It could not feel better to be back baby. It's time to lean back, dust off the keyboard, and fire up my B+ average high school writing skills to give you all my annual quarterback rankings list.
Years ago on a winter day in Harrisonburg Virginia, I had just wrapped up my first class to begin the second semester of my college career. Life was good. Meeting new friends, loving every second of college, the Nationals had just won the World Series, and I had just picked up running every day (what a weird mistake that was), but something was missing. It seemed like I had everything, but I wanted something more. That's when a good old pal of mine gave me a ring.
The possibilities were endless. What can you expect when you get a call from the notorious Kyle Leverone saying "I have a proposition."
Starting a clothing line to blend my outdated elementary school-level style with Kyle's wide-ranging hat collection? Bringing back our 8th grade St. Mark's Basketball Team to vie for a bid to become a Division 1 program? Start a non-profit with his big brain?
But, to no avail. He just wanted to start a sports media website. And even though I could not stand writing, as you can probably tell by my 5-10 grammatical errors that will go unnoticed throughout this article even though I am a perfectionist, anything that Kyle Leverone is behind, I am all in.
I could not be happier that I did. Hours of writing through the night and making videos with a great crew assembled with the likes of Mr. Leverone, Chris Blake, Ian Alvano, Ethan Noone, Cole Banker, and last but certainly not least, the great Richie Smiechowski, are some of the better memories of my entire life.
Affection aside, it is time to get down to business. The Good Griefs boys span far and wide across the country now, launching our careers in different fields, and conquering numerous industries along the way.
But, we will always have the Good Griefs in our hearts, and as I said in last year's post, I will publish my quarterbacks ranking list every single season until the day I die.
The NFL could not be in better hands with this crop of young talent, with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, and most importantly Sam Howell (this is a joke), to name a few, but people cannot count out those grizzled vets too. Aaron Rodgers is a Jet, Russell Wilson was a disaster last season but can salvage his career with Sean Payton, and Matthew Stafford won a Super Bowl just two years ago.
I will factor in previous years' performance to assemble this list factored over their last 2-4 year increments, including the help they received by the performance of their team, and if the quarterback is on the "down" or "up" trend.
Now let's get started! Hope you all enjoy this list.
#32 Anthony Richardson- Indianapolis Colts
As an above-average ball knower, if you had asked me at the beginning of last college football season if Anthony Richardson would be a starting quarterback in the NFL next year, I would adamantly tell you, as I pop pistachios into my mouth, that there is no way that is possibly true. Fast forward to the end of the season, and I would tell you he is worth a high draft pick, but there is no way he should be a starter next year. But, the Colts see something in this guy that most do not.
Richardson passes the eye test. He is bigger than Micah Parsons, at 6'4 and 245 pounds, has a rocket for an arm, and can run with the best of them, but he is only 21 years old and has started 13 games at the collegiate level. Richardson was frankly not very good in those games either, completing 53.8% of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, with a quarterback grade of 80.3, which was 38th in college football. Richardson is far from a finished product, but he can put up decent numbers due to being bailed out by his legs.
#31 Desmond Ridder- Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder is my guy. The dude is a winner, putting up historical numbers in college football at the University of Cincinnati, going 42-6 with 10,239 passing yards and 87 touchdowns to 28 interceptions from 2018-2021. He does not have great speed but runs pretty well, rushing for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns. As a big Cincinnati college football fan myself, Ridder was a player that I loved, but over the course of his college career, I was never moved to believe he was an NFL-caliber starting QB, and it seems like most of the league agrees with me— including the Atlanta Falcons.
Ridder barely got any run last year, playing in 4 games for the Falcons, throwing for 708 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did not wow anybody, making 3 big-time throws and 2 turnover-worthy plays, but we can wait and see what he can provide over a full season. Still, I am just not confident at all that he can be an above-average passing quarterback. I will be rooting for Ridder, but by the time the Commanders play Atlanta in Week 6, there will be no surprise if the one and only Taylor Heinicke is the starter by that point.
#30 C.J. Stroud- Houston Texans
I will put it out there right away. I have never been high on CJ Stroud. He is fine, but I never saw a star in him when watching Ohio State Football. There is no doubt in my mind that his accuracy will play; he is a great pocket quarterback who will find receivers when they are open and put most balls right on the money. The question is whether he will ever become a playmaker.
