This week, there have been several follow-up pieces *cough* to my most excellent breakdown *cough* on the NFL's best backup quarterbacks, including this one from Chris Wesseling that categorizes the league's quarterbacks (similar to what I prefer to do over numerical rankings), and this one from NFL.com which talks about Russell Wilson's top-fiveyness (but not with the ironic tone that @BestGuyAround uses here).
The most interesting piece though, I think, is from Mike Sando at ESPN.com (insider). For it, Sando "asked 26 league insiders to grade every projected starting quarterback on a 1-5 scale, with 'one' reserved for the best and 'five' for the worst. Eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive participated."
Tier One was comprised of exactly who you'd think it would be: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers *cough* and Andrew Luck. Wait, what was that last one you tried to sneak in? Andrew Luck? More from Sando on that later, but more importantly, where does Russell Wilson figure into all of this? Eight. Eighth. Tied for Eighth. That's where. Oh, and in Tier Two.
Everyone likes Wilson. But not everyone loves him, especially when it comes to projecting how a 5-foot-10 QB would fare without a dominant defense and running game on his side. Still, Wilson came in ahead of Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, three other young, mobile QBs.
"I love Russell Wilson," one GM said. "I like him for the intangibles, which Kaepernick has not displayed. I have Wilson as a three and think he might ascend to a two. I don't think he will ever be a one. Kaepernick has a chance to be a one, but he also has a chance to be a three or a four."
Evaluators across the board lauded Wilson for his decision-making, both with the football and in avoiding big hits when scrambling.
Still, some said they wanted to see more from Wilson in terms of decision-making and downfield accuracy from within the pocket. "He has a curl-flat wide open and cannot see it, so he spins out and rips it 40 yards downfield to make an amazing big play," one evaluator said.
A head coach said he'd rather have Sam Bradford than Wilson purely from a talent standpoint.
As noted previously, the numbers from Wilson and Kaepernick from within the pocket are solid, but that doesn't mean people in the league perceive them as effective pocket passers. One head coach said teams with good game plans have taken away escape routes and made Wilson struggle. Injuries at receiver and along the offensive line have not helped. "I want them to win games from the pocket at some point," one GM said of shorter QBs. "That is what will separate Russell Wilson -- besides a great 'D' -- from the Doug Fluties of the world. Eventually, you made them beat you from the pocket and they could not do it. Maybe he ascends to the bottom of that one tier, but I see him probably more top of the second."
You'll notice that Wilson is ranked #8.
Behind #5 Andrew Luck, you'll find #6 Phillip Rivers (I get it), #7 Ben Roethlisberger (ok), and a four-way tie at #8 -- Wilson with Matt Ryan (yeah, that makes sense), Tony Romo (he's better than the narrative says he is, ok?), and Eli Manning (uh). I actually don't have much of a problem with these rankings overall. About where I'd put things, with the exception of maybe Big Ben and Eli, but I'm not going to raise a stink about it because I haven't closely studied every single quarterback from every single game this past year.
Following Wilson in Tier Two, you'll find #12 Joe Flacco, #13 Matt Stafford, #14 Colin Kaepernick (this ranking will be sure to please 49er fans), and #15 Nick Foles. I would suggest perusing each team's individual SBNation sites for the blurbs on their respective quarterbacks.
Tier Three is comprised of #16 Cam Newton, #17 Jay Cutler, #18 Alex Smith, and t-#19 Andy Dalton and RG3. Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford are sitting tied at #21, and Ryan Tannehill at #23. The rest is too boring to list.