Some people tend to have short memories.
For 13 games of the 2017 season, there was not a single quarterback in the NFL who was playing better than Carson Wentz. He was the presumed league MVP and, even if some of his red zone and 3rd down numbers weren’t sustainable long-term, it was clear Wentz had become one of the most dynamic and winning quarterbacks in football.
Then, the knee injury happened. Nick Foles came in and won a Super Bowl. Wentz returned in Week 3 of last year and, although he put up decent numbers, the team didn’t win and he clearly wasn’t the playmaker he was the year before. We also learned he suffered a back fracture during the season and, ultimately, that injury forced him to miss the last three games of the season for the second year in a row.
So yes, Carson Wentz is under some pressure as the summer of 2019 approaches and there are some questions about his ability to stay healthy. And although the majority of the fanbase still loves Wentz, their belief in him is nowhere near as robust as when he was dominating the league two years ago.
So given all that happened last season and the uncertainty of what we’ll see from Wentz in 2019, it’s fair to revisit where he is in the pecking order of QBs. Is he still a top-10 signal caller?
Pro Football Focus would have you believe he isn’t, but here’s my list of the 10 best QBs in football heading into 2019.
1. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is the reigning MVP and his 113.8 passer rating, 50/12 TD/INT ratio, 8.79 yards per attempt (Y/A), 46 big-time throws (a PFF stat, which led the league) and ability to make the incredible plays look simple, has him on top of my list. The sky’s the limit, although it seems almost certain a slight regression should be expected. He’s not doing 50/12 again.
2. Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
Brees finished with the best rating in football (115.7), and his 5 INTs were among the lowest in the league. He completed an incredible 74.4% of his passes all while averaging 9.01 air yards per attempt (AY/A) that was 2nd only to Mahomes. If you had him at No. 1, I couldn’t argue.
3. Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has emerged as the QB who is the hardest to kill on any given play in the league. He finished with the 3rd best rating (110.9) last season, threw 35 TDs to 7 INTs with a wide receiving corps that was led by the talented, if unspectacular, Tyler Lockett (57 catches for 965 yards, 10 TDs). He is terrifying.
4. Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers
Rivers is still one of the elite passers in the game, and it’s a crime this guy has never made it to a Super Bowl. His 105.5 rating last year was 5th best in the NFL, his 8.68 AY/A was 7th, and he was ranked 4th overall by PFF as well. His 83.8 rating under pressure was 6th among qualified QBs.
5. Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
Despite being ranked as PFF’s No. 3 QB last year, his 98.7 rating was just 10th best in the NFL, and his 15 INTs were the most of anyone else on this group. As PFF mentioned, he did pick up 59.9% of his passing yards through the air, 3rd most among qualified QBs, and he was 5th in the NFL in passing yards (4593) and 2nd in TDs (39).
6. Tom Brady - New England Patriots
There’s something to be said for QBs who know how to pull it all together in the big moment, and until he officially declines, Brady is still a top-10 QB. His 97.7 rating was only 11th-best, as was his 7.79 AY/A, he ranked 7th in passing yards (4355), and he threw a mere 29 TDs. However, it’s hard to bump him down any further than this, given he just won his 6th Super Bowl title and is usually a top-3 MVP candidate year after year.
7. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
Does Rodgers make this list simply by reputation at this point? Sure, because he had the weight of Mike McCarthy around his neck all this time, and after that Bleacher Report article that came out a couple weeks ago, a vengeful Rodgers could make him even better this year. But after an injury-plagued 2017 season, he had just 25 TDs last year (with only 2 INTs, it should be noted), and was sacked 49 times last year, 5th most in the NFL. He’s still got the capability of being really good, but how often does Rodgers win the big playoff game anymore?
8. DeShaun Watson - Houston Texans
What Watson did behind one of the worst offensive lines in football last year was nothing short of spectacular. PFF graded him as the No. 11 QB, but the fact his was pressured in more dropbacks and still led the NFL is passer rating under pressure (according to PFF, 88.2), speaks volumes. Despite those headwinds, he ranked 7th in AY/A (8.48) and 6th in interception percentage. Not only that, he’s a playmaker who rushed for 551 yards and 5 TDs last year.
9. Carson Wentz - Philadelphia Eagles
This felt like the right place to put Wentz. Even in a year in which he was coming back from a terrible knee injury and suffered a back fracture midway through the season, Wentz still finished with the 7th best QB Rating (102.2), was 9th in yards per game (279.5), 3rd in completion percentage (69.6%), and 9th in AY/A (7.93). PFF graded Wentz as the 13th best QB in football last year, one spot ahead of Kirk Cousins and one spot below Andy Dalton, thanks to lackluster big-time throw percentage and turnover-worthy throw percentage numbers. But it’s fair to think he’ll be a top-10 guy in 2019 if he’s fully healthy, which is certainly a fair concern.
10. Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
It’ll be fascinating to see what Ryan can do now that Steve Sarkasian is gone. Dirk Koetter has taken over as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, and there’s no doubt Ryan has a lot of talent to work with. Last year, PFF ranked him 10th overall, even though he had the 4th-best passer rating (108.1), had a 35/7 TD/INT ratio, was 3rd in yards passing (4924), and was 5th in AY/A. That he failed to make the postseason wasn’t really his fault, but Ryan’s failure to win big games (especially the last two seasons) knocks him down this list.
Just missed: Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield
Is Wentz at No. 9 fair? If you’re still not sure, just remember what he did two seasons ago. Don’t forget he was the MVP of the entire league before he got hurt.
Because this is the player Wentz is and he’s proven that, when healthy, he’s more than a top-10 QB in the league.
He’s an MVP.