Top 5 Quarterbacks to have on 4th and 15

Since 2019 when the NFL decided to update the rules on NFL kick-offs to improve safety measures, the storied desperation play - the onside kick - has become almost impossible to complete.

In simple terms, the onside kick is used almost only in last gasp situations where a team is losing and needs the ball back for one final drive for points.

It requires kicking the ball more than 10 yards and hoping your own player is first to catch it, but since 2017 when rules on kick-offs first changed, the number of successful attempts has plummeted.

The new rules prevent players from getting a running start and therefore decrease the severity of the head-on impacts.

As a result of these changes, and the trend of the league moving towards a focus on passing over rushing, the Philadelphia Eagles have now suggested a potential change to the league's rules, similar to what was used in the Pro Bowl in 2019.

If 24 of the 32 teams approve the rule change during the next virtual meeting of owners on May 28th, teams will instead be able to run a single play on 4th and 15 from their own 25-yard line.

If a team achieves 15 yards or more, then the drive will continue from wherever the play finished, but if they do not get a first down then the opposition will receive the ball immediately.

We will have to wait and see whether the rule passes, but in the mean-time, we were wondering; what are the top five quarterbacks you’d want to have on 4th and 15?

Russell Wilson – QB – Seattle Seahawks

Since he entered the league back in 2012 as a third-round pick, Russel Wilson’s ability to control the offence and go off script to make big plays happen has been largely unrivalled in the league.

He has spent much of his time behind an offensive line that has given up their fair share of sacks and has missed a consistent running game following the departure of Seahawks legend Marshawn Lynch back in 2015.

Despite this, Wilson has proved time and time again, that his clutch-ness and mobility in the big moments makes him one of the best QB’s in the league when a play is needing to be made.

Add in a deadly accurate arm and ferocious throwing power that he developed in the cold wind of Wisconsin while at college and you have one of the best 4th and 15 QB options that we’ve ever seen.

Patrick Mahomes – QB – Kansas City Chiefs

It's tempting to put Pat Mahomes at the top of any best player list you do, but he comes in a very narrow second here with his magical arm, accuracy, and vision.

Texas Tech alumni Mahomes has already carved himself out a Hall of Fame career during his short time in the league and has also proved himself to be one of the best improvisers in history as he breaks the boundaries by throwing it with the wrong hand and without looking at his target.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told media on Friday that they have “got a guy that can do 4th and 15” when asked about the proposal, having seen his QB throw for over 255 yards on 3rd and 15 or more scenarios last season.

With the combination of Mahomes talent and Reid’s play design, the Chiefs will likely make a lot out of this rule.

Aaron Rodgers – QB – Green Bay Packers

There has been a lot of Rodgers discussion this off-season, following the Packers decision to select Utah State QB Jordon Love in the first round.

That doesn’t change the fact however that Rodgers is probably one of the best off-script passers that the league has to offer, with a fantastic football-brain for diagnosing defences and a magical ability to throw the ball well from any position or angle.

The legs might not be as mobile as when he entered the league nearly 15 years ago, but his upper body still gives him a huge advantage in long-yardage situations (even if his franchise still refuses to draft him any weapons to throw to).

Lamar Jackson – QB – Baltimore Ravens

Following his MVP level season in just his second year, Jackson's outrageous speed and agility means that even in such a long down situation, his legs are still as dangerous as his arm.

Unlike most QB’s that have ever lived, its well possible that defending 4th and 15 with lots of defensive backs in to prevent the pass, could easily leave you outmanned and susceptible to a scramble or designed quarterback run from the dynamic Lamar Jackson.

And if running around defences wasn’t good enough, Jackson is also very much a double-threat with a strong throwing arm and good mechanics so he can easily dial up the passes on the move in just this sort of scenario.

Dak Prescott – QB – Dallas Cowboys

Like Jackson and Wilson before him, Dak Prescott’s multi-faceted skill set makes him a nightmare in any late down, long yardage scenario.

Durable and reliable with his well-built frame, Prescott’s passing improvements in 2019 led the Cowboys to rank 2nd highest in successful third-down attempts per, while also still having his manoeuvrability to fall back on if plays break down.

Prescott also has a fantastic supporting cast to back him up, with a talented offensive line and well-stacked receiving corps to make the job of achieving those clutch plays all the more possible.

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