The ever-evolving (or devolving, relying in your perspective) debate over the definitive rankings of quarterbacks within the NFL picked up steam out of nowhere on Monday when ESPN dropped their quarterback rankings heading into the 2021 season. Dak Prescott got here in at seventh behind the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, and Matthew Stafford. And the response on the interwebs was instantly divided into two camps: one group who strongly felt that he was ranked too low, and one other that felt he was ranked a lot too excessive.
A big chunk of the discourse then narrowed to a battle between Prescott and Stafford, who was traded to the Rams this offseason and has been the topic of a number of rising hype, at the least partially pushed by his new head coach Sean McVay.
Stafford, a former first general decide in 2009, performed 12 seasons for the Detroit Lions. His profession began out with harm points, and Stafford performed in simply 13 video games in his first two years within the league. However issues began to click on for his physique and he would rattle off eight consecutive seasons with out lacking a recreation. Throughout that point, Stafford additionally broke almost each franchise passing report and led the crew again to the playoffs for the primary time in 12 seasons.
Nevertheless, Stafford’s brilliance was by no means actually sufficient to raise the Lions as a complete. He has a profession report of 74-90-1 in Detroit, by no means had greater than two consecutive successful seasons, and by no means made the playoffs in consecutive years. Granted, a lot of that was as a result of Lions being a poorly run franchise generally. Stafford’s 12 seasons in Detroit noticed 4 totally different normal managers and 4 totally different head coaches, and that was after drafting Stafford solely as a result of the franchise grew to become the primary in NFL historical past to go 0-16.
Certainly, Stafford is the most effective quarterback in franchise historical past, however solely as a result of that’s such a low bar. All through his profession Stafford averaged 4,374 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions a 12 months; he additionally averaged a 57.03 QBR and had simply 4 seasons the place he completed within the prime ten in both/each DVOA or DYAR amongst quarterbacks.
Which is all a really long-winded manner of claiming that Stafford has carried out admirably for a primary general decide, and realistically has been the best former first general decide shortly now, however hasn’t modified the sport or turn out to be a drive to be reckoned with in the way in which that different quarterbacks, like Rodgers and Brady, have. That’s a reasonably excessive bar for anybody, however is definitely the goal (or at the least must be) when you choose a quarterback first general.
Prescott, then again, is considered by a drastically totally different scope. For starters, he’s solely performed 42% of the video games Stafford has. And as a former fourth spherical decide, the expectations for Prescott at his second of drafting have been considerably decrease.
We mentioned the Dak and Stafford topic amongst a number of others on the newest episode of The 75O with Tony Casillas. Ensure that to subscribe to the Running a blog The Boys podcast community (accessible on Apple units right here or for Spotify customers proper right here) so that you don’t miss any of our episodes!
Nonetheless, Prescott has had a significantly better profession up to now than Stafford. He’s averaging 4,090 yards a season, which is decrease than Stafford, but in addition averaged 30 touchdowns and simply 9 interceptions a season to this point. And whereas Domonique Foxworth isn’t right about Prescott’s worst QBR relative to Stafford’s profession excessive, Dak’s common QBR of 70.66 is considerably larger than Stafford’s common. Moreover, Prescott has completed two of his 4 full seasons within the prime ten in both/each DVOA or DYAR, and was within the prime ten in 2020 earlier than struggling his harm.
And whereas quarterback wins are removed from a robust indicator of quarterback play, Prescott’s résumé in that regard definitely outshines Stafford’s. His 2-3 report in 2020 was the primary time Prescott completed with a shedding report on the 12 months, and it got here throughout a five-game stretch during which he was placing up career-best numbers whereas his protection was traditionally horrible. Moreover, Prescott’s 1-2 report within the playoffs is marginally higher than Stafford’s 0-3 playoff report, particularly if you bear in mind the disparity in profession video games performed.
No one is ever going to agree on participant rankings, particularly on the quarterback place, and finally these sorts of issues don’t matter in any respect. However each Prescott and Stafford have put collectively a reasonably statistically dependable pattern measurement at this level, and the info largely means that Prescott has been the higher quarterback. That would probably change this 12 months, each with Prescott getting back from harm and Stafford seeing an enormous improve in surrounding expertise going from the Lions to the Rams. However for now, it’s apparent that Prescott is best than Stafford.