NOTE: This list is not a ranking of overall talent, but a ranking of near term QB situations (if they can keep them) till the Draft. Players are ranked in 4 categories: “The Elite” , “The Franchise Guys”, “The Best of the Rest” and “The “Replaceables.”
1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
The most exciting QB since Favre, but without the recklessness? (maybe not). It really is saying something, when a guy can put up the numbers that Mahomes puts up, and some will debate he can be much better. He can be.
2. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
We have reached the point where 40 TD passes, and +100 QB ratings are the norm for the elite, and Russell Wilson continues to carry a playoff team severely lacking in talent outside the skill positions.
3. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
It really did look like he was on the way out of the top of this list, but an MVP season puts Rodgers right back in the mix among the very best QB’s/Players in the game.
4. Deshaun Watson (Texans)
The #4 QB on this list, wants out. Watson would make any of a dozen teams, instant Super Bowl contenders. His first “elite” level season, in a career that has seen a very steady climb. Arrow is all the way up.
THE FRANCHISE GUYS
5. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
A 2x MVP candidate since leaving Miami? Yep. Make of that what you will, but a strong run game + Ryan Tannehill has made for uber efficient/gaudy passing stats.
6. Josh Allen (Bills)
Figures to be a dominant figure in the NFL for a long time, after an suspicious start to his career. A Josh Allen “hot hand” is one of the most imposing/terrifying things in the sport. Tannehill has done “it” twice, Allen, once. If not, he would be the Top franchise guy on the list.
7. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
Lamar has had improvement since his rookie year, but he still needs a break through. Lamar Jackson has issues throwing outside the hