Five weeks into the season with my first power rankings coming out last week, I decided to rank all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL as of right now. My evaluations are based on what we have seen so far, but they are not simply a ranking of their performances or where they stack up statistically. I have to take into account the full body of work with the focus being on how what they have shown up to this point compares to what I have seen from them in prior years. Some quarterbacks have developed into better players, while others have stayed steady or regressed in terms of their physical ability. Here is how it all shakes out for me.
As I like to do every year, I am putting out my first power rankings after four weeks, since I think this is a good time to reflect. To me this point always represents a moment at which it is possible to get somewhat of a clearer picture on the state of the league and where teams will go. Obviously there will still be teams falling down the ranks while others could establish themselves as contenders later on, but I feel like we know what most teams are.
I always think it’s ridiculous how everybody makes definite statements on any NFL teams after just a couple of weeks or refer to things as “all season long” when there have barely been any games played. So I like to wait until we have passed the first quarter of the season before I really try to put these teams in order. Unlike most power rankings out there, I don’t simply put all the teams in order of their record and at this point we have so many 2-2 squads, that you really have to go through the tape and rosters of all of them to be able to stack them up against each other.
Here is what I came out with:
With the amount of veteran quarterbacks going down with injuries or changes under center in general, I wanted to take a look at this group of young signal-callers and judge how confident their respective teams should by what they’ve shown so far. This list focuses quarterbacks, who have their first extended period of starts this season. So this obviously doesn’t include guys who might be full-time starters now, after taking over at some point last year, and neither is it about signal-callers who simply switched places or went back under center for their squad with the QB1 out of the picture. This is all about potential starters for the future. Because of that, I did not include the Jets Luke Falk either, even though I always liked his ability to throw on time and target, because he started out as third string and the Jets already have a young QB that they are very invested in. So here are these six quarterbacks and my level of confidence in them:
Week one is always absolutely crazy every year. Find me one person who said before Sunday that the Browns would lose by 30 to the Titans or that the Bucs would put up 48 on the Saints at the Superdome in last year’s week one matchup. With how little starters play in preseason and how teams still figuring things out early on, it surprises us every year and most people overreact to the first look at all teams in an extreme way. I kind of wanted to look at the storylines emerging from the first round of NFL games and give my opinion on if that trend will continue or that statement will prove to be right. To do so, I labelled all twelve of them, which includes almost all matchups, either as truth or deceit and explain my reasoning behind it. Here they are:
Like I do every year a few days before the regular season kicks off, I put together my predictions for all the major NFL awards, picked every single one of the 256 games on the schedule and all the playoff matchups leading up to Super Bowl LIV. There is nothing tougher to predict than NFL games and nothing represents that better than the fact that every year half the teams that made the postseason the prior season will miss out the following year. While there are obvious favorites for the a few of the awards which I could not ignore, I also went off the radar with some names and I have seven new teams making the playoffs compared to last year.
A lot has been made about the value of preseason and there are teams who largely keep their starters out of for the most part, but every year there are guys who stand out when they finally get a chance to prove themselves on the field and they deserve to get their props. So this list doesn’t include any actual star players and in a lot of cases not even starters at this point. You won’t hear me talk about Patrick Mahomes looking nearly flawless in limited action or how a star pass rusher beat up some kind of third-string tackle. Usually I like to give guys credit who play the less-heralded positions, but with how many young quarterbacks have made an impression on me, they had to be the main topic of this article. Of course you have to take some performances with a grain of salt because we haven’t seen any game-planning or schemes being utilized, but what you can evaluate is physical ability, energy and play-making ability. So here are some of the guys who have stood out to me:
After talking about the top offensive players at each position a couple of days ago, we now switch to the defensive side of the ball. So we are looking at the best edge rushers (meaning 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers primarily), interior defensive linemen (everything from nose tackle to 5-technique), off-ball linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. Some of these guys are hybrid players, so I judged them according to where they line up primarily and what their best spot is. Once again, my criteria for which I judge them is their tape from their collegiate career so far, including the potential I see for them heading into this season, and I evaluate them as college players instead of NFL prospects, where they might fall a little lower because they don’t have pro measurements or athleticism necessarily.