Alright, I'm back. But this isn't about me. It is about the Good Griefs and the beautiful game of football. No matter what is going on in the world, if I am on a service trip to Madagascar as a 25-year-old with no Wifi, I will always move mountains to put out my annual quarterback rankings article. Not only am I unbiased and a certified professional, but the process of assembling this list takes 2-3 hours alone, as I first make one-off memory, then move players around based on their statistics, and how they performed in big-time situations. It is important to consider the weapons around them as well, with players like Matthew Stafford showing the world what he can do in a good situation.
As a Washington "Commander" fan, I have not been truly excited about a season in quite some time. Going into last year I was so excited about Ryan Fitzpatrick as my starting quarterback, but of course, he only attempted 6 passes before a hip injury knocked him out for the season. With Carson Wentz as my quarterback and the rest of the NFC East improving, I am back to being your classic pessimistic Washington fan. So it is time to shift my focus to the rest of the league. Not only am I excited about football for the obvious reasons of getting to watch young talent like Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, and already all-time great Patrick Mahomes every Sunday, but since my cherished Washington Nationals have been so bad this year, I am already putting myself in the football mindset when I am beginning this article in July. (If you see a tone and mood shift midway through this article, I apologize in advance as it is probably post-Nationals trade deadline and we have traded away a few of my favorite guys).
Now, sit back, grab your favorite beverage, take a deep breath, and enjoy my completely unbiased and 100% accurate ranking of every NFL team's starting quarterback heading into the 2022 season.
#32 Geno Smith- Seattle Seahawks
Since I start these articles early and chip away at them, I always do quarterback battles last. For this one though, I thought there was no way in the world that Geno Smith would win the starting job over Drew Lock, but here we are. Here's what I had to say about Lock before I get a little into Geno:
"To quote the great Mark Jackson, I have no idea what the Seattle Seahawks are doing, with all due respect. The 2022 Seahawks are a shell of their former selves, with the shocking trade of Russell Wilson after a terrible 7-10 season last year. Pete Carroll is the oldest coach in the NFL at 70, and although he is confident in his future as his contract runs through 2025, retirement rumors were swirling at the end of last year. Seattle's defense is not good, the offensive line is not good, and now the quarterback position is not good. They have great running backs, so of course, they draft a running back in the 2nd round when they have numerous other holes. Put aside the memes, Drew Lock is not a good quarterback, and I am not sure why he is getting another shot.
Drew Lock has started in 21 NFL football games over his career, and after a good start in his 2019 rookie season in 5 games, he has not done anything since. After a shaky 2020 season completing only 57.3% of his passes throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, he was beaten out by Teddy Bridgewater in Denver last season, and in 3 starts Lock threw 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His career passer rating is 79.3 while only completing 59.3% of his passes. No one denies his potential talent, but his decision-making is atrocious. Listen, I get not loving this past quarterback draft class, but I still have no idea why they would not take a flier on Baker Mayfield. The Seahawks are tanking this upcoming season, and unless Lock knocks their socks off, they'll select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. "
The good thing about Geno Smith compared to Drew Lock is that they both rank dead last on my quarterback list, and if I made a top 50 list, I am 100% sure that they both would not be in the top 32. Regardless, it is unbelievable to think about Geno Smith getting another crack at being a starting quarterback in 2022. The now 31-year-old has not been a starter in the NFL since 2014. 2014!!!! In 45 games over his career, Geno has thrown for 34 touchdowns and 37 interceptions with 11 fumbles lost. Believe it or not, he actually performed fairly well in 4 games played last season when Russ was out, throwing for 5 touchdowns with 1 interception and a 103 passer rating completing 68.4% of passes. The offense moved surprisingly well, and he even led them to victory in Week 8 over the Jacksonville Jaguars throwing for 195 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 31-7 victory. Putting his disastrous tenure in New York behind him, Geno has a decent arm with pocket mobility and a quick release. I would not have high hopes, but it might not be as bad as most people would assume.
#31 Justin Fields- Chicago Bears
This might be the most confusing player on this list for me. Out of college, I was not as high on Fields as everyone else was and thought he should have been the fourth quarterback selected in the 2021 draft, but I came into last season with an open mind. The Bears stunk, Matt Nagy was not a good coach that hung around for too long, and the Bears offense was not the best place to start your career with. There are some weapons that he can work with, like Darnell Mooney and David Montgomery, but there is plenty of room for improvement. This is a big season for Fields as the clear-cut starter. It could go either way for him, but it is important to remember how young he still is and how he has time to develop before the Bears are contenders again.
After an unnecessary tumultuous 2021 offseason regarding the Bears signing Andy Dalton to be the starter and the refusal of Justin Fields even having a shot at quarterback, Fields became the starter a few weeks into the season and was a mixed bag. He has a lot going for him including the new coaching staff and going into the 2022 season as the solidified starter. Now he has a chance to put it all together. The 2021 stats are not good any way you look at them: in 10 starts he had 10 interceptions and 7 touchdowns with a 58.9% completion percentage and 5 fumbles lost. He showed how big of a threat he is with his legs vs the 49ers with 103 yards and a rushing touchdown, but struggled passing against their good defense which was a common theme for him. At the end of this year, Fields could ascend into a top 20 quarterback or be in this spot again next year. One thing I know for sure though is how much the Bears roster needs to improve around him for Fields to become a great quarterback in the future.
#30 Zach Wilson- New York Jets
Legend. On and off the field. Going into his senior season at BYU not many people had Zach Wilson on their radars, and after watching him the first few weeks in college, I was hoping he would slip to my coveted Washington poverty franchise. It did not take long before everyone took notice and Wilson quickly became the sure-fire #2 pick in the NFL Draft to the New York Jets. Similar to Justin Fields and his situation, the New York Jets were terrible last season, and although they have a good coach in Robert Saleh, the roster provided Wilson with nothing to work with.
We all know how good Zach Wilson's arm is and I would put it up there as one of the strongest in the league. In an upset win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 of last season, a play stood out to me foreshadowing what could come in the future for Wilson. In a tied 17-17 game in the fourth quarter, Wilson rolled right on play action and under pressure pointed for receiver Corey Davis to go deep. Wilson uncorked a 53-yard touchdown pass in between two defenders and later led them to a game-winning field goal in overtime. His creativity and cannon for an arm are what drew New York to select him, but in his rookie season his mistakes stood out the most. He was awful the first 3 weeks of the season throwing 7 picks in those 3 games and ended the season with 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions ranking 30th in QBR at 28.2. He did not throw an interception over his last 5 games of the season on 140 pass attempts but only completed 51.4% of those passes and had only 3 touchdowns. His inconsistency leads him to be so low on this list, but he has all the intangibles, and I haven't even mentioned his borderline elite ability to run, and he has all the talent to be a great quarterback in the future. He can truly chuck bombs and.... let's just move on to the next quarterback.
#29 Marcus Mariota- Atlanta Falcons
Marcus Mariota deserves another shot in the NFL. Atlanta is the perfect place to do that for him. Coming out of Oregon Mariota was primed to be a superstar. The Heisman Trophy winner was drafted 2nd overall in 2015 by the Tennessee Titans and had some immediate success before getting injured and struggling his last couple years as a starter. In 2017 Mariota threw for 26 touchdowns with only 9 interceptions in his second year as a pro. Looking to take a huge leap forward in year three, he put out the worst season of his career throwing for 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, leading the Titans to trade for Ryan Tannehill to push him and be the backup. After a slow start in 2019, Tannehill was the right guy at the right time, and Mariota was never a starter in Tennessee again after getting benched and Tannehill taking fire. After two years in Las Vegas with the Raiders as a backup, he heads to Atlanta to team up with his former Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith.
