When it comes to ranking NFL quarterbacks, the mere mention of Ryan Tannehill can send some Miami Dolphins fans into a tizzy. Ryan Tannehill still has not won over his own fans yet could be one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league.
That last sentence can send some immediately to the bottom of this article where they can quickly post a comment about how wrong that statement really is. There are a few that immediately come to mind. Others will wait and then pounce on those comments.
In the NFL there are several tiers to ranking a player. Some go by stats alone while others prefer the intangibles that are not counted with numbers. Others tend to point to traits that a player possesses and what that player brings to the team both in statistics and intangibles.
What is for certain is that there are QB’s that are developing, those that are settled in, those that are elite, and then the middle of the pack. When it comes to ranking the quarterbacks it’s a matter of choosing which parameter you want to set as a writer. This one looks beyond stats.
There is one player in my mind that completely sits alone at the very top. Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is the only QB in the NFL that can take over a game and win it by himself if need be. Sorry Tom Brady fans. Rodgers would be my top choice if I were building a franchise because he has the arm strength, the mobility, the pocket awareness, leadership, and everything else that you look for in a quarterback.
Then there is Tom Brady.
Brady is a very good quarterback but he is not mobile, gets flustered under pressure which makes him inaccurate, and while he is a great leader, he is not a player that can take a game on his shoulders and win it by himself. He needs scheme that allows him that opportunity. I’m not knocking his ability I’m just saying that in my opinion, Brady is 2nd to Rodgers.
There is a gap from the top two and that gap then sees a bunch of quarterbacks that you really have to nitpick as to whether or not one is better than the other. Here is my list of those quarterbacks. The order is for your to decide.
Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlsberger, Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck
These players along with Rodgers and Brady round out the top 10 on many QB ranking lists. Some might put one or two of the next four players in the top 10 and drop someone out. Those players would include the following.
Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and the quickly rising Derek Carr.
That is 15 players that would most likely make any lists top group before seeing Ryan Tannehill’s name pop into conversation. This is where the debate comes in but first you need to examine the remaining quarterbacks who fall well below Tannehill’s name. These are players that are up and coming stars or players that play for teams with quarterback problems.
It also includes players that are likely falling out of favors with their teams. Jared Goff, Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Carson Wentz, Trevor Siemian, Alex Smith, DeShaun Watson/Tom Savage, Cody Kessler/Brock Osweiler, Tyrod Taylor, Christian Hackenberg/Josh McCown, and Blake Bortles.
Some are still young and unproven while others like Bortles have questionable futures. These 11 players are the bottom of most rankings. Some might move up a couple of these players but not likely very much higher.
It leaves six players at the position that fall into the range of 16 to 21 and that is where Ryan Tannehill tends to land in many rankings. Of the remaining players I view Ryan Tannehill to be slightly better at this stage of his career than the others on this list.
Marcus Mariota has a high ceiling but it hasn’t been realized yet and that also goes for Jameis Winston as well. Kirk Cousins I believe is underrated and should fall into the upper 20 rankings while veteran Sam Bradford would probably sit around 21 as one of those quarterbacks that could go lower on some rankings.
The name that seems to get the most attention these days is Dak Prescott and while Prescott had an incredibly impressive rookie season he was behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL with one of the top running backs in the NFL. In other words, as far as rookies go, Prescott had it really good. I’m not ready to anoint him a top 15 ranking just yet and for that matter I’m not putting him ahead of Tannehill either.
I do believe that Tannehill’s ranking should be at 16 just outside the top 15. As quarterbacks go there has been a lot of growth from the Dolphins signal caller and he continues to grow, albeit not a pace many fans would like to see. Tannehill will enter his 6th NFL season in 2017 and his second under Adam Gase. Expectations are high and if he can take another step forward this year he could very well climb into the top 15.