Before we get too far into this discussion, let’s be clear about one thing: There will never be another Tom Brady. Whether you love him or hate him — and even if you think he bent multiple league rules on his way to the top — there is no denying that the New England Patriots signal caller has a spot waiting for him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 39-year-old is also on the fast track to being the greatest player in the history of the National Football League.
With his latest Super Bowl victory, Brady set a new league record for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history. After that last touchdown in Super Bowl 51, it became even harder to argue against the former Michigan Wolverine going down as the greatest NFL player of all time. On top of that, Brady has a chance to rewrite the league’s quarterback record book. Here is where he ranks in every major regular-season passing statistic up to today. (He already owns the postseason quarterback record book, by the way.)
- Passing yards: 61,582 (fourth all time)
- Leader: Peyton Manning (71,940)
- Touchdown passes: 456 (fourth all time)
- Leader: Peyton Manning (539)
- Pass completions: 5,244 (fourth all time)
- Leader: Brett Favre (6,300)
- Career wins: 183 (third all time)
- Leaders: Peyton Manning and Brett Favre (186)
Needless to say, if Brady plays as long as he plans to, he will eventually break each and every one of the aforementioned records. Knowing all of this, it’s hard to fathom that a team didn’t select Brady (No. 199 overall) until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. In fact, the league thought so little of Brady that six different franchises selected quarterbacks ahead of him. To be fair, Brady’s NFL Combine performance was epically bad (he threw the ball well, though). Then, he spent most of his college career playing backup to Brian Griese.
So, what is it that sets Brady apart from his peers? He does have a lightning-quick release, excellent pocket presence, a strong arm with pinpoint accuracy, and great footwork. But to us, three things separate Brady from other great NFL quarterbacks:
- Brady plays the game with a chip on his shoulder.
- He is one of the most competitive players in league history.
- He is flat-out willing to do anything it takes to win games.
Based on this list of characteristics, we identified the following six quarterbacks who could be the next Tom Brady.
1. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Tom Brady and Dak Prescott have very different skill sets. They are extremely accurate passers, but while Brady is a pure pocket passer, Prescott is more of a dual threat. That said, both players possess off-the-chart intangibles.
Like Brady, Prescott is a true winner, an excellent leader, and extremely competitive. When it comes down to it, they will look quite different on the field for the remainder of their respective careers, but the potential is there for Prescott to impact the Cowboys in a similar way to Brady’s influence on the Pats.
2. Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
Believe it or not, Trevor Siemian is quite similar to Tom Brady. Their own college teams (both being Big Ten schools) overlooked them, and then NFL teams overlooked them when their respective drafts came around — Siemian was a seventh-round pick in 2015. Both players are accurate pocket passers who can easily make all of the necessary throws in an NFL offense; both guys are extremely smart; and both guys play the game with something to prove.
Only time will tell if Siemian has an “it” factor similar to Brady. We also don’t know yet whether or not Siemian is capable of turning in clutch performances on the big stage. But, based on what we have seen, the former Northwestern quarterback looks like the real deal. It is worth pointing out, though, that Siemian must hold off a talented first-round draft pick (Paxton Lynch) to remain the Broncos’ long-term starter.
3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders’ Derek Carr continues to inch his way toward elite NFL quarterback status. The former second-round draft pick out of Fresno State has a great release, a strong arm, and is a proven leader. However, before we can mention him as a possible Tom Brady 2.0, he must prove that he can win consistently in the NFL — and win in the postseason. If he is able to eventually win a Super Bowl with the Raiders, Carr will go down as a legend in his own right.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
The comparison between Russell Wilson and Tom Brady comes down to both guys being outstanding leaders and proven winners. Much of Wilson’s success depends on his ability to keep defenses off-balance with his speed and elusiveness — though he is improving as a passer from within the pocket. Whereas Brady is a pure pocket passer, who simply is not a threat to beat defenses with his feet.
The 28-year-old Wilson is the only player on this list who already has a Super Bowl ring (as a starter), and there is a strong chance that he will eventually add another (possibly in 2016). Bottom line: While his playing style is vastly different than Brady’s, Wilson has the potential to build something in Seattle that closely resembles what Brady has helped build in New England.
5. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins have some similarities. But the former Michigan State standout has a long way to go before he deserves a mention alongside the likes of legend like Brady. Cousins has a fiery personality, plays the game with a massive chip on his shoulder, and has the physical traits to be a successful pocket passer in the NFL. He must, however, improve his leadership abilities and prove he can consistently win games in the regular season and the postseason before we can truly compare Cousins to Brady.
6. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Like Tom Brady, a less-than-stellar pre-draft process led to a tumble on draft day for Teddy Bridgewater (although his was much less severe). The currently injured Minnesota Vikings quarterback has also proven to be a winner (at every level) and an exemplary leader. If he can return from his current injury and eventually lead the Vikings to a Super Bowl title, the comparisons will continue to grow stronger.