Let's break down how Mariota has the chance to be successful, and how he has a chance to fail in Atlanta. Arthur Smith is an offensive genius. He turned Ryan Tannehill into a Pro Bowler and modeled an offense around Derrick Henry to make him one of the most dominant players of all time. In Atlanta, Smith finally unlocked Cordarrell Patterson and turned him into a human highlight tape at 30 years old and after 7 years in the league mostly as a return specialist. Mariota had two years to serve under a solid quarterback in Derek Carr and was very good his first two years as a starter in Tennessee. On the contrary, Marcus Mariota cannot stay healthy. Even as a backup last season he missed a month of the season after getting injured on a rarely designed run. Ryan Tannehill was considered a bust in Miami and is less talented than Mariota but thrived immediately in the great Tennessee offense. Mariota has great wheels and an above-average arm, but he always chooses the safe play and has no improvising skills. All in all, Mariota is intriguing to say the least, and truly deserves this chance with a good offense around him in Atlanta.
#28 Mitch Trubisky- Pittsburgh Steelers
Mitch! Love to see the NVP getting another shot in the NFL. Or will he? It is always a risk to make lists like this one early. In 2020 I put out my list before July 4th and had to make multiple changes, and in 2021 I put out the list in August but still had to make changes, most notably Mac Jones being named the starter after Cam Newton got cut. Is this the year where I can confidently write about Mitch Trubisky as the Steelers quarterback over baby hands Kenny Pickett? Time will tell. Mitch Trubisky was the most "NFL ready" quarterback coming out of his draft class and overall had a raw deal in Chicago with Matt Nagy calling the plays. Not only did Tribusky win an NVP, but he was also named a Pro Bowler in 2018 and was a double-doinked field goal away from winning a playoff game in 2019.
Mitch has a chance to thrive in Pittsburgh. The city will embrace him. The Steelers are a pillar of franchise success and he is thrusted into a dynamic offensive with Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth. If this team can make it to the playoffs with a pathetic Big Ben last year, anything is possible. Mitch received rave reviews last season in Buffalo and lit the preseason on fire (I know it's preseason but bare with me) and is a tall and athletic quarterback. It was easy to laugh at Pittsburgh's unsexy choice to sign Mitch but this was an extremely low-risk high-reward signing. Accuracy is not the issue that most people think it is, as his completion percentage is not terrible 64.1% over his career. He makes some bad decisions and misses some easy throws but his time in Buffalo could have helped him immensely. Believe it or not, he holds the franchise record for the highest completion percentage and passer rating at 87.2 in Bears history. A year away from Chicago and learning in Buffalo under Josh Allen while rumored to have fixed mechanical issues are all signs of a season to look forward to with the Steelers. And let's be real here, anybody is better than Ben Roethlisberger at this point.
#27 Tua Tagovailoa- Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa is just not a good quarterback. Drafting Tua over Justin Herbert will haunt the Dolphins franchise for decades. Coming out of Alabama there was not a doubt that Tua was primed to be a star if he could stay healthy. The problem is not only can he not stay healthy, but even when he is healthy he puts up average numbers at best. Sorry, Tuanon I love and respect you, and please do not come after me. I have a family. Anyways, this could be Tua's third and last season as a starting quarterback in the NFL. After his rookie season when Ryan Fitzpatrick was clearly the better fit for the offense, Tua was named the starter midway through the season and threw for 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He was the clear starter heading into last season and improved his completion percentage and quarterback rating, but threw 10 interceptions to go along with the 16 touchdowns. He also fumbled 9 times, losing 1 of them. He has the ability to throw the ball with good touch and timing, but he just does not have the arm strength that you need from a franchise quarterback.
Tua's lack of an arm and his mid-60 grade PFF scores from his first two seasons relegate him to backup-level production. He struggles with making big plays and doing everything he can to win a football game. He makes the simple throws and has the ability to scramble and make plays with his legs, but I feel like it would be a big leap in his game if he utilizes that mobility a little more. He is accurate, ranking 7th in the league last year at a 67.8% completion rate, but out of his 16 touchdown passes only 2 of them were over 10 yards. Tua ranked 34th out of 35 quarterbacks in percentage of passing attempts of over 20 yards at only 7.5%. He can be a game manager and has the potential to be a guy like Jimmy G but if he wants to solidify himself as a top quarterback he needs to make explosive plays that guys like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert make. Burrow has all the weapons in the world but is leaps and bounds ahead of Tagovailoa's progression with an even worse offensive line. Tua can be solid but needs to show us a lot more and he has a great chance to do that with Tyreke Hill and offensive guru Mike McDaniels in Miami this upcoming year.
#26 Trey Lance- San Francisco 49ers
This is where the list gets pretty interesting. Would it be a lot safer to slide Trey Lance behind guys like Marcus Mariota and Tua who have proved to be able to win a couple of football games? Sure. But I think Trey Lance with some time could be an elite quarterback and I am confident enough to justify him being 26 on this list heading into next season. No one can deny the potential that he has. He is a great athlete who is a smart guy and has an unbelievable arm and good size. He needs to make the right decisions on the field though. In his two starts as a pro last season, it was a miracle that he had over a 50% completion percentage over his 71 passing attempts. There were many instances where he would go multiple throws without completing a pass and he needs to know when to throw the fastball and when to put some touch on his throws. With all of his flaws, I cannot get over the potential that Lance has and what he can do in the Shanahan offense next year.
Let's talk about what Trey Lance did in college for a second at North Dakota State. As a JMU student, I know what the competition looks like in the FCS. I'll preface this by saying nobody can sleep on how good of a quarterback I was in middle school, but let's just say I did not even come close to being a quarterback on the FCS level. With that being said, Lance played a bunch of nobodys. But, he did what he should have done against that competition throwing for 30 touchdowns with only 1 interception completing 65.4% of his passes with a 173.8(!!) quarterback rating in 17 games. In the NFL he did not look great as I noted on his completion percentage through his 71 pass attempts, but he is leaps and bounds better of a quarterback than Jimmy G. Jimmy is the safer pick no doubt about it, but even with how good the 49ers roster is they could never win a Super Bowl with Jimmy G. If Lance reaches his potential, he could and will win with the 49ers, and even if he has a rough start I expect him to start wowing the league towards the middle of the year with his playmaking ability throwing and running the football.
#25 Davis Mills- Houston Texans
Look. From picks number 26-18 on this list, this is a tier of quarterbacks that are lacking in a big part of their game, and I'm not sure if I would label them in the "good" tier. Davis Mills is a bit of a wild card and he was much more solid than people think last season. Arguments can be made to have Mills way lower on this list but I believe this is a good spot for him based on what he did last season in such a terrible situation. Many people expected the Texans to be the worst team in the league last season and even some were saying 0-17 was possible. Deshaun Watson was all over the news and Tyrod Taylor was named the starting quarterback late last summer heading into the season after Watson was seemingly going to be sat out for the year. Mills literally had nothing going for him and zero preparation to be in the position he was in last year, and the whole roster was pathetic. That did not stop him from going out there and playing decent football.
Mills was a superstar in high school and had offers from Alabama and Georgia but decided on Stanford. He ended up tearing his ACL twice and was not fully healthy until 2020 when he was named the starter. The problem is with the pandemic he only got to play in 5 football games in 2020. That was still enough for the Texans to select him with the 67th pick in the 2021 draft. The long-necked man has some mechanic flaws that need to be fixed, as his long-throwing motion can lead to more sacks and timing issues. He struggled to start the season last year, most notably with 4 interceptions in Week 4 vs the Bills, but he bounced back in a big way in Week 5, throwing for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Patriots becoming the first rookie quarterback ever to put up those stats against Bill Belichick. After Tyrod Taylor was given another shot after recovering from injury, Mills became the starter once again over the last 5 weeks of the season and really started to come into his own. He threw for 9 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and completed 68.4% of his passes with a passer rating of 104 and averaged 252 yards per game. This is with a bad offensive line, a team whose running game was ranked dead last in the NFL, and no offensive weapons other than Brandin Cooks. A wide receiver named Nico Collins was second on the team in receiving with only 446 yards. Mills deserves a shot to be the franchise guy and has produced with everything stacked against him. Mills does not have of high a ceiling as some guys ranked lower than him on this list, but I think Mills could be a solid quarterback for many years to come.