Stroud started 25 games for Ohio State, throwing for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions. He had some games where he struggled but put the world on notice in a great playoff game vs. Georgia. Stroud was outstanding vs. Georgia, throwing for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns against an elite Georgia defense. Stroud has time and room to grow with the Texans, and time will tell if he can become a very good NFL quarterback.
#29 Sam Howell- Washington Commanders
Now we can finally put the rumors to rest that, as a huge Washington Commanders fan, I was going to overvalue Sam Howell. Believe it or not, I feel like the media is starting to overvalue Howell. At the beginning of the offseason, it was a running joke that Howell was now "the guy" based on what he did in one game against Dallas, but when you look at the bigger picture, it is starting to look like it could be the right move, especially based on what Sam Howell did in college.
Howell has the feel of an NFL quarterback, and he was projected to be a first-round pick entering his junior season at UNC. In his first two years in college, Howell threw for 68 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, improving in passer rating and almost every offensive category from year 1 to 2. He was poised for a huge junior season, but with UNC losing many players, Howell regressed, leading him to slip to the 5th round in the draft. He was the 3rd stringer most of last season in Washington, but being inserted to play Dallas in the last game of the year, completing 11 of 19 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for 35 yards and a touchdown. Howell is a total wildcard, and it would be unfair to rank him higher on this list.
#28 Baker Mayfield- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let us be honest here. Can Baker Mayfield please get out of the NFL? At least I have had enough of this guy. Coming out of college, I was a huge Baker Mayfield fan, but the antics get corny pretty quickly when you do not produce. Baker has been an underdog his whole life until putting up an unbelievable Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma in 2017, throwing for 4,627 yards and 46 touchdowns to 6 interceptions with a 198.9 passer rating. He was selected first overall by the Browns the next year and has had a rough past couple of years before ending up in Tampa.
After an up-and-down first two seasons with an average Browns team, everything seemed to click with Baker and the Browns in 2020. Baker put up a 95.9 passer rating, throwing for 26 touchdowns to 8 interceptions completing 62.8% of his passes, and leading the Browns to an 11-5 record. Seemingly solidifying himself, it's crazy to think about how he ran out of town 2 years later. He was awful in 2021 with Cleveland, and was so bad with the Carolina Panthers in 2022 he was released, before rebounding and playing decently with the Rams ending last year. It's telling the Rams did not have much interest in bringing him back, along with Tampa waiting so long to name him the starter over Kyle Trask. Mayfield needs a huge year as this may be his final shot.
#27 Bryce Young- Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young has everything you want in a quarterback coming out of college. He was fantastic at the University of Alabama, flashing excellence in a superior offense, along with the poise and accuracy of a big-game quarterback. Carolina loved him enough to move up to the first overall pick, knowing that Young was the best quarterback in the draft.
One of the most attractive traits in an elite quarterback is the ability to limit turnovers, and Young is just your guy for that. Young had just 12 interceptions in 27 collegiate starts, throwing for 80 touchdowns and 8,335 yards while completing 65.8% of his passes. The only question mark for Bryce is his size, listed at 5’10 and 204 pounds. He does not rely on his legs like Kyler Murray, so durability hopefully should not be an issue, banking on Carolina’s offensive line improving. Young has the ability to be a star, but it could take some time, leading him to be low on this list.
#26 Jordan Love- Green Bay Packers
It finally happened. A more anticipated breakup than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Aaron Rodgers was finally sent packing, and the keys have been given to Jordan Love. It is quite incredible Green Bay has had 2 generationally talented quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers back to back, and it is equally incredible that 30 years of greatness between these 2 quarterbacks led to only 2 Super Bowl victories. Love will look to continue this quarterback's excellence, finally getting his shot after being drafted in 2020.
There are not many situations as good as this one to walk into. Learning under Aaron Rodgers for a few years behind a loaded offense, Love will have some growing pains but has looked good in his limited action since being drafted. He was not good in 2021 but was good at spelling Rodgers last season. At Utah State in college, Love thrived as a sophomore before struggling as a junior under a new regime. There really is not much information to predict how Love will do next season, but I am putting him at 26 based on the Packers quarterback success in the past, and 3 seasons to sit behind Rodgers to get ready for his moment.
#25 Jimmy Garoppolo- Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Look. I want you folks to do me a favor. Bust out the old dictionary, and flip to the “M” page. Once you reach “mid” you will see the handsome face of Jimmy Garoppolo. This guy continues to get paid for being average. Quite the life.
