With the draft now officially behind us, it is time to look ahead and begin preparing for 2020 regular season. While action on the field may seem far away, it is never too early to talk x’s and O’s as professional football is a 365-day sport.
To start my preparation for the upcoming season, I thought it would be fitting of me to rank all 32 NFL starting QBs. While it is impossible to say who each team is going to task with leading their ship come week 1, I will do my best in predicting the future of the fall. So sit back, grab a bag of chips, and enjoy the show!
The Bottom 10
32. Justin Herbert – LA Chargers
Justin Herbert could very well be a solid starter one day in the National Football Leauge. He’s tall, athletic, has an above-average arm, and shows great composure in the pocket. However, he has yet to sniff the grass of a professional football field and there is no chance in hell I am going rank him ahead of seasoned veterans. Welcome to the show, rook.
31. Dwayne Haskins – Washington Redskins
Dwayne Haskins was taken with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The big-armed prospect out of Highland Park was said to be a star in the making. However, after a rookie season that featured just 7 TD passes, to go along with 7 INTs, the verdict has been shifted on the former Buckeye great.
Listen, I loved Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State. He was one of the better intercollegiate QBs I had ever seen and I thought he had a real shot of being something special at the professional level. But after seeing what Haskins did during his rooking campaign in our nation’s capital, those encouraging sentiments can no longer be said. Haskins is young and has time to prove his doubters wrong, but I just do not see that it factor that makes a special starting QB in the NFL so great.
30. Jarrett Stidham – New England Patriots
Unless the Patriots can find a way to trade or sign a starting QB in the upcoming months, Jarrett Stidham will be the week one starter for the New England Patriots. This statement may be weird to hear, as Tom Brady, who has spent the last 19 years as a Patriot, is no longer with the team. But as they say, with every departer starts a new beginning.
Stidham, who is a product of Auburn University, is your prototypical pocket passer. He is a guy who is not going to burn you with his legs and is not afraid to take a lick in the pocket when need be. Coming into his Sophomore season, Stidham has not presented a monster sample size. As Stidham appeared in just 3 games last year, it is hard to tell what the future of New England really holds.
29. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins
Barring the unimaginable, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starting QB for the Miami Dolphins come week 1. Tua Tagovailoa, who was selected with the fifth pick in this year’s draft by the Dolphins, is in the process of recovering from hip injury that left him sidelined for the duration of his Junior season at Alabama. If the dolphins were smart, they would take their sweet ole time getting Tua on the field because, at the end of the day, he is their new franchise QB, that needs to be treated with tender and lovingly care.
You may be thinking to yourself why Fitzy is ranked so high on this list. He had a pretty solid year last season in which he led the Dolphins in both passing and rushing yards. But you guy’s have to remember that Ryan Fitzpatrick is 37 years old. And by no stretch of the imagination, is he Tom Brady. Dr. time is eventually going to catch up to him and his body is going to begin to wear down. The number of hits that Fitzpatrick took last year is going to surely take a toll on him and see this Harvard Grad having a dreadful season in 2020.
28. Drew Lock – Denver Broncos
The Joe Flacco era in Denver is officially over (did it even start?) which can only mean one thing. Lock your doors, cause Drew is getting ready to come out and play.
Lock, who is an alumnus of The University of Missouri, is a fascinating case study. Last year, when the rookie got his number called, he stepped and delivered. By seasons end, Lock had accounted for 1,020 passing yards, 7 TD passes and just 3 INTs. Not outstanding statistics, but if you take into account the brief period of time Lock played, they are pretty damn impressive. With the newfound acquisitions of Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, it will be interesting to see what this explosive QB does with his first full season as a starter.
27. Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears
Last year, during these exact same rankings, I had Mitch Trubisky as the 14th best QB in the NFL. I even went to the extent of saying that Trubisky was and I quote, “A Chicagoans dream.” That was a mistake. I want to apologize to the great people of Chicago as Trubisky is not a dream, but instead a never lasting nightmare.
After a year to forget for the gunslinger out of UNC, the Bears took it upon themselves to bring in some competition. Nick Foles, who was the MVP of Super Bowl 52, was traded to the Bears for a compensatory fourth-round draft pick. Although I feel as if Trubisky will win the starting job come fall, it can not be an easy feeling knowing that a guy is going to be breathing down your you neck during all hours of the day, in hopes to one day take your spot.
26. Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals
Let me make things clear, I think Joe Burrow is going to be an absolute star. The 23-year-old from Athens Ohio, is coming off the single greatest season in college football history. 5,671 passing yards, 60 TDs, a 76.3 completion percentage and just 6 INTs. Absolutely ridiculous. As a reward for his great season, Burrow was named the 2019 Heisman trophy winner, an honor which is given out annually to the nations top performer. And oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention. In January, Burrow led his Tigers to the National Championship in their home state of Lousiana. Could the Bengals have asked for a more perfect number one overall pick?
So why is Burrow 26 on my list? Rookies need to earn their stripes. Simple as that.
25. Daniel Jones – New York Giants
When Daniel Jones was taken with the 6th overall pick in last years NFL Draft by the New York Giants, it was safe to say that fans were not happy. The Duke grad was considered to be an average prospect at best, so the early selection was sought as a surprise to much of the league’s constituents.
Fast forward a year later however, and I can almost assure you that Giants fans are satisfied with their first-round pick. Jones, who took over as the starting QB for the G men during week 3 of the regular season, surpassed all expectations initially placed on him. By years end, Jones had managed to throw for a total of 3,027 passing yards, 24 TD passes and just 12 INTs. While the Giants may have finished their season at a 4-12 clip, all hope is not lost, as they have found their QB of the future.
24. Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
Death, taxes, and yet another season in which Derek Carr has underperformed. I don’t get it, man. Carr is a talented QB. He has a really strong arm, sees the field well, and can fit balls in the tightest of spots. But when push comes to shove, it seems as if the California born QB always seems to fall under the cracks. When I watch Carr play, I want him to succeed, but he just never does. There is an old saying that goes “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” Is Carr the weakest link on the Raiders team? Only time will tell.
23. Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars
How can you not love Gardner Minshew? For starters, the dude looks exactly like uncle Rico who was featured in the famous movie, Napoleon Dynamite. Secondly, Minshew is the type of QB that is absolutely fearless. He is not afraid to put his body on the line day in and day out and would literally take a bullet for anyone of his given teammates. It is the Mike Leach mindset that was instilled upon him during his playing days at Washington State.
Is Gardner Minshew the most talented QB in the NFL? For sure, not. He is a bit undersized and doesn’t always know when to throw the ball out of harm’s way. However, he is without a doubt, one of the most entertaining players to watch on any given Sunday and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling some Minshew Mania during certain parts of last season.
The Mid Tier
22. Sam Darnold – New York Jets
The belief coming into last season was that the New York Jets were going to be a potential playoff team. Then, Sam Darnold got mono and effed the whole plan up. Fast forward a year later, and the Jets are heading into the season with the same beliefs. Tom Brady is gone which now leaves the division-wide open and Darnold is finally 100 percent healthy and ready to go. But I hate to break it to you Jets fans, these beliefs will once again be put down.
The matter of the fact is that the Bills are by far and away the most talented team in the AFC East. Also, contrary to popular belief, Sam Darnold is an average QB at best. He has a high ceiling, but has yet to show it and until he can produce on the field, I will refuse to put him anywhere near the elite of the elite.
21. Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
At the start of last season, Baker Mayfield had some of the highest expectations the NFL had seen in recent years. With the new acquisitions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Mayfield was expected to shine during his second season in the big leagues. However, what ended transpiring was one of the lousiest, and most disappointing years the browns had experienced at the QB position in quite some time. And that is saying something, as the Browns have had about 100 QBs start for them in the last 20 years.
I have come to the conclusion that Mayfield is a “College Quarterback.” What I mean by this is that his ceiling was at the college level when he won the Heisman Trophy and led his team to the CFP back in 2017. He will not experience more success at the professional level than he did during that season with the Oklahoma Sooners. Is that hard to hear if you’re a Browns fan? Of course. But the reality is that some guys can’t escape their own Shadows and Mayfield just happens to be one of those examples.
20. Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals
I was wrong about Kyler Murray. When he was selected as the first overall pick during last years draft, I thought he was going to be a bust. I felt as if he was way too small to be a successful QB in the NFL and even went to the extent of calling him Johnny Football, 2.0.
