We have some issues with ESPN’s top 10 QB list for 2022

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We have some issues with ESPN's top 10 QB list for 2022

How was Lamar Jackson removed from this list?

How was Lamar Jackson removed from this list?
photo: Getty Images

It’s mid-July and we’re getting closer to the opening of NFL training camps, and you can feel the anticipation. There is also a whole host of pundits who write lists that rank players at various positions—particularly quarterback. ESPN caused an uproar over the weekend when it released its top 10 QBs heading into the 2022 campaign.

The list

10. Dak Prescott

9. Deshaun Watson

8. Russel Wilson

7.JustinHerbert

6. Matthew Stafford

5. Joe Burrow

4.Tom Brady

3.Josh Allen

2.Patrick Mahomes

1.Aaron Rodgers

No respect

The first glaring omission on this list is Lamar Jackson, the NFL QBs’ Rodney Dangerfield because he “get no respect“It’s like everyone has short-term memory loss. The Ravens were one of the elite AFC teams last season, while Jackson was healthy and even finished first in the conference before suffering an ankle injury in Week 14. He also has a league MVP award in his back pocket.

Deshaun Watson is one player on the list who dropped out immediately. No one has seen Watson play an NFL game since 2020 – with the Texans – and he may not play this year if he is suspended for the season. Still, Watson is ranked as the ninth-best QB by ESPN.

Through everything swirls around Deshaun and the fact that he hasn’t played in two years should have left him off this year’s list. Even if the Browns are an upgrade from his old team. And even if he’s not suspended for the whole of 2022, there’s no way Watson will be allowed to touch the field for the first four to eight weeks of the season.

Dak Prescott in 10th place also gets a lot of attention. I think it’s close but he’s a marginal top 10 guy. If we remove Watson, maybe Prescott will sneak in and Jackson will replace Deshaun.

You could also make an argument for Kyler Murray jumping ahead of Dak despite some of his off-field immaturity. Murray’s general ceiling, large arm and willingness to run would put him ahead of Prescott.

What’s holding Murray back are late-season collapses in Arizona and injuries. Murray is a smaller QB so his style of getting out of the bag and creating with his legs seems to be catching up with him already. Ultimately, I think it’s a coin toss between Prescott and Murray.

Looking at the top of this list, I have no problem with the top four players: Rodgers, Mahomes, Allen, and Brady. Whether in that exact order is up for debate; if you want to mix them up, then tap yourself out. I’m fine the way it is.

When winning is overlooked

#5 is where it takes a turn. Burrow, the rising star, is ahead of veteran Stafford, although his team defeated the former in February’s Super Bowl.

The Rams still have a good team around them Stafford, and there’s no guarantee the Bengals will return to the same heights. I might be splitting hairs at one point, but it’s crazy how Stafford still gets overlooked. Stafford won the damn Super Bowl. During the Rams’ postseason run, he rushed for nearly 300 yards per game and completed 70% of his passes.

And I’ll keep it real Looking ahead to the season, I’ll prefer Herbert Burrow. I think ’22 will be a big breakthrough year for Herbert and the Chargers. I love Herbert’s confidence and how he hangs in the pocket even under duress. He makes every throw and can also do something out of nothing with his feet. But making the playoffs out of the AFC West will be difficult, although I wouldn’t be shocked if three teams made it (sorry Raiders). This division will be a gauntlet run.

In terms of franchise QBs under the age of 25, Allen is the only one I would pick for Herbert right now. Allen’s height and athleticism coupled with the way he can move in and out of pockets make Allen a beast. Also, Allen is a bit more experienced than Herbert at this point, having had some playoff success.

And I’ll even double that and say Allen wins the MVP award this year in Buffalo. He is already outstanding and fast approaching greatness. The Bills have their young franchise leader and are built for it win now. Herbert is really good, but the Chargers aren’t ready to fight for a Super Bowl just yet.

Can Russ get it done in Denver?

Wilson is the greatest Question mark on the list. We know Russell’s résumé as a consistent Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl champion. But Wilson had one of his worst years as a pro in 21, winning 6-8 while dealing with an injury to his throwing hand. When the Seahawks retired from the running game and began “making soot boil” circa 2017, they didn’t make it past the postseason divisional round. Wilson threw just 25 TDs last year, which is his lowest total since 2016 when he only had 21.

Some believe Russ is one of the elite QBs in the league, and I tend to agree. That always elusive MVP pick that Wilson has been searching for seems to have taken center stage in recent years. We expect Denver to be a lot better with Wilson under center. But will he be enough to take them to the Super Bowl in a stacked AFC? That’s the big question. Getting out of this division is going to be hard enough.

These lists always get the blood pumping and prepare us for the long-awaited return of football. Overall, ESPN and the voters got it right for the most part, including the players. Except omitting Jackson and including Watson. Some of the order is a little off, but nothing so egregious as to bring the entire ranking down. It got me ready to start the season and see how this list holds up.

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