ESPN produced their fourth annual QB rankings, where NFL quarterbacks are place in tiers based on the votes from a 50-person panel of NFL insiders. There are five tiers, with Tier 1 being the best and Tier 5 the worst. How were they ranking the QBs?
The higher the tier, the less help the quarterback needs to be effective, especially when circumstances inevitably call for him to flourish in pure passing situations -- those highly pressurized times when handing off or running with the ball do not cut it, and the quarterback must win from the pocket for his team to have a chance.
Based on that description you can kind of guess where this heading. Dak Prescott has been consistently downgraded by many since he plays on a team with an excellent offensive line, a powerful running game and plenty of weapons to help him. No matter that his rookie year was one for the ages, and when called upon, he rallied the team to comebacks and victories. It wasn’t enough to get him any further than 14th in the rankings, the top of Tier 3.
At the top you get the usual suspects like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, they were joined in the Tier 1 group by Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
Tier 2 consisted of Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins.
It kind of feels like Manning’s ranking is a little bit of reputation from previous years and from winning Super Bowls. One of the insiders said he could be a Tier 1 on some days and a Tier 4 on others. Heck, he can be both of those in one game. Cousins gets credit for being able to win games with a poor performing defense and suspect running game. He comes in one spot ahead of Prescott.
Leading off Tier 3 is Prescott. Here are a few of the things the insiders said about Dak.
"I feel like he is a high-Tier 3, possibly low-Tier 2 guy, but I feel like a lot of the reason he was so good is because of everything around him -- the line, the running back, the weapons, the coordinator," a defensive coach said. Twenty-four of the 50 voters knew this and still put Prescott in the second tier.
"I thought his year was brilliant," an offensive coordinator said. "He played like he was a veteran. He played within himself. He did not do stupid stuff. He used his legs, he was accurate as all get out. Then with the press, how he handled things, the team, showing up at Mississippi State women's basketball games -- I just liked everything he did this year. Way beyond the normal."
Prescott got good reviews, but people basically wondered if he could be as good with less to work with. This is a very hard question to answer, but if Ezekiel Elliott misses games because of suspension, we might get to see Dak asked to do a little more than usual.
Carson Wentz ended up at #21 in the bottom of Tier 3.
So BTB, did Dak get slighted? Of are the rankings legit?