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It’s rankings season in the NFL and websites, talk shows and newspapers all do some form of rankings. Hell, here at OutKick we do them, too! QB rankings are especially fun.
But when FiveThirtyEight released its rankings of every starting and backup NFL QB for the 2022 season, I got legitimately angry. They based them off their simulation algorithm and claim to have simulated the NFL season 50,000 times, with these rankings reflective of the results. These rankings are for this season only, and future careers have no bearing.
I’ll post them here for you to see in all of their ridiculousness and then I’ll try to keep my cool below as I go through the MANY issues I have with them.
FiveThirtyEight NFL QB Rankings — Off To A Good Start
There’s no argument from me that the Josh Allen is the premiere NFL quarterback. I’ve been saying it for years — ask anyone I worked with at ESPN. Patrick Mahomes is clearly number two. Aaron Rodgers at number three is where I could start to take some issue, but overall not a big problem. Same for Tom Brady at number four. But number five is where it starts to get really interesting.
What Are They Even Doing?
As I mentioned in the open, these rankings are based only on how these quarterbacks will perform this season. How, then, can Deshaun Watson be number five? First, he’s going to miss 11 games. He better have a hell of a six-game stretch to make up for it. Second, once he does hit the field, it will have been nearly two full years since he started an NFL game. What will he look like? Plus, there’s all the questions and pressure he’s going to face from the media and fans. But according to FiveThirtyEight, he’s the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL. I like bold claims, but my goodness is that a doozy.
Back On Track — Kinda?
OK, Watson at five is a disaster, but we get back to reality with Justin Herbert at number six. Personally, I would actually have him higher, but six is fine considering how bad this list is about to get. Matt Stafford at seven feels a little high, but he’s a Top 10 quarterback in my view, so no major reason to quibble here. The same could be said about Dak Prescott as Matt Stafford — a little high, I would have him in the Top 12 — but still no major beef.
I love me some Kirk Cousins, as the entire OutKick staff knows based on our offline debates, but nine is extremely high. I get argued with for putting him in the Top 15 of NFL signal-callers, let alone the Top 10. Still, this isn’t nearly as egregious as it’s about to get.
Kyler Murray at 10 actually feels exactly right to me.
Now They’re Just Trying To Anger NFL Fans
OK, at this point you might be thinking, “Dan, their Top 10 isn’t that bad. What are you so upset about?”
To that I would first say, get out of my head because that’s exactly what I was thinking that you were thinking. But then I would say this: buckle up. It’s about to get wild.
Joe Burrow is ranked 11th. That’s borderline criminal. I would debate whether or not he belongs in my Top 5, but Top 10 is an absolute lock. Having Joe Burrow behind Kirk Cousins is the stuff made for the hot take machines on TV, not for a so-called analytics site like FiveThirtyEight. Burrow led his team to the Super Bowl, and nearly a victory, behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. The number bear that out. The numbers that a “numbers site” like 538 should know.
The Line Has Been Crossed
But arguably the most egregious ranking in the entire list comes right after Burrow. Mitch Trubisky, who just narrowly beat out third round rookie Kenny Pickett and awful backup Mason Rudolph, is listed at #12. He’s ahead of Lamar Jackson. Above of Russell Wilson. Over Derek Carr.
The fact that there are nearly five times as many quarterbacks ranked behind him as ranked ahead of him makes this list complete garbage. I would say crumple it up and throw it away, but this is the Internet so just … oh, I don’t know, punt your computer off your back deck or something.
Nick Foles beat out Mitch Trubisky — or Mitchell, whatever he goes by now — for the starting spot with the Bears two seasons ago and then spent last season as a backup in Buffalo. He’s apparently now among the Top 12 of NFL QBs. I bet even his parents don’t believe that. Hell, I bet HE doesn’t even believe that. Wow. I need a moment.
But Wait, There’s More QB Ranking Madness
I’m not going to go through all of the ridiculousness because this post is already long and research shows that based on attention span only like 15 of you are still reading. By the way, if you are still reading, congratulations on having an adult attention span.
Some of the more appalling rankings include Eagles backup QB Gardner Minshew at 18th, ahead of Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill and Mac Jones; the aforementioned Nick Foles (23rd) ahead of the man he’s backing up, Matt Ryan (38th); Colt McCoy at 22, Drew Lock at 24, and Nick Mullens at 32.
All of those quarterbacks are backups for a reason — they’ve all been in the league for multiple years and have never proven their worth as starters. Yet, 538 says all of them are better than Matt Ryan, Trevor Lawrence, and Baker Mayfield. You might believe that. I certainly don’t.
Go take a look for yourself and tell me what you think is the most ridiculous ranking. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. You can also drop me a line on Twitter. I could spend all day talking about quarterback rankings, especially bad ones. And this is most certainly a bad one.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak