Read below as we rank all of the current NFL quarterbacks from first-to-worst.
Best of the Best
You would be hard pressed to find a player with more accolades than Mahomes at this point in their career. In five seasons (four as a starter), he is a 4x Pro Bowler, MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Super Bowl champion. His worst season, which was only 14 games due to injury, was still a 4,000 yard, 26 touchdown, 5 interception performance. His situation is great, but he is even better. He is firmly in the yearly MVP discussion for the foreseeable future.
The best dual threat quarterback in the league somehow only has one Pro Bowl to his name. The 2020 MVP runner-up has done nothing but be elite the past three seasons, accumulating over 13,000 total yards and 116 touchdowns. If it weren’t for the Chiefs, Allen and the Bills may very well be back-to-back Super Bowl champions.
Speaking of back-to-back, Mr. Rodgers won his second straight MVP award this past season, increasing his total to four. That moves him out of a tie with a handful of players and alone in second place for the most all-time (Peyton Manning has five). Rodgers hasn’t thrown double digit interceptions in a season since 2010, and has only done it twice total in his 17 year career. The surefire first-ballot hall of famer continues to play at an unbelievable level.
The most accomplished quarterback of all-time has played at the highest level for nearly two decades now, and he doesn’t really show any sign of slowing down. At 44 years old, Brady led the league in pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. An early playoff loss has likely lit a fire under him that the rest of the league doesn’t want to see. He still has what it takes to hoist the Lombardi one last time before riding off into the sunset.
The fact that Joe Burrow put up the numbers he did while being sacked more than anyone in the league shows just how special this guy is. After missing the last six games of his rookie year with a knee injury, he responded by throwing for 4,600 yards and leading his team to the Super Bowl. With what should be a much improved offensive line and continued development from his young receiving corps, Burrow is in line to have success for a long time.
Another quick riser in the QB ranks, Justin Herbert eclipsed the 5,000 yard mark in just his second season last year. With 77 touchdowns in his first two seasons, Herbert has quickly thrown his name into the upper echelon of quarterbacks. He has all his weapons back and should continue to raise his game.
Last we saw Watson, he was leading the league in passing yards en route to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. While rust, a new team, and a looming suspension play a large part in Watson’s success this upcoming season, the talent itself is near the top when it comes to quarterbacks.
While last season was a down year for Wilson, he was about as consistent as could be the previous handful of years. He has always been near the top of the league in sacks taken, but his new home is Denver should help ease that. With more protection and a potent group of weapons around him, Mr. Unlimited should be able to get back to his old self.
If ever there were an example of football being a team sport, Stafford is it. After playing in three playoff games in his 12 year stint in Detroit, he matched that total plus one on his way to a Super Bowl in his first year with the Rams. Aside from a down 2018 season and an injury shortened 2019 season, Stafford has topped 4,000 yards in every season since 2011. The top of the quarterback ladder has been within sight for Stafford for a long time.
One of the more polarizing quarterbacks in the league, Jackson just misses the elite group for me. He is far and away the best mobile quarterback in the league, and maybe ever, but his passing has its moments of inconsistency. If he can develop his passing game to match his rushing ability, he will easily find himself in the top tier of quarterbacks.
Carr gets my vote for the most underrated quarterback in the league. With just three winning seasons in his career, he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Excluding his rookie year in 2014, he has four 4,000 yard and two more 3,900 yard seasons under his belt. The Raiders actually appear to be putting something together around him, and his old college teammate, Davante Adams, may be what unlocks Carr even further.
Dallas fans expect championship caliber play every year. While the records and playoff results (one touchdown in each of his last three playoff games) don’t always live up to the expectations, Prescott has carried a bad defense as far as he could. In his last three seasons, he has thrown for 11,207 yards in 37 games. That’s good for over 300 yards per game.
A hot topic this offseason, Murray has quickly become one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. Just shy of 4,000 passing yards and 90 total touchdowns in his first three seasons, he can beat a defense in any way you can imagine. He has some room to grow as a passer, but his future looks bright.