Jimmy was an elite offensive system with the San Francisco 49ers. With a great offense around him, he put up good numbers but proved in the Super Bowl vs. the Chiefs that the 49ers were not going to win with him behind center. He is very limited in what he can do on the football field, relying on check-downs and rarely making a big-time throw. If this was not enough to sour on him, Garoppolo cannot stay healthy. Jimmy missed 31 possible regular season games due to injury from 2018-2022, and after injury in 2022, was outplayed by My. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. Jimmy does not scare anybody, and he will struggle in Las Vegas next year, even with a good offense around him.
#24 Mac Jones- New England Patriots
USA Today Sports
Mac Jones is not good. After a decent rookie season, things were looking up for Mac, before burning to the ground in 2022. It was always a questionable decision for New England to select Mac, but not many people doubted about how good of a fit it was. At Alabama, Jones was not asked to do too much, as New England relied on Tom Brady’s supporting cast to do the same.
As a rookie, Jones completed 67.3% of his passes, throwing for 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a very solid passer rating of 92.5. Jones only averaged 7.3 yards per attempt, but it was a very respectable season that led New England fans to look forward to 2022. Little did they know, 2022 would turn into a nightmare. We all heard the reports from training camp, talking about how Jones and the offense looked bad under Matt Patricia, but based on Bill Belichick’s history, everyone took a wait-and-see approach. Jones regressed in literally every single offensive category and was even benched for a brief stint by Bailey Zappe. Jones will look to flush the 2022 season and go back to his rookie form, but will never have the skills to be an elite upper-tier quarterback.
#23 Kenny Pickett- Pittsburgh Steelers
Behind the Steel Curtain
There are very few players who catch my eye and I hop on the train right away, but Kenny Pickett is one of those guys. If you did not watch Pickett much last season and looked at the stats alone, it’s hard to come to that conclusion. Pickett threw for just 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions in 12 games started, throwing 7 interceptions in his first 4 games.
Although he was surrounded by a good offensive supporting cast, the scheme was stale, and Pickett was thrown into a tough situation. He was the best quarterback in the draft last year, and Pittsburgh gave him some time to develop, starting a majority of the season will propel him to success this year. After those nightmarish first 4 weeks, Pickett only threw 2 interceptions in his next 9 games, while also showcasing his athleticism by breaking off a couple of big runs. Kenny has good accuracy, a good arm, and could easily be a top-20 quarterback entering next season.
#22 Justin Fields- Chicago Bears
The first word that comes to mind when I think of Justin Fields: is electricity. Fields is a joy to watch, being able to break off highlight play after highlight play on a dime notice. Just when you think a play is shut down, he will show off the legs and make a strong throw, or burst for a 20-30-yard rushing game. The problem with Fields is, that other than the electric plays, there has not been much else so far.
Fields took a huge leap forward last year, especially with no help around him. At Ohio State Fields was a star, but struggled his first season in the NFL and through his first 7 games last season. Over his last 9 games, Fields finally got the keys to the offense, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for 5. Fields finished the season at 1,143 rushing yards, and 17 passing touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. Fields needs to improve mightily throwing the football, but he is an electric factory that could lead a revamped Bears offense to be successful.
#21 Brock Purdy- San Francisco 49ers
Purdy single-handedly was my toughest quarterback to rank. He was unknown going into last season, being selected as the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the 49ers. Purdy started as the third string, but ended up starting San Francisco’s last 5 games, wowing the league with his performance and leading the 49ers to a 5-0 record and later to the NFC Championship game.
Purdy is a lot like Jimmy G, limiting turnovers and not wowing anyone with his athleticism, but he has the ability to make big-time throws that Garoppolo did not. His 8.3 yards per throw was elite, ranking 2nd in the NFL. The offense surrounding him is one of the best systems in recent memory, limiting Purdy to be higher on this list, especially coming off elbow surgery. Purdy was awesome in 2022, throwing for 13 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions completing 67.1% of his passes good for a 107.3 passer rating, but has an unbelievable system around him and he has a lot more to prove going into this year.
#20 Derek Carr- New Orleans Saints
I am a fan of Derek Carr. Is he the best quarterback? No, but he will win you ball games, and he is a great leader that Las Vegas will regret letting go. It seemed like his career was trending upward every year, never reaching top 10 QB status, but getting into the low to mid-teens… until last season came along.
Carr has been a starter in the NFL since 2014, taking the ball for some miserable Raiders teams. He always put up respectable numbers, with his big arm and underwhelming supporting cast around him. Things finally started to rev up for him in year 3, and Carr ranked toward the upper half of most quarterback statistics from 2015-2021. He was poised for a big season in 2022, especially after the reunion with Davante Adams, but took a big step back in a new system. Carr had his worst season since his rookie year, completing 60.8% of his passes with a career-high 14 interceptions and 24 touchdowns, with an 86.3 passing rating and 66.6 PFF grade. Carr was benched and shipped out of town, and the Saints made a good move signing him, and the Raiders will regret it.
#19 Ryan Tannehill- Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill is one of my favorite players in the National Football League. A pure athlete, Tannehill started his college career as a wide receiver at Texas A&M, breaking school records before becoming the full-time quarterback his senior season. He was selected by the Dolphins in the first round of the 2012 draft, and never really put it together in Miami. Tannehill’s career seemed to be trending towards backup status, before revamping his career with the Titans.
Let’s close our eyes and do a blind resume for a second. Well actually don't close them because you have to read this but just go into this open-minded for me, please. Think of your favorite football team. Now, regardless of who your quarterback is, how would it sound if you were to have a guy who threw for 55 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions, completing nearly 70% of his passes with a passer rating over 110 in 28 games? That’s the kind of level Tannehill was on from 2019-2020, playing on an elite level. The threat of Derrick Henry and the play-action style offense definitely helped this production, but at the very least, Tannehill proved himself as a very good NFL quarterback. After a subpar 2021-2022 where his numbers have dipped in every category, Tannehill’s time with Tenessee may be ticking, and it does not help how poor his offensive line and receiving corps are to back him up.
#18 Jared Goff- Detroit Lions
I really respect what Jared Goff has done since coming to Detroit. Thought of as a throw-in to balance salaries in the Matthew Stafford trade, Goff became a placeholder on a bad Lions team that was poised to tank and pick a top quarterback. Goff has responded by putting together a couple of very solid seasons, allowing Detriot to hold off on getting a franchise quarterback, even when they are trending toward contention.
Coming out of college Goff was a surefire prospect being drafted first overall, and although he has not lived up to the hype, he has been a solid quarterback. Last season it was tough for me to tank him in the low 20’s, but now I can comfortably put him at 18. Goff has a great arm and is in a great offensive system, and his numbers last season were fantastic. He completed 65.1% of his passes throwing for 29 touchdowns to 7 interceptions with a 99.3 passer rating, putting together his best season since 2018. He makes too many mistakes missing receivers and the Matthew Stafford trade proved he was holding that Rams team back, but he is at worst a very serviceable quarterback.
#17 Daniel Jones- New York Giants
I have to give Daniel Jones some credit here. I have been one of his biggest critics over the years. The Giants reached to draft him with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 draft, and he had nothing to show for it over his first few seasons. He was a turnover machine, registering 49 total turnovers, to 50 total touchdowns. Not only were the turnovers a huge issue, but Daniel Jones was trending downward, after a solid rookie season leading into a sophomore slump and a nightmare third year. With his career on the line, he found his saving grace in Brian Dabboll.
If you told me before last season that Jones would sign a 4-year $160 million contract heading into 2023, I first would have thanked the football Gods, and secondly, I would have told you to turn off Madden Ultimate Team. Jones shocked the league with his vast improvement, turning the ball over just 8 times, throwing for 15 touchdowns, and rushing for 7 more. This was even more impressive considering the feeble cast around him. Jones was not asked to do much, averaging 6.8 yards per attempt, leading to only 15 passing touchdowns and 3,205 passing yards. He finally showed his ability to utilize his legs, rushing for 708 yards, nearly more than he had combined his first 3 years. He still has a long way to go, ranking at the bottom of the NFL in big-time throw rate the past two seasons, and the Giants will not take a step forward until he can prove to be a big-time quarterback. Jones is an average quarterback who is overpaid with good legs but still has a long way to go to receive a higher rating on this list.