The truth is, Kyler Murray is really freaking good. Like, better than we all thought he was going to initially be, good. He is fast, explosive and super poised in the pocket. The thing that impressed me the most when I watched Murray play last year, was how fast he was able to get the ball out of his hands. It was as if I was watching a high tempo, college-style offense that could not be tamed. The fact that Murray is going to have a top-three receiver in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins to throw to this year is only going to enhance his game and further solidify his claim as one of the top up and coming stars in this league.
19. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams
Put a below-average defense in front of Jared Goff, he’ll torch ya. Put a sub-par defense in front of him, he’ll play up to standard. But put a GOOD defense in front of him, and he’ll look like the backup QB of a high school varsity team looking to make states.
18. Ryan Tannehill – Tennesse Titans
For the last few years, me and my friends have had the ongoing debate as to whether or not Ryan Tannehill is an above QB, Me and my one friend initially said no, then my other friend called us crazy, and the debate turned into war. However, this past season shut all of us up. Tannehill not only stole Marcus Mariota’s starting job like it was a hobby of his, but led the Titans to the AFC championship game. Now yes, if the Titans didn’t have the beast of Derrick Henry on their side, they would have not of even sniffed the AFCC game, but if you look at Tannehill’s season numbers, they may surprise you.
17. Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers
Last year, during week two of the regular season, the Saints made a much-anticipated trip to LA to face the defending NFC Champs, Los Angeles Rams. During the game, Saints veteran QB, Drew Brees injured his throwing hand that would leave him sidelined for over a month. Fear not however, as a man they call Teddy two gloves came in and saved the day.
During Brees’ absence, Teddy Bridgewater went a perfect 5-0 as the starting QB for the New Orleans Saints. If you were not a die-hard fan of the NFL, you would have thought that Bridgewater had been the Saints starter for over a decade as his control and leadership of the team was nothing short of flawless.
As a reward for his heroics, Bridgewater was signed to a 3 year, 63 million dollar contract with the Carolina Panthers back in March of this year. He will now be tasked with being the starting QB for a team with a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator. For most, this task may seem overwhelming, but for Teddy two gloves, this is an opportunity that has his name written all over it.
16. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
“Good QB, can’t win in the playoffs.” “Most overpaid player in the league.” These are the sentiments that Kirk Cousins has heard on repeat since signing with the Vikings back in March of 2018. However, after Cousins led his team to a shocking road upset win over the 13-3 Saints in the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs last year, the haters may not be so loud anymore.
Kirk Cousins is a good NFL QB. He is strong, accurate with his throws and plays with a rhythm that is hard to duplicate. It will be very interesting to see how he adapts this season after losing his top target, Stefon Diggs. Do I think Kirk Cousins is an elite QB? No. But I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t think he was one of the better pocket passers this league has.
PS. Make no mistake about it, Kirk Cousins IS overpaid.
The Top 15
15. Phillip Rivers – Indianapolis Colts
You wanna talk about a crazy 12 months for the Colts? On August 24, 2019, Andrew Luck, who in my opinion was well on his way to a hall of fame career, sent shock waves around the football world as he announced that he would be retiring from the NFL.
Then, Jacoby Brissett, who was announced the Colts new starting QB, set fire to the rain as he lit up the stat sheet to begin the 2019 regular season. Unfortunately, Brissett’s hot start would soon be diminished, as the Colts ended their season with a measly 7-9 record.
We now fast forward to March 21, 2020, when the Colts announced that they would be signing veteran QB, Phillip Rivers to a one-year, $25 million deal. If you would have told me less than a year ago that Phillip Rivers would be the starting QB for the Indianapolis Colts for the 2020 season, I would have called you crazy. I guess the world just works in mysterious ways sometimes.
14. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Two seasons ago, Ben Roethlisberger led the league in total passing yards. Last year, Roethlisberger spent most his time on the sidelines as he was dealing with an elbow injury that forced him to get season-ending surgery. What a difference a year can make.
While I do expect Roethlisberger to be ready to go for week 1 of the regular season, I am not sure what to expect from him in terms of immediate productivity. One thing that people have to take account for is that Big Ben is creeping up the age later. At 38 years old, Roethlisberger is not going to be able to move like he once did. He is not going to be able to launch the ball 50 yards and is certainly not going to be able to take over games, which he was so good at doing during his prime. Also, this elbow surgery that Roethlisberger went through, was pretty severe and there is no telling as to when, or even if he will ever be back to full strength.
