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Ranking AFC West quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo in class of his own

But not in a good way

San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

As far as quarterbacks go, the AFC West has a strong argument as one of the best divisions in football. There are a few Super Bowl trophies and several Pro Bowl nominations within the group, however, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Jimmy Garoppolo kind of holds the crew back as the rankings within the division are below.

1) Patrick Mahomes

There’s no ambiguity here as Patrick Mahomes is one of, if not the best quarterback in the entire NFL. In five seasons as a starter, he’s won two Super Bowls and MVPs, been named to three All-Pro teams and a Pro Bowler every year. During the 2022 regular season, Mahomes was tied for seventh with a 4.8 percent ‘big time throw’ (BTT) rate and was tied for fifth for the lowest ‘turnover worth play’ (TWP) percentage (2.3 percent), per Pro Football Focus.

2) Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert has become a somewhat polarizing player as his late-game interceptions and lack of postseason success have called his ability to perform when matters most into question. However, he has ranked tied for fourth and tied for second with Tom Brady for game-winning drives in each of the last two seasons, respectively, with five a piece. During his three-year career, Herbert’s impressive arm strength has also led to 82 BTTs at a clip of 4.0 percent while he’s logged just 42 TWPs on 1.8 percent of his attempts.

3) Russell Wilson

There’s no doubt that last season was the worst of Russell Wilson’s career as he set career lows in completion percentage (60.5 percent) and touchdowns (16) while failing to earn a Pro Bowl bid for just the second time in 11 years. However, he still has an impressive résumé that includes a Lombardi Trophy and a 62.7 career winning percentage. Sean Payton and Denver’s new coaching staff should help Wilson bounce back in 2023, though he’s still a full tier—or more—below Mahomes and Herbert after last year’s performance.

4) Jimmy Garoppolo

Injuries alone push Garoppolo to the bottom of this list as he only played in a full slate of games once during his six years with the San Francisco 49ers, and even missed a couple of starts when he was filling in for Brady for four games in 2016. Also, his tenure with the Raiders isn’t exactly off to a hot start as he reportedly failed his physical and had surgery on his broken foot in March.

That being said, Jimmy G did average two BTTs per start the last time he worked with Josh McDaniels—granted, in a very small sample size—so maybe the reunion revive his career this fall. Maintaining that rate would more than double his current single-season career-high (13) for the metric if he can stay healthy for at least 14 contests.