Sports Column: Golden age for quarterbacks in the NFL

Sports Column: Golden age for quarterbacks in the NFL
August 30
09:46 2018

A total of five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.  Teams seem to be scrambling to find that franchise quarterback to put them over the top.  For more than half of the teams in the league, the quarterback position is not a concern for the 2018 season, which is something that could not have been said 15 years ago.

As I was sitting back going through the list of starting quarterbacks in the league, preparing for my fantasy football draft, I noticed there were at least 15 players at that position that I would be satisfied with as my opening day starter.  It shocked me that the number was so high.

It reminded me of the 1990s when the running back position was so deep.  Back in the ’90s it seemed as though every team had a stud running back and this is what the quarterback position looks like right now in the league.

Excluding the rookies entering the league, here is how the quarterbacks stack up in the league for the teams that are content at the position:

There is an elite group of players that I see are sure-fire hall of famers.  Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the best of the best.  Year after year, these three have been the best of the best.  The reason they will walk into the hall of fame is because they have put up great numbers for well over a decade, along with having Lombardi and MVP trophies on their mantles as well.

Brady, Rodgers and Brees are the gold standard to what every team strives for in their starting quarterback.  Obviously these guys don’t grow on trees, so to have a signal caller with some of their attributes is probably good enough to win in the league.

The next tier of guys are probably going to be hall of famers based on their talent, longevity and overall numbers.  Phillip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning all fit into this category, in my opinion.

Three out of the five (Wilson, Roethlisberger and Manning) have won Super Bowls in their careers.  Stafford and Rivers have consistently thrown up eye-popping numbers year in and year out.  A few more years of solid play out of this group and they will surely be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, sometime after they retire. 

I spent a very long time debating to whether or not to add Manning to this list.  He has never been in the discussion as one of the top quarterbacks in the league, he throws a lot of interceptions and has never strung together multiple seasons of eye- catching numbers.  The thing that puts him on the list was the fact he has two Super Bowl rings.  Manning is one of only 12 quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowl rings, which puts him in an elite class, considering how many players have played the position throughout the years.

The next level of quarterbacks are the ones who have shown talent over the years, but have not shown the consistency of the above-mentioned group.  This class consists of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan.  Newton and Ryan epitomizes what this category is all about.  They have both been to Super Bowls, but neither one won.  Both have tremendous talent but have had seasons where it makes you want to scratch your head and think, “What were they doing?”  The only reason Luck is on the list is because he sustained a serious shoulder injury to his throwing shoulder, and I am not sure he will be able to regain the form he showed the first three years of his career. 

Next up is the too-early-to-tell group, and it is a deep one.  This is a group of players that have either just come into the league in the last few years or have just won the starting job and has not had the time to build a solid resume as of yet:  Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota, Patrick Mahomes, Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Derek Carr and Dak Prescott.

Watson, Wentz and Garoppolo look like sure things.  If not for injury, Watson and Wentz may have been the players fighting for the NFL MVP award last season.  Garoppolo has a short sample size, which makes him somewhat of an unknown even though he has won every game he has started in the league (7-0).  Every player in this category has the talent to at least win a Super Bowl or make it to multiple Pro Bowls.  Some even have hall of fame talent, but the question is will they maximize it or not.

The rest of the league is filled with solid starters on a few teams mixed in with some young quarterbacks that have not developed.  I can’t wait to see what the five rookies have to offer the league.  Normally one or two of those high draft picks will pan out, but predicting which one is the hard thing to figure out.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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