Why 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo ranks as 15th-best quarterback in NFL

Alex Didion
NBC Sports BayArea

Jimmy Garoppolo once again is just behind Tom Brady, but we're not looking at the New England Patriots' depth chart from 2016.

Instead, NFL.com ranked all the signal-callers who started a game in 2019, and the 49ers' quarterback ended up ranked just one spot behind the six-time Super Bowl champion Brady.

Garoppolo checks in at No. 15 overall, with former Bay Area resident and Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr one spot behind him.

While Jimmy G's numbers don't jump out at first glance, the 28-year-old was tied for fifth among all QBs in touchdown passes (27), third in yards per attempt (8.3) and tied for fourth in completion percentage (69.1) last season.

San Francisco won 13 games in the regular season and was the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, eventually earning a berth in Super Bowl LIV.

But the difference between Garoppolo and many of the quarterbacks above him is that those offenses revolved around and relied upon the passing game to be successful.

Outside of the freight train that was the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens' offense, the 49ers had the best rushing offense in the NFL. The three-headed monster of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida wreaked havoc on defenses, with all three topping 500 yards on the ground.

Kyle Shanahan and the Niners' offense didn't need to throw frequently, and they didn't. Never was that concept more evident than in the NFC Championship Game, which saw San Francisco manhandle the Green Bay Packers, rushing for 285 yards while Jimmy G attempted just eight passes.

Then there was the performance in that Super Bowl. Through one half, it wasn't an outlandish take to say Garoppolo had outshined eventual Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes through two-and-a-half quarters. 

But once the Kansas City Chiefs' transcendent quarterback began rallying his team back, Jimmy G did not rise to the occasion.

He completed just three of 11 passes for 36 yards and an interception as the world saw a 10-point lead evaporate and the Chiefs roared back to win 31-20 at Hard Rock Stadium.

[RELATED: Five massive decisions that could define 49ers' offseason]

All that being said, this ranking feels about right for Garoppolo. He's a unique case in that he's 28 yet only has 26 professional starts under his belt. For reference, Mahomes is 24 and already has 31 NFL starts to his name.

Are we 100 percent certain the Niners have found a franchise quarterback? Maybe not, but San Francisco is in a heck of a lot better spot at the league's most important position than at least half of the other NFL teams.

Why 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo ranks as 15th-best quarterback in NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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