If you're continually mystified as to how superior quarterbacks often get drafted behind ones who turn out to be obviously worse, look no further than The Athletic's recent QB tier survey.
Mitch Trubisky was taken ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017. Four quarterbacks were selected ahead of Lamar Jackson the following year. Russell Wilson was the sixth QB taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, well behind flameouts like Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler.
Yes, quarterback evaluation is by no means an exact science, but just based on that list, it's quite obvious evaluators have not adequately adjusted to the modern game.
That might explain why the 50 NFL coaches and evaluators -- many of whom were guilty of those exact errors -- ridiculously ranked 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo where they did.
It's not so much the Tier 3 ranking that is absurd; it's the company he was placed with -- and ranked behind.
[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
Garoppolo was ranked as the 17th-best QB in the survey, which is filled with ignorant criticisms that don't line up with reality.
"Can he strap it on his back and win it if he has to? I don’t know if he is that, either," said one rival NFC West coach.
I'm guessing that person isn't a coach for the Arizona Cardinals, who lost two close games to San Francisco last year in large part to Garoppolo's ability to pick the defense apart with his arm. Over the two games -- which essentially were decided by a combined six points -- Jimmy G threw for 741 yards and eight touchdowns.
Not satisfied? Throw on the tape of the game in New Orleans, where Garoppolo went head-to-head with Drew Brees (ranked in Tier 1) and the Saints in arguably the toughest road environment in the league and threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 131.7 in a 48-46 shootout win. That victory ultimately gave the 49ers home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
"He does some good things with a good cast," remarked one executive. "You worry about the deep ball, the consistent accuracy, but he’s not bad."
Let's go to the stats, shall we?
Garoppolo literally was the most accurate deep-ball passer in the NFL last season. His completion percentage (69.1 percent) was tied for fourth-best in the league, and of the QBs that completed a higher rate, only one played all 16 games and attempted more passes.
Also, it's interesting that Garoppolo's supporting cast is held against him, whereas QBs on other great teams aren't similarly downgraded.
Jimmy G was just ranked as the No. 43 overall player in the NFL by his peers. Ranking him as the 17th-best quarterback just goes to show how disconnected many evaluators are from the reality of what takes place on the field.
Of all the slander thrown Garoppolo's way in that survey, however, the most egregious example by far is the collection of inferior QBs included in his same tier, and in one particular case, ranked ahead of him.
Here are some names those same evaluators included in Tier 3 (in order): Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Nick Foles.
Granted, Jimmy G is ranked above all of them within the tier, but to place him within that same grouping is quite insulting.
Not as insulting, however, as being ranked behind Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Yes, you read that correctly. 50 NFL coaches and evaluators combined to rank Goff ahead of Jimmy G.
The only logical explanation is that they got confused by the initials, because there is nothing you could point to from last season that suggests Goff is in the same neighborhood as Garoppolo, much less superior to him.
Completion percentage. Yards per completion. Touchdowns. Interceptions. Quarterback rating. Garoppolo was better than Goff in every single one of those categories last season, and in several cases, not by a slim margin. Experience doesn't work in Goff's favor, either, as he has started more than twice as many games as Jimmy G has throughout their respective careers.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter where Garoppolo was ranked within his position by those coaches and evaluators. The guy who went 13-3 last season and has a 21-5 record as a starter likely will keep on doing what he does best: Win.
And, if those coaches and evaluators continue to neglect what makes him a very good quarterback, he's more likely to continue stacking up victories.