Rookie Deshaun Watson has stood out on the football field over the last couple weeks. He accounted for five touchdowns (four throwing and one rushing), which was the sixth time a first-year quarterback has done that, in the Houston Texans’ Week 4 victory over the Tennessee Titans and then five more in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5.
Watson has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns in five games, four as a starter this season. He has become the leader and face of the Texans in short time.
The Texans are going to need Watson to become an elite quarterback quickly following the loss of defensive leaders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season in Week 5.
In addition to Watson, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Dallas Cowboys signal caller Dak Prescott wear No. 4. All three will battle to be on this list by the time their careers are over, but here are the three best quarterbacks to wear No. 4 that are retired.
#1 Brett Favre
Favre is arguably the greatest player and quarterback of all-time. He played 20 seasons in the NFL amassing the most total yards (70,195), passing yards (71,838), passing touchdowns (508), completions (63,000) and pass attempts (10,169). He now stands second in total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns, but still leads the other two passing categories.
One of the most most underrated aspects of Favre is his toughness. It has been mentioned many times, but no one has started as many games nor as many consecutively has him.
The 1991 second round draft pick from Southern Mississippi has won the AP MVP award three times (1995, 1996 and 1997) while being named to the Pro Bowl 11 times and first-team All-Pro three times. He also led the league in completions (twice), pass attempts (three times), completion percentage (once), passing yards (twice), passing touchdowns (four times) and fourth quarter comebacks (once).
The Gulfport, Miss. native spent 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers after beginning his career in Atlanta. He retired in 2010 after playing one season with the New York Jets and the final two with the Minnesota Vikings.
Pro Football Reference (PFR) has been assigning players an approximate value (AV) since 1960 to give each player a value similarly, but identical, to Major League Baseball’s wins-above-replacement (WAR) statistic. Favre finished with a career AV of 255, which is the second best number given to any player in PFR’s history.
#2 Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh has developed quite the reputation as a head coach, both at the collegiate and professional levels, but before that he was a 14-year quarterback in the NFL. He racked up 26,288 passing yards and 129 passing touchdowns in 177 games (140 starts) from 1987 to 2000. He has the second best AV of any player to wear jersey No. 4 with a 94 value.
The 1987 first round draft pick out of the University of Michigan was not one of the best quarterbacks of his time, but was a solid game-manager. He was named to the Pro Bowl just once in his career and played in just five playoff games over three different seasons. He got to within one game of the Super Bowl in one of those playoff runs, but lost in AFC championship game. However, when he protected the ball and just kept the offense moving in the right direction, his teams won.
The Toledo, Ohio native began coaching in 2002 as the quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders. From there, he started his head coach career at the FCS-level University of San Diego in 2004. Three years later he took over Stanford University head coach duties. After four years with Cardinal, he elevated to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He had four successful seasons in the bay area, but is now at the University of Michigan. He is currently still the head coach of the Wolverines.
#3 Steve Walsh
Walsh had a successful career in the NFL as a backup and temporary starter. He finished his 11-year NFL career. He started just 38 of his 80 career games, but amassed a winning record of 20-18. He passed for 7,785 yards and 40 touchdowns and had an AV of 22 in his career.
The supplemental second round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 out of the University of Miami also played for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. He led the Bears to the playoffs in 1994 and defeated the Vikings in the first round before falling to the 49ers in the divisional round.
The St. Paul, Minn. native got into coaching nearly a decade after his last NFL season. He started at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Fla. in 2008. After eight years at that school, he became the Director of Football at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. This year he joined the Toronto Argonauts as a Special Assistant.
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