Matt Miller, lead draft writer at Bleacher Report, released what he thought were the top 65 quarterbacks in the NFL yesterday, and while I agree with most of his list, his placement of Tom Brady is questionable.
Here is Miller’s top five:
1) Peyton Manning
2) Phillip Rivers
3) Russell Wilson
4) Aaron Rodgers
5) Tom Brady
He has five categories he grades them on, ‘Accuracy’, ‘Arm Strength’, ‘Decision Making’, ‘Mechanics’, and ‘Mobility’. He gives each quarterback a score out of 100, and the ranks them based on that. Manning scored a 95, Rivers a 92, Wilson a 91, Rodgers a 91, and Brady a 90.
New faces at the wide receiver and tight end position meant a less accurate Tom Brady (6’4”, 225 lbs, 14 seasons) in 2013. The timing and chemistry shown in previous seasons wasn’t there early on, and both Brady and the Patriots struggled because of it. While he was back on point per usual by season’s end, we can’t ignore the early-season struggles to put the ball on target with his receivers.
Whether it’s a deep 9-route or a hard-thrown dig route, the ball leaves Brady’s hand with impressive zip. He’ll spin the ball underneath and can be known to throw the ball too hard at times. But when he needs to put the ball in a tight window, Brady can get it done.
A tough category to grade given all the changes in personnel this season, Brady’s decision making looks to be as sound as ever. He limited turnovers, and as the season went along, he found a rhythm and chemistry with new faces. And while his numbers didn’t show it, Brady was consistently putting the ball into the right man’s hands, even if the ball wasn’t always caught.
If you’re teaching a kid how to play quarterback, Brady’s mechanics are the textbook example of what to do. From his tall stance in the pocket to the squared feet pre-release, Brady does it all right. His motion is quick and strong, and he’s always stepping up and pointing his lead toe at his targets.
We all know Brady isn’t fast. He’ll never be a great runner, but he does move well for a player with heavy feet. When asked to slide laterally in the pocket, Brady does it with grace. Ask him to pop up and find a passing window, and he’ll do it.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, Brady’s 2013 season was a rough one as he learned to play with a new cast of characters around him. That affected his production and his on-field impact. Still, what Brady did this season was very impressive.
Based on last season, I will concede the top spot to Manning. This of course is based on his regular season performance, which was one of the greatest individual campaigns of all time. But in my opinion, Brady should have been second on this list, and someone like Wilson shouldn’t be in the same breath as Brady. If Wilson didn’t have one of the best defenses of all time backing him up, he wouldn’t have gotten close to the Super Bowl. Phillip Rivers is extremely underrated in my opinion, but he doesn’t deserve to be ranked above Brady. In terms of pure arm talent, Rodgers is the best of all of these guys. But he doesn’t know the game like a Brady or a Manning, plus he was injured for a good portion of 2013.
Obviously I am biased. I’m not going to pretend like I’m not. But given the lack of talent Brady was given for the 2013 season, I think he played extremely well, possibly the best he has ever done. He took a team ravaged by injury to a 12-4 record, the second seed in the AFC, and one game away from advancing to the Super Bowl. As I just said, Manning can have the top spot, but Brady definitely deserved to be right behind him.
This is what I would have the top five be:
1) Peyton Manning
2) Tom Brady
3) Andrew Luck
4) Phillip Rivers
5) Aaron Rodgers