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The NFL, Quarterbacks, and Racism


ESPN has an annual quarterback evaluation list that surveys leading talent evaluators. It splits the QBs into tiers. As I don’t waste my money on pointless purchases, I don’t subscribe to ESPN Insider. So I can’t see the full rankings. However, this piece from a Seahawks blog rips into the list because of how low it ranks Russell Wilson, 10th in the NFL. Now, you might say this is sour grapes from a Seahawks fan. And sure. But he also makes a couple of very good points. First, some of the QBs listed above Wilson are clearly not as good as he is. Second, pretty much every overrated QB is white and every underrated QB is black. Third, this is reflected in the NFL draft.

“I’m not sure he is going to sit in the pocket and sling the ball to beat you,” a defensive coordinator said, “but he is scary when he has the ball in his hands. It is hard to separate him from the run game, the defense and Marshawn [Lynch] and all that.”

Those are the words about Wilson from one anonymous voter. Wilson led the NFL in passer rating from the pocket in 2015, playing mostly without Lynch. In fact, it’s “hard to separate him from Marshawn Lynch” despite the fact that he’s barely played alongside Beast Mode in the last two seasons.

Right. Plus Wilson has the worst offensive line in the NFL, one unlikely to be better this year. He is on the run on every play. Their projected starting left tackle is a former basketball player at Western Kentucky who was atrocious last year. He blew out his knee last week. The new starting left tackle is probably the bouncer at Tom Cable’s favorite watering hole. And it’s not like the Seahawks receivers are exactly first rate either, 40,000 Jermaine Kearse drops included.

Taking Wilson’s place in sixth is a “traditional quarterback” who was drafted 74 spots ahead of him in 2012. A player who for the first time in five seasons, finally came close to posting comparable numbers to Wilson in the regular season, though he has nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions in six playoff games, half of which he lost in blowout fashion. Wilson has made at least the second round of the playoffs in all five of his seasons. Despite playing in twice as many postseason games, Wilson has one fewer interceptions than the “traditional” QB.

That is Andrew Luck. Whether you believe Luck is the 6th best QB or not I guess depends on your perspective. He probably would be at least as good as Wilson were it not for years of Ryan Grigson, SUPERGENIUS. Instead, he is a broken shell of what he could have been. But OK.

A tie for eighth is between a guy with a 1-1 postseason record over the last seven seasons, who also has led the NFL in interceptions in two of the last three seasons, and another “traditional” QB who at his best in 2016, came close to matching Wilson who was at his worst in 2016; Another former top overall pick with a 51-58 career regular season record and an 0-3 record in the playoffs. A guy who in his playoff loss last season, to Wilson, was outplayed in every way.

Those two QBs are Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. This I cannot abide. Rivers has never done anyting but scream at his own players when they screw up and then throw another pick. He’s an alright QB, but he has in no way done as much with Wilson. As for Stafford, you have got to be kidding me. Matthew Stafford’s career record against teams with winning records is 5-46! 5-46!!!!!!!!

How is a QB who played many years with Calvin Johnson, a literal god, and has gone 5-46 against decent teams a better QB than Russell Wilson? Yes, some of that is the Lions being a bad team. But if there’s one things we do know about QBs, it’s that it’s the one position, maybe in all of sports, where the usual overrated intangible categories of leadership and making key plays in the clutch actually matters. Without Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are a garbage team. They would be worse than the Broncos are going to be this year with their great defense and whoever John Elway decides to sign to play QB in between writing letters urging the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and watching Fox and Friends.

And the fact that Wilson is rated one slot ahead of a washed up and horrible Eli Manning says it all. Anyone who would see Russell Wilson and Eli Manning as basically the same in 2017 should be far, far away from NFL talent evaluation. Which explains plenty about the laughable roster construction in the NFL.

Certainly these same NFL insiders must be concerned about the future of the league then. Since football revolves around quarterbacks, and white quarterbacks continue to be so dominant over their minority counter-parts, what are they going to do about the trend of these GMs selecting more and more black college prospects to be the face of their franchise?

In 2017, Mitchell Trubisky was the first quarterback taken, but Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and DeShone Kizer were next off the board and look to be starting for their teams by 2018.

In 2016, we had the over-rating, over-drafting of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, only for Dak Prescott to be the breakout rookie. A player who, despite playing for the Cowboys, will probably spend much of the next decade ranked behind his white counter-parts even if all of the numbers suggest otherwise. If Luck-Wilson is any indication, then either Goff or Wentz only need to be inching closer to average in order to be more highly regarded than an elite Prescott. (If that is indeed what he becomes and his rookie season is encouraging in that regard.)

In 2015, minority QBs took the top two spots in the draft.

In 2014, the draft gave us Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, then delivered Teddy Bridgewater, who up until his blown knee, was considered by many to be superior to Derek Carr, the next QB off the board that year. Execs everywhere are also champing at the bit to name Jimmy Garoppolo (next to be selected in 2014) as a champ worth a bit.

Maybe next year will prove to be a “traditional” year for quarterbacks in the draft, with Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Mason Rudolph, and Luke Falk all competing for a top selection with Lamar Jackson. Or maybe Jackson will dominate in a league that is leaning more and more heavily on offenses led by quarterbacks who have a varied skillset like he does.

In other words, given teams such as Jacksonville blessed with a boatload of brilliant quarterbacks, it’s totally understandable why Kapernick doesn’t have a job.

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