Over the past few seasons there has been a subtle yet drastic change in how we view the most important position in football. Where teams once sought out passers whose main strengths were intelligence, recognition and throwing the ball, those qualities are now almost secondary to overall athleticism when it comes to the quarterback position.
Simply put, teams are looking for quarterbacks who can not only make their reads and throw a mile but can also tuck the ball and put up big rushing numbers as well.
Whether it's the current rule changes that have benefited the QBs the most or just that the college game is producing these dual-ability freaks of nature at an alarming rate, the game seems to be slowly changing into a one-man run and gun show. But the question arises -- has this mobile uprising spelled the end of the pocket passer in terms of fantasy football?
Looking at the final fantasy rankings after the 2012 season, five of the top ten quarterbacks fall under the Dan Marino mold of 'pure' pocket passers. These guys are Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo. Two of the remaining five quarterbacks showed that they can run the ball when needed. These guys are Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. Combined, these two rushed for 524 yards and seven touchdowns.
The remaining three, however, can't be mistaken for pocket passers, as they combined for 2,045 yards and 19 touchdowns. These guys are Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III.
Looking at this, the top ten is still predominately occupied by quarterbacks considered more pocket passers than not, which is why the demise of these types of quarterbacks hasn't happened yet. However, if you look at these stats in a different way, you'll understand why some are leaning towards the more mobile quarterback.
Newton, Griffin, Luck and Wilson are all quarterbacks that have entered the league in the past two years. Now, throw in San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick in the equation as he looks to join the top ten of 2013 with a whole season ahead of him and you have the potential of nearly half of next seasons top ten being rushing QBs.
In conclusion, pocket passers still play a large role in today's NFL and shouldn't be overlooked in drafts. In keeper leagues, though, it may be smart to try to grab one of these up and coming 'runners' as it looks like they are the near future of the league.
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