It must be that part of the offseason when analysts come up with Top 40 lists where a hot take is built in to generally piss off an entire fan base, or better yet, very dumb lists that inexplicably go viral.
So I’ll come up with my own.
This is a top 40 list of NFL Quarterbacks, but I am doing it a bit differently. I’m classifying them in several (weighted) groups: The Elite, The Franchise Guys, The best of the rest, and Just Guys.
NOTE: If a guy projects for a longer career with his current team, he is classified as a “Franchise Guy”, and therefore, is going to have a natural edge over established 1-2 year band aids. (Ranks higher)
1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
The Defending champ. Huge numbers, immense physical talent, he has it all. Now, he has a ring, and more could be coming.
2. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
Accurate, exciting, and a ring holder. Russ needs a concerted effort to build a juggernaut skill group (that’s happening) to challenge Pat Mahomes for NFL supremacy.
3. Drew Brees (Saints)
This old dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve. it was heard in 2019 that Brees is “finally showing signs of slowing down.” Those signs? nearly 3,000 yards in 11 games with 27 TD’s against 4 INT’s, with a 116.3 Qb rating. Yep. Slowing down.
4. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
His third consecutive sub 10 QB rating and the lowest rating of the last 5 years, has Rodgers dropping from the top of “the elite” to merely just “elite”. Big year coming for the aging “G.O.A.T” candidate.
THE FRANCHISE GUYS
5. Deshaun Watson (Texans)
The lack of playoff success gave Watson a knock, but that’s over now as he won his first playoff game in 2019, in comeback fashion. He followed that up with a great effort int he divisional round versus #1 on this list. Arrow up, although his coach might slow some of that growth. Big pay day on the horizon.
6. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
Polarizing to say the least. What is not polarizing is his accomplishments. A league MVP, and record setter already in just 2 years. Needs improvement throwing outside the hashes, as it’s now TWO teams that have successfully game planned for him in the playoffs.
7. Carson Wentz (Eagles)
Had a brief MVP run already, stopped by injury. Availability is a big thing for a franchise guy, so Wentz has plenty to prove in 2020. Nothing wrong with him when he actually does play. Eagles have not afforded him a ton of talent to build on, however. Another top QB with a lot to prove.
8. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
Reigning rookie of the year. Cardinals stockpiling talent too. Great candidate for a HUGE leap forward in 2020.
9. Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)
Super Bowl participant as a 3 year starter. He also has a 21-5 record as a starter. This guy wins. He is also a steady if not spectacular passer. Showed some promise as a prolific passer in 2019 as he hugged 4,000 yards. Won a couple of shootouts vs. Murray (#8) and Brees (#3).
10. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
Did you know that Dak nearly threw for an efficient 5,000 yards in 2019? Probably not, seeing how some talk about him. He has to agree to a contract soon so he can build upon his big 2019 (did lose a big one vs. Wentz (#7)). Dak has some more firepower this coming year as well (CeeDee Lamb).
11. Jared Goff (Rams)
The big numbers for Goff came to a halt in 2019, as some roster mismanagement is starting to seep in for one of the NFC’s biggest winners in recent memory.
12. Matt Ryan (Falcons)
This might be the quietest hall of fame career we have ever seen at QB. Age is becoming a factor and you can see the finish line from here.
13. Josh Allen (Bills)
Josh has critics. The accuracy issues. The occasional brain dead moment. But we can allow for further growth as his team improves around him.
14. Matthew Stafford (Lions)
Was headed for a career year when last seen (injured). 2020 is an all important year for many QB’s, and I am not sure there is any more important than Stafford’s.
15. Baker Mayfield (Browns)
Former rookie of the year (2018), and total disaster in 2019. Big bounce back year upcoming as some issues along the Offensive line have been addressed.
16. Sam Darnold (Jets)
Darnold has it all, save for the occasional break down. Has consistent;ly improved throughout his first 2 years, and a big jump could be on it’s way.
17. Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
The best QB prospect this writer has seen since Andrew Luck (Kyler murray is close), and had it not been for his Hip injury, could have been the 1st overall pick in the 2020 Draft.
17A. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
The 1st overall pick, tied with Tua Tagovailoa, even though, this writer believes Tua to be the superior prospect.
18. Drew Lock (Broncos)
4-1 to finish 2019 and had his moments throwing it late in games. Broncos might have hit big on the polarizing 2018 prospect.