#16 Kyler Murray- Arizona Cardinals
Pro Football Network
I know, I know. Kyler Murray may not even play in the 2023 NFL season, but I would rather scratch my nails on a chalkboard than write about Josh Dobbs or Clayton Tune (I had to check this was a real person first). Murray has had an up-and-down NFL career, occasionally playing at an MVP level when on the field, but mostly being known for his immaturity and injuries.
Murray’s first few seasons have played out the same way, starting off the year blazing hot, getting banged up, playing through it for the most part, and having miserable second halves. The Cardinal's contract situation went viral last season when it mandated study hours for Murray, showcasing the lack of trust they have in Murray taking the next step. Murray is a good passer in addition to being a great runner, but turns the ball over too much, throwing 41 career interceptions to 84 touchdowns. His 6.1 yards per attempt last season was by far the worst of his career, and his 67.1 PFF grade was the worst since his rookie season. Arizona is in a weird spot and seems to be tanking for Caleb Williams, so Murray may have even played his last game in a Cardinals uniform.
#15 Tua Tagovailoa- Miami Dolphins
Sharp Football Analysis
Picture me currently at my desk, watching the Washington Nationals game, cooking up some shrimp for dinner, and giving Tua Tagovailoa a round of applause. It was a huge season for Tua last year, going from one of the laughingstocks of the NFL into the top 16 quarterbacks in the NFL. After a great career at Alabama, the Dolphins made a mistake selecting Tua over Justin Herbert, as his first two seasons in the NFL were nothing short of a disaster. Things turned the corner last year, with Mike McDaniels fully trusting him in a retooled offense.
We heard the mumbling of the Dolphins trying to trade for Tom Brady, DeShaun Watson, and others, with a new offensive-minded head coach coming in leading to a big unknown with Tua. This noise was quickly silenced by the oozing confidence McDaniels had in Tua, and this paid massive dividends early on in the season. Against Baltimore in Week 2, Tua threw for 6 touchdowns and 469 yards and had 18 touchdowns in his first 8 games. Tua not only matched a career-high in touchdowns through his first 8 games, but he was also throwing himself into the MVP conversation and finished the season with 25 touchdowns with a career-low 8 interceptions and a 105.5 passer rating in 13 games. Injuries put a damper effect on his season, but his stats were eye-popping, and he even led the NFL yards per attempt at 8.9, answering the question about whether his arm strength will play. A healthy Tua could become a top-10 quarterback entering next season.
#14 Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys
Inside the Star
After not being a Dak Prescott fan for many years, I was finally high on him coming into last season, and well… Prescott was atrocious. After beginning his career as a fiery competitor who did everything to will the Cowboys to victory even with the lack of throwing talent, he developed into a fine passer pretty quickly, and by his third season was in the top half of NFL quarterbacks. He could always run, but it has become a nonfactor since his leg injury in 2020, as injuries have started to catch up to him.
The question has always remained at the top of mind in Dallas, whether Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization believe that Dak will be the guy to lead them to the next Super Bowl. After adamantly defending Dak for years, Jones and the Cowboys went out and traded for Trey Lance this preseason, which should tell you all you need to know about the confidence level at this point. Prescott played in only 12 games last season, where he threw for a respectable 25 touchdowns but a league-leading 15 interceptions. Let me repeat that. Dak Prescott threw 15 interceptions which led the NFL in only 12 games played. In the Divisional Round vs. the 49ers, Dallas got embarrassed in a 19-12 loss, and Prescott threw 2 key interceptions. He is a good passer who can throw on the run and in the pocket, but if he continues this trend of increasing interceptions, the Cowboys may make a switch at quarterback sooner than you think.
#13 Russell Wilson- Denver Broncos
Broncos Country, let's rideeee to a 5-12 record and the worst season of Russell Wilson’s career. After undoubtedly being a top-10 quarterback since at least 2014, Wilson and the Seahawks' relationship finally wore thin, and it looks like he was shipped off to Denver just at the right time. Wilson has always been a great passer, but last season left a huge bad taste in the mouths of Boronco’s fans heading into this year.
