Where does Tua rank among NFL Quarterbacks?

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By: Marek Brave (@MBrave13)

Scrolling through Twitter a few days ago, I came across this ranking of NFL quarterbacks done by Jarrett
Bailey (@JBaileyNFL).

Jarrett is a talented writer who has worked with Sports Illustrated, FanSided, Pro Football Network, and more and is a quality Twitter follow if you can forgive his pro wrestling tweets. However, I wasn’t too excited to see his assessment of Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, and I’m sure you aren’t either. According to a reply on his Twitter account, Bailey is ranking the quarterbacks based on a “combination of potential, who (he’d) want going forward, and how they’ve performed thus far.”

After reading over his list a few times, I decided to critique the rankings and determine where I’d realistically put Tua if I were a GM building a team to try and win a Super Bowl in the next five seasons. The NFL has always been a “what have you done for me now” league, so I’m not looking for quarterbacks who have had success in the past. I want someone who can lead me boldly into the future!

Quarterbacks 1-10

While I wouldn’t rank them in the same order, and I wouldn’t include Justin Herbert in my top 10 based on one good rookie season, I don’t have any problems with having each of these guys ranked above Tua at the current time. Four of these quarterbacks have won Super Bowls in the past, while the other six have flashed some serious potential during their time in the league. Tua has some work to do to get on this level, but I do not doubt that by the end of the 2021 season, he will find himself grouped with these talented signal-callers.

Quarterbacks 11-20

Here is where I start to take umbrage with Jarrett’s rankings. First, Wentz at fourteen. Wentz’s former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, didn’t even believe in Carson’s ability to lead the team back to a Super Bowl, so they traded him to Indianapolis. Is he a top-half starting quarterback in the league? I’m not buying it. Now, being reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, might get Wentz back on track, but I, like many other NFL GMs, don’t currently hold him in high regard and would prefer Tua if I were trying to win a Super Bowl in the next five seasons.

The next quarterback who I feel is ranked too high is Ben Roethlisberger. Jarrett is a big Steelers fan, so I’m willing to forgive the homer-ism here, but for me personally, I don’t see much success in Big Ben’s future. He may only play one more season, so winning a Super Bowl in the next five years really comes down to winning a Super Bowl next year for Roethlisberger. I can’t see that happening because Ben has dealt with injuries the past couple of seasons and isn’t the QB he was in his younger days. Give me Tua instead.

Finally, Alex Smith at twenty is glaringly too high, in my opinion. Listen, no one is taking away what Smith went through to be able to lace up his cleats and come back from the life-threatening leg injury he suffered in November 2018. His hard work and determination were incredible and the fact that he was able to return to the NFL and suit up for the Washington Football Team this past season was nothing short of miraculous. That being said, does anyone think Smith has top 20 QB play left in him at this age? I sure don’t. Line up all 32 starting QBs in the NFL schoolyard style, and Tua is picked before Alex Smith 100% of the time.

Quarterbacks 21-32

Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but his arm is shot, and he’s all but done for the New Orleans Saints. His retirement announcement should be coming within the next few weeks. I wouldn’t have even included him on this list.

Cam Newton just resigned with the New England Patriots, and fans of rival AFC East teams rejoiced. In his prime, Cam was one of the most exciting young players in the NFL, but those days have disappeared in the rearview mirror. I don’t envision him finishing the 2021 season as a starting QB in the league.

The Carolina Panthers have not tried to hide that they are more than ready to move on from Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. They were in on Matthew Stafford. They’re chomping at the bit to make an offer to Houston for Deshaun Watson if/when he becomes available. Teddy is on the fast-track to backup QB duty in the league. He will never win a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback in the NFL, and if he does, I’ll print this article out and eat it live on the internet for your entertainment.

Gardner Minshew has a killer mustache. What he doesn’t have is a lot of victories as starting QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will clearly be replaced this offseason when Urban Meyer and Co. draft Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. I believe that Minshew will find himself another starting QB job in his future, but he better makes the most of that opportunity because it will most likely be his last chance to prove himself as a starter in the league.

Tua at 28?

I know it’s trendy to hate on The Left Arm of God™  based on the hype he received coming into the league. Did he disappoint during his rookie campaign in some people’s eyes? Sure. But we have to remember that he was coming off major hip surgery and didn’t benefit from a proper training camp or preseason to acclimate himself to life in the NFL.  He was thrust into the starting job for Miami, and his top pass catchers immediately got injured. He ended up throwing the ball to a one-legged DeVante Parker, a one-armed Mike Gesicki, a special teamer in Mack Hollins, and two rookie former college QBs in Lynn Bowden and Malcolm Perry, not to mention his offensive line had three rookies who also didn’t receive the benefit of a proper camp or preseason. Tua will be a good QB in the NFL, and I can’t wait to see the jump he makes from year one to year two.

My Rankings

I had my chance to dissect Jarrett’s rankings, so now here is his shot to come for mine. If you want in on the action, hit me up on Twitter to tell me why I suck as a writer and don’t forget to remind me of the time I messed up that Shooting Star Press back in 2006. Here we go!

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Tom Brady
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Deshaun Watson
  6. Josh Allen
  7. Lamar Jackson
  8. Matthew Stafford
  9. Dak Prescott
  10. Baker Mayfield
  11. Ryan Tannehill
  12. Kyler Murray
  13. Justin Herbert
  14. Joe Burrow
  15. Matt Ryan
  16. Tua Tagovailoa
  17. Derek Carr
  18. Kirk Cousins
  19. Jared Goff
  20. Carson Wentz
  21. Jimmy Garoppolo
  22. Gardner Minshew
  23. Sam Darnold
  24. Teddy Bridgewater
  25. Ben Roethlisberger
  26. Daniel Jones
  27. Jalen Hurts
  28. Drew Lock
  29. Jameis Winston
  30. Mitch Trubisky
  31. Cam Newton
  32. Taysom Hill

Disclaimer: If Ryan Fitzpatrick decides to play this year, I’d have him ranked somewhere in the 18-20 range.