For those who have ESPN Insider access, Mike Sando has an interesting piece ranking the NFL's starting quarterbacks 1 through 32. Sando spoke with general managers, coaches and scouts and the 26 of them ranked the quarterbacks for him.
Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs ranked 18th. It was a mild surprise to see Smith rated so low. I figured after the way he finished last season (Smith completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,422 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions over his final six games) and without great talent around him (other than Jamaal Charles), he might deserve a couple of spots better.
But the judgment of Smith was harsh. One general manager told Sando, "There is nothing about him runningwise or arm-talentwise that makes you say, 'Shoot, we have to take this away. But he is better than an Andy Dalton [of Cincinnati] because he protects the ball.''
Smith does a nice job of protecting the ball, but that's really not all he does well. Smith's teams the past three seasons also have won their games at an impressive rate (.750, third-best in the league). For that alone, doesn't Smith deserve to be rated higher than, say, Chicago's Jay Cutler (17th) and Philadelphia's Nick Foles (15th)?
Nobody here is arguing that Smith is one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks or should be ranked in the top 10. But if he's good enough to win 75 percent of his games and lead his team to 44 points in a playoff game, isn't he also good enough to be rated in the top half of NFL quarterbacks?