Ranking all 32 NFL QBs
We are now under 100 days until the Bills and Rams kickoff the NFL season on Thursday Sept 8 at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. With most of the major off-season moves out of the way, I thought this would be a good time to rank all 32 starting QBs heading into the season. This list is not where I project them to finish during the season, but rather where I see these guys stack up heading into Week 1.
1. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
It was somewhat of an off year in some regards for the former league MVP, throwing a career-high 13 interceptions and being sacked a career-high 28 times. While that is the case, Mahomes still had an incredible season, throwing for over 4,800 yards and 38 touchdowns and nearly reached his third Super Bowl in a row (which as a Bears fan I would take in a heartbeat). While there is stiff competition from some of the other top QBs, I think Mahomes is still the best QB the NFL has to offer.
2. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
I think outside of New England, New York and Miami this is one of the fan favorite QBs around the NFL. But beyond that, Allen is a fantastic quarterback for the Bills, racking up 4,407 passing yards (more than Aaron Rodgers) and 36 passing touchdowns (more the Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray.) However, what truly separates Allen from some of his peers is his rushing ability, as he ran for 763 yards at a ridiculous 6.3 yards per carry while reaching the end zone six times. Allen should be one watch to win his first of what could be many MVP awards as the Bills are primed for a Super Bowl run.
3. Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s kind of weird having the guy who threw for the most yards and touchdowns last year as the third best quarterback in heading into this season, but hey, these are strange times. While Brady had an incredible year for Tampa Bay and led them further in the playoffs than the next QB on this list, I just think that Mahomes and Allen are just a bit better. At football, not golf, especially if you watched “The Match,” (did you know that Brady is 45 years old?)
4. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Even though this man is my sworn enemy (and apparently part owner of my franchise) I must give him his respect. Rodgers had another statistically incredible year for Green Bay, throwing for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns and only threw a miniscule four interceptions during this season. While the Packers suffered another humiliating playoff loss to a wild card (Thank you Robbie Gould and the San Francisco 49ers for that), I think Rodgers will still have another amazing season for the Green and Gold. The reason I have him behind Brady though is that while the Bucs were able to hang onto Chris Godwin, the Packers sent Davante Adams away to Las Vegas and with a receiving core headlined by Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard and rookie Christian Watson I wouldn’t expect the same prolific numbers from Rodgers this season.
5. Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers
The one QB who made all other franchises with QBs impatient as hell (looking at you impatient Jets and Bears fans). Herbert has burst onto the scene as one of not only best young QBs but best QBs in the whole league. In his second season out of Oregon, “Herbo,” threw just over 5,000 yards (only second behind Brady) while tossing 38 touchdowns which put him third in the league behind Brady and Matthew Stafford. I am really high on Herbert and with the weapons at his disposal in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, I expect another great season for number 10.
6. Matthew Stafford – Los Angeles Rams
Finally free from the clutches of doom that is the Detroit Lions, Stafford lit up the NFL on his way to not only his first playoff wins in his career, but his first Super Bowl title. The University of Georgia alumn passed for 4,886 yards while tying his career high in touchdowns, tossing 41 passes for six points. It was the first time Stafford had thrown over 30 touchdowns since 2015 and the last time he threw 41 was 2011 back when Stafford was 23 years old. Even with Odell Beckham Jr. and Robert Woods gone, Stafford will still have Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, a freshly freed Allen Robinson and the youngster in Van Jefferson to toss lasers to.
7. Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals
The other QB to take part in Super Bowl 56, Joe Burrow burst onto the scene and lifted the Bengals from AFC bottom feeder, to AFC contender in his second season in Cincy. “Joe Sheisty,” finally fully healthy after tearing his ACL in the previous season, threw for 4,611 yards and found pay dirt 34 times threw the air. While Burrow was tied for sixth most interceptions this past year with 14, I think that had something to do with being sacked a league high 51 times. Hopefully Burrow will have more time in the pocket with La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras added to the line.
8. Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos
After 10 seasons as the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, the trade rumors from last offseason came into reality as the nine-time Pro Bowler was shipped off to the Denver Broncos for a package that included George Fant, Shelby Harris, Drew Lock, two first round picks, two second round picks and a fifth-round pick. Wilson should be able to bounce back and have a healthy season for his new home as before missing three games and change this season. Wilson had thrown for over 4,000 yards in the previous two seasons and over 30 touchdowns the previous four including 40 in 2020.
9. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
Where to even begin with the former league MVP. In spots last season, Jackson seemed to return to his previous MVP form, with primetime wins over Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts early in the year. In that game against the Colts, Jackson threw for 442 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 86% of his passes. However, there were games, like the one Jackson had against the Browns in Week 12, where he threw just 165 yards and four interceptions. Hopefully for Ravens fans with a beefed-up offensive line, aided by adding center Tyler Linderbaum in the draft and offensive tackle Morgan Moses, they can keep Jackson upright and healthy in 2022.
10. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys and their quarterback Dak Prescott are so damn inconsistent. Prescott did have an impressive season in the stat book, throwing for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns and just 10 picks for the former fourth round pick. He had seven games in which he threw for over 250 yards including two 400 yard plus passing games against Tampa Bay and New England. Prescott also had some clunkers, including going 28-for-43 and 216 yards with two interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs. Prescott is a good QB, I don’t think anyone would deny that he and the rest of the Boys in white are going to be better against better competition. Prescott and the Cowboys went 3-4 against 2021 playoff teams It’s going to be a tough year for Prescott, with losing Amari Cooper and the unknown return of Michael Gallup, a lot will be placed on the shoulders of Prescott, Pro Bowl receiver CeeDee Lamb and the rest of the Cowboys offense.
11. Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
It is a true testament to how good the rest of the AFC West quarterbacks that Derek Carr is the “worst,” of the bunch. Carr did throw 14 interceptions and just 23 touchdowns but came up clutch so many times for the Raiders last season under so much turmoil. Carr was rewarded with his effort by adding his former college teammate Davante Adams to an offense already with some solid playmakers in Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs. One of my favorite QBs is primed to have big season in Vegas.
12. Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals
The next quarterback to be traded… I mean the next quarterback on this list is Kyler Murray. I may get some flak for putting Murray behind Derek Carr, but at least the stats are comparable. Murray tossed 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions while throwing almost 1,000 less than Carr. While you may say that he added yards on the ground, Murray only rushed for 423 yards and had five touchdowns on 88 attempts (4.8 yards per carry). Murray and the Cardinals will have to play a full 17 game schedule to their potential for me to move him up moving forward.
13. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
As much as I and the rest of Twitter love to dunk on Kirk Cousins for being bad in primetime and against good teams, I can’t deny that Cousins is an above average quarterback at the very least. Maybe with a new coaching staff in place, Cousins and the Vikings can finally reach their full potential as a playoff contender. The one thing I will say about Cousins is that there a lot of teams (especially lower on the list) that would take the former Washington QB over what they have now.
14. Matt Ryan – Indianapolis Colts
Behind Russell Wilson to Denver, this was the biggest upgrade for team’s starting quarterback. While Ryan is now 37 years old, he still put up almost 4,000 yards in an offense with really one reliable option in rookie Kyle Pitts. Now with one of the top offensive lines and solid weapons in Michael Pittman Jr, Parris Campbell, and rookie Alec Pierce. Ryan will also enjoy the best running back he has played with since Michael Turner or Devonta Freeman in All-Pro running back Johnathan Taylor who is an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield.
15. Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans
Heading into last season, I probably would have put Tannehill as the tenth best QB. I thought he was that good at the time. However, after A.J. Brown was in and out of the lineup, the former wide receiver turned quarterback regressed from 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2020 to just 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2021. With Brown now an Eagle replaced by rookie Treylon Burks, Robert Woods coming off an ACL injury and bringing in Austin Hooper from Clevland, this is a critical year for both Tannehill and the Titans.
16. Mac Jones – New England Patriots
How could we let this happen, how could we let the Evil Empire gain an apprentice far younger and potentially more powerful. While Mac Jones had some rookie moments, including a three interception performance against the Saints in week three. After starting the first four games with four touchdowns and four interceptions, Jones would finish the season with a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. He would end up also throwing for 2,789 in the final 13 games of the season. Jones should only improve with now having former divisional opponent Davante Parker along Patriots receiving touchdown leader from a year ago in tight end Hunter Henry. The battle between Jones and Allen for the division should be a fun one to watch this season.
17. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers
The former Rolling Meadows and Eastern Illinois quarterback is in a weird position. There have been so many rumors of him being shipped off before the season starts but I am taking the rosters as is. Before I continue though, I think that the best landings spots for him up to this point would be Carolina, New York Giants and Seattle. Any of those teams would like to have his services and jump into the playoff conversation. Jimmy G isn’t a world beater, but he is a good system quarterback who won’t lose you games. As the same as it was with Cousins, some of the teams lower on the list would take a QB who’s gotten to a Super Bowl and two conference title games in the past four seasons.
18. Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
It was truly a breakout season for Hurts in 2021. After only starting four games in his rookie campaign, Hurts was the starter from day one in Philly last season. The former Oklahoma signal-caller passed for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns in 15 games this season. While not the most impressive passing stats, Hurts made his 2nd round salary with his legs, leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns by a QB with 784 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hurts will have to improve as a passer moving forward and he’ll have the chance to do it with the new 100-million-dollar man in former Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown. Hurts also has Devonta Smith, Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert and a stout offensive line. It’s no excuses for Hurts next year if he doesn’t produce in Philly and if he doesn’t the fans will let him know it.
19. Jared Goff – Detroit Lions
After failing to improve in Sean McVay’s offense, Goff was shipped off to Detroit as part of the Matthew Stafford trade. Goff played well in spurts, but it was statistically Goff’s worst season since he was a rookie, throwing for just 3,245 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Goff did finish the year strong, thanks in part to the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, throwing 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions and had 60%+ completion percentage in his last five games he played in. Should be interesting to see if Goff can not only stay healthy but develop in this Lions offense that still has St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson, first round pick Jameson Williams and running back D'Andre Swift.
20. Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
I will try to be unbiased as possible in my evaluation of Justin Fields. With that being said, I had to put him all the way down here just so people wouldn’t come after me because Fields is easily the best QB in the NFL. In all seriousness while Fields showed flashes of his talent there are some big things to clean up with him. Hopefully a lot of that will be cleared up with a new coaching staff, but Fields needs to be better at protecting the ball when on the run and protecting himself as well. Fields has some growing to do but I think he can and will, but for now I can’t put him near the top half of the league in QBs. Quick sidebar, to all the Vikings fans, stop calling this dude “Bustin Fields,” when every single one you wanted him heading into the draft, stay mad that you didn’t get him and watch him own your franchise like Mitchell Trubisky did (5-2 and never lost to Minnesota after his rookie season).
21. Carson Wentz – Washington Commanders
The man that the Colts couldn't wait to get rid of. They sent Wentz to the Commanders (still a stupid name) for a third round pick in 2022 and a conditional third round pick in 2023. Credit to the Colts for getting anything for Wentz after the miserable end to the 2021 season in Week 18 against Jacksonville. While his stats on paper look pretty good, 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his only season with the Colts. But if you look at the last eight games of the season, Wentz only threw for over 250 yards once, that came in a 38-31 loss to Tampa Bay where Wentz threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but also two interceptions. I don't think anyone is expecting Wentz to return to his MVP form back in 2017 but if he can be half as good as that, he can stick around in Washington.
22. Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars
People maybe surprised for me to have Lawrence as the second best 2nd year QB on the list. In all honesty, I feel bad for all the second year QBs outside of Mac Jones. Lawrence, Fields, Wilson and Mills were thrown into such horrible situations but I think Lawrence had the worst of it. A head coach who created a toxic environment of fear and one who would rather be in a bar than return with his team after a prime-time loss is not great for rookie QB to deal with. The Jags did spend quite a money to improve the team with offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones to go along with tight end Evan Engram. Lawrence should be better this year with a new coaching staff and actual players to throw to but he will have to prove himself after only throwing four touchdowns in his last 10 games while throwing five interceptions.
23. Davis Mills – Houston Texans
The long necked QB had a pretty solid season for the Texans. While only going 2-9 in 11 starts last year, Mills finished second among rookies in completion percentage and touchdowns with 66% of his passes being completed and throwing 16 touchdowns. Mills also threw for 2,664 yards which was good for third among rookies (just behind Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones). The former Stanford QB got a bit of help in the off-season as the Texans added receiver John Metchie III and Marlon Mack to complement Brandin Cooks. I think Mills could potentially leap up near the middle section of QBs this season (16-18 range).
24. Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
Tagovailoa is in a similar position to some of the other QBs on this list. His front office did a lot to support the now third year signal caller. The Dolphins beefed up their offensive line, adding All-Pro left tackle Terron Armstead and guard Conor Williams to protect the lefty QB. The Fins weren't done there as they added running backs Sony Michel and Chase Edmonds to get depth in the back field. The crowning jewel for Miami was adding former Kansas City Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins sent over five draft picks and made Hill the highest paid wide-out, giving out a four year $120 million extension to keep Hill until 2026. The Dolphins also held onto tight end Mike Gesicki on a one year 10.9 million dollar deal. Tagovailoa will need to produce for Miami, otherwise, look for them to be QB shopping in 2023.
25. Zach Wilson – New York Jets
The baby faced quarterback for the Big Apple had a rough go of it in his rookie season. Wilson missed four games due to injury and they may have had something to do with the fact that Wilson was sacked 44 times last season, the most by rookie QBs last season. The Jets seem to be learning from their failure with Sam Darnold as they signed offensive linemen Laken Tomlinson away from the 49ers, tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency. In draft, the Jets added wide receiver Garrett Wilson and tight end Jeremy Ruckert from Ohio State in the first and third round respectively. Iowa State running back Breece Hall was also drafted in the second round by New York. Wilson should be in a much better situation in his second year in the city that never sleeps.
26. Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
I would have put Winston much high considering his stats with the Saints, a 5-2 record and threw 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Those three interceptions were the fewest Winston threw in the first seven games of each of his six seasons as a starter. The reason I put him down this far is because it's unknown whether or not he could have kept up that pace for the rest of the season. If Winston can repeat that performance for a full 17 game season I think he can be a top 15 quarterback in the NFL.
27. Mitch Trubisky – Pittsburgh Steelers
After a mixed bag of four years in Chicago and one year as a backup in Buffalo, Trubisky is getting a second chance at being a starter with Pittsburgh. It will come with some competition with rookie first rounder Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings. Trubisky showed some flashes of regaining a starting job in Buffalo, dicing up the Bears starting defense in the preseason going 20-for-28, 221 yards and one touchdown. Trubisky has his work cut out for him but with a stable coaching staff and offensive system focused on the run game, Trubisky could be a good stop-gap option while Pickett holds the clipboard.
28. Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers
After two teams gave up a total of eight draft picks for Darnold, including No. 6 and No. 37 overall in 2018 which turned into left guard Quenton Nelson, right tackle Braden Smith and then in 2019 at No. 34 overall cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. Darnold is entering his fifth year in the NFL and hasn't thrown for over 3,000 yards since his rookie year. The former number three overall pick injured his back in November after a 24-6 loss to the Patriots and missed the next five games. In that midst, the Panthers trotted out former XFL star P.J. Walker and initiated the return of former franchise star Cam Newton. Darnold would come back to play the final three games but looked unimpressive, losing all three games and just throwing 541 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Darnold will have some more competition this year with third round pick Matt Coral to push him. Darnold is fighting for his NFL life right now at this point.
29. Daniel Jones – New York Giants
"Danny Dimes," as they call him didn't drop too many dimes last season for the G-Men. Part of that was because Jones couldn't stay on the field last season, suffering two major injuries last year. One was a concussion suffered in a Week five game on the road in Dallas and then missed the final six games with season ending neck surgery. Even when Jones was healthy it wasn't pretty as Jones threw just 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions and fumbled seven times, losing three of them. The Giants added to the offensive line in free agency and the draft with Mark Glowinski, Jon Feliciano and former Alabama lineman Evan Neal. The Giants also added receiver Wan'Dale Robinson from Kentucky with intentions of trading away Kadarius Toney. The Giants did also add former Texans QB Tyrod Taylor so Jones will have some veteran competition, so like many other QBs on this list it's make it or break time for Jones.
30. Marcus Mariota – Atlanta Falcons
After spending the last two seasons as the back-up to Derek Carr in Las Vegas, Mariota has been given another shot to be a starter with the Falcons. The former second overall pick last started in Week six of the 2019 season, where he got benched in favor on now starting QB Ryan Tannehill after going 7-for-18, 63 yards and two interceptions. It will be a tall task for Mariota to prove he can be a starter after Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for betting on games while sitting out last season. Rookie receiver Drake London and second year tight end Kyle Pitts do give Mariota big targets to throw to and former Raider Bryan Edwards gives him another proven NFL target. Mariota will have little wiggle room as like the other former number two overall pick in Trubisky has a rookie QB waiting in the wings, this time in third round pick Desmond Ridder.
31. Drew Lock – Seattle Seahawks
We have reached the end of this extensive list with the worst starting QB in the NFL. Listen, this is not an insult to be the worst starting QB in the NFL, so any Drew Lock fans please don't come after me. The 25 year-old QB from Missouri showed some promise in his rookie year with Denver, going 4-1 and throwing for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns. After that there hasn't been much success for Lock in year two, tossing 15 interceptions to lead the league and going just 4-9 in 13 starts in 2020. Teddy Bridgewater took over the reigns and Lock only played in six games this season. Lock will have a second chance to battle for the starting job with Geno Smith in Seattle.
N/A – Deshaun Watson
Heading into this article, I had gone back and forth on whether to even put this man in the list. Ultimately though, I decided to not even rank him for multiple reasons. Thinking about this situation made me think about the women in my life and how just one woman I know would be enough to put him on the list. The fact that as of the writing of this article there are 24 to 66 women who have encountered Watson in a massage studio is reprehensible. These allegations, less importantly, put Watson's football career in jeopardy at this point. For football reasons and for my own personal reasons, Watson will not be ranked.