#24 Daniel Jones- New York Giants
Danny Dimes. An A+ nickname with D- play in his career thus far. Even the greats like Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes do not have anything close to the great nickname of Danny Dimes. But they have everything else that Jones does not even though their commonalities. Allen and Mahomes along with Danny were all top first-round picks. They have all been starters for multiple years now. The only difference is Allen and Mahomes will have plenty of time to get a great nickname and on the other hand, Jones could likely be forgotten in a few years. The main reason that Jones is still above a few names on this list after his abysmal season last year is how pathetic that Giants roster was. Head Coach Joe Judge was a laughing stock, their offensive line underperformed, Saquon Barkley is a shell of his old self, and $18 million dollar a year man Kenny Golladay ended the season with the same amount of touchdowns as me and you did sitting on the couch right now. With all that being said, Jone's value also rose after the output the Giants put out the last few weeks of the season when he was out.
Jones has a good arm and sneaky legs. He is one of the better running quarterbacks in football, especially in the open field. The problem is with that mobility he can evade defenders but then often fails to make a decision in time and takes a bad sack or makes a poor throw. As I have mentioned, the lack of weapons in his tenure, especially last season with a banged-up roster, took its toll on his production. It is clear that Jones is valuable to the Giants franchise after fans had to endure what Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm did when Jones was out for the last 6 games. Jones has obvious flaws in his game that he needs to fix or this is likely to be his last season as a starter. He shows no emotion and needs to command his presence in the locker room and on the sidelines with his team. His QBR and quarterback rating has consistently been bottom 10 in the league along with fumbles lost. In his career, he still has more turnovers than passing touchdowns, with 45 touchdowns compared to 29 interceptions and 20 fumbles lost. You are not going to win many games with that. Jones is entering his make-or-break season and if he does not thrive under new Head Coach Brian Daboll and put it all together quickly, he is the bust we all knew he was.
#23 Jared Goff- Detroit Lions
I'm not going to lie. It makes me sick to put Jared Goff this high up on the list. Immediately after leaving the Rams as they made a major upgrade at quarterback by acquiring Matthew Stafford, they won the Super Bowl without him. Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions on the other hand, were not very close to Super Bowl contention. Love me some Dan Campbell though. So how can Jared Goff move up on my list after a season on the Detroit Lions? One word, and the most important word for an NFL quarterback. Steady. Will he go out and win you a bunch of ball games and convince you that he is a franchise guy? Probably not. But he does enough to not lose football games. He could have gone to Detroit and shown nothing for a bad ball club, but he was not awful and he made strides especially toward the end of the season when he was healthy.
Goff had a great 2017 and 2018 with the Rams, but his play in 2019 and 2020 led Sean McVay and the Rams to know they needed to to take the next step. Goff was a throw-in going back to Detroit in the trade but Dan Campbell had confidence in him as he took over. Goff finished the season with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions completing a career-high 67.2% of his passes and throwing for 3,245 yards in 14 games. We know how tough Goff is and how great of size he has at the quarterback position. He is a pocket passer but needs to use his mobility and escape the pocket more. Another problem is he has a strong arm but he really does not use it. He was dead last in the NFL in intended air years behind Tua Tagovailoa last year. He is a game manager that has some upside. He does not make many mistakes but needs to make bigger plays to leap forward. Similar to Davis Mills, I want to key in on Goff's last 5 weeks of the season. He threw for 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions completing 73.7% of his passes averaging 227 yards per game and a quarterback rating of 109.7. It's his second season entering a new system with improving weapons and make sure to remember the name of wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. I don't love Goff, but going into next season I would take him over the guys ranked below him.
#22 Baker Mayfield- Carolina Panthers
This is going to take some getting used to. Baker Mayfield of the Carolina Panthers. It seemed unavoidable that this day would come when Baker was forced out of Cleveland, and it finally came after the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson. It seems like for years every excuse in the book was given to Baker, even though he was not doing anything with a talented Browns team (still feels weird to say that about them). After a solid 2020 season, I ranked Baker as an above-average quarterback heading into last season. Then, to put it quite simply, last season happened. Yes, there is no doubt that Baker Mayfield was banged up pretty badly. He completely tore his left shoulder's labrum in Week 2 and had to play through it for the rest of the year, and hurt his knee in Week 10 against New England. In his contract year, Baker is in a pretty good situation to rebound off his poor season, and everyone will be tuned into the Week 1 game vs the Cleveland Browns.
Something about Baker Mayfield that people do not realize, is the most important and polarizing figure in the sports media world used to love him. How could you not fall in love with his story, his dominance in college, and his antics because he could back it up? The sports media figure even wanted Baker to be drafted by his football team. Was it Stephen A Smith? No, it was L.A. Rice. Yup, believe it or not, I used to love Baker, but his antics got to be too much as he continued not to back it up in the NFL, and he ruined his reputation in my mind with those stupid commercials. Anyways, regardless of his boneheaded plays and pushing the ball in certain situations too much, Mayfield has a rocket for an arm that no one talks about. Last season, he completed the longest-traveled pass in the air at 66.4, and in 2021 he attempted the longest pass ever in an NFL game at 73 yards which only Aaron Rodgers has matched. He makes some big-time throws that have won football games, but his leadership always comes into question, along with his size and lack of athleticism. Among quarterbacks with 300+ dropback passes, Baker ranked 26th in passing grade among 35 quarterbacks last season, after being 8th in 2020. Despite the lack of weapons, the Odell Beckham Jr saga hurt his stock after OBJ thrived in LA, and Cleveland's offensive line ranking in the top 10 once again does not cut Baker much slack. His 60.5% complete rate, along with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions are not something to be too happy about, and it is understandable why the Browns were done with him. This could be his make-or-break year.
#21 Jameis Winston- New Orleans Saints
We are so blessed to be living during the Famous Jameis era baby. The first 30/30 football quarterback ever with his 33 touchdowns and 30 interception season with Tampa in 2019. The lover of crab legs (aren't we all let's be real) and known for screaming obscure gestures in a dining hall in college (not me so much in that regard). Our parents got to watch legends of the 80s and 90s like Dan Marino, John Elway, Steve Young, and Warren Moon, but I could not be more proud to tell my grandchildren one day that I was alive to witness the rollercoaster of Jameis Winston. The Saints look a whole lot different than they did just a few years ago. With not many expectations coming into this season, New Orleans and new Head Coach Dennis Allen decided to take another shot on Winston to be the next franchise quarterback after his decent start in 2021.
There is no one that has ever denied how much talent Jameis Winston has as a quarterback. He has an absolute hose for a right arm and is a physical quarterback who can run when he needs to. When he is at the top of his game, he is a top 10 quarterback. When he is at the bottom of his game and makes those notoriously dumb decisions, he is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. But aside from his maturity issues and the poor plays he makes, I believe his career revival is trending upwards. He needs to work on getting the ball out more quickly and the short to intermediate passes, but his number last year in 7 games before his ACL injury is intriguing. He completed only 59% of his passes but threw for 14 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions with a career-best 102.8 passer rating. The Saints did not have many talents around him last year on the offensive side but come into this season with Michael Thomas back, newly signed Jarvis Landry, and Alvin Karama. I also think that Jameis will have less pressure on him with Sean Payton out the door. Winston is a top 15 talent, but his poor decisions lead him to be a wild card heading into 2022.
#20 Jalen Hurts- Philadelphia Eagles
Philly Sports Network
Jalen Hurts is an interesting one. Maybe one of the more interesting quarterbacks on this list. Like I have said before, I am a big Jalen Hurts guy. He is one heck of a leader and a great human being. The way he handled himself at Alabama with the rise of Tua Tagovailoa and his transfer to Oklahoma was pure class and handled it like a true professional. However, there are many questions that remain about his game on the football field. Jalen surprised many people last year including myself, leading an Eagles team that was not very good to a surprising playoff appearance before being demolished by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was his first year as the clear starter in Philadelphia, and there are a lot of things to like but many things to dislike. Let's dive into whether he's the franchise guy or not.
