ESPN.com has changed its mind — Tom Brady is a top-five quarterback after all.
Brady tied for No. 1 on ESPN’s list of starting quarterbacks ranked by anonymous NFL insiders. The New England Patriots quarterback tied with the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning, Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees.
ESPN’s Mike Sando asked 26 anonymous NFL insiders (eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive) to put each starting quarterback in a tier from one to five. Brady received 25 Tier 1 scores and one Tier 2 ranking — that pro personnel evaluator placed Manning as his lone Tier 1 QB.
“Brady did a lot of good things with limited resources, but I saw holes when they put the onus on him to carry it all, as you saw when Denver beat him,” the pro personnel evaluator said. “Brady has to have more of a running game at this stage. He cannot line up with five wides and win it as consistently as before. I still think Brady is a top-five quarterback, but I would not say he is the best right now.”
One offensive assistant ranked Brady as a Tier 1 quarterback because “he does it with the least every year.” Brady’s top targets last season were wide receivers Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins and running back Shane Vereen.
ESPN.com stirred up controversy last month when it published an article by Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson stating Brady no longer belongs in the Mount Rushmore of NFL starting quarterbacks.
ESPN’s latest piece puts Brady where he rightly belongs: at the top.