ESPN's Ron Jaworski seemingly lives in the film room, studying throw after throw from NFL quarterbacks. While he admits he has not been able to watch every throw from every quarterback this year, "Jaws" is one of the best analysts when it comes to looking at a quarterback and breaking down everything from his footwork to his mechanics, to his decision making.
Working from his past as a Pro Bowl NFL quarterback (1980 with Philadelphia Eagles), including time as a Miami Dolphins quarterback in 1987 and 1988 backing up Dan Marino, Jaworski studies the game films of quarterbacks with the eyes of a quarterback. He looks at the decisions of every passer, based on his knowledge of the position. And, he's good at it.
This week, Jaws updated his rankings of the NFL's quarterbacks, using the past four weeks of NFL play to move around the veteran quarterbacks from his preseason rankings, as well as adding in the rookies for the first time. Jaworski's rankings at the top of the chart feature the same five quarterbacks as his preseason listing, however the order has shifted.
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers remains as the top quarterback, with New England's Tom Brady moving up one position to second overall. Third place Eli Manning, who moved up from fifth before the season, beats out his brother, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, by one spot. The elder Manning, Peyton, did not see his rank change. Meanwhile, Drew Brees from the New Orleans Saints, fell from second to fifth.
For Miami fans, the most interesting member of the list is rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Jaws ranked Tannehill as the 24th best quarterback in the league so far, writing of him:
It is incredible the way Tannehill not only has adapted to becoming an NFL quarterback, but simply just a quarterback overall. After all of his time playing wide receiver in college, I wondered if Tannehill could make the rapid transition. Through four games, it seems like he can and has. Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman have done a really good job getting him prepped for the NFL game. Like I see with most rookies, there have been some questionable throws. There have been some great ones as well, though, and that leaves me pretty high on Tannehill's future.
Tannehill is 80-for-143 for 1046 yards, with 2 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions on the season. Tannehill is one of just three quarterbacks to throw for over 1,000 yards in his first four games in NFL history. He joins last season's Rookie of the Year Cam Newton and this year's leading candidate Robert Griffin III with that stat. Indianapolis Colts quarterback, and first overall pick, Andrew Luck will most likely join that list this week, his fourth game after the Colts' bye week last week. Luck needs just 154 passing yards.
Tannehill is the third ranked rookie quarterback, behind Griffin III (17th) and Luck (23rd). The league has a record five rookie quarterbacks starting this season, with Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (31st) and the Cleveland Browns' Brandon Weeden (32nd) completing the group.
About the top three rookies, Jaws writes in his intro to the list:
RG3 makes his debut at No. 17, meaning he's just outside the top half of NFL quarterbacks. Honestly, I never thought I'd rank a rookie this high. The trouble is, Griffin has not played like a rookie. What separates him from his first-year peers is his consistency. Andrew Luckand Ryan Tannehill have made some great plays in their young careers, but they've also made some bad ones. I haven't seen that erratic play when it comes to Griffin, hence his extraordinary debut ranking.
Miami plays the Cincinnati Bengals tomorrow, with Tannehill facing off against second year quarterback Andy Dalton, ranked 14th by Jaws. If Tannehill is able to continue the development we have see between Week 1 and Week 4 of the season, look for Jaworski to move him even higher on his rankings over the next few weeks.