I'm going to say this again to hammer this home. Jalen Hurts is a natural-born leader and he showed the NFL a lot last year. After his end to the 2020 season that was not good, there were many moments last year when Jalen proved his worth. He is obviously a great runner and made some spectacular runs last season that won Philadelphia football games. He had a great connection with DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert as well. He proved to me that he can be the guy, but did not convince me he is the franchise quarterback. He completed 61.2% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He had 784 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns as well, but the throwing was his main problem. He has a solid pocket presence and serviceable decision making, but his passing is below average. He only attempted 31 throws between 10-19 yards last season showing he was boom or bust. Like quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes manipulating defenses with their eye movement, Jalen got into trouble staring down receivers and at times he would bail from clean pockets to run the ball. He needs to work on the velocity of his deep balls and only did well in the RPO style offense the Eagles fully integrated in the second half of last year. Hurts has a good chance to have a solid 2022 but it remains to be seen if he is the future in bird land.
#19 Mac Jones- New England Patriots
Alright. If you know anything about me, you know my disliking of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Going into his third year in Tampa it's still weird to think Brady and the Patriots are no longer one joint party, and Mac Jones is the new franchise quarterback. Going into last season it seemed that Cam Newton was locked into the starting spot and it shocked many when Jones was drafted after slipping to New England at 15. If we fast forward a season, it is clear Jones is the perfect guy for the Patriots team in the long run. After being ranked #29 last season, Jones made one of the biggest leaps on my list moving up 10 spots to #19 after fellow rookies like Zach Wilson and Justin Fields remained towards the bottom of the list. We know what Mac brings to the table, and time will tell if he can build more than that.
After a disappointing 2020 season finishing 7-9 while missing the playoffs Bill Belichick and the Patriots spent an NFL record $160 million in free agency heading into the 2021 season. After Jones fell to the 15th pick in the draft people knew he was a great fit in New England, but that did not lead to people shying away from the criticism. And let's be honest, I believe a lot of the criticism directed towards him was unfairly based on the struggles of Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL. Jones did the best he could to shut many of those haters up, posting a great 67.6% completion percentage with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His passer rating was 92.5 but it was clear by many, including myself, that he refused to throw the deep ball. 41% of his deep throws last season were over or underthrown which ranked 21st in the league, and he was 24th in the league completing only 38.8% of his vertical route plays. Jones improved on his deep ball attempts as the season went along, but still was towards the middle of the pack on deep ball attempts. We know who he is. Mac will barely ever "wow" you, he does not have the arm strength that most of these young quarterbacks have, and he is a pure pocket passer. Mac will not lose you football games, but unlike most guys ranked below him on this list, I don't see Mac catapulting himself into the top 10-15 quarterbacks. A lot to like from Mac in his rookie year, but his limitations put him in a position to be a good career game manager and not much else.
#18 Carson Wentz- Washington Commanders
USA Today Sports
Sigh. It still pains me every morning to wake up, wash my face, and remind myself as I look in the mirror that Carson Wentz is my quarterback. I still remember ordering a sandwich and checking my phone, only to see 5 "HAHAHAHAHA" text messages from fellow Good Griefs member Ethan "Schefter" Noone. I knew at that moment something bad, most likely relating to a sports team that I enjoy, had just gone down. Little did I know it was my worst nightmare. A man that I had clowned till eternity in Philadelphia, a man I told Eagles fans for years was not the guy, and a man I witnessed crumble harder than a freshly baked cookie to the then 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars with the playoffs on the line, was now a Washington Commander. If you think I'm exaggerating, check out this article I put out a few hours after Wentz was traded to Washington. Looking from a macro and unbiased perspective, there are a lot of things to like about Carson Wentz. But, and I cannot exaggerate the BUT enough, there are many things to dislike.
We all know the player that Carson Wentz was his first few years in Philadelphia. Without much help on the offensive side of the ball, he put up numbers that would equate his early career to some of the all-time greats. In 2017 he was a lock to be named the MVP of the league through 13 games, before tearing his ACL, and Tom Brady luckily, once again, won the MVP even though Brady still ended up with fewer touchdowns in a full season. Wentz threw for 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a 101.9 passer rating and had 299 rushing yards. He made plays and escaped pressure as I had never seen before, and showed off the rocket for a right arm he had. Then his decline began. After a slow recovery and the injuries started to pile up, his 2020 season was a nightmare. He had 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions completing only 57.4% of his passes, before being benched for Jalen Hurts and later shipped to the Colts. It all seemed to be going fairly well in Indianapolis, especially with a subpar offensive line and lack of receiving weapons, before the nightmare that was Week 18 vs the Jacksonville Jaguars. He could not muster the Colts to victory playing a very poor game, and Jim Irsay could not ship him off fast enough. It was the perfect situation for Wentz to thrive under Frank Reich, but his inability to throw the football away and his poor decisions were too much for Indy. Now he's on the Commanders. Wentz's big arm and athleticism are all too often a no-show in big games, as his record against teams with a record over .500 from 2018-2020 is 3-12 and his winning percentage in games decided by 8 points or less is .407 which ranks in the bottom 5 of the league amongst QB's ranked by passing yards. Wentz has all the tools to be successful, but his instincts are awful and it has not helped that rumors say he has had a poor training camp. This is his last shot in Washington, and I am preparing myself to be calling for Taylor Heinicke by Week 5.
#17 Trevor Lawrence- Jacksonville Jaguars
USA Today Sports
Like I've said with many guys on this list, Trevor Lawrence is an interesting one that took me a while to look at the big picture and realize where to rank him. To be quite frank, if you look at Trevor Lawrence's rookie season purely from a numbers standpoint, it was not very good. I ranked Trevor #20 on this last season, and there was not a ton to back up him moving up three spots. But on the flip side, I have two words for you: Urban Meyer. After everyone in the world tried to warn the only Jaguar fan in the world, Ethan Noone, that Urban Meyer was a mess that would not work in the NFL, he somehow made it through 13 games before being fired, but not before his reputation was completely tarnished by a slew of controversies I am sure we all know all too well about. Lawrence goes into his second season with a situation that is astronomically better than last year, and there are many things to like about his game.
There are not many players that you know will be the first overall pick in the NFL draft after their freshman year of college, but Trevor was one of them. Lawrence literally has everything you want in a quarterback. He is 6'6, has a cannon for an arm, is a leader, won a National Championship in college, has never been involved in any controversy, and is mobile while being able to make big plays out of the pocket. Lawrence started all 17 games as a rookie, throwing for 3,641 yards and 12 touchdowns but a league-leading 17 interceptions and the lowest average yards per attempt at 6. He also lost 5 fumbles but rushed for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lawrence kept his cool throughout the Urban Meyer saga and didn't let the Jaguars' 3-14 season get to him even though those 14 losses were more losses than he had during his high school and college career combined. Lawrence looked out of his element the first 3 weeks but showed he belonged in Week 4 vs the Cincinnati Bengals, almost leading them to victory on a Thursday night football game throwing for 204 yards and completing 17 of 24 passes. He continued to produce fairly well for the rest of the season, outside of two bad weeks vs the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans. From Week 4-Week 18 taking those 2 games away, Lawrence threw for 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, showing solid production with the awful receivers and scheme surrounding him. In Week 18 against the Colts, he had the best game of his career by far, throwing for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions with a 71.9% completion percentage. Lawrence is an athletic freak that would do well in any system across the NFL. Lawrence has all the tools to thrive in year 2, with Doug Pederson and finally some weapons surrounding him.
#16 Matt Ryan- Indianapolis Colts
Now, we are at the point on this list where I can say with confidence the rest of these quarterbacks are at the least, "good". DO NOT listen to Chris Blake and other sports journalists that try and tell you Matt Ryan is washed. Ryan is still a solid quarterback and is a perfect fit for this Colts team. We all know the Hall of Fame career that Matt Ryan has had, and it should have been capped off with a Super Bowl victory if not the historic 28-3 collapse vs the New England Patriots. It seems like the 2016 NFL MVP was going to be a Falcon for life after he remained on the team the last two seasons amid a swirl of trade rumors, but the Falcons finally broke off the relationship after this past season. Ryan is not the MVP-caliber quarterback that he once was, but at 37 years old still has a solid couple years of football left in him.
