The Athletic recently spoke to 50 NFL coaches and executives about NFL quarterbacks and how they should be ranked in tiers from one to five.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, unsurprisingly, was listed as a tier one quarterback, along with Aaron Rogers, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert.
“Burrow is a young Tom Brady,” said one general manager who voted for Burrow to be included in tier one. “I think Herbert has shown he can do it in doses. Burrow is a step ahead. I think his mind is a lot quicker than Herbert’s. Burrow wins with his brain, and he has had to, because he played behind probably the worst offensive line ever to go to the Super Bowl.”
Not everyone, however, agreed that Burrow should be a tier-one quarterback.
An anonymous quarterbacks coach explained to The Athletic why he thinks Burrow is really a tier two quarterback.
“He got fooled on that fourth down in the Super Bowl,” said the quarterbacks coach. “He predetermines a lot of his quick game. They’ll spread it out and try to show him the picture. When you can change the look for him, I think the kid locks in and some of these guys. Once you get a book on them a little bit, you can make these guys struggle a little. I’m not saying this is a guy you are going to take off the map. The kid is a competitor. I’m just saying he clearly predetermines some things and until he grows out of that, he is a good (tier) 2 for me.”
I’m not sure that quarterbacks coach has actually watched Burrow play. Sure, there are situations when Burrow predetermines where he’s going with the ball — all quarterbacks will do that from time to time.
But this is also a quarterback who can improvise with the best of them.
Remember this play from the SEC Championship game a few years ago?
Nothing about that play was predetermined.
This feels like a coach who is grasping at straws a bit. Burrow had an incredible sophomore season, throwing for over 4,500 yards and leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance.
And it’s not like Burrow threw an insane amount of interceptions. He threw fewer than Herbert and Josh Allen. Burrow also threw just one more interception than Mahomes and just two more than Brady.
The numbers and results don’t lie. I can’t think of another quarterback I’d choose over Burrow if I was starting an NFL franchise today. Burrow wins and he’s one of the best young leaders in the NFL. What more could you want?
Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports