Top Five QBs: No. 4, Drew Brees

Native Texans straining their necks to hold up comically large cowboy hats heads love to remind the rest of us that “Everything’s Bigger in Texas.” Just one problem. They forgot to supersize Drew Brees. Before Seattle’s Russell Wilson came down the pike, Brees was the NFL’s shortest NFL quarterback at 6-feet and an eighth — or two. At a position where height measurables are given the highest priority, Brees has set lofty standards in the vertical passing game.

Brees’ size was a setback until the Chargers scooped him up with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. His NFL career began with the chips stacked against him, but he’s risen from the depths like he was counting cards all along. Over a decade into his NFL career, naysayers are still wondering how the pocket-sized pocket passer out of Purdue is still putting up numbers like AT&T. Years after the ‘01 draft, Breezus’ stature is a towering one in New Orleans, where he’s the savior of a city that was down in the dumps.

Brees doesn’t have Manziel-type scrambling ability, but the Saints take advantage of his mobility by lining him up in shotgun and rolling him to the right where he flourishes by not having to peer over towering lineman.

What really cuts the check for Brees is the right shoulder mounted on his torso. It’s the same surgically reconstructed shoulder that paved his exit from sunny San Diego and brought him to post-Katrina New Orleans.

When he’s not rolling out, Brees cha-cha slides in the pocket searching for throwing lanes to slice the ball through, putting his receivers in position to pick at the carcasses of defensive backs after the catch. New Orleans’ gunslinger also thrives courtesy of the fastest draw in the South. Brees’ quick trigger and vertical release point confounds bigger lineman. However, none of that matters without Brees, who owns the top two single season completion percentages in league history, dropping dimes into a slot machine from behind the line of scrimmage.

Like a bull in a china shop, Brees is shattering NFL passing marks left and right. After finishing 15 yards short of the NFL’s single season passing record in 2008, Brees returned two years later to knock Dan Marino down a notch and perched his own name atop the NFL’s single season passing yardage mantle. The guaranteed zeros Mickey Loomis placed in Brees’ contract extension also set a new record for NFL bank accounts.  

Brees' Super Bowl XLIV win lifted the velvet rope, and elevated him to another level beyond the crowded potpourri of middle class Run-and-Shoot regular season passers poppin’ bottles to celebrate meaninglessly gaudy stats. He’s up there with the NFL’s aristocrat quarterbacks now.

He’s a mover and shaker. After a 7-9 season in 2012, Brees’ next challenge is to stage another revival in the Big Easy. Armed with Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham, plus ground and pound tailback Mark Ingram in the holster, Brees has sights set on more than just another 5K yard, 40 plus touchdown season in 2013.With Sean Payton returning to the sidelines and a revamped defense, New Orleans is back in the hunt for Super Bowl No. 2.