There are many reasons the Colts decided Matt Ryan was a better fit than Carson Wentz, but one of the bigger reasons in my mind was the stability at the quarterback position. You know what you are going to get with Ryan, as he has had a quarterback rating of 89 or above in every season since 2010. Not only is he as steady as they come, but Ryan has missed only ONE football game since 2010. On a bad Atlanta Falcons team last season, Ryan threw for 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a completion percentage of 66.9% which was his highest since 2018. You do not realize how good Matt Ryan is until you watch him play, which not many people realize because not many people have paid close attention to the Falcons the past few years for good reason. The numbers do not tell the whole story, and the 7-10 Atlanta Falcons would have been much worse without Ryan starting last year. His movement in the pocket is still great, and his under-pressure throws are elite. His accuracy is off the charts, and his improvements in the accuracy and decision-making standpoint over Wentz will elevate this Colts team immensely. He is a perfect fit for Indy.
#15 Derek Carr- Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr is as solid as they come. Before last season, Carr did not receive the praise that he deserves, but he finally started to get it as the season went along. On last year's list, I ranked Carr as my 13th best quarterback, but it was not his play that moved him to 15, but a few quarterbacks that moved ahead of him took giant leaps. With that being said, Carr still had a solid season even throughout all the controversy that Las Vegas was involved in. It is truly remarkable that he did not fold and remained a s strong and positive force in that locker room throughout everything, and that should not be undervalued. There are not many negatives with his game, as he is solid in most fields. I'm not going to call him the sheriff Peyton Manning, but Carr has one of the highest IQs in the league, constantly making changes at the line of scrimmage and picking teams apart. Carr is as solid as solid gets. Have I said he's solid yet? Do you get the message?
For Las Vegas, Carr put up great numbers with no huge #1 receiver, Darren Waller playing in only 11 underwhelming football games, and an average running game. He was 5th in the league in completion percentage at 68.4%, 5th in passing yards at 4,804, 7th in passing yards per attempt at 7.7, and 13th in passing touchdowns at 24. He also led the NFL in completions and passing yards of passes over 20 yards in the first 7 games of the season, with Henry Ruggs and Jon Gruden, for the people that say he cannot throw deep. Carr was a big part of Hunter Renfroe becoming an elite slot receiver, and he should put up huge numbers with what many think as the best wide receiver in the NFL, reuniting with his college team Davante Adams with the Raiders. Carr in the past has been too timid with the football, but noticeably took more chances and gained confidence in himself last season. This resulted in a career-high of 14 interceptions, but as he hits the peak of his career I would take the couple more interceptions with the bigger plays that he is starting to make. Carr is #15 on this list, but can easily be closer to the top 10 next year.
#14 Ryan Tannehill- Tennessee Titans
I am going to do my best to keep bias out of the way on this one, but I love me some Ryan Tannehill. After being ranked on my list as a top 10 quarterback the past two seasons, Tannehill slides to #14 heading into 2022 after an up and down season last year. The Tennessee Titans were the #1 seed in the AFC last season, without AJ Brown, Julio Jones, and Derick Henry for the majority of the season. A lot of that success has to do with Tannehill's steady play. The defense outperformed expectations and the offense did just enough without Henry to win a lot of football games. Then the playoffs happened. Tannehill was so bad against the Cincinnati Bengals AFC divisional round that the Titans not only lost the football game but felt the need to draft Malik Willis even though Tannehill's contract technically runs through 2025 with a potential out after this season. It will be extremely intriguing to see what Mr. Mentor Ryan Tannehill does this season with no Julio, no AJ Brown, and playing to keep his job.
First off, Tannehill is much better than people give him credit for, but it is undeniable he took a dip this past season after 2 great years in Tennessee. There are a plethora of excuses that can be attributed to that dip, as I have already mentioned the injuries, and it was also the first year Tannehill had without his Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith. He was also sacked 47 times, compared to 24 times in 2020. He pushed the ball a little bit more as a result of being under more pressure, and there were some throws that noticeably lacked the velocity of some throws he's had years past. He is no Patrick Mahomes and often does not make a huge play that wow you, but he can throw well on the run and fit some tough throws into tight windows. He is also one heck of an athlete and can break off big runs. He is an elite quarterback in the right system, throwing for 55 touchdowns and 13 interceptions from 2019-2020 in 28 games. Tannehill threw for 21 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last season, completing 67.2% of passes and his 89.6 passer rating which was his worst since 2016 in Miami. In the playoff game, his uneasy regular season play built up and reared its ugly head, throwing for 3 interceptions along with 220 yards and a great touchdown throw to AJ Brown. It will be interesting to see how Tannehill performs this season, and he is a very good quarterback when he is at the top of his game. Look to see him come out on fire to shut the Malik Willis talk up.
#13 Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings
If anyone says they have Kirk Cousins figured out, they're lying to you. Captain Kirk is a good quarterback, but he refuses to show up in big games, and the Vikings have not been able to do much in the 4 years that Cousins has been in town even with a solid roster supporting him. Kirk had one of the best seasons of his career last season, responding to the Viking's decision to draft boom or bust prospect Kellen Mond to flirt with the idea of Kirk not being in Minnesota for the long term (he was later cut but my point is still valid). Kirk is the definition of a system quarterback, but I am not trying to knock him when I say that. He will never be a guy that can put the team on his back and lead a good but not great team to the promised land, but he can thrive in a good system. His ability to read defenses is towards the top of the league and he is an accurate quarterback with a high IQ. It remains to be seen what his future looks like, but he will always have a spot as a starter in the NFL if he keeps his recent production up.
Let me state the obvious here for all you guys who do not know it already. Kirk Cousins is not the sexiest and smoothest quarterback in the NFL. He's not that guy. After winning his first playoff game 2 years ago with Minnesota on the Saints, things were looking up with Minnesota, but they took a step back in 2020 and 2021. A lot of that falls onto Cousins and his inability to put the team on his back and lack of playmaking ability. More importantly, he will never hold a team back and lose football games which are invaluable in today's games. Looking at his stats last season, he threw for 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions completing 66.3% of his passes and throwing for over 4,000 yards for the 6th time in his 7 years as a full-time starter in the NFL. If history repeats itself, which I am sure it will in this instance, Kirk will elevate his game this year, after another young offensive-minded Ex-Washington Redskin coach has been hired by Minnesota as their head coach, Kevin O'Connell. You've seen what quarterbacks under Matt LaFleur, Kyle Shannahan, and Sean McVay have been able to do, Kirk might just be next. He is a very good quarterback, but will never crack the top 10 until he starts winning big games.
#12 Kyler Murray- Arizona Cardinals
I think it is becoming clear that people are starting to fall out of love with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Expectations were high last season and the Cardinals got off to a great start but like any sport, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. And boy oh boy did Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals not finish well. In his last 6 starts of the season, he was pedestrian, and the Cardinals went 2-4 after starting 7-0. But before we get into his last season, let's look at his career as a whole. We know that Kyler can be a magic man. The 5'10 QB can scramble as well as the all-time greats, and he has a strong arm and can throw well on the run to highlight his big plays. The problem is the boneheaded plays that he makes, including the worse play I have ever seen in my life in the playoffs vs the Rams last season. He has all the weapons in the world to thrive, and he should thrive after signing for $230.5 million just a few weeks ago. Murray will not become a top 10 QB on this list if he continues to finish seasons like he has the past few years.
There are only a few things more enjoyable to watch on a football field other than Kyler Murray running and scrambling around under pressure. Not only can Kyler Murray run, but do not underestimate his arm. Among quarterbacks throwing the ball 20 yards or more, his 98 grade by PFF ranked him third in the NFL behind Josh Allen and Matt Ryan. He has a dynamic offense around him that allows him to thrive, but few quarterbacks ever in this game have the playmaking ability that Kyler has. Last season he threw for 24 touchdowns with a career-low 10 interceptions and his first season of posting a passer rating over 100. His accuracy also improved to 69.2% an increase of almost 5% from his rookie year. Murray being banged up (which has been a consistent theme for the second half of the season in every year as a pro) led to only 423 rushing yards and 4.8 yards per carrying, both career lows. People somehow forget his feeble playoff performance as well, going 19 for 34 with 137 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions vs the LA Rams. He is not known as a leader and should have improved more than he has over his first 3 seasons, especially with the talent surrounding him. Murray is a playmaking machine with a rocket for an arm, but his size and decline in play down the stretch lead to him not being a top 10 quarterback.