Wilson was the pillar of consistency heading into last season. To begin his career, he started 149 consecutive games, and that streak puts him at 6th all-time among quarterbacks. As I stated in my list last year, I still considered Wilson an elite quarterback, but he was clearly on the downtrend. He no longer was a threat with his legs, he led a decent Seahawks team to a 6-8 record, and his 25 touchdowns in 2022 was the lowest mark since 2016. His 3,113 passing yards were the lowest mark of his career, and it seemed like he lost the locker room, no longer providing a spark to the offense. Denver made a seemingly good move to trade for him, as they were a quarterback away from contending. We all know what happened next. Wilson registered a career low in literally every offensive category and was ranked 29th according to PFF grade. He had zero big-play ability, was inaccurate, and led to many questions entering this season. I am surprised to rank him this high on the list, to be honest, but as of right now, I would rank him above the guys below him, especially with Sean Payton and a fresh start upcoming.
#12 Geno Smith- Seattle Seahawks
Geno magic baby! In my opinion, Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks were my favorite story of the year last year. I admittedly could not have been more critical of Geno and the Seahawks organization, clearly thinking they were a young team that was set to tank for a top quarterback. Smith ended up putting together a stellar year, and leading Seattle to the playoffs.
It was easy to pick on Seattle for the Geno Smith move, as before last season, he had not been a regular starter in the NFL since 2014 with the New York Jets, and he posted one of the worst first two seasons a quarterback has had in recent memory, with 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions, with a completion percentage under 60% and a passer rating of nearly 70. Smith finally got the opportunity to start again and ran with it last season, throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, and completing 69.8% of his passes. He made several big-time throws and even showed the ability to extend plays, but definitely started to tail off towards the end of the season. Smith was hard to rank due to the limited success, but I am confident he will put up another good season in Seattle.
#11 DeShaun Watson- Cleveland Browns
It is easy to forget how good of a quarterback DeShaun Watson was after all the information about his criminal past has come about these past couple of years. It is hard for me to praise the football acumen for Watson with all of the terrible information that has become public about him.
After not playing in 2021 and serving a lengthy suspension in 2022, Watson ended up playing in 6 games last year, struggling with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions putting up a bad 79.1 passer rating. He was one of the best quarterbacks in football with the Houston Texans, and put up a huge year in 2021 with 33 touchdowns, 4,823 yards, and a passer rating of 112.4. Watson has the ceiling of a top 5 quarterback, but it would not surprise me if he flourishes this season or continues to struggle. His talent places him at number 11 on this list alone.
#10 Matthew Stafford- Los Angeles Rams
NFL Trade Rumors
Life could not have been better for Matthew Stafford after the 2021 season. After putting up monster numbers in Detroit, and playing for a lot of bad Lions teams, Detroit and Stafford finally decided to split up, and Stafford won a Super Bowl in LA in his first season. Stafford always received criticism for collecting a large chunk of his stats in blowouts and Calvin Johnson inflating his stats, but he put all that noise to rest in 2021. After last year though, Stafford deserves to remain in the top-10, but he is definitely slipping.
After a lot of offseason chatter regarding his elbow and Sean McVay and others trying to downplay the noise, Stafford was noticeably off most of last season. Stafford threw for only 10 touchdowns in 9 games last year before being shut down, seeing his yards per attempt plummet from 8.1 in 2021 to 6.9 in 2022. He was unreal in 2021, throwing for 41 touchdowns with 17 interceptions and 4,886 yards leading to a Super Bowl victory, but went from a 2.4 touchdown to interception ratio in ’21 to 1.25 in ’22. Stafford is known for his cannon for an arm, but the young Rams may continue to struggle this year. Time will tell if he can go back to his pre-elbow surgery form.
#9 Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings
The interesting case of Kirk Cousins. Will Kirk Cousins go out and win you a Super Bowl? No. Can Kirk Cousins be the starting quarterback for a Super Bowl team? I think so…? Kirk will never wow you with his passes, but it is easy to admit that he is as solid as most quarterbacks come. He has always posted good stats but has struggled in prime time and playoff games making laughable unnecessary gaffes.
Kirk’s accuracy may be one of the best in the NFL. He can fit a lot of balls through extremely tight windows, and he has a good enough arm to make a lot of big plays. He rarely extends plays outside of the pocket, but when he limits turnovers, his teams do well. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2015, Cousins has never posted a season with a passer rating under 92.5, and a completion percentage under 64.3%. He has not elevated his game enough the past few seconds to catapult himself into a top 10 selection to be quite honest, but the peers around him have regressed enough for him to sneak in. Kirk over his career has thrown for 252 touchdowns and 105 interceptions with a 97.8 passer rating and a 66.8 completion percentage. You can always rely on Cousins to give you solid production during the regular season, but I am not sure if he will ever get over the hump.
