clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Top 100: Is 27 too high, too low or just right for Matthew Stafford?

The Rams’ signal caller played his best football last year when it mattered most

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With every NFL offseason comes storylines that typically wouldn’t catch any attention otherwise. That’s simply the nature of the beast. One of those storylines is the NFL’s top-100 that is released every offseason. Advertised as a list voted on by the players; fans, and somewhat ironically, the players have issues with it.

Very recently, Andrew Whitworth came out and criticized the list, calling it a joke.

Seeing some of the lists put together by some of the players, it’s hard to disagree with Big Whit on this one. As shown in the list shared by Whitworth, Trevon Diggs over Aaron Donald, let alone DeVante Adams, Jalen Ramsey, and Tyreek Hill doesn’t make a lot of sense. The list also shows Ja’Marr Chase being included twice.

Still, it’s the offseason and it’s something for the debate shows to talk about.

On Sunday evening, Matthew Stafford was unveiled as the 27th best player on that list. It was Stafford’s sixth appearance, besting his No. 31 ranking in 2017 and 2018. Obviously after just winning a Super Bowl and going on the run that Stafford just had, fans are going to fight for him to be higher.

Stafford’s 2021 postseason was nothing short of special. Quarterback EPA (Expected Points Added) stats go back to the 1999 season. Since then, among quarterbacks to take their teams to the Super Bowl, Stafford’s run last season ranks seventh in EPA/play.

However, with that does come recency bias. The last time we saw Stafford on the field, he threw arguably the greatest pass ever to be thrown in a Super Bowl.

Still, looking at the other players to have all-time great playoff runs, Stafford does come a little low. After not being ranked heading into the 2016 season, Matt Ryan jumped all the way to No. 10 in the 2017 list. Granted, Ryan won league MVP.

Joe Flacco was ranked No. 74 heading into the 2012 season. The Ravens quarterback landed all the way at No. 19 after his Super Bowl run. Never forget when Joe Flacco was considered elite!

The one most comparable to Stafford is Eli Manning in 2011. Manning wasn’t ranked heading into the 2011 season, but fell at No. 31 after defeating the Patriots for the second time in the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers came in at 11 after his Super Bowl run in 2010 and Patrick Mahomes landed at fourth overall after he got his first ring. Outside of Manning, precedent would say that Stafford deserves a top-20 ranking.

Looking at other top-100 lists, the NFL’s No. 27 ranking is much higher than others that have come out. Stafford came in at No. 48 on Pete Prisco’s list of CBS Sports. The Rams quarterback didn’t even crack the top-80 on Pro Football Network’s list, coming in at No. 81.

When looking at this type of list, it sometimes makes much more sense to look at it via position ranking rather than overall ranking. If you were to put all NFL players in a pool and had teams draft players in a Madden style fantasy draft, quarterbacks would likely be the first 20 or more off the board.

The only player that might get taken in that range before a quarterback would be Aaron Donald. There’s little doubt how much of an effect Donald has on a game - arguably more than the 20th best quarterback in the league.

As it currently stands, the only quarterback so far to be ranked ahead of Stafford is Joe Burrow at No. 21. Stafford currently ranks ahead of guys such as Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Dak Prescott. The list currently is missing Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. This would put Stafford as the sixth best quarterback in the NFL out of 13 on the list.

Most would say QB6 for Stafford is a pretty fair ranking. A case could certainly be made for Stafford at five ahead of Burrow. However, it’s certainly not outrageous. Both quarterbacks had good seasons and were very big reasons their teams were playing in the final game of the year. To be ranked that high after his career in Detroit shows that Stafford has earned some respect around the league.

With all of that being said, Stafford coming in at 27 in the NFL’s top-100 is a pretty fair ranking. A case could be made for the top-20, but another season like he just had, and he’ll most certainly make that jump this time next year.

The Los Angeles Rams currently have three players on the top-100 list with Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald presumably yet to come.