Kirk Cousins Barely Cracks the NFL’s Top-100 Players List

Vikings Win
Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) waves to fans as he leaves the field after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings QB has certainly been the center of much scrutiny over the course of his career, and as a result, Kirk Cousins did not make the NFL’s top-100 players list in 2021. Looking ahead a year to 2022, and Cousins has made the list, even if it is by just a hair. The NFL began revealing players 100-51 on Sunday evening following the Raiders/Vikings preseason matchup, and Cousins landed on the list at No. 99. Here is the reasoning behind his placement on NFL.com by Quang M. Lam:

The gritty 10-year veteran earned his third career Pro Bowl selection in 2021. Cousins’ 103.1 passer rating ranked fourth last season, and his 98.6 career passer rating ranks sixth among active QBs. He ranks third all-time in completion percentage with at least 1,500 pass attempts. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards in six of his last seven seasons. The durable Michigan St. product hasn’t missed a start in eight years.

Quang M. Lam on Kirk Cousins via NFL.com

Cousins fell between 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk and Bears RB David Montgomery. He was the first QB on the list, landing behind these players:

  • No. 85 Mac Jones
  • No. 65 Derek Carr
  • No. 61 Russell Wilson
  • No. 57 Kyler Murray

The placement of Cousins gets very puzzling when considering some of the quarterbacks listed above him. Firstly, it makes very little sense to put Mac Jones 14 spots ahead of Cousins. Jones’ numbers in 2021 would have come in, at best, as near career-worsts for the Vikings QB.

The rookie’s 3801 passing yards would be the second-worst line of Cousins’ career, his 22 touchdowns were lower than any total from Cousins since becoming a full-time starter in 2015, and 13 interceptions matches a career-worst.

Keep in mind as well, Jones played 17 games for the Patriots last year, and Cousins’ only year with fewer passing yards than Jones was 2019 when he threw for 3603 yards in 15 games. The Patriots did make the playoffs last year, but saying it was because of Jones more than their No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL simply is not accurate.

Taking a look at the bodies of work from both Derek Carr and Cousins, the two of them have continuously been compared throughout their careers. Because of this, putting Carr 34 spots ahead of Cousins seems disingenuous compared to how the two of them rank in terms of actual performance.

Since Carr entered the league in 2014, he’s played 10 more regular season games than Cousins, yet Cousins has just 427 fewer passing yards, higher completion percentage, 22 more passing touchdowns, and four fewer interceptions. For the “QB wins” people out there, Cousins’ teams have also gone 58-56-2 compared to Carr’s going 57-70. Carr and Cousins had virtually the same QBR in 2021 as well. Carr finished the year at 52.4, and Cousins sat at 52.3. The Raiders QB being ahead of Cousins on this list isn’t egregious in and of itself but putting Carr that much higher than Cousins is indefensible.

As for Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, the two of them seemed adequately placed in this list. We will have to see where the QBs land, but No. 61 and No. 57 respectively are accurate placements. Players 50-31 come out on August 21st.