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“The best QB not named Patrick Mahomes” is the most riveting debate in sports right now. PFF adds a layer to the discussion by concluding — from some advanced stats — that Deshaun Watson is actually close to being as good as Mahomes.
“Deshaun is not far off,” PFF says.
Deshaun Watson’s only getting better 👀 pic.twitter.com/YD0nZYQLoU
— PFF (@PFF) November 27, 2020
Watson gets lost in the “QB to build a team around after Mahomes” discussion. (We assume that Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, who are the second and third best respectively, are not part of this conversation because of age.)
Last season, it was all Lamar Jackson. Despite Jackson’s MVP season and an unfavorable position with Houston and Bill O’Brien, Watson has often looked like the better QB. Jackson has declined at an alarming rate, but Watson hasn’t been the beneficiary of this decline.
OutKick’s Gary Sheffield argued in a smart piece that Murray is now the best QB under 30 not named Patrick Mahomes. Sheffield isn’t alone in his thinking.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky says the correct answer is Joe Burrow.
I’m more bullish on Burrow and Murray than Jackson, whom I have grave concerns about moving forward. That said, mark me down for Watson. Over the past six games, he’s 141-of-200 and has 16 total touchdowns and zero turnovers. Those are MVP numbers alone — especially on a putrid squad like Houston.
Like Mahomes, Watson shines brightest in big games. There are few plays a QB has to make that Watson can’t make.
Having said that, PFF is, to use their words, “far off” in their full statement. Yes, Watson is great and getting better, but no, he isn’t close to Mahomes. Nor is Jackson, Murray, or Burrow. Mahomes is one of a kind. He’s Aaron Rodgers meets John Elway.
I’m not saying Mahomes will be the G.O.A.T, not yet at least. However, if you were to write the script of the G.O.A.T’s first two and half seasons as a starter, it would look identical to Mahomes’ career thus far.
At 25, Mahomes is a Super Bowl champion, a Super Bowl MVP, and a league MVP. He’s also currently the best QB in football. Not even Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning pulled that far away from their competition at any one point in their careers.
While I’m not betting on it, the odds favor Mahomes to win a second MVP and a second Super Bowl this season. At that point, we’d have to change the discussion to the “best young QB who is not even close to Mahomes but better than the rest.”
This would be the best-case scenario for the NFL. Mahomes would then become the definitive face of the league, and he would vie for all-time greatness for the next 15 years among a growing list of other potential young superstar QBs.
And the non-Mahomes QB options are thrilling.
In addition to Jackson, Watson, Murray and Burrow, there’s Justin Herbert, whose arm talent is greater than all four. Trevor Lawrence will join the NFL next year, and his play resembles that of Andrew Luck. Finally, Derek Carr, who is back to pre-injury-level great, is only 29.
The NFL has never been better. Patrick Mahomes’ NFL, that is.