Tennessee has unlocked something in Tannehill. After double digit interceptions in five of his six seasons in Miami (the one being an injury shortened season), he has hit that number just once in three years with the Titans. He has led them to the playoffs in all three seasons, including a top seed last year and an AFC Championship in 2019. Tennessee had made the playoffs just once in the decade prior to Tannehill.
Known more for his teams’ collapse in the Super Bowl and less for his MVP that same season, Ryan is continually overlooked in the quarterback hierarchy. Prior to this past season’s 3,968 yard performance, he had topped 4,000 yards in 10 straight seasons. The Falcons have had their ups and downs during Ryan’s tenure, but I think that is more a result of the team around him.
Probably the most controversial quarterback in the league, conversations on whether or not Cousins can take a team over the top. While “over the top” is probably a stretch for Cousins, he can definitely make a team better. He has surpassed 4,000 passing yards in six of his seven seasons as a full-time starter, while garnering three Pro Bowl awards. He gets a lot of heat for his primetime performance. However, his 280 yards per game and 1.8 touchdowns in those games gets overshadowed by his teams’ less than stellar record.
An injury riddled few years has dampened what looked to have been a promising career for Garoppolo. In his two healthy seasons, he has thrown for just shy of 8,000 total yards and 50 touchdowns. In those two years, the 49ers made a Super Bowl appearance and an NFC Championship appearance. He’s nothing spectacular, but he does what he needs to in order to get the job done.
Jones had one of the best rookie quarterback seasons in recent memory and easily the best of this past year’s class. While the Belichick system certainly helped, Mac showed that he has potential to be a starting caliber quarterback for a long time. Throwing for 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns, we will get to see how he does without long-time offensive mastermind Josh McDaniels.
Another controversial quarterback, Hurts definitely makes his money with his legs. In 15 games last season, his 210 yards per game and 16:9 touchdown to interception ratio left something to be desired. However, his 784 yards and 10 scores on the ground makes up for a good amount of passing inefficiencies. If he can become an above average passer, Hurts could take a massive leap.
Going into this exercise, I didn’t realize how many controversial quarterbacks there were in the league. Wentz threw for 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions while leading the Colts to a 9-8 record. Yet, the public seems to think he had a bad season. The 15 point loss to the Jaguars in a win or go home game certainly doesn’t sit well, but Wentz showed that he is still an above average quarterback.
Winston was having an anomalous 2021 prior to his season ending injury. He was on pace for just over 3,000 yards, but was also on pace for almost 37 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Maybe it was just an anomaly. Maybe the lasik eye surgery actually did have a massively positive effect on Winston’s vision. We should find out soon enough, as Winston is back in the saddle with an extremely improved group of weapons around him.
Mayfield has seen himself grouped in the ‘next best thing’ category and the ‘nothing more than average’ category within the matter of two seasons. After an impressive 3,500 yard, 26 touchdown, eight interception 2020, he struggled his way to just over 3,000 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in his 14 games last season. The Browns chose to move on and try to hit on their win-now window, acquiring Deshaun Watson for a myriad of draft picks. Baker will likely be moved at some point. My guess would be to a team that thinks they are a contender that is a competent quarterback short of reaching the playoffs.
Speaking of a contender with a quarterback problem, the Dolphins have put a rather impressive roster around Tagovailoa. If he can take the next step and become a legitimate threat, the Dolphins could do some damage. After throwing for 2,600 yards and just 16 touchdowns, it might take a fairly large step for him to take this Dolphins team to where they want to be.
The 2021 Nickelodeon Valuable Player has a new home in 2022. After backing up Josh Allen last season, Trubisky will likely get first crack at replacing surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Trubisky has had an up and down career, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 before regressing the following season. He will never make a bad team good or a good team great, but he can turn a good roster into a playoff team.