18A. Daniel Jones (Giants)
Some moments in 2019, and an improved offensive line in 2020 could lead to a strong upward trajectory.
THE BEST OF THE REST
19. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
Evans, Gronk, Godwin, Howard. Brady moved on to greener pastures as the Patriots cupboard was bare. Big year for the 43 year old in 2020?
20. Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
Talk about polarizing. Kirk has been talked about as anything from “near elite” to complete festering trash. The facts are clear however, Kirk Cousins produces, big.
21. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
Escaped Miami, had a career year (elite numbers) that led the Titans to the AFC title game. If he does it again, maybe Miami had the right guy all along and were just unlucky as they screwed him up.
22. Cam Newton (Free Agent)
Does not have a team, and was fading badly when he went away with injury. Cam swears he is healthy for 2020, and is the first to watch if any top starter goes down this season.
23. Philip Rivers (Colts)
25 million for 1 year to play behind one of the best OL’s in football, and a decent set of skill players. Rivers has no excuses to not be effective in 2020. Top performer, on the way out.
24. Gardner Minshew (Jaguars)
Minshew-mania was real? We will find out as he has every opportunity to earn this job and possibly move up a category into “the franchise guys.”
25. Derek Carr (Raiders)
His numbers have always been strong, but the results weak. There always seems to be something missing with Carr, and all the Brady noise, and the eventual Mariota signing confirms that Gruden is starting to think the same thing.
26. Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)
Age, weakness in surrounding talent, and a return from a serious injury (elbow) casts doubt on Big Ben’s 2020.
27. Nick Foles (Bears)
In town to rescue a team stacked with talent that feels as if their QB has held them back. The former Super Bowl champ has yet to prove he can stick on a team outside of Philly.
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins)
Fitz-Magic rides again, this time as a mentor to 5th overall pick Tua Tagovailoa. If this is a legitimate competition, Fitzy could transition to a top backup in short order.
29. Andy Dalton (Cowboys)
Speaking of top back ups…This could be Andy Dalton’s future. Not a bad gig.
30. Mitch Trubisky (Bears)
“Bust” has been said. Trubisky has had moments for a young QB, but the arrow is pointing down, and that’s always a bad sign for a 3rd year guy.
31. Matt Moore (Chiefs)
Matt Moore and Ryan Fitzpatrick are the same guy. Both capable of magic, and disaster. You could do a lot worse than Matt Moore for a 2 game stretch where your MVP goes down.
32. Jarrett Stidham (Patriots)
Who knows? truth be told, this ranking is so high just because it seems as if Belichick is vouching for him. Was an unspectacular prospect in college that consistently faded since his first start at Auburn.
33. Jacoby Brissett (Colts)
The Colts finally see Brissett for what he is. Just a guy. Could have a very long career as a top backup.
34. Marcus Mariota (Raiders)
Does Mariota have a second act in his career? Got unseated by Tannehill, now seeks to unseat Carr.
35. Dwayne Haskins (Redskins)
Top draft pick, so why isn’t he a “franchise guy”? Well, becasue he was pretty damn bad and it’s hard to see the improvement as the talent around him has improved only slightly.
36. Jameis Winston (Saints)
Massive counting numbers, massive INT totals. He is with the right guy in Sean Payton, and has a real shot to be the heir apparent as Brees is in the twilight of his career.
37. Case Keenum (Browns)
Career “maybe” guy. Maybe he can put together another stretch like he did in Minnesota. Maybe, they gave up on him too quick in Denver. Maybe he’s just a journeyman backup at this point.
38. Brian Hoyer (Patriots)
Smart, top performer in relief, his whole career. Belongs in that Fitzy, Matt Moore category. You want this guy around if your top QB goes down. All three are very good QB room influences.
39. Kyle Allen (Redskins)
For a while there it looked as if the Panthers might have found their QB of the future. Then reality set in. He is young enough to have another shot at a starters job.
40. Josh Rosen (Dolphins)
Is it over? Could be. Drafted to be the future. Dumped in favor of a top prospect in Kyler Murray (#8). Traded to Miami with a shot to restart his career, and Miami has moved on in short order after taking Tua Tagovailoa (#17) in the 2020 NFL Draft
Missed the cut: Joe Flacco (Jets), Tyrod Taylor (Chargers), Mason Rudolph (Steelers), Brandon Allen (Broncos)
Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.