#11 Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is an extremely good quarterback. He is all about grit, all about doing everything he can to win football games, and he is a leader on and off the field. It has been an interesting road for the now veteran quarterback, and his game has evolved since he broke into the NFL. After relying on his legs a little more the younger he was and struggling with accuracy and throwing the ball deep, Prescott is now a pocket passer. The decline of his running game can be attributed to the injuries that he has dealt with, but his elite pocket-level play allows him to make up for it and more. He makes outstanding throws under pressure, and he never seems to panic when pressure is coming at him. It was good to see him come back with confidence after his gruesome leg injury in 2020, and it will be interesting to see if he and Dallas can finally take the next step this year.
The Cowboys offense let go of Dak's favorite weapon in Amari Cooper this offseason, but a dynamic offense still exists in Dallas along with a good offensive line. Prescott has a good but not great arm and has improved his accuracy but he still struggles with overthrowing receivers at times. After Dallas started 5-1 last season and Dak was averaging 300 yards per game, he then averaged 263 yards per game from then on out along with a drop in his completion percentage by 8 points and almost 2 yards per passing attempt less. It truly was a tale of two seasons for Dak, and his stats were inflated after huge games including his last week against the Eagles in a meaningless game and a couple of weeks earlier vs Washington when we were literally fighting each other on the sidelines. 9 out of 12 wins for Dallas came against teams under .500 last year. Looking at Dak, his deep ball was rated 7th in the NFL by PFF last season and his 37 touchdowns were a career-high. The throwing will always be an area that he can improve in, but Dak is a quarterback that you can trust in most situations and can handle pressure and complex defenses. In the playoffs, Dak and the Cowboys are 1-3 in his time at the head with his completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns to interception ratio, and quarterback rating significantly less than his regular season numbers. To sum it all up, Dak is extremely good but not elite.
#10 Lamar Jackson- Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is an absolute superstar that we are privileged to wat ay football every Sunday. The problem with last year was the fact that we did not get to watch him play football every Sunday. With Lamar missing 5 games last season, quarterbacks that were ranked behind him in years past moved ahead of him on the list with what they showed over a full season. We all know what Lamar provides with his legs, but it is important not to undervalue and appreciate how truly special it is. Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2019 and 2020, becoming the first and only quarterback to do that since Michael Vick. What's crazier than that is Mike Vick only achieved the 1,000-yard feat once in his career. Lamar has done it twice and he is 25 years old. It was a tough last season for Lamar, but him being healthy entering this season is an obvious excitement for Ravens fans as they will look to contend once again in 2022 in a tough AFC North.
Blah blah blah Lamar can't throw blah blah blah. People sound like a broken record with the Lamar Jackson slander. Does he have the arm of Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes? Not close, but it is better than most think, and his playmaking ability and the throws that he makes can be comparable to the great ones in the NFL today. Lamar will never be an elite pocket passer, but as long as he can escape in the pocket and extend plays, his passing is a non-concern. It is almost impossible to gameplan against a guy like Lamar, with a 98.1 passer rating over his career with 84 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. His footwork was sloppy last season and he made some bad reads leading to the tune of a career-high 13 interceptions in only 12 games, but it is easy to expect a bounceback season for him. It is easy to point to the lack of weapons he has especially with the lack of running game in Baltimore last season, but looking at some of his interceptions from last season, some of the throws he made were uncharacteristic compared to years prior. This could be called overconfidence or Lamar putting too much on himself to succeed gearing up toward a big contract. There will always be a concern with how beat up Lamar gets, but it should be obvious for Baltimore to pay him. The fans love him, his teammates love him, and the NFL loves him. Baltimore needs to give him more weapons, but Lamar should still have a great year. His physical ability is off the charts and his legs are generational, with an arm that people need to respect more.
#9 Deshaun Watson- Cleveland Browns
There is not much to say about Deshaun Watson as a football player at this point. We all know what he can do on the football field. He is a superstar quarterback and there is no question about that. He is a top 5, borderline top 3 talent when playing, as he has every physical ability on a football field that you want to have out of your quarterback. The numbers he put up in a Bill O'Brien offense were out of this world, and he was playing his best football at 24 years old in 2020.
The reason why he is #9 on this list is due to him not playing the game of football since the 2020 season. Even the best of the best coming back from a year and a half of not playing would be extremely rusty, and players that were behind him have leapfrogged him based on their play since Deshaun has been out. Watson was not even able to practice in 2021, and in the preseason vs Jacksonville, he looked terrible on his new team. The NFL failed the public once again with a feeble 11-game suspension for Watson, with guys like Calvin Ridley and Josh Gordon getting suspended more time for not even a fraction of what Deshaun has done.
Jacoby Brissett will start in place for the Browns in their first 11 games, as one of the better backups in the league, he would slot towards the bottom 5 of this list, but should tread water in Cleveland until Watson comes back.
#8 Matthew Stafford- Los Angeles Rams
What a year for Matthew Stafford. After multiple great seasons in Detroit with not much to show for it, it was not a huge surprise Matthew Stafford wanted to move on. Detroit obliged, and began a new era with the man the myth the legend Dan Campbell at the helm. Stafford has always been one of the best quarterbacks in football, and he made sure the world knew it last season. He has a rocket for an arm and has tremendous leadership skills and football IQ. It was a match made in heaven in LA, and his instant connection with Cooper Kupp led to one of the best seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history. The Rams have always been a great team, but could not get over the hump with a game manager like Jared Goff, but with a consensus top 10 quarterback like Stafford, there was a lot of magic last season.
It seems like we had heard every excuse in the book for Matthew Stafford. He was only good because of Calvin Johnson, the only time he put his big stats was in garbage time, etc. He shut every single doubter up by taking the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl and being one of the main reasons why they won it in his first season at the helm. Sean McVay and the surrounding cast were spectacular for Stafford to thrive, but he still showed flashes of greatness to take them to the top. Like Mahomes and Josh Allen, the ability of out-of-this-world throws that Stafford can make should not be slept on. He can make throws with accuracy and velocity from numerous arm angles, and he can also make throws rolling out to the left and right. In the NFC divisional round vs the Buccaneers, after Tampa stormed back to tie it 27-27, Stafford led the Rams to a game-winning field goal with two beautiful throws to Cooper Kupp with no timeouts in less than 45 seconds on the clock from deep into their own territory. I bring this up because it highlighted Stafford's ability to step up in the pocket to make a throw, and perfectly place a 50-yard bomb off his backfoot. Stafford threw for 4,886 yards with 41 touchdowns and a 67.2% completion percentage but did have 17 interceptions. Over his final 4 games, he threw 8 interceptions but responded in the playoffs by completing nearly 70% of his passes and was the main reason the Rams won the Super Bowl with his play in the second half. Stafford is tough as nails, has an awesome arm, and has a great chance to win more Super Bowls in the future.
#7 Russell Wilson- Denver Broncos
The Denver Channel
Broncos country, let's ride. Bronco's country, let's rideeeeeeee. Believe it or not, Russell Wilson is the new quarterback for the Denver Broncos. It is definitely going to take quite some time to get used to this. It seemed a lock for Wilson to play his whole career in Seattle, but after some weird drama and rumors circulating at the end of the season a couple of years ago, the writing seemed to be on the wall after a disappointing season last year. Russ is still an elite quarterback and one of the best in the league, but I still think the Broncos are far from contenders. Good for the Broncos for making this move, solidifying the quarterback position for the first time since the sheriff Peyton Manning was in town. It is pretty sad that the Commanders made a huge offer to Seattle that was turned down, but looking back on it I am glad it happened as we would have sacrificed the "future" for a couple of disappointing seasons with Russ. Not putting my obvious disappointment and lame excuse aside, I truly do believe Wilson is on the downwards trajectory of his career. That is nothing to be ashamed about, with his illustrative career and Wilson on the "decline" still ranks at #7 on this list. He has a chance to elevate his legacy in Denver this year.
