There is no position in the NFL that is more parsed than quarterback. Mistakes are always remembered more than triumph. And there’s a narrative that wins are a stat that shows how good quarterbacks are.
There are some amazing passers in this league who constantly receive less credit than they should. We’re diving into that topic now as we highlight the five NFL quarterbacks who are consistently underrated.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ask most fans right now to rank the quarterbacks in the NFC South, and it’s likely most would put Drew Brees and Tom Brady over Matt Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons gunslinger heartily disagrees, of course. And I’m not sure I’d agree with that consensus, either.
Throwing wins out of the equation, Ryan has proved over the course of his career that he’s an elite NFL passer.
Last season, he ranked fifth in the league with 4,466 yards passing, with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Since his rookie season in 2008, Ryan has averaged 4,266 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions per season. Ryan has also been remarkably healthy, missing just three games in 12 seasons. He’s well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
It’s not Jimmy Garoppolo’s fault he plays for a team with perhaps the most talented overall roster in the NFL. Yet fans and analysts alike consistently mention that in conversations about how he’s somehow overrated. Pshaw.
In his first full season as a starter in the NFL, Garoppolo shredded for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers last year.
He was fourth in the league with 61 passes over 20 yards, third in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.4) while completing 69.1% of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns compared to just 13 interceptions. Garoppolo almost won it all with the 49ers last year but faltered down the stretch in Super Bowl 54. That doesn’t make him a bad quarterback.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles fans may underrate Carson Wentz more than anyone else. They still pine for Nick Foles whenever the still-young former South Dakota star makes a mistake. However, there is no doubt that Wentz has elite traits you just cannot teach, and he’s absolutely deadly on the move.
Injuries have been a large part of the narrative that surrounds Wentz. Last year, however, he started all 16 games for the injury-depleted Eagles, who late in the season barely had enough warm bodies at wide receiver to even play a game. Despite many challenges, Wentz completed 63.9% of his passes for 4,039 yards with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Now with more talent at his disposal in 2020, he has a chance to get the respect he deserves.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
By now, you’re probably aware that Cousins has a ghastly record against teams with winning records. He isn’t necessarily the most clutch quarterback in the NFL, to be sure. But last year, he finally broke out of that mold with a huge win against the New Orleans Saints.
He also consistently makes big-time throws for the Minnesota Vikings.
None of this, of course, has stopped his haters from taking every chance they get to troll him. But don’t let that fool you. Cousins is a darn good quarterback. In 93 career games, the former fourth-round pick out of Michigan State has completed 66.9% of his passes for 24,107 yards with 155 touchdowns and 71 interceptions.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
There may not be a more underrated quarterback in the NFL than Las Vegas Raiders star Derek Carr. That’s a case Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic made recently in a preview of the upcoming season.
“There’s no perfect, all-encompassing quarterback metric, but looking at the more useful ones, Carr was a top-10 quarterback last season,” Kapadia wrote. “EPA per dropback strips out garbage time — when a team is leading by a significant amount or trailing by a significant amount. Carr suffered from the opposite of stat-padding. His overall numbers took a hit because of negative plays when games were already out of hand.”
We’re about to find out just how good (or bad) Carr really is. The Raiders loaded up on offensive talent this past spring and have given him all the tools to succeed. Now it’s up to Carr to prove them right.
When he’s on, Carr is electric.
For what it’s worth, he’s also put up very good stats since being selected in the second round out of Fresno State back in 2014: 64% completion rate with 22,793 yards, 143 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.