Goff is another perfect example of a quarterback who can turn a good roster into a contender. The 2016 first overall pick took the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his third season. He has two 4,600 yard seasons to his name, and would have a third of 4,000 yards had he not been held out of the Rams’ 2020 season finale. He was shipped to Detroit and immediately turned them into a competitive football team (six losses by one possession).
Wilson had a rocky first year to say the least, but he did show some flashes of potential. He had multiple games of 200+ yards and two touchdowns. Also, after a rough September, he threw just four interceptions in his last nine games. The Jets have given him plenty of weapons, including first and second round draft picks this offseason, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Assuming his young offensive line continues to improve, Wilson will have the necessary tools to take the next step as a quarterback.
While there were a few disappointments with the rookie quarterbacks last season, Mills was not one of them. While there were some rough patches (87 yards and four interceptions against Buffalo), there was also plenty to be excited about (five games with multiple touchdowns, two of which were three touchdowns and no interceptions). Mills was originally thought to be a buffer between Watson and the next potential franchise quarterback. Now, he may have a shot at being that next franchise quarterback.
Speaking of rookie disappointments, there weren’t a lot of positives that came from the top pick’s first season. He led the league with 17 interceptions, while only throwing 12 touchdowns. To make things worse, he had five multi-interceptions games (three of 3 or more) and just two multi-touchdown games. With his pedigree and what should be an improved roster around him, Lawrence should be able to right the ship closer to the potential he has.
There is one thing that connects almost all of the second-year quarterbacks. Their respective front offices have added weapons and protection to help their young quarterbacks. The Bears, however, did not do that for Fields. Well, they did, but not as much as they probably should have. He doesn’t have a bonafide receiver to go to. He doesn’t have a reliable tight end. He doesn’t have a rock solid offensive line to protect him. Last year was a lot of Fields improvising with his legs and making unscripted plays. I think there will have to be more of the same this year for the Bears to have any success.
If the unproven category had a poster boy, it would be Lance. Starting just two games and playing significant time in another, he wasn’t able to leave much of an impression. In the two games he did start, he threw for 441 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He had 157 yards and two touchdowns in the third game. He is another major dual threat, as he had 31 rushing attempts in those three games. However, whether or not the 49ers are comfortable enough to make him the starter is yet to be determined.
Heinicke got his first taste of significant playing time, and he didn’t fare too poorly. He threw multiple touchdowns in more games than he threw multiple interceptions, and had his team within striking distance of the playoffs prior to losing four of their last five games. He will now battle with rookie Sam Howell for the backup spot behind Carson Wentz.
Mariota has made a decent living by being the quarterback on a team that has a good enough roster to carry him to the playoffs. In his four seasons as a starter, he has never thrown for more than 3,400 yards and has thrown 20 touchdowns in a season just once. He has thrown 1.7 touchdowns for every interception in his career, and will now be a starting quarterback for the first time since 2019.
If not for him being a 6th overall pick and the team not wanting to admit they messed up, Jones would likely not be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Aside from a relatively promising rookie year, Jones has yet to reach 3,000 yards passing and has thrown for 21 total touchdowns in the two subsequent seasons. The Giants have already chosen not to pick up his fifth year option, so barring an improbable leap in his play, Jones will likely be playing his final season in New York.
Another young quarterback who has shown little reason as to why he should still be a starter. However, Carolina must have found a reason. They sent a second and fourth round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Darnold last offseason. He repaid them by playing 12 games, throwing for 2,500 yards and just 9 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. Not only did he not help them win, but he cost them valuable draft capital. Like Jones, Darnold will likely be playing his last season as a starter.
I guess I should be writing about Geno Smith instead of Lock, seeing as how the Seahawks announced that it is Smith that is in line to be the starter to begin the season. I’ll stick with Lock for the sake of MAYBE him having a sliver of upside. If there is any, it would come from his 2,900 yard season in 2020. However, he also threw just 16 touchdowns and a league leading 15 interceptions that same season. Whoever is under center for Seattle this season, it’s clear that they are simply a bridge from Russell Wilson to whoever they choose to lead their team next.