Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his list of ranked quarterbacks. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. See his page for earlier ranked quarterbacks. Up next: number 2.
#2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2012 was an outlier in Drew Brees’ tenure with the New Orleans Saints. It tied his lowest win total (7) with the team. It certainly made a huge difference with Sean Payton suspended for the entire season.
This year, Brees has his coach back on the sideline. The record-breaking quarterback could be on course for another great year, and his team should help him out – the defense will perform better after turning in a 2012 year that was the worst defensive year for any team in NFL history.
Last year, Brees became the first quarterback to record back-to-back 5,000 yard seasons. Brees will again be close to that mark this year, especially with his play-caller returning. But it’s not about stats for Brees, as he looks to lead New Orleans back to the postseason after missing out last year.
Physical traits and athleticism
Brees’ actual height is just under 6-0. This is considered short for a quarterback in the NFL, but Brees has proven that height doesn’t matter. He’s been one of the most prolific quarterbacks in league history. His athleticism is also underrated – he is a very mobile quarterback who occasionally picks up a first down, and maybe more, with his legs. Grade: 8/10
Although his height might hint otherwise, Brees has one of the strongest arms in the league. His great throwing mechanics certainly aid his arm talent, and he stretches the ball downfield often. His ball location is excellent, perhaps better than that of any other quarterback in the league. Grade: 9/10
Many quarterback gurus state that Brees has the best throwing mechanics out of any quarterback. I couldn’t agree more. His footwork in the pocket makes him mobile, his dropback is precise, and he possesses good balance. His throwing motion is high and tight, making it difficult for defenders to knock the ball away. Brees also delivers the ball from a high release point, so even at his height, he doesn’t get many passes batted down. Grade: 10/10
Anyone who has watched Drew Brees can see his mind working at the line of scrimmage. He makes sure that everyone knows their assignment, coaches up the halfback at the line, and makes any other adjustments before taking the snap. He uses motion to distinguish between zone and man coverage – with Brees, it’s basically a mind game with the defense. His pocket presence is sound, and he has good pocket movement, which is all mental. Grade: 10/10
After a shoulder injury that could’ve been career-threatening, Brees found a new future with the Saints and eventually led them to a Super Bowl victory. Without question he’s the leader of the New Orleans Saints locker room outside of Sean Payton. There’s a reason he has that “C” on his jersey. Grade: 9.5/10
Drew Brees is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. If not that, then he’s one of the most prolific in terms of single-season statistics. The other leader of his team is back, and Brees again looks to reestablish the Saints as the class of the NFC South once again. Overall Grade: 46.5/50