Alex Smith: A Top 5 QB?

Alex Smith a top 5 QB? Could it be?

Yesterday on the NFL Network's Total Access program Kurt Warner listed off his top 5 QBs. To the surprise of many people who haven't been following the 49ers closely, Alex Smith made the list at #4. (You can view the video here.) Keep in mind this isn't a list of the 5 best QBs in the league overall. This is a list of the 5 QBs who have played the best so far into the season.

This is what he had to say about Alex Smith:

"My big surprise, Alex Smith comes in at number four. A guy I probably didn't expect to make this list all year long, but he's got his team at 4-1 right now. He's playing as consistent as anybody, and what I've seen the last couple of weeks is him making "the big play", something that he hasn't done up until this point in the season."

The List

1. Aaron Rodgers 
2. Tom Brady 
3. Drew Brees 
4. Alex Smith
5. Matthew Stafford

It's hard to argue with the top 3 names on that list. Matthew Stafford is also having a great season, but does Alex Smith belong in such exalted company? Let's take a look and see.

Using traditional statistics from NFL.com I want to take a look and see where Alex Smith's numbers stack compared to the rest of the top 5.

Aaron Rodgers

WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
1 09/08  NO W   42-34 1 1 27 35 77.1 312 8.9 3 0 2 16 132.1 4 1 0.3 0 -- --
2 09/18  @ CAR W   30-23 1 1 19 30 63.3 308 10.3 2 0 1 13 119.9 5 13 2.6 0 -- --
3 09/25  @ CHI W   27-17 1 1 28 38 73.7 297 7.8 3 1 2 5 111.4 1 3 3.0 0 1 0
4 10/02  DEN W   49-23 1 1 29 38 76.3 408 10.7 4 1 2 12 134.5 9 36 4.0 2 -- --
5 10/09  @ ATL W   25-14 1 1 26 39 66.7 396 10.2 2 0 4 27 117.0 1 -1 -1.0 0 -- --
TOTAL 5 5 129 180 71.7 1,721 9.6 14 2 11 73 122.9 20 52 2.6 2 1 0

 

Tom Brady

WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
1 09/12  @ MIA W   38-24 1 1 32 48 66.7 517 10.8 4 1 1 1 121.6 1 3 3.0 0 -- --
2 09/18  SD W   35-21 1 1 31 40 77.5 423 10.6 3 0 2 13 135.7 2 3 1.5 0 -- --
3 09/25  @ BUF L   31-34 1 1 30 45 66.7 387 8.6 4 4 0 0 86.1 1 5 5.0 0 -- --
4 10/02 @ OAK W   31-19 1 1 16 30 53.3 226 7.5 2 0 1 0 100.1 1 -1 -1.0 0 -- --
5 10/09  NYJ W   30-21 1 1 24 33 72.7 321 9.7 1 1 4 27 100.7 1 3 3.0 0 -- --
TOTAL 5 5 133 196 67.9 1,874 9.6 14 6 8 41 109.5 6 13 2.2 0 0 0

 

Drew Brees

WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
1 09/08  @ GB L   34-42 1 1 32 49 65.3 419 8.6 3 0 3 23 112.5 1 3 3.0 0 -- --
2 09/18  CHI W   30-13 1 1 26 37 70.3 270 7.3 3 0 1 6 118.1 1 2 2.0 0 -- --
3 09/25  HOU W   40-33 1 1 31 44 70.5 370 8.4 3 2 2 16 99.6 4 -1 -0.3 0 -- --
4 10/02  @ JAC W   23-10 1 1 31 44 70.5 351 8.0 1 2 3 25 82.7 3 10 3.3 0 -- --
5 10/09  @ CAR W   30-27 1 1 32 45 71.1 359 8.0 2 1 2 16 100.1 -- -- -- -- -- --
TOTAL 5 5 152 219 69.4 1,769 8.1 12 5 11 86 102.3 9 14 1.6 0 0 0

 

 

Alex Smith

WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
1 09/11 SEA W   33-17 1 1 15 20 75.0 124 6.2 0 0 0 0 90.4 7 22 3.1 1 1 0
2 09/18  DAL L   24-27 1 1 16 24 66.7 179 7.5 2 1 6 47 99.1 3 21 7.0 0 -- --
3 09/25  @ CIN W   13-8 1 1 20 30 66.7 201 6.7 0 0 5 25 85.6 -- -- -- -- -- --
4 10/02  @ PHI W   24-23 1 1 21 33 63.6 291 8.8 2 0 3 13 112.1 1 -1 -1.0 0 2 1
5 10/09  TB W   48-3 1 1 11 19 57.9 170 8.9 3 0 0 0 127.2 -- -- -- -- -- --
TOTAL 5 5 83 126 65.9 965 7.7 7 1 14 85 104.1 11 42 3.8 1 3 1

 

 

Matthew Stafford

WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
1 09/11  @ TB W   27-20 1 1 24 33 72.7 305 9.2 3 1 0 0 118.9 1 0 0.0 0 1 0
2 09/18  KC W   48-3 1 1 23 39 59.0 294 7.5 4 1 0 0 106.1 1 1 1.0 0 -- --
3 09/25  @ MIN W   26-23 1 1 32 46 69.6 378 8.2 2 0 5 40 108.8 1 -1 -1.0 0 1 0
4 10/02  @ DAL W   34-30 1 1 21 43 48.8 240 5.6 2 1 0 0 71.9 1 -1 -1.0 0 -- --
5 10/10  CHI W   24-13 1 1 19 26 73.1 219 8.4 2 1 1 5 107.7 1 1 1.0 0 -- --
TOTAL 5 5 119 187 63.6 1,436 7.7 13 4 6 45 101.4 5 0 0.0 0 2 0

 

So what do these numbers tell us? First it's easy to see why the other QBs on the list are making such eye popping numbers. When you're throwing 35-40 times a game (or more), it's going to be much easier to put up 350-400 yards a game. So in that area Alex is definitely not top 5, but that's not due to his poor performance, but rather the game plan. 

What about completion percentage? Alex Smith's percentage is 65.9% on the year. That's better than Matthew Stafford's, but worse than the others on the list. However, that 65.9% is good enough to rank him 6th out of all QBs in the league. 

He's averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, which is not much. It ties him with Stafford, both of them at 13th in the league. 

When looking at the top 5 his TD numbers are much lower as well, with only 7. However his INT numbers are astounding with only 1 INT on the year. That puts him at a 7 to 1 TD to INT ratio which is best in the league (tied with Aaron Rodgers). Some other top 

A QB rating of 104.1 puts him at an amazing 3rd place, behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. 

The truly amazing thing is that he's managed to do this well despite being sacked 14 times, which is only 4 less than the most sacked QBs in the league (Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford). 

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