Side Note: If you are a legend of the game, you are automatically being put in the top 15 of this list. Game respects game.
13 Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is a 6’5, 238-pound mountain of a man. When I watch Josh Allen play, I am reminded of why sports are so great.
Josh Allen was not a highly coveted high school recruit. He did not go to a big University in Wyoming and by no means was supposed to be where he was today. But here Allen sits, as the #13th ranked QB in the NFL.
So why is Allen ranked so high? Well for starters, Allen has a top 3 arm in terms of strength in all of the NFL. During his rookie year and in college, one thing that Allen struggled with was controlling the deep pass. However, last year, Allen improved this flaw tremendously and has transformed into one of the biggest deep ball threats in all of football.
Secondly, Allen has established himself as one of the elite dual threat QBs in the AFC. Last season, Allen ranked 3rd amongst all NFL QBs with 510 rushing yards. This ability to run the ball has opened the Bills offense up in more ways than one and has made them a dangerous bunch.
Josh Allen has not even begun to reach the prime of his career. Do not be surprised if we see his name climb up the ranks for years to come.
12. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan is like the ex-girlfriend you can never quite shake off. Every logical reason is telling you to let go, but they always do that one thing that sucks you right back in.
Last season, Matt Ryan had an awful start to his season. He would miss passes that should have been made and was playing with less confidence than a virgin at a crowded bar. Before Ryan could blink an eye, the Falcons found themselves with a 1-7 record heading into the bye week.
After their bye week, something must have clicked, as Ryan caught absolute fire. The throws that had previously missed began being put right on the facemask and the Pennsylvania born prospect had regained his swagger. The Falcons went on to win 6 of their last 8 games and finished the regular season as the hottest team in football.
So here we are, ranking Ryan as the #12th ranked QB in football. Ridiculous.
11. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
I will admit, as an Eagles, fan, putting Dak Prescott this high up on the list was not an easy thing to do. But you have to give credit where credit is due. What Prescott has done during his first 4 years in NFL, is seemingly unprecedented and has to be acknowledged.
Trivia Question: During his first four seasons in the NFL, Dak Prescott is one of two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL with at least 90 TDS, 15,000 passing yards and 40 wins. Who is the other?
Answer: Dan Marino
10. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Fransisco 49ers
What a year it was for Jimmy Garoppolo. 3,978 passing yards, 27 TDs, 13 INTs, a division title, an NFC championship and a super bowl appearance. Does it get much better than that?
What impresses me most about Jimmy G’s game is how quickly he has been able to adapt to his “new team.” Many people forget that last season was only Garoppolo’s third season with the Niners and was the first year he was the full-time starter. To take a team to the SB, under those circumstances, is absolutely impeccable.
9. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
I sometimes find myself laughing over the ridiculous amount of money that Matthew Stafford makes on a yearly basis. There are certain elite players in the NFL that deserve this type of money (5 yrs / $135,000,000) and Mathew Stafford has turned out to be one of them, producing ridiculous accolades on a yearly basis.
To show just how solid Stafford has been, here is a chart of his stats over the last few years.
8. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Here he is. My guy. Now, I can go on for days about how special I think Carson Wentz is. I can express how last season, he put an entire city on his back, and carried them to a division title. I can tell you all about how he made NFL history, despite throwing to practice squad misfits. I can do all of that, but how about you just take a look for yourselves.
Carson Wents 2019 Stats and Achievements
- Wentz became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 20 or more touchdowns and seven or fewer interceptions in three straight seasons. Only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have done it twice.
- Wentz’s 607 pass attempts this year are fourth-most ever by a quarterback throwing seven or fewer interceptions. Only Brady (624 in 2015), Rodgers (610 in 2016) and Matt Ryan (608 in 2018) had more.
- Wentz has thrown 35 interceptions in his career, or one every 58.7 pass attempts. That’s the second-best INT ratio in NFL history, behind only Rodgers (72.2). That’s with the NFL’s minimum requirement of 1,500 attempts.
- The only QBs to throw for 4,000 yards with 25 or more TDs and single-digit INTs this year were Wentz, Mahomes, Wilson and Rodgers. Wentz is only the 13th QB in NFL history to have at least one season with 4,000 yards, 25 TDs and single-digit INTs.
7. Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Before we continue, let’s first set a disclaimer. Tom Brady is the greatest QB of all time. The 6-time super champion could step away from the game tomorrow and leave behind the greatest legacy the game has ever seen. Me ranking him #7 on the list has nothing to that.
The reason he is ranked #7 in fact, is because coming into this year, he is the 7th best QB in the NFL. If you were to take away all of Brady’s accolades and focus on just the present day, there 6 QB I would take over him.
With that being said, the opportunity of seeing him in Tampa this year will be exciting and the fact that he gets to throw to the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is going to make the Bucs offense a PROBLEM for Sundays to come.
6. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
After looking back at the tape, I have come to the conclusion that last season will go down as Aaron Rodgers most underappreciated year. The Packers went 13-3, made the NFC championship game and did it all under a first-year head coach. But at the same time, the boys dressed in green and yellow did not get the due diligence they deserved in the public eye. The Media did not bow down to their feet like they did with the Ravens and the Chiefs. Their games were not shown on national television enough and in many ways, the Packers went 13-3, completely under the radar.
It should go as no surprise to anyone as to why Aaron Rodgers is rated so high up on our list. He is one of the all-time greats. Year after year, Rodgers just seems to get better and more polished and if I had to compare him to anything, it would be that of a fine wine, as they both get better with age.
5. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
January 4, 2020. The Houston Texans are playing host to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card round. The score is knotted up at 19 and the next team to score is going move on to to the AFC divisional round. Texas has the ball on their own 44-yard line and are faced with a 2nd and 6. The ball is snapped and a defender on both sides of the ball are sent free to the QB, untouched. If you listen to the replay closely, you can almost hear the announcer say “Down goes Watson, as he was anticipating a sack.” But Watson had other ideas. He bounced off both defenders, scrambled to his right, and found his RB in the flat, who made it all the way up to the 9-yard line. This play would then set up an eventual game-winning FG that advanced Houston along to the next round of the playoffs.
It is these types of plays, these types of moments, that make an elite QB so special.
4. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
If you were to create a player on Madden and max out all their stats, there is a good chance that they would have the type of season Lamar Jackon had in 2019. By seasons end, the leagues MVP had compiled a season for the ages. 3,127 passing yards, 36 TD passes (1st in NFL,) 6 INTs, 81.8 QBR (1st in NFL,) 1,206 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs. Absolutely ludicrous.
So why is the reigning MVP not in the top 3? Three Words. Zero…… playoff…. wins.
3. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
The “It factor” What is it? How can it be measured and who has it. To put it in layman’s terms, the it factor is a quality that someone possesses that can not be measured. Someone who has the it factor is fearless, courageous and competitive beyond belief. Somebody who has the it factor thrives during hard situations and always picks teammates up. People are born with the it factor and it is a quality trait that makes someone very successful in both home and professional life.
So why do I bring this all up? Because if I had to bet on one person who TRULY has the it factor on this planet, it would be Russell Wilson.
2. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Last year was a complicated season for Drew Brees. He missed half the year with a hand injury, was hot and cold during his return and got absolutely stunned during the first round of the playoffs. Put all that aside though, and Drew Brees still ended up with a pretty dominant season, throwing for a total of 2,979 yards, tossing 27 TD passes, hurling 4 ints and finishing the year with a total QBR of 71.7.
When I think I think of Drew Brees, I think of dominance. I think of the all-time passing yard AND passing TD leader. I think of the record holder for the highest completion percentage in a single game and I think of a surgeon on the field who dissects a defense with his bare hands. I think, of greatness.
1. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
The Kid finally won a ring (I use the word “finally” loosely.) During last years rankings, I said that I needed to see Patrick Mahomes be more consistent in order for me to rank him as the best QB in football. Well, here we are almost a year later and Mahomes is even better than he was a year ago.
When I watch Patrick Mahomes play, I find myself in a constant state of awe. He makes plays and throws at a constant rate that I had never thought were even possible. His ability to keep plays alive with his legs is something this league hasn’t seen in a long time. The accuracy that he presents as he throws the ball across his body is something I’ve never seen before.
I think the scariest thing about all of this is that Patrick Mahomes is just warming up. If you thought this was all you were going to get then you are in for one rude awakening. Mahomes’ dominance in the NFL has just begun and is going last for a long, long time.