#8 Trevor Lawrence- Jacksonville Jaguars
Big Cat Country
Now, this is where the truly elite status for quarterbacks begins. Trevor Lawrence is already a top-10 quarterback entering his third season, even after his rookie year was a wash. Lawrence looked like the elite prospect we always knew he was going to be last year, throwing for 25 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, elevating his gameplay as the season went along.
Under Urban Meyer in 2021, Lawrence was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, throwing for 17 interceptions and 12 touchdowns with a 71.9 passer rating. It was a shell shock to Lawrence, as he lost more games as a rookie than he did in high school and college combined. Staring fresh with Doug Pederson, Lawrence took flight. He threw only 2 interceptions to 15 touchdowns over his last 9 games, and put together a great performance in the playoffs—which is crazy to say after throwing 4 interceptions in one half in the wild-card game. Lawrence was untouchable in the 2nd half and put together one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history, flashing the potential of what's to come in the future. Lawrence had the third-highest PFF grade in the NFL over those last 9 games only behind Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, and every single tool is there for him to become one of the best.
#7 Lamar Jackson- Baltimore Ravens
Time and time again Lamar Jackson has shown the NFL how good of a player he is. After facing question after question regarding whether his passing ability would make it in the NFL, Lamar showed pretty quickly that his arm can play with anybody, and his running ability is unlike anything we have ever seen in the NFL before.
Still only 26 years old, Lamar has already been an MVP, and Pro Bowler, and has led his team to the playoffs 4 out of his 5 seasons as a starter. It has now been back-to-back seasons where Lamar has missed numerous games due to injury, and his 764 rushing yards was a career low. It seems like Baltimore and Jackson both want to run a more conventional offense, but Jackson should still be able to flash his elite talent. Lamar has thrown 101 touchdowns to only 38 interceptions over his career thus far and has posted multiple 1,000+ rushing yard seasons. If he stays healthy and plays close to his ceiling with continued improvement as a passer, he will be in the MVP conversation like usual.
#6 Jalen Hurts- Philadelphia Eagles
I will gladly admit it when I know I messed something up. I ranked Jalen Hurts as the 20th-best quarterback entering the 2022 season. I never doubted his ability as a leader, as his story in college was admirable. Hurts was a solid quarterback at Alabama but was limited as a passer, forced to transfer with Tua Tagovailoa taking over the reins, before putting up a Heisman-type season at Oklahoma and being selected by the Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft. From his debut in 2020 to the season he had last year, it is hard to remember an improvement as quickly as Hurts had.
I have always been a Jalen Hurts guy. Not as much as a football player, but he reminds me of Desmond Ridder in college. The dude is just a winner as he elevates the teammates around him wherever he goes. After being thrust into the starting role in 2021 and taking his lumps, Hurts improved in every passing category, going from 16 to 22 touchdowns, from 9 interceptions to 6, completing 61.5% of passes to 66.5%, and elevating his passer rating from 87.2 to 101.5. Last year was probably the ceiling for Hurts, but he proved to be a franchise quarterback. His arm is good enough to make most plays, his poise is elite, and his running ability is up there with anybody. To put it simiply, Jalen Hurts is so good.
#5 Aaron Rodgers- New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers the New York Jet! After constant rumors of a breakup, it finally happened. It's like when you and your significant other know you want the dessert after dinner, but you both are unwilling to say it first because you’re on a health kick. That might be one of the worst analogies I have ever heard but I’ll keep it in there for the few who can relate. Rodgers has been my favorite quarterback to watch over the year, and I believe he is the most talented quarterback with Patrick Mahomes to ever play the game. Although he had a down year last year, he is easily still a top 5 quarterback entering this season.
Although he is coming off back-to-back MVP seasons from 2020-2021, there are some questions surrounding Rodgers based on his age and the decline in play after last season. His career numbers speak for themselves, with Green Bay always surrounding him with good but not great teams including the talent surrounding him offensively. Rodgers put up the worst passer rating of his career last season but still at a good number of 91.1, and still threw for 26 touchdowns, but his most interceptions at 12 since his first year in the league in 2008. He always put up volume numbers, but in his recent MVP seasons, he took a step forward by basically eliminating turnovers before last season. At 39 years old it's remarkable he is still playing at this high of a level, and I am confident being on an up-and-coming young Jets team will rejuvenate him into having a great year.