What an unbelievable quarterback division the AFC West is. Mahomes, Herbert, Wilson, and Carr. The only division in my mind that can rival this one is the NFC BEAST with Dak, Wentz, Hurts, and Danny Dimes. Kidding aside, we all know that Wilson is a generational quarterback. The 5'11 3rd round quarterback has defied all the odds, winning a Super Bowl and making the Pro Bowl in 9 out of his 10 seasons in the NFL. Although he has slid a couple of spots since I began writing these lists a couple of years ago, he still has a ton of playmaking ability and is a phenomenal quarterback in any offense. His ability to scramble and break the pocket has gone down some, but his decision-making is very good and his leadership is off the charts. The problem with Russ last year is his failure to push the ball and not fully trusting his offense to throw tight passes toward the middle of the field. DK Metcalf was not used properly, and for Russ to remain a top quarterback he needs to start throwing the ball like we know he can do. He still put good numbers together last season, completing 64.4% of his passes (his lowest since 2017), throwing for 25 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His numbers in every category dropped dramatically when he came back from the thumb injury, especially his yards per attempt dropping from 9.6 to 7.0. Russ is still one of the best quarterbacks in football, but it is clear he has started to slow down. In Denver, he needs to push the envelope more, and improve upon his decision-making if they want to be contenders.
#6 Tom Brady- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I really am running out of excuses at this point. Tom Brady has quite simply accomplished everything you can on the football field. He has never had the most talent, the biggest arm, and sure as heck, not the most mobile, but he always finds a way to get it done. At 45 years old, Brady has the highest spot on this list I have ranked him at, and arguably could be higher. It is absolutely ridiculous the NFL Top 100 has Brady as the best player in football, but that goes to show the production that he is still putting up. Last season, Brady arguably had one of the best seasons of his career and announced after the season his plans to retire. After a retirement that was shorter than my playoff hopes for the Washington Football Team last season, Brady is back on an absolutely loaded team in Tampa. Todd Bowles takes over as the head coach, and Brady is back in the driver's seat with Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Kyle Rudolph, and oh yeah, Julio Jones.
TB12 is the model for longevity. Since tearing his ACL in Week 1 of 2008, Brady has not missed a single game due to injury, only 4 games in 2016 with him finally getting caught up in a cheating scandal. After an average season with New England in 2019, it seemed that Tom had started his decline, and was ranked out of my top 10 with not many disputes. He threw for 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with his third-lowest passer rating since 2006. They were upset by my Titans, and Brady went off to Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl in his first season, throwing for 40 touchdowns. Last season, Brady took advantage of the extra game on the schedule, exceeding his 2020 total by leading the league with 43 touchdowns and throwing over 5,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, at 5,316 yards. If you put Brady on the best team in football, he will make that team unbelievable there is no question about that. But, if you put Brady on a team like Joe Burrow was on last season, there is no way he is leading the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl. Brady always puts himself in the best situations possible, leading some unbelievable New England teams to multiple championships, putting up terrific numbers, and winning a Super Bowl with a loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. There is no question about how accurate his arm is, and he has one of the highest IQs in football. But, he does not have the magic that the guys ahead of him have. He is a drop-back quarterback with no mobility, needing a dynamic offense around him to thrive. Brady is still great, but the guys ahead of him are on another level.
#5 Joe Burrow- Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is spectacular. He has skyrocketed up my list since his rookie season a couple of years ago, and the Cincinnati Bengals are suddenly contenders again after years of misery. They had the 1st overall pick in 2020, and two seasons later, they almost won a Super Bowl. Truly remarkable, and the man that can be credited with the quick turnaround in large part is Mr. Joe Burrow. After his rookie season was cut short, Burrow came back on fire last season, and never let his foot off the gas pedal, leading an up-in-coming Bengals team to a very surprising AFC East title. Cincinnati has done a fantastic job surrounding Joe with talent, including Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and the already elite Ja’Marr Chase, but Burrow accomplished the world last season with something Tom Brady has never had. An awful offensive line. That’s right, Burrow led the Bengals to the Super Bowl with a bottom 5 offensive line in the league. How has Burrow elevated himself to top 5 quarterback status entering his third season? Let us take a deeper dive into this legendary start to his career.
It is pretty hard to believe that Burrow was selected one pick ahead of Chase Young when looking at the current outlook of the Cincinnati vs the Washington franchise, but that is a clear example of why franchise quarterbacks are indispensable. When looking back to last season, it is easy to see why Aaron Rodgers won the MVP award, and Josh Allen and Tom Brady received the praise they got, but which one of those top guys had the best PFF grade in 2021? Brady the media darling? Nope, the one and only Joe Burrow at 91.8. Burrow arguably did have the best receiving core in the league, but he took full advantage throwing for 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and passing for 4,611 yards with a completion rate of 70.4%. Not only did that 70.4% completion rate lead the league, but he also led the league in yards per attempt, which only Drew Brees, Tony Romo, and Tom Brady have been able to accomplish. Burrow has tremendous ability to move around in the pocket, evading defenders and making throws on the run. He can throw the deep ball, short pass towards the middle of the field, and release the ball very quickly. He has decent legs that he does not get enough credit for and great accuracy. The beautiful thing about Burrow is his ability to do everything right, even though he may not be the best at a single skill. He is a natural-born leader and has quite the career ahead of him. The Super Bowl run that Cincinnati went on was truly remarkable, with Burrow taking a beating with that bad offensive line leading the league with 51 sacks. His arm strength improved from his rookie season, and it will be fun to watch how much he improves this year.
#4 Justin Herbert- Los Angeles Chargers
The San Diego Union-Tribune
If you think I like Joe Burrow, buckle up for what I have to say about this young legend in the making Justin Herbert. This guy has the potential to be the best quarterback of our generation with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. It is quite the leap for Herbert after I ranked him dead last going into his rookie season only behind Mitch Tribusky. Like I have stated before, I bought into the expert's bullish takes on Herbert, citing his lack of leadership and questions flying around as to why he would stay at Oregon for his senior season when he was a projected top 15 pick. It turns out that with how good Herbert is he can easily lead in silence, and it is clear that his teammates love him and know he is that dude. He stayed at Oregon to fulfill his commitment to the program, and he knew he could get better, especially with his footwork. Herbert was not a superstar in college in my mind, and I did not mind Miami selecting Tua over him, but he has made me realize and value how college quarterbacks can elevate the talent around them. Quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones put up better numbers but had top-of-the-line talent surrounding them. Herbert led a 2019 Oregon team to a 12-2 record with an offense that had 0 specialty players make the NFL. Jones and Alabama had 3 wide receivers selected in the first round.
Imagine the Miami Dolphins right now if they selected Herbet over Tua. In my mind, they would be Super Bowl favorites with the Buffalo Bills, but it is important not to count the Chargers out as well. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are a great duo, with Austin Ekeler being the perfect compliment, and Justin Herbert may well be the best passing quarterback in the NFL, with a bazooka for a right arm. It is truly poetry in motion when Herbert drops back to pass and has a clean pocket to work with. He is accurate and consistent, with a beautiful deep ball. In 32 games as a pro, Herbert has 69 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, with a 66.2% completion rate, and threw for 5,014 yards last year. He has fantastic size at 6'6 and 235 pounds, noticeably bulking up before last season, and more importantly, it looks like he has grown the flow out and has ditched the shaved head look. Herbert is a great athlete, but if there is one thing I could point out as a negative, he could escape the pocket more and look more at his alternate receivers. When his first option is open, Herbert does not miss him. Some people might be concerned with his 15 interceptions, but his risky throws were imperative to that Chargers team last year. Ekeler was great in the receiving game, but he did not run the football great, and Brandon Staley created a very aggressive offense that relied a ton on Justin Herbert. When you are 24 years old and throw the football 672 times, I am fine with 15 interceptions. He gets the edge over Burrow because of his arm, even though Burrow is better in other categories like leadership and pocket mobility. The bottom line is Herbert can make throws that Burrow and maybe no other quarterbacks can make. Herbert throws the most beautiful football I have ever seen and will be a superstar for a long, long, time.
