The featured list ranks all 32 teams starting quarterbacks according to the following…
- Arm strength
- Decision-making skills
- Pocket Awareness
- Play Under Pressure (4th quarter, game-winning drives, etc.)
Super Bowl/Playoff wins are considered but do not define my overall opinion of a quarterbacks ranking. Please keep in mind this is strictly an opinion piece and I look forward to the discussion it generates.
- AJ McCarron (Buffalo Bills)
- Patrick Mahomes II (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Teddy Bridgewater (New York Jets)
- Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)
- Sam Bradford (Arizona Cardinals)
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
- All Rookies
28. Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago Bears)
2017 Stats: 7 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 2,193 Yards, QB Rating: 77.5 (12 Games)
2016 Ranking: N/A
It’s not uncommon that a rookie quarterback ends up near the bottom of this list. Most young quarterbacks experience growing pains in their first season and that’s exactly what Trubisky had. Numerous injuries throughout the Chicago roster didn’t help his development in his first season, but the only way he can continue to grow at this point is to take as many reps as possible. Added weaponry and a healthy offensive line should help his cause greatly in season #2.
27. Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars)
2017 Stats: 21 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 3,687 Yards, 84.7 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 27th
Do not be deceived by the low number of interceptions statistic. Having one of the best running games in the NFL helped out Blake Bortles tremendously in 2017. More one on one matchups for receivers, an option-read offense, and top five defense made it much easier for Bortles to take care of the ball and score points in 2017. The Jaguars adapted to what fits his game best and it worked well. He still made some head-scratching decisions and his accuracy is far from great. Two playoff wins do look terrific on his resume’ though.
26. Eli Manning (New York Giants)
2017 Stats: 19 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 3,468 Yards, 80.4 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: 11th
Injuries to Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and his offensive line didn’t help Eli Manning’s cause, but 2017 arguably the worst season of his career. His decision-making is still poor and production has seemed to fall off the deep end. You have to wonder how many years the two-time Super Bowl champion has left and if bringing him back for another season was truly the best move for the Giants.
25. Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis Colts)
2017 Stats: 13 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 3,098 Yards, 81.7 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: N/A
Jacoby Brissett is already a way better quarterback than I presumed I ever thought he’d be in the NFL. He played well considering the circumstances he was forced into. Andrew Luck was unable to play in 2017 so the Colts traded for Brissett and he stepped in as the starter and handled it like a pro. Despite having to learn a new system and the minimal amount of time he was given to prepare with new teammates, Brissett actually played well. He has the potential to have a much better 2018 season after a full offseason to learn the system and work with his teammates.
24. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)
2017 Stats: 18 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 3,141 Yards, 80.4 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 18th
My, what a hit Joe Flacco’s production has taken over the years. It’s hard for me to place him this low on the list because I personally love Joe Flacco and I think he plays his best ball when it matters the most for his team. Flacco is another quarterback whose numbers likely took a dip in 2017 because of the injuries that his offensive line had taken (Marshal Yanda, Alex Lewis, etc.) Flacco isn’t mobile enough to escape the pocket and buy himself some extra time to extend plays, so in 2017 he was forced to play a short/quick throw passing game which isn’t the strength of his game. Flacco is at his best when his offensive line can buy him time to sling it down the field and allow him to test his arm strength. I look forward to #5 moving back up this list in my 2019 rankings.
23. Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans)
2017 Stats: 13 Touchdowns, 15 Interceptions, 3,232 Yards, 79.3 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: 14th
The expectations were high for Marcus Mariota entering the 2017 season and in my opinion, Mike Mularkey tarnished Mariota’s development. Mariota was projected by most to take a large jump forward in 2017 and instead took a huge step back, finishing the season with more interceptions than touchdowns. Some blame the system, some blame the injuries, and some blame Mularkey. I for one think all should take a part in the blame, but the fact of the matter is…Marcus Mariota has the potential to be a much better quarterback than #23 on a rankings list. Hopefully, a new system, offensive mastermind, and healthy 2018 season can help him take another step forward.
22. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
2017 Stats: 19 Touchdowns, 11 Interceptions, 3,504 Yards, 92.2 QB Rating (13 Games)
2016 Ranking: 20th
Jameis Winston improved in 2017, but he still didn’t meet my expectations of the QB I thought he’d become after being selected as the #1 overall pick back in the 2015 NFL Draft. His accuracy is still sporadic and his decision making will still make you shake your head at times. He’s fairly lucky that 11 interceptions are ALL that he threw last season. Granted his offensive line isn’t the best…but he still needs to quit forcing throws into tight windows.
21. Josh McCown (New York Jets)
2017 Stats: 18 Touchdowns, 9 Interceptions, 2,926 Yards, 94.5 QB Rating
2016 Ranking: 32nd
15 years in the NFL and Josh McCown had arguably the best season of his career for the Jets in 2017. The Jets did a great job of adjusting their offensive system to fit McCown’s strengths and it proved to be worthwhile. McCown is a career backup that turned out to have a great season as a starter last season. He’ll likely be “the guy” for one more season before the Jets turn over the driver’s seat to a rookie quarterback such as Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or Josh Allen in 2019. McCown turns 39 in July…
20. Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)
2017 Stats: 25 Touchdowns, 12 Interceptions, 3,320 Yards, 86.6 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 24th
Andy Dalton is a tough guy to figure out. At times he looks like a Pro Bowler that can make every throw in the book…other times he looks like a career backup that shouldn’t see the field and makes fans gouge their eyes out. Dalton has good arm strength, his accuracy is average, and his decision making is also questionable. What hurts his ranking severely is his inability to make good decisions and play well when he’s under pressure. The addition of Cordy Glenn to protect his blindside should help him immensely in 2018. In 2014 & 2015 Dalton was sacked a combined amount of 41 times in two seasons.
…in 2016 & 2017, Dalton was sacked a combined amount of 80 times. Ouch.
19. Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland Browns)
2017 Stats: 14 Touchdowns, 4 Interceptions, 2,799 Yards, 89.2 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: 19th
Tyrod Taylor is the new starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. I’m excited to see Taylor receive a new change of scenery…but at the same time, I’m terrified for him. Cleveland is where quarterbacks go to die. Can Taylor end the horrific streak of 15+ different QBs starting for Cleveland since the new century mark back in 2000? He won’t wow you with his arm strength or accuracy, but he’s a terrific dual-threat quarterback that takes care of the ball and makes plays consistently. The loss of Joe Thomas hurts but the weaponry of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman that has been produced around him puts him in a position in which he likely should not fail. The upcoming season will be extremely fun to watch.
18. Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)
2017 Stats: 22 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 3,496 Yards, 86.4 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: 10th
There’s no doubt that the back injury that Derek Carr suffered last season affected his play. I’m probably being gracious putting him at #18 after placing him border-line top 10 in last offseasons rankings, but I believe in Carr. Because of the injury, he suffered I believe Carr was hesitant to let it rip at times. He’s at his best when he has time to air it out down the field in a vertical passing game and because of the injury he sustained I don’t think he had the ability to do that. With a full offseason of healing and opportunity to learn a new system that fits his game, Carr should regain some of that MVP type play that we saw from him in 2016.
17. Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
2017 Stats: 22 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 3,324 Yards, 86.6 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 16th
I’ve officially placed a protection order on myself because I believe Cowboys fans are going to be upset with me for placing Prescott this low on the list. Get over it, guys. I think we saw Prescott’s true colors in 2017. Is he a bad quarterback? No. But his offensive line took a step back this year with the loss of Ron Leary and injury to Tyron Smith. Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension didn’t necessarily help the matter either. Prescott is a good quarterback who needs the correct pieces to be placed around him in order to be successful or “elite” if you will. Most quarterbacks production would suffer when they lose guys like Tyron Smith and Zeke Elliott, but in my opinion, Prescott is a middle of the pack quarterback with the opportunity to become border-line top 10 when he has the assistance.
16. Case Keenum (Denver Broncos)
2017 Stats: 22 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 3,547 Yards, 98.3 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: N/A
The “One-Year Magical Wonder” has made his way to Denver after a rememberable season in Minnesota. His arm strength is far from spectacular but everything else was pin-point terrific in 2017. He was accurate, he made good decisions, and his ability to elude pressure, keep plays alive, and make throws on the run was arguably the best in the league. There’s no doubt about it that Keenum was a top 10 quarterback in 2017, but it’s impossible to place him higher on this list with the inconsistency he’s had throughout his career. Another highly productive season in Denver will bump him up this list immensely in next offseason’s rankings.
15. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)
2017 Stats: 19 Touchdowns, 8 Interceptions, 1,699 Yards, 103.0 QB Rating (7 Games)
2016 Ranking: N/A
I’m probably a little crazy for ranking Watson this high after just 7 games, but his potential is through the roof and what he showed us in those 7 games with that offensive line last season is somewhat scary if you’re an opposing NFL team. Unfortunately, Watson tore his ACL halfway through the season and he’ll have to learn to be careful as a dual-threat quarterback going forward, but he made it clear that he is definitely the Texans’ quarterback of the future. Having the “IT” factor is something that you cannot measure. It is merely an opinion that you get when watching a QB in critical moments and what Watson was able to do in his rookie season looks promising for the future. Adding weaponry to go along with DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller will only benefit him more.
14. Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers)
2017 Stats: 7 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, 1,560 Yards, 96.2 QB Rating (6 Games)
2016 Ranking: N/A
Jimmy Garoppolo is another quarterback (like Watson) on this list who should probably be ranked higher due to his potential…but I can’t pull myself to do it after just 6 games with his new team. His numbers in 6 games were nothing terrific last year, but when you look at what he was able to do against defenses like the Jaguars, Bears, and Rams turned out to be very promising. Kyle Shanahan is a terrific offensive mind and matching him with a former Belichick quarterback should scare opposing teams going forward. The 49ers seem to have found their franchise QB and there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a #NinerFaithful.
13. Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers)
2017 Stats: 28 Touchdowns, 10 Interceptions, 4,515 Yards, 96.0 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 6th
Man, I love Philip Rivers. The old man is still getting it done at 36 years young. His decision was remarkably better in 2017 and he’s showed numerous times that he still has the solid arm strength to go along with that awkward throwing motion. His decision-making was better, his accuracy is still good, and his ability to lead his team down the field in the final moments of a quarter/half/game hasn’t faltered. He looks good and he looks like he could play into his 40s. I’ll be crossing my fingers hoping that he does. At this point in time, it looks like he could be the guy that ends up playing the longest from the incredible QB class of 2004.
12. Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)
2017 Stats: 27 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 4,093 Yards, 93.9 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 21st
Kirk Cousins isn’t a top 10 quarterback (yet) but he has a terrific arm and he’s consistently accurate when given time. Does he make some bad decisions at times? Yes. But that’s the “gunslinger” mentality. Let it rip. Kirk Cousins has put up very valuable numbers since stepping in as the starter in Washington a few years ago. He has now traveled to Minnesota as the highest paid player in NFL history, with weapons like Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph waiting for him in the Twin Cities. Cousins is entering the prime of his career and he’s starting it fresh in purple.
11. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
2017 Stats: 20 Touchdowns, 12 Interceptions, 4,095 Yards, 91.4 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 3rd
The highest paid player in NFL history comes in at #11. It was tough for me to put Ryan over Cousins at #11, but here’s the difference: They’re pretty much the same player in terms of accuracy and arm strength, but Matt Ryan is a slightly better decision-maker and his ability to lead a team down the field with minimal time on the clock, separates himself. Matt Ryan is currently the better quarterback, but one of the two quarterbacks here is in his prime…and the other is just entering his.
10. Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams)
2017 Stats: 28 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 3,804 Yards, 100.5 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 29th
Boy, did Jared Goff prove me wrong in 2017. The Rams are a prime example of what a coaching switch can make to a football team. Sean McVay devised an offense that fit Jared Goff’s strengths and his play built off of itself. A little confidence adjustment can flow like a domino effect when you complete a couple of throws and touchdown passes. He didn’t show many weaknesses in his game but the weaknesses he did show are ones that can be fixed with reps. The Rams made the playoffs for the first time since 2004, in 2017 and Jared Goff was arguably the biggest reason why. This feels like just the beginning of a legacy.
