Cincinnati Bengals: Analytics Show Dalton is Among NFL’s Best

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Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass to tight end Tyler Eifert (85) in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass to tight end Tyler Eifert (85) in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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This time of year all of the talk seems to focus on free agency and the impending NFL Draft that is quickly approaching. With this in mind, a change of pace would be nice.  Though the Bengals have made several free agent moves and are excited about the upcoming draft, it is time to look at where Andy Dalton ranks among his peers when evaluated by quarterback value (QBV) and total quarterback value (TQBV). 

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Andy Dalton has received mixed reviews from both fans and critics alike. 2015 was his best campaign to date but was cut short by a thumb injury he sustained in a loss to Pittsburgh. This has, once again, brought out many skeptics who would like to dismiss Dalton as a legitimate elite NFL Quarterback. As it has been said before, opinions don’t always reflect reality and number never lie.

If we compare Dalton to the other quarterbacks of his draft era (2010, 2011, and 2012), we see a different story to what the critics would like everyone to believe. All of the quarterbacks used in this study are starting quarterbacks or in RGIII and Colin Kaepernick‘s case, were starting quarterbacks. By figuring out each players QBV and TQBV, which by using the formula discussed in my previous article, Stats Prove Ken Belongs in Canton, creates an unbiased determination of value presented. Below is the stat comparison.

Dalton stat table
Dalton stat table /

The table shows Dalton is in the top three for QBs in his era when judged by TQBV. He has been a solid performer throughout his career. Other than Russell Wilson, Dalton is the only player in this study to take his team to the postseason every year of his career. Though his postseason play has left much to be desired, his talents and impact during the regular season should not be understated.

Though his postseason play has left much to be desired, his talents and impact during the regular season should not be understated.[

The only quarterbacks Dalton is behind in the TQBV category are Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. Wilson is the undeniable top performer of this class to date, and bolsters a TQBV that is nearly twenty points ahead of Newton. In addition to his superior TQBV, Wilson is the only quarterback in this era to win a Super Bowl. Newton on the other hand, was just barely able to edge out Dalton during his 2015 campaign for which he was awarded an MVP.

In addition to his high rating for TQBV, Dalton also ranks near the top for the traditional evaluation metric of QBR. In this comparison he ranks second/third behind Russel Wilson and the limited statistics of RGIII. Logic would say that Dalton has earned recognition based on his stats and regular season resume, but not so much.

According to Ranker.com Dalton is the 14th best quarterback in the NFL. This spot puts him behind Wilson, Newton, and Luck; which makes him the 4th best quarterback in his era. Dalton’s ranking can likely be attributed to his lack of post season success. But even if you consider the postseason Dalton is second in his era in total career wins only behind Russel Wilson.

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All of this information clearly shows that Andy Dalton is one of the top quarterbacks of his era and has the potential to be an all-time great. The only areas that Dalton must improve in are his postseason play, and prime time performances. If he is able to become that “clutch” player that he is capable of being then his possibilities are endless. Take for instance Peyton Manning, he didn’t win a playoff game till his sixth season and is considered one of the best to ever play the game.

Now the current Andy Dalton should not yet be considered in the same category as Peyton Manning. However, the only thing that is preventing Dalton from outshining his peers is his lack of postseason success. His high TQBV proves that he has what it takes to be a top-tier quarterback, now he just needs to prove it to his critics.

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