#3 Josh Allen- Buffalo Bills
The Japan Times
What is there not to love about Josh Allen on and off the football field? He quite literally has everything you want in your quarterback. He is a physical specimen, has one of the strongest arms in the league, can run, and now can throw with accuracy. Josh Allen is an outstanding football player, and ranking him at #3 on this list might have been the hardest task I have had to do in a long time. Multiple times throughout this process I shuffled him around the top 3 spots, but going into next season I would give the two guys ahead of him a slight edge. It should be a surprise to no one if Allen is my top-ranked quarterback next season after leading Buffalo to their first Super Bowl victory. Bills mafia is an absolute wagon, and this is the year where they have no excuse not to take the NFL by storm. They have surrounded Josh with the perfect offense to tailor his needs, but a great defense to pair with it. Gabriel Davis was a breakout star in the playoffs last year, and Stefon Diggs is one of the best receivers in football. If Dalvin Cook's brother James takes full advantage of his genetics and plays close to the level of Dalvin, this Buffalo offense could set records, and once again, this all has to do with their fierce leader of the Bills mafia Josh Allen.
Allen's first couple of seasons in the NFL left the league with many question marks. His accuracy was underwhelming, and he missed way too many easy throws to win playoff games for the Bills. Not only was it underwhelming, but it was also concerning since he had the same issues in college. Allen's 58.8% completion rate in 2019 was the worst in the NFL among starting quarterbacks, and through his first two seasons, he completed a minuscule 56.3% of his passes on 781 attempts. This resulted in a passer rating below 80 which was worse than Joe Flacco's 8-game tenure in Denver. Allen showed flashes but needed to improve significantly for Buffalo to take the next step and win a playoff game for the first time since 1995. Then 2020 happened. Allen looked like a completely new player, improving his completion percentage by double digits to 69.2% and setting passing career highs in every single category. Allen put up another elite season in 2021, and over the last 2 seasons, he has thrown for 73 touchdowns, 25 interceptions, 8,951 yards, and a passer rating near 100. If that wasn't enough, he has also rushed for 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns. He improved his deep ball accuracy last season, and even though he had more interceptions he tended to throw better passes, improving upon when to use touch passes more often vs solely relying on the fastball. In the playoffs last season, Allen elevated to another level. Against the New England Patriots, the Bills became the first team in history to score on every single drive in the playoffs, and Allen threw for 5 touchdowns and 308 yards on 21 completions. In the Chiefs game in the Divisional Round, Allen threw for 4 touchdowns and 329 completing 73% of his passes and throwing no interceptions in both games. His playmaking ability is off the charts, wowing you on almost every drive. Allen is clearly one of the best if not the best quarterback in the game, even with the least amount of talent surrounding him out of any guys in the top 6 on this list other than the #2 quarterback up next.
#2 Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers
Back to back Most Valuable Player of the National Football League, Aaron Rodgers. The 38-year-old is still a baddddddd man and has been on another level the past few seasons. In my lifetime, based on talent, he is the best quarterback of my generation and it is not particularly close. Allen and Mahomes have a chance to unseat him in the future, but as of right now, Rodgers is the second-best quarterback I would want on my roster going into next season. I was actually ready to crown Rodgers as my #1 quarterback, but once again, his subpar playoff performance led to me not being able to unseat the quarterback I ranked at the top. Rodgers has been extremely unlucky over his career, and it is truly unbelievable that Packers fans have been blessed with back-to-back quarterbacks of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for the last 30 seasons and it has only resulted in 2 total Super Bowls. It will be extremely intriguing to see how Rodgers produces next season with basically 0 valuable receivers on the roster after Davanta Adams wanted to play in Las Vegas, but as we have seen year in and out Rodgers produces without having key talent surrounding him. As I broke down on a MoeCast showdown Episode 90 a Brady vs Rodgers debate with one of my co-hosts Chris Blake, Brady has had eight first-round picks over his career drafting skill offensive players, while Rodgers has had zero. Brady's defense has ranked 7th in points allowed, and Rodgers is close to 16th. It is remarkable the career Rodgers has had with little help.
He has one of the best arms in the game with an absolutely beautiful spiral. He is an ultimate game manager and a great coach on the field. He still has very good mobility in the pocket, and even though his game has evolved to become more of a pocket passer, he still can make great plays when escaping the pocket, and he can even scramble and pick up valuable first downs when he really needs to. What has truly been remarkable to me in his last few seasons is the lack of turnovers without sacrificing the big play. Rodgers has not thrown double-digit interceptions since 2011, and he has not thrown more than 6 since 2016. His career touchdowns to interceptions ratio is 4.83/1 and in the past two seasons, he has thrown a combined 85 touchdowns with 9 interceptions and a completion percentage near 70%. As I referenced in the first paragraph, I was nearly ready to crown Rodgers the best quarterback in the league entering this season, but we need to address the 49ers game that led to Green Bay going home disappointed in the playoffs once again. Rodgers was extremely conservative throughout the whole game, not taking many risks towards the middle of the field at all when he could have extended the Packer lead, barring something bad would happen, and oh boy did it ever with that blocked punt touchdown. I know for a fact the guy I ranked about Rodgers on this list would have continued to apply pressure, and if his defense smothered the 49er's offense like the Packers did, with him at the helm they would have won the football game. Rodgers is a generational talent with tremendous arm strength and he is playing his best football late in his 30s. I am still confident in his ability without Adams in the fold as well.
#1 Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs
If there was ever any doubt, fear no more as Patrick Mahomes still reigns supreme. For the third time in my three years of doing this, Mahomeboy is still the best quarterback in football. I will admit, the gap has shrunk since the first year I have done these rankings, but any publication that puts out a last with quarterbacks ahead of Mahomes is just trying to get clicks and start a conversation. Similar to Josh Allen, Mahomes can do every single thing he is asked of and 10x more on the football field. Mahomes has one of the best arms in football and has the best playmaking ability by far. He can make anything happen when and how he wants. He can make throws rolling left, rolling right, and from every single arm angle. As we have seen in years past, he can also make the left-handed throw and no looks pass when the competition is getting too boring for him. The most similar player to Mahomes I have ever seen play is Brett Favre, the gunslinger with an arm that can lead a team to victory no matter what the odds stacked against him are. Mahomes has been a superstar since the moment he stepped on a football field and the Chiefs and Andry Reid are the perfect marriage. The organization has always done a great job to assemble the offense around him, and even though Tyreke Hill is gone I have the utmost confidence in Mahomes to put up another elite season. It is crazy to think that with everything he circumstances accomplished he is still only 26 years old and has the best years of football ahead of him.
If Mahomes retired tomorrow, he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is the most fun quarterback to watch in the NFL, and he is an absolute freak of nature. There is no way to watch Mahomes and not be entertained. If you think someone is not open and there is no window for a throw, Mahomes can make a play happen in any way someone possible. He has tremendous touch when throwing the football, knowing when to throw the football perfectly to pair with his arm unlike guys like Justin Herbert. Mahomes can scramble with the most mobile quarterbacks as well, breaking off runs whenever he feels like it and escaping the pocket to extend plays. The only knock on Mahomes that I have noticed rewatching his film, is sometimes he escaped the pocket when he does not need to. It is almost too often he leaves with a clean pocket to work with, but it almost feels like he is more confident escaping that clean pocket and trying to make throws on the run. This can lead to cold streaks as we saw with Mahomes and the Chiefs at the beginning of last season. There are often players that are wide open for a 7-10 yard gain, but Mahomes can try to force a ball downfield off-balanced and lead to negative plays. Regardless, he is unbelievably talented and is a quarterback we are so blessed to be able to grow up watching. Last season, considering it was a "down year" for him, Mahomes threw for 4,839 yards completing 66.3% of his passes with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His passer rating was 98.5, which was the lowest of his career, but he still holds the NFL record with a career passer rating of 10.58 over his career. His 319 rushing yards were the most for his career, even though he was still bothered by his toe injury at the end of 2020 and rushed for only 21 yards his first 2 weeks. After his first 6 weeks of the season last year throwing for 8 interceptions, he played lights-out football and led the Chiefs to nearly another AFC Championship game.