BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady can add another notable recognition to his remarkable career, as The MMQB ranked Brady as the best player in the NFL on a new list called the MMQB 400. The honor comes just nine days before Brady’s 40th birthday.
The MMQB’s Andy Benoit compiled the list, offering high praise for the four-time Super Bowl MVP in his explanation (as if he really needed one) for putting Brady at the top. He was able to show readers what makes Brady so great without using any kind of advanced stats, which other writers have used in attempts to downgrade him.
“His pocket movement is brilliantly nuanced,” wrote Benoit. “Often, it’s almost imperceptible. When Brady moves in the pocket, he never compromises his readiness to throw. His mechanics stay sharp under duress. He also doesn’t move in the pocket unless it’s necessary. That means he can play quicker.”
Benoit also wrote in detail about Brady’s pre-snap awareness and knowledge, which rivaled (if not bested) Peyton Manning when both were active and now towers over every other quarterback in the NFL.
“He’s smart, especially before the snap,” said Benoit. “We’ve always thought of Peyton Manning as the ultimate pre-snap field general, getting up to the line of scrimmage, making dummy calls and then audibling into the perfect response for the defensive look. Brady does this, too. And he spearheads a system that’s better at using formations that make the defense reveal its hand.”
In all, the Patriots had a league-high 20 players on the list (the Chiefs had 19.) Rob Gronkowski was the next Patriot on the list at No. 7 (just one spot below Aaron Rodgers), despite coming off another injury-plagued season.
Devin McCourty was named the 36th best player and third-highest-ranked safety, behind only the Seahawks’ Earl Thomas and the Chiefs’ Eric Berry.
Dont’a Hightower (87th), Malcolm Butler (106), Julian Edelman (119), Stephon Gilmore (120) and Brandin Cooks (138) were other notable Patriots to make the MMQB 400. Edelman is the 12th-highest-ranked receiver on the list, as Benoit argued that he is the NFL’s best slot receiver.