Today, ESPN released its list of the top 100 players in the NFL heading into 2020. These particular rankings were predictions of who would be the best in 2020, rather than who is the best going into the season. As with all lists of that nature, there were some controversial choices. One such choice was the decision to place Dak Prescott above Aaron Rodgers.
Prescott comes in at No. 20, while Rodgers clocks in at No. 23. Dan Graziano went on Get Up today to defend that decision and said that Prescott has been better than Rodgers over the last few seasons, so he deserves a higher ranking.
At first glance, this feels like a pretty scalding take. Rodgers has long been considered a top-five quarterback in the league, while even Prescott's most generous advocates couldn't reasonably argue he belongs in that top tier. But while the talent differential isn't debatable, the stats actually back up ESPN on this one.
Three years ago, Prescott definitely outperformed Rodgers because the latter only played seven games. But over the last two seasons, their counting stats and win totals are pretty similar. Since the start of the 2018 season, Prescott has thrown for 8,787 yards and 52 touchdowns while completing 66 percent of his passes. He threw 19 interceptions in that time frame. Rodgers, meanwhile, completed 62 percent of his passes for 8,444 yards with 61 touchdowns and merely six interceptions. Prescott's Cowboys went 18-14 in those two years, while Rodgers' Packers went 19-12-1.
When put together like that, Rodgers has the slight edge, especially considering the quality of supporting cast compared to Prescott and his stacked positional groups. Not nearly as big of an edge as one might think, however, when comparing someone with Rodgers' resume vs. Prescott's. Again, Rodgers is the most gifted quarterback in the NFL this side of Patrick Mahomes, but in terms of on-field production he hasn't been that much better than Prescott.
Returning to the matter at hand, this is a list that attempts to project who will be the best players in 2020, not who is the best right this second or was the best last year. Rodgers had a bad year in all regards and especially in the support department as the Packers did everyone but their team a favor by drafting Jordan Love instead of any help for their franchise quarterback. Prescott's team, on the other hand, added CeeDee Lamb to an already-stacked receiving corps.
Rodgers is so good that it remains a good possibility we all eat our words in four months. But the way the chips have fallen this offseason, Prescott is better positioned to succeed. And as seen above, he can produce at similar levels. So put the pitchforks down, guys.