9. Alex Smith (Washington Redskins)
2017 Stats: 26 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, 4,042 Yards, 104.7 QB Rating (15 Games)
2016 Ranking: 22nd
A lot of people won’t agree with this placement of Alex Smith, and that’s fine. I’ve been a big fan of Alex Smith for a long time and I believe he’s worthy of a top 10 QB selection. It’s not Smith’s fault his team has broken down in the playoffs multiple times in the past few seasons. It’s the defense. He’s posting consistent QB rating’s season after season, including his highest (104.7) in 2017. What do the Chiefs do? Trade him. Can’t say I blame them a whole lot. They gave up a lot to go and get Patrick Mahomes II and it’s a waste of time to let him sit on the bench, so why not get something for Smith? I for one believe the Washington Redskins, UPGRADED at quarterback this offseason with Alex Smith and I hope the fans appreciate him in DC.
8. Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
2017 Stats: 29 Touchdowns, 10 Interceptions, 4,446 Yards, 99.3 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 12th
Matthew Stafford is a top 10 quarterback and no one is going to tell me he isn’t. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a single playoff win to his name, yes…but he’s coming off arguably the best season of his career, (without Calvin Johnson might I add) he has one of the strongest arms in all of football, he was very accurate, and he’s arguably the best quarterback in the league once the 4th quarter hits the board. He single-handedly put the Lions in playoff position last season and he was most definitely deserving of a few MVP votes. The Lions are probably a top 5 pick team without him at the helm.
7. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)
2017 Stats: 22 Touchdowns, 16 Interceptions, 3,302 Yards, 80.7 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 7th
This is one ranking I am bound to receive backlash for. Was Cam Newton’s 2017 season fairly poor? Yeah. I don’t believe that defines him as a player, though. He’s the ultimate dual-threat weapon at quarterback. I defend Cam to this day because I feel that he has yet to be surrounded with the weapons that he deserves. His WR1 was traded away to Buffalo and his Tight End/half of his receiving corps didn’t play in 2017 due to injury. Who was Cam’s number one target? Running Back Christian McCaffrey? He’s still an elite physical specimen with incredible arm strength that can make every throw in the book and play well in crucial moments. His decision making obviously needs to be better but when you’re throwing to guys like Damiere Byrd, Russell Shepard, and Devin Funchess you’re probably going to have to force some throws in order to move the ball. When you have to do that, your turnover number is likely to go up…
6. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)
2017 Stats: 28 Touchdowns, 14 Interceptions, 4,251 Yards, 93.4 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 8th
For the first time in a long time, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t in my top 5. I still feel as though #6 is still a respectable ranking. I believe the light is glowing at the end of the tunnel for Big Ben after witnessing a few poor outings this past season. But he responded like a pro’s pro and still finished with an above-average season for the Steelers. With all the weapons that have been placed around him, it’s tough to fail but you have to wonder how he would play without them? Elite quarterbacks elevate the game of players around him. At one point in time, Big Ben could do that…and maybe he still can, but in my opinion, he’s just not the player he once was. He still has a terrific arm, but he’s slipped in other areas of his game.
…don’t get too insecure about this ranking. It may sound like I’m bashing him, but he’s still one of the leagues greatest vets at the quarterback position.
5. Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles)
2017 Stats: 33 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 3,296 Yards, 101.9 QB Rating (13 Games)
2016 Ranking: 26th
Had Carson Wentz, not blew out his knee late in the season against the Rams, he would’ve likely been crowned the 2017 League MVP. Carson Wentz took a leap of faith from his rookie season and looked like he’d been playing in this league for 10 seasons already. To be honest, I’m having a hard time finding any weaknesses in his game. He has all the tools that you look for in an elite franchise quarterback. He has an exceptional arm, his pocket awareness gets an A+, and he’s a legitimate threat to lead his team down the field and put up 7 points on each and every drive. I’ve already mentioned this with Jared Goff, but let me say it again. The 2016 draft class of Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Dak Prescott is replacing the elite 2004 draft class of Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers very nicely.
4. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
2017 Stats: 23 Touchdowns, 8 Interceptions, 4,334 Yards, 103.9 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 4th
Why were Drew Brees’ numbers down in 2017 you ask? Because for the first time in his career he had a top 5 rushing attack and arguably the best offensive line in all of football. Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Michael Thomas helped take a load off of Brees’ shoulders last season and that allowed him to have more time to scan defenses which led to a career-high (an NFL record) completion percentage in 2017 (72%). I don’t believe that Brees can throw the deep ball like he used to be able to, but his ability to pick defenses apart in the short and intermediate parts of the field are still on an elite level. Honestly…you’d be foolish not to place him in your top 5 quarterbacks list at 39 years of age.
3. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
2017 Stats: 34 Touchdowns, 11 Interceptions, 3,983 Yards, 95.4 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 9th
I don’t know where to start. What Russell Wilson was able to accomplish in 2017 with arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL blocking for him and no running game was absolutely incredible. You’re looking at the definition of an MVP. Russell Wilson accounted for 98% of the Seahawks’ offensive yards in 2017….98%! Once you let Wilson escape the pocket your defense is pretty much toast, his ability to throw on the run and pick up yardage with his own feet is something that not many quarterbacks in the NFL can do consistently or at the same level as Wilson. I firmly believe he doesn’t really have a weakness. Without Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks are currently picking in the top 5 and getting ready to find their next QB of the future. Russ is easily a top 5 QB in my book. A true leader.
2. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
2017 Stats: 32 Touchdowns, 8 Interceptions, 4,577 Yards, 102.8 QB Rating (16 Games)
2016 Ranking: 2nd
If you place Tom Brady as your #1 QB in the league, I’m fine with that, I will not argue with you…but it’s still just an opinion. Brady hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as he’s eclipsed into his 40’s. At 40 years young, Brady has been named league MVP yet again. Brady’s poise in the pocket is unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed and there isn’t a quarterback in the history of the game that I would take in one final drive to win a game. Elite quarterbacks elevate the play of the players around them and even after losing his top receiver in Julian Edelman he still found a way to lead the league’s top offense to another Super Bowl. Brady is incredible and arguably the “G.O.A.T.”, but I can’t push myself to place him above the #1 guy on my list at this point in time in their respective careers.
1. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
2017 Stats: 16 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions, 1,675 Yards, 97.2 QB Rating (7 Games)
2016 Ranking: 1st
Another broken collarbone shortened up the season once again for Aaron Rodgers. In his absence, many realized that the Green Bay Packers are in fact the Cleveland Browns. I can’t begin to explain how valuable Aaron Rodgers is to the Packers organization and since I’m stating that Rodgers is indeed #1 over Tom Brady, I suppose you better hear my side of the argument.
Tom Brady has more Super Bowl’s than any other quarterback in the history of football…yes. He elevates the play of the guys around him, like an elite quarterback, should…yes. But here are the rankings of Tom Brady’s defenses in the Super Bowl’s he’s won: 24th, 7th, 9th, 13th, and 8th. Is 24th good? No. Again, I’m not denying Brady’s greatness, but Aaron Rodgers has consistently been dealt a crappy hand season after season. His offensive line has been fairly good but he’s never had a top running game and the one time he did have a good defense (2011), he ended up winning a ring. His defense ranked 5th that year. What about his receivers you ask? I’m a firm believer that any “good” receiver that’s ever set foot in Green Bay has been labeled as “good” because of Rodgers’ greatness. There’s not a quarterback in the league that’s a better overall finished product of talent than Aaron Rodgers. He has the strongest arm in the league, his accuracy is scary good, his pocket presence and poise frustrate the hell out of defensive lines, and he continues to keep his turnover numbers low season after season. 2017 was a disappointment, yes. Though, no one knows what could have been had Rodgers stayed healthy for the entire season. Doug Farrar has said it best. “No quarterback in recent history has done more with less, than (Aaron) Rodgers.”
All-Pro Nation welcomes any and all discussion. Who are your top 10 quarterbacks?