#4 Justin Herbert- Los Angeles Chargers
Breaking news: Justin Herbert can ball. After being really unknown to myself at least coming out of college, like I have said before, I played into the doubt surrounding how he would adjust. He is by no means a vocal leader, and at times his play was slightly sporadic at Oregon. He proved me wrong very quickly, and it was quick to realize he played at a very high level at Oregon but was not surrounded by much competition.
The thing that is most fun to watch about Herbert is how ridiculous his throwing arm is. He almost gets into trouble at times putting too much zip on the ball, leading to some tipped interceptions. Herbert had an unreal rookie season, throwing for 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 starts, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. He improved once again in his sophomore season, with 38 touchdowns and 15 interceptions eclipsing 5,000 yards and even rushing for 302 yards. His numbers took a slight dip last season, as the Chargers slightly played under expectations. Herbert is a top 5 quarterback in this league but needs to show improvement to get into the elite of the elite. I blame his slight dip on coaching, as Herbert should be poised for a monster year with added weapons and a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore.
#3 Josh Allen- Buffalo Bills
Breaking news: Josh Allen can REALLY ball. For the second year in a row, I rank Josh Allen ranked as the third-best quarterback in the NFL. Allen posted similar numbers as to what he did last season, but it is disappointing once again to not see a great Bills team make it further in the playoffs. Allen came into the NFL as a wildcard and was quickly rounded into shape to become one of the best quarterbacks in football. It's now on how he can take the next step.
Similar to Herbert, Allen has an insane arm, and with his playmaking ability, he can make pretty much anything happen on a football field. For the second season in a row, Allen rushed for over 700 yards, making numerous plays happen with his legs when teams were selling out against the past in fears of his deep ball. The Allen and Diggs connection could go down in history as one of the greats, as Allen’s Houdini act matches perfectly with Diggs’ unscripted route running. Allen has thrown for a whopping 108 touchdowns over the past 3 seasons but has had double digit interceptions in all three years, with 39 in total. Allen also needs to improve on avoiding more contact, as his longevity could come into question if this continues. Allen is a joy to watch, and if he limits turnovers, he will win multiple MVP awards.
#2 Joe Burrow- Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrrrrrrow. For the second season in a row, Burrow played at an elite level and improved more and more since his rookie season. Coming out of LSU his story was admirable finding a home and playing to the ability he played at, and it was a no-brainer for the Bengals to pick him first overall. After an ACL injury ended his rookie year, Burrow was great in year 2 leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl, and continued that momentum into 2023.
It's one thing to put up a 2021 season like he did, but its another thing to follow it up with such a strong 2022 campaign. Last season, Burrow threw for 35 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, completing 68.3% of his passes and ranking first in the NFL in PFF grade for the second season in a row. Burrow can virtually make any throw and is extremely confident in the pocket. His IQ is one of the best in the NFL, rarely ever making blunders and always knowing what throw to make given the situation. He has a tremendous surrounding cast and has done everything in his power to fully maximize the loaded arsenal. Burrow’s game will continue to improve and age well, and I gave him the nod over Herbert and Allen due to his lack of turnover-worthy plays and extreme football IQ.
#1 Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs
It was pretty hilarious when a lot of the media tried to be cute and put Josh Allen over Patrick Mahomes last year. Was there ever any doubt? Mahomes is a total magician who has no flaws in his game. He will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all time, and would be a hall of famer if he were to retire tomorrow. At only 27 years old, Mahomes is a 2-time MVP, 2-time Super Bowl Champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 5-time Pro Bowler, and a 2-time First-Team All-Pro. Just when you think you have seen it all from the guy, the 27-year-old wows us with another trick up his sleeve.
Let’s discuss the stats that Mahomes has put up to begin his career. Mahomes has thrown for 192 touchdowns to 49 interceptions, making 191 big-time throws in 80 games. He has a completion percentage of 66.3%, a 105.7 career passer rating, and even 1,547 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Mahomes threw for a career-high 67.1 completion percentage, and 5,250 yards after losing Tyreek Hill. He is a great pocket passer, he can break off a run when he is in big trouble, he rarely turns the ball over, he averages 8.1 yards per attempt, and is extremely accurate given his strong arm. Mahomes is the new face of the NFL, and it is hard to think about any quarterback in the NFL right now that can match his greatness over at least the next few years.