The NFL’s Most Underrated Quarterbacks

Stoney Keeley lists his 5 most underrated quarterbacks in the NFL.

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It’s peak offseason at this point on the calendar, and that means you’re getting peak offseason content. We’re ranking rosters. We’re ranking players by position. Never mind the fact that there’s so much nuance that goes into measuring the success of a player that it’s almost impossible to truly measure a player’s impact over another. We don’t care about reason and shit like that. We just want our top 10 lists. I’m no different. I fall for the clickbait every single year. I’ll see a list and catch myself clenching my fist and grinding my teeth when I see Will Levis ranked 32 of 32 starting quarterbacks.

So, I have decided to make a stand. There are five guys that I’m damn sick and tired of hearing lumped into the “sucks” category. So, I’m going to list ’em out and explain why I think they’re underrated. By the way, here’s how I’m defining the term underrated: guys that non-ball-knowers will see and say they suck, but they don’t actually suck. Boom – how is that for science and analytics? In alphabetical order…

Jared Goff – The era of the quarterback developing into a starting role may be behind us, but it’s not extinct altogether. These days, if you’re drafted in the first round, you’re largely expected to come in and be an x-factor right away. That wasn’t the case for Goff, and it feels like people are holding onto those early days when evaluating the guy. But, open up those eyes, baby! Goff has been on one these last two seasons with the Lions. Maybe it’s the sweet spot of playing in a sick offense for a hot shot coordinator surrounded by talent, but Goff deserves credit for stepping up and seizing command of that offense. The traits I think are particularly underrated about Goff are his anticipation, ball placement, decisiveness, his accuracy throwing into tight windows, and the fearlessness it takes to hit on those throws consistently. Goff plays some big boy quarterback and deserves to be respected for it.

Sam Howell – I can’t get over the rumor that Washington had to ship Howell out of town because they were worried he was too much of an alpha for a rookie quarterback to win the competition against. Why would you trade a guy like that? Did Washington just have its mind made up without an honest assessment? Did the whole ‘rookie contract’ philosophy come into play here considering Howell is already two years into the league? I don’t know, but he landed in Seattle nonetheless. I was so impressed with Howell’s ability to do more with less last season. At one point, he was leading the league in passing yards! Sure, he has some weapons to throw to, but that offensive line was so damn bad that Howell was fighting for his life on every other snap. He still has some maturing to do, but Howell is a bona fide tough guy that plays with a fearless nature in pushing the ball down the field. The guy has guts, underrated mobility, and a big play factor that you look for in every quarterback.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself, Sam.

Baker Mayfield – Mayfield’s early days in Cleveland developed a reputation for the guy that I’m not so sure rings true anymore. He’s in the same category as Goff – “sometimes, it just takes a few seasons to settle in.” Mayfield was cast as a turnover machine early on in his career, but after bouncing around from Cleveland to Carolina to Los Angeles to now settling down in Tampa Bay, he’s proven that he can be a stabilizing force at the position. He’s honed in his reckless hero ball a little bit, and has shown an ability to run the offense and make layered throws instead of just looking for the big play. The maturation of Mayfield has bought Tampa Bay some time in looking for their next guy.

Gardner Minshew – He’s the ultimate fringe guy between capable starter and elite backup. The personality stuff was fun at first, but it quickly wears on people when it’s constantly forced down our throats. I get it. No big deal. But, it overshadows what a reliable guy Minshew is. There’s something to be said for a realtime processor that can hit his back step and immediately rip the ball to the right read. Sure, he has some reckless tendencies that get him in trouble (not just turnovers, but stepping out the back of his own end zone). But, Minshew is not just a silly personality. He’s a guy that can win you some games.

Tua Tagovailoa – The injuries are a concern, but Tua ends up the butt of the joke too often. Maybe it’s his draft position and the hype with which he entered the NFL that did him in, but he’s underrated as a great pure thrower of the football. As he’s gotten his sea legs in the NFL, he’s become an assassin over the middle, throwing daggers and layering throws at all levels of the field. Sure, he has some speedy, shifty guys that are explosive, making big plays in the open field, but he still has to be a facilitator to get them those opportunities. Maybe he lives in the shadow of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert from that draft class, but he’s a better quarterback than he’s given credit for.

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Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley.

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