Quarterback rankings always stir the pot with fans and analysts. Everyone has their own opinion, as evidenced by the polarizing career of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. After 11 seasons in the NFL, Detroit fans still can’t come to an agreement as to whether he’s nearly an elite quarterback or if the Lions need to move on from him.
A panel of NFL.com writers took their best crack at evaluating Stafford—along with the other 56 NFL quarterback who started a game in 2019. Each of the four writers simply ranked all of those quarterbacks which created an average composite score to produce a comprehensive ranking of NFL quarterbacks in 2019.
Even though he only played half of the season, Stafford landed eighth on the list, tied with division rival Kirk Cousins. Although one writer said he was playing at an even higher level before his injury.
“One of the lone bright spots on an otherwise-dreadful squad, Stafford played like a top-five quarterback before microfractures in his back shut him down halfway through the year,” NFL editor Ali Bhanpuri wrote.
The ranking was based solely on 2019, which makes some of their other choices a bit peculiar. For example, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers placed one spot above Cousins and Stafford at seven.
Don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is still a very dangerous quarterback, as we saw in the divisional round of the playoffs, but statistically speaking, there’s no doubt that Kirk Cousins had a better year, and Stafford likely would have, too, had he played the entire season. Just look at the stats:
Rodgers: 62.0% completions, 7.0 Y/A, 26 TDs, 4 INTs, 95.4 passer rating, 50.4 QBR
Cousins: 69.1 % completions, 8.1 Y/A, 26 TDs, 6 INTs, 107.4 passer rating, 58.4 QBR
Stafford: 64.3% completion, 8.6 Y/A, 19 TDs, 5 INTs, 106.0 passer rating, 69.6 QBR
It’s not just that this NFL.com list is giving Rodgers too much credit, it’s that his 2019 performance wasn’t anywhere close to that of Cousins or Stafford—no matter which measure of quarterback play you choose. Hell, both quarterbacks had a higher PFF grade than Rodgers, too.
On a list that specifically says “Past performances and future projections were not taken into account; rather, this list is meant to reflect where each QB stood in 2019 alone” it’s a little disappointing to see that analysts are still clinging to the fact that Rodgers is playing near an elite level when any sort of measurement short of “QB wins” shows that he isn’t. Meanwhile, Stafford and Cousins are playing at top-five level, but because their respective teams didn’t do well, they’re relegated to just inside the top-10.
Oh, and in case you were wondering Lions backup Jeff Driskel came in at 43rd while David Blough was 47th.