NFL Coaches’ and GMs’ Votes for Best QB Has Some Major Snubs

"Sports Illustrated" polled coaches and executives about the league's quarterbacks

Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos.
Many no longer regard Russell Wilson as a top QB.
Dustin Bradford/Getty

Ahead of the NFL season kicking off tonight with the Lions (+4.5) visiting the Chiefs in Kansas City, ESPN’s 28 full-time NFL commentators and analysts made predictions about the league, including their preseason pick for MVP. Unsurprisingly, reigning league MVP and Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes received the bulk of the votes with nine. Following Mahomes were Trevor Lawrence (four), Joe Burrow (three), Jalen Hurts (three), Lamar Jackson (three), Aaron Rodgers (three), Josh Allen (two) and Justin Herbert (one).

All of those names appeared on a recent Sports Illustrated poll of 80 NFL head coaches, offensive coordinators, pass-game coordinators, quarterbacks coaches, general managers, assistant GMs, vice presidents, directors of players personnel and pro scouting directors that asked respondents to name who they believe will be the top five quarterbacks in the league when the regular season ends in early January. Aside from Mahomes (who appeared on every single ballot), Lawrence, Burrow, Hurts, Jackson, Rodgers, Allen and Herbert, six other quarterbacks received votes: Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy.

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Of the players left off the list, the biggest omissions have to be Russell Wilson of the Broncos and Deshaun Watson of the Browns, both of whom are coming off down years but have been in the MVP conversation at earlier points in their careers. Other notable names left off the list included Jared Goff of the Lions, who led one of the league’s top offenses last season, and Geno Smith of the Seahawks, who revitalized his career last season and shed the “bust” label attached to him following his time with the New York Jets. Jimmy Garoppolo of the Raiders (excellent career win-loss record), Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins (early-season MVP candidate last year before he was concussed) and Justin Fields of the Bears (vast improvement over his rookie season) also didn’t make the cut.

While perhaps none of the snubbed players have a great shot at finishing out the season as a top-five QB in the NFL, established veterans like Watson and Wilson have just as good of a chance at top-five status as second-year players like Pickett and Purdy. Regardless, the possibility of any of them unseating Mahomes as the NFL’s top dog is basically nonexistent.

“Mahomes didn’t just win the poll for a fourth straight year; he appeared on every single ballot, he gobbled up 71 of 80 first-place votes and he was first or second for every single voter,” per SI. “And rightfully so — he’s won the AFC West and made it to the AFC championship game in all five of his years as a starter, played in three Super Bowls and won two. With his 28th birthday still 10 days away, he stands alone with Tom Brady and Joe Montana as one of three players in NFL history to have multiple Super Bowl and regular-season MVP trophies.”

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