The NFL has increasingly become more and more a pass-first league in the past 10-15 years.
All positions related to passing are highly coveted – offensive tackles, wide receivers, corners, and pass rushers.
But the most coveted position of all is the quarterback.
Finding a franchise signal-caller can set teams up for a decade-plus of success.
And the reason is simple – they have drafted elite quarterbacks to lead their team’s offense.
(Coming into today's games)
NFL All-Time Leaders —
Career Passer Rating
108.7 – Patrick Mahomes
104.3 – Deshaun Watson
103.7 – Aaron Rodgers
101.8 – Russell Wilson
98.6 – Drew Brees
— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) January 4, 2021
Rodgers, at 37 years old, is nearing the end of his career.
Wilson, at 32, is firmly in the prime of his career.
With Patrick Mahomes being the consensus #1 QB in the league, the debate over Rodgers and Wilson could determine who is #2.
The first skill assessed when judging a QB is their passing ability.
And in terms of pure passing ability, one is hard-pressed to find one with more than Rodgers.
For 13 seasons he has consistently been one of the most accurate passers in the league.
He and Wilson both sport career completion percentages of 65.1%.
However, Rodgers is finishing up an MVP-caliber season that saw him complete a ridiculous 70.7% of his passes.
Aaron Rodgers: 14 games w/ a 100.0+ passer rating
Most ever in a single season 🏆 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5BpvPpWr3h
— PFF (@PFF) January 5, 2021
He possesses the accuracy and arm strength to fit throws into incredibly tight windows.
Rodgers has become famous for his ability to throw back-shoulder passes that cannot be defended against.
Aaron, to go along with his 70.7% completion percentage, threw for 4,299 yards, 48 TDs, and only 5 INTs this year.
Seasons in @NFL history with 40+ TD passes & 7 or fewer INTs:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 4, 2021
This stat line has him as one of the favorites to win his 3rd MVP this year – a full 6 years after his last MVP.
While Rodgers is a better pure passer, Wilson is not to be slept on.
Wilson cooled off after a torrid start to his 2020 but still finished with 4,212 yards, 40 TDs, and 13 INTs on a 68.8% completion percentage.
Russ is 35th All-Time in passing yards, 19th All-Time in passing TDs, and 4th All-Time in passer rating – right behind Rodgers.
Wilson will undoubtedly move up the All-Time rankings, but his pure arm talent just isn’t on Rodgers’ level.
The other important factor in debating a QB is whether they have it.
It is not something that can be necessarily measured by a stat.
This assessment is more based on how the QB plays when the game is on the line; when the lights shine brightest.
There are certain QBs in the NFL that elicit a feeling of inevitability when they get the ball with a chance to win the game.
Rodgers and Wilson both have it.
If the Packers or Seahawks are down by a score late in the 4th quarter and their offense takes the field, you just know they’re going to score.
When you are watching from a non-biased view, it is truly incredible to watch.
When you are watching as the opposing team’s fan, it is dreadful.
Regardless of how they are playing throughout the game, Rodgers and Wilson seem to be able to flip a switch in crunch time.
When the moment demands it, they move the ball with ease.
Making the correct read every snap, hitting the barely open receiver, or scrambling to extend the drive.
Both players just have that clutch gene.
Rodgers has led 25 game-winning drives in his career, including 2 in the playoffs.
Wilson has been even better – leading 31 game-winning drives with 4 coming in the playoffs.
Russell Wilson now has 30 game-winning drives since his debut in 2012, passing Matthew Stafford for the most in the NFL.
This is the 14th win by the Seahawks since the start of last season in a 1-possession game . No other team has more than 10. pic.twitter.com/O6LnJZY9ds
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 12, 2020
These are the closest a stat can get at capturing the clutch gene.
Rodgers has consistently been one of the best in late-game situations.
But based on better production in a shorter career, Wilson gets the edge here.
Rodgers or Wilson?
There are, of course, other factors in rating a QB.
Their athleticism, ability to create out of the pocket, and durability to name a few.
Wilson is more athletic and durable than Rodgers, but Rodgers is a wizard once a play breaks down.
His ability to direct his receivers to open areas on the field and then fire dimes from weird angles is incredible.
Creating outside of the pocket creates a tremendous strain on a defense.
Having to cover NFL wide receivers for 3-4 seconds is tough.
Having to cover NFL wide receivers for 5+ seconds is nearly impossible.
At this point in time, Rodgers has the edge over Wilson.
The Packers’ QB has the superior arm and is an underrated scrambler (Career average of 5.0 yards per rushing attempt vs 5.6 for Wilson).
He could and probably should win the 2020 MVP and he guided Green Bay to the #1 seed in the NFC.
Who's your 2020 NFL MVP? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/OQPD0c7PGS
— PFF (@PFF) January 3, 2021
Wilson is 5 years younger so who knows what the future holds.
With Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf proving to be elite NFL wideouts, Wilson could have an explosive next few years.
But for now, Rodgers wins this round.