Aaron Rodgers.
I think if you could go into a lab and create a superstar quarterback it would most likely look like Rodgers. When you watch the film, Rodgers ability to manipulate the pocket, fake out the defense with his eyes, scan the field while displaying the ability to throw with anticipation and pinpoint accuracy is what makes him elite.
Rodgers legitimately could go to any team (as long as he’s fully healthy) and change everything around. I know the argument is always about rings but maybe if you put him with someone other than McCarthy, Rodgers would have had close to as many as Brady.
Checking in at number five was Russell Wilson who for whatever reason is not considered elite? Kind of weird to be completely honest. Wilson is another guy like Rodgers that when healthy, can never be counted out. Rams fans’ pride and joy Jared Goff comes in at seven for me as he’s surpassed the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers in my mind. Lastly, Matthew Stafford comes in at 10th. Stafford is a quarterback that has been completely forgotten about and is still one of the best in the league.
Blaine: It’s hard to disagree with you on Rodgers. On talent alone, he’s certainly as good as it gets. I think when it comes to guys 1-5, you could make a case for any of them to be at the top of the list. Because our specialty is the Rams, I wanted to touch on Jared Goff a little bit. I believe last year he finally broke that “system QB” label that many had put on him. He will certainly still get that from the Mike Florio’s of the world, but there were just some throws last year that he made, specifically in the NFC Championship game, that just made you go ‘wow, this guy is our franchise quarterback.’
You and I are pretty close when it comes to Goff. You’re a little higher than him than I am, but we both have him in that 7-10 range. What do you think he needs to do to take that next step and break into the top-5 or even the top-3?
Jake: Blaine, I totally agree with you on the fact Jared started to basically shed that “system QB” label. You know what I don’t find fair? Basically, because the NFL Network airs that show “Mic’d Up” fans and analysts hold the Sean McVay in ear radio calls against Goff like he’s not capable starting in the league. I know Chris Simms made a big deal about it on Simms and Lefkoe and so I feel as though that has really made people take Goff’s accomplishments with a grain of salt.
As far as your question goes, Goff simply needs to continue doing his thing, getting more comfortable, start to correct simple bad habits like how he throws off his back foot and staring down his receiver. Once Goff has rid himself of his back foot habit and his staring habit this kid is going to have the sky as his limit. Bear in mind now that he’s with McVay and McVay is actually never leaving (unless the Rams screw everything up) Goff is going to have that quarterback whisperer and that consistency where he can just build off of it every year and McVay can continue adding more tricks to the playbook. Stay consistent. Keep developing. Correct the small mistakes and watch as Goff ascends into that top three status.
Blaine: I definitely agree with you there. The media and fans will never let Goff live down his rookie year and because of that having McVay almost hurts him in that aspect. However, this is the next great QB-coach duo and like you said, they aren’t going anywhere. I look forward to Goff’s 2019. Who are a few guys for you that are on the outside looking in? Who are your “honorable mentions” for a lack of a better phrase. For me, I think Carson Wentz would certainly have to be in that conversation, Baker Mayfield, and Jimmy Garropollo depending on how his 2019 goes.
Jake: Of course Blaine, that rookie year won’t go away until Goff wins a Super Bowl. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of these things fall on Goff. The radio, the rookie year, system QB and of course, the three points scored in the Super Bowl. However, I expect him to rise to the occasion and hoist the Lombardi fairly soon.
Now, as far as the “honorable mentions” I love the ones you have. For me, I ended up with Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield and Carson Wentz with Cam Newton being a super honorable mention. I think if Wentz stays healthy, he and Goff are neck and neck which would put him in the top ten easily. I also want to point out, Wentz improved his accuracy last year and finished with a 21:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Just because the guy got hurt doesn’t mean he didn’t have a solid year. I especially love the 69.6 completion percentage that again, shows me he improved. So, I think as long as Wentz stays healthy he can cement himself in the top ten.
Then we look at Matty Ice who to me is a little underrated by some and overrated by others. I saw a quarterback in 2017 that was outplayed by Goff and won versus the Rams off of the sheer fact the running game broke open and the Rams have three giveaways. Ryan will always have that MVP but will he ever be the same post-breakup with Kyle Shanahan? Probably not.
Lastly, Kirk Cousins gets a lot of flak for his primetime win record but make no mistake, Cousins is a good quarterback and will be back this year. Next is Baker Mayfield, another guy who I think could jump into the top ten this year. He’s going to have the weapons to do it, that’s for sure.
To wrap this one up, I want to touch on former MVP Cam Newton. I don’t love Cam, I don’t really even like Cam but he’s a physical specimen and he’s someone who has gotten better at becoming an all-around NFL quarterback. The Panthers are giddy for his new mechanics but I join them on that hill as well. If Newton holds up he could make an argument for a top ten placement after the season as well.
Blaine: I like the guys you have as your honorable mentions and think you hit it right on the money when it comes to Wentz and Newton. Many forget Wentz was the front-runner for MVP before tearing his ACL against the Rams and that Newton won MVP in 2015. It just goes to show you how many talented quarterbacks there are in this league.
One guy that i really want to touch on is Patrick Mahomes. The guy took the league by storm. I know he was your QB1 coming out of Texas Tech. Many, including myself, weren’t sure if he’d translate to the NFL given the college system he played in, but he also could not have fallen in a better situation in Kansas City with Andy Reid. Based on last year, this could be a guy that defenses are unable to stop for a long time. I have him at five because last year was just one year, but you have him at two. What did you like from Mahomes coming out of Texas Tech, were you surprised the Chiefs moved on from Alex Smith when they did, and what was one thing that really stood out to you about Mahomes’ game last year, because if we’re being completely honest, there was so much.
Jake: First off Blaine, thank you for that Mahomes recognition. I still remember it like it was yesterday going on my friend’s radio show and answering “Patrick Mahomes” to the question of, ‘who is the best quarterback in this draft’ because it’s truly incredible what he’s done. Yes, there are a lot of great signal-callers at this stage of the league and I’ll tell you right now, the league is about to get injected with youth from this past draft class, this year’s draft class, next year’s and of course, everyone’s favorite: The Trevor Lawrence year.
Well, as of right now Mahomes headlines the next era of great young quarterbacks. Is it fair he jumped the likes of Wentz and Goff after one year? It is. Why? I’ll tell you right now, Mahomes is quite simply the closest thing I’ve seen to the guy I have at number one, Aaron Rodgers. They operate relatively similar but Mahomes’ arm is on another level. What I saw at Texas Tech was a kid that simply couldn’t be stopped despite the fact he ran an Air Raid offense. Mahomes had 93 touchdowns-to-29 interceptions in college. He had a game against aforementioned Baker Mayfield that saw him score seven touchdowns in a 66-59 loss versus the Sooners. Everything I saw with Mahomes was superstardom. I do dabble with the super boom or bust and raw quarterbacks more than people like but they actually end up working out when they get a chance in the right system.
Like you mentioned, Mahomes went to Andy Reid and all bets were off. Remember that season where Michael Vick seemingly was a video game created player for the Eagles? Andy Reid does and he turned Mahomes in twice that season that Vick had. Mahomes is the MVP of last year and he’s the face of the National Football League.
Blaine: That’s a great breakdown of Mahomes. His arm talent is just on another level like you said and he’s making the critics such as myself look silly for doubting him coming out of college.
You mention something in there that I do want to touch on though. While you and I both have Baker Mayfield in our honorable mentions, none of us have any of last year’s rookies in our top-10. Mayfield was by far the most successful of last year’s class, but I know you like Lamar Jackson. Josh Allen and Sam Darnold each showed promise. Then you have Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins in this year’s class and we’ll see what they do in their rookie years.
On our lists we each have Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, and Rivers who are all in their high-30’s or 40’s age-wise. What does that group of quarterbacks, the guys in year 1-2, need to do to replace the past generation and of those guys, who do you like to be able to do that?
Jake: I love that you mentioned the first and second-year guys. I think we have to assume Baker with a strong supporting cast, a coach that seems to love him and a fanbase that loves him more than anything, Baker will end up being the future of the quarterback position with Goff, Wentz and Mahomes. I’m still lukewarm on Deshaun Watson as you know and I question his offensive line as this guy has already suffered a devastating injury as it is.
As far as the next tier, you are probably looking at Lamar Jackson, Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray, Sam Darnold, Dwayne Haskins and maybe a surprise that we could not foresee at this moment. I think Jackson has a good chance because of his legs but don’t forget he’s actually oddly enough a pocket passer. He will need to work on that side of his game of course but I like the future for Jackson especially with the weapons that were added. Then you look at Rosen who goes to an odd situation with a defensive minded Head coach in Miami. I think Rosen will turn some heads this year and beyond. Of course, after that, you cannot forget about Sam Darnold who at one point was a can’t miss number one overall pick.
Kyler Murray is a special athlete at the quarterback position but many don’t realize how good of a passer he is. Now you insert Kyler in Kingsbury’s offense and like we mentioned earlier with Goff and McVay, that continuity and consistency (if it works out) could go a long way. Of course, you cannot forget about the Ohio State one-year starter who threw 50 touchdowns in Dwayne Haskins and especially with what the team brought him to the table in receivers: Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon. Let’s not forgot Haskins still has the likes of Jordan Reed, Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson and now Bryce Love. I think Darnold with the acquisition of LeVeon Bell will be able to settle down a lot more this year, play to his patience, his awareness and his overall strengths and potentially lead the Jets further than many anticipate.
Lastly, Josh Allen intrigued me last year and I continue to keep my eye on him moving forward.
Blaine: Ya, I think of the guys on that list, I have the most faith in Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins. Murray was my top rated quarterback for a reason, but I’m still TBD on him. Well Jake, I think we covered the quarterback position pretty thoroughly. I look forward to talking running backs next week!
Jake: Yeah man, I think we really covered the position well. Excited to see how this all plays out but next week with the running backs, that is going to be fun. Thanks for reading everyone.
DTR Top-10 Quarterbacks (First Place Votes)
1. Aaron Rodgers – GB (2)
2. Patrick Mahomes – KC (1)
3. Drew Brees – NO (1)
4. Tom Brady – NE (1)
5. Russell Wilson – SEA
6. Andrew Luck – IND
7. Phillip Rivers – LAC
8. Jared Goff – LAR
9. Ben Roethlisberger – PIT
10. Matt Ryan – ATL
Others Receiving Votes: Baker Mayfield, Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson,
Alexis Kraft: 1. Tom Brady (NE), 2. Patrick Mahomes (KC), 3. Aaron Rodgers (GB), 4. Drew Brees (NO), 5. Russell Wilson (SEA), 6. Jared Goff. (LAR), 7. Andrew. Luck (IND), 8. Phillip Rivers (LAC), 9. Matt Ryan (ATL), 10. Baker Mayfield (CLE).
Ricky Marnell: 1. Patrick Mahomes (KC), 2. Aaron Rodgers (GB), 3. Drew Brees (NO), 4. Tom Brady (NE), 5. Phillip Rivers (LAC), 6. Russell Wilson (SEA), 7. Matt Ryan. (ATL), 8. Andrew Luck (IND), 9. Jared Goff (LAR), 10. Deshaun Watson (HOU)
Alex Washburn: 1. Aaron Rodgers (GB), 2. Patrick Mahomes (KC), 3. Drew Brees (NO), 4. Tom Brady (NE), 5. Andrew Luck (IND), 6. Phillip Rivers (LAC), 7. Russell Wilson (SEA), 8. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), 9. Baker Mayfield (CLE), 10. Matt Ryan (ATL)