Young Guns

Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck are the two of the best young QBs in the NFL

I really need to stop reading comments for articles on

I was reading an article called "The Changing of the Guard" by Gil Brandt, and it ranked the top 5 young QBs in the game. Not surprisingly, the #1 QB was Andrew Luck, which I can understand, he's still one of the most technically sound QBs in the game, he's got the size, enough arm strength to make every throw, and he's athletic to boot. He's also the heartbeat of the offense on the Colts, they go where he goes. What surprised me was that Russell Wilson was ranked #5. Behind Colin Kaepernick (4), Matthew Stafford (3), and Cam Newton (2). That didn't even really bother me, what got me was this, a commenter saying that Wilson was "the least explosive of all of them, and not capable of taking over the game. He relies on his defense and running game to bail him out". This got me thinking, How do those 5 QBs actually stack up? So I decided to do some digging, I'll be using Pro Football Reference and Football Outsiders to make my judgement and only use ESPN for team stats, they're easier to organize there.

First off, let's look at all the different teams as a whole, since this commenter, who shall now be know as "Peter", which means "rock", because that seems to be his mental capacity, said that Wilson relies on his defense and running game, we'll see how the other teams stack up in that regard.

Seattle may have the top scoring defense, but Carolina and San Fran have spots 2 and 3 respectively, so that really puts a damper on his argument, and I was surprised to find that Detroit's defense is actually middle of the road, and actually top 10 in rush defense. Indy's defense isn't good though, so we've gotta give Luck some credit there.

Running game wise, I was surprised to find out that the Panther's running game wasn't in the top 10, they're #11 in terms of running the ball, and tied with Seattle in rushing TDs at 14 TDs, which is ranked 13th. San Fran has a better running game than Seattle, and that's likely because of the offensive line that they've got, it's a beastly group. Detriot's running game really isn't that ba...HOLY CRAP!!! Really, at first glance, the Lions ran the ball well, 4 YPC, 15 TDs, 112 Yards per game, but oh my lord the fumbles. NINETEEN FUMBLES. Seattle had 6, San Fran had 7, and Carolina had 3 (the only one they lost was against us), and Indy had 3, so Detroit had more fumbles than all the other teams combined. Indy's running game wasn't good yards wise, but they still had more running TDs than the Seahawks and Panthers did (I know, that surprised me too). San Fran's running game was best among these teams on all counts, yards, TDs, YPC, though I suppose not fumbles.

I don't have any way to really grade these teams, but overall, by my (totally biased) judgement, I'd have to say that the Seahawks are #1 with a close second in San Fran, and then Carolina, then Detroit, then about five other "and then"s and we get to Indy.

Now that that's out of the way, we've gotten to the QBs themselves. Statistically, the best are (in order):

Yards: Stafford, Luck, Newton, Wilson, Kaepernick

TDs: Stafford, Wilson, Newton, Luck, Kaepernick

Completion #: Wilson, Newton, Luck, Stafford, Kaepernick

Ints: Kaepernick, Wilson/Luck (tie), Newton, Stafford

YPA: Wilson, Kaepernick, Stafford, Newton, Luck

Passer Rating: Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton, Luck, Stafford

ANY/A: Wilson, Kaepernick, Stafford, Luck, Newton

DYAR: Kaepernick, Wilson, Stafford, Luck, Newton

YAR: Stafford, Wilson, Kaepernick, Luck, Newton

DVOA: Kaepernick, Wilson, Stafford, Luck, Newton

VOA: Wilson, Kaepernick, Stafford, Luck, Newton

There are 11 different stats up there, both derived and counting for 2013, none were cherry picked. Wilson is either 1 or 2 (or tied for 2) in all but 1 of them. He's never last. He's #1 in 5, he's #2 in 5. Let's count that in points, with 5 for #1, 4 for #2 and so on (3.5 points for the 2nd place tie in INTs):

Wilson: 41.5,

Stafford: 34,

Kaepernick: 33,

Luck: 25.5

Newton: 22.

Now lets add points based on teams: with double the values of the stat ranking, from bottom up (since the colts are so bad, we'll give Luck 12 points for that instead of 10).

The Final Rankings are

#1 Wilson: 43.5

#2 Stafford: 42

#3 Luck: 37.5 (I swear I didn't give an extra 2 points to bump him ahead of Kaepernick, I just think that, other than Luck and Mathis, the Colts suck)

#4 Kaepernick: 37

#5 Newton: 28

This is by no means definitive, these are always open to interpretation. I also didn't include playoffs, but that would have actually helped Wilson, he would have had fewer INTs than both Luck and Kaepernick, and also would have tied Stafford for TDs.

I just wanted to prove that Wilson doesn't just rely on his team. He's gotten them out of jams just as they've gotten him out of them (he'd be tied with Luck and Newton for game 4th Quarter comebacks, and would have led in game winning drives if I'd counted those).

Suck it Peter.

EDIT: I decided to adjust all these QBs to if they'd thrown 36 passes per game, which is league average, for a total of 576 passes.

Wilson: 4752 yards, 37 TDs, 12 INTs

Kaepernick: 4475 yards, 29 TDs, 11 INTS

Luck: 3859 yards, 23 TDs, 9 INTs

Stafford: 4204 yards, 25 TDs, 17 INTs

Newton: 4090 yards, 29 TDs, 16 INTs

I don't know about you, but I think Wilson's stats look the best of all those. That looks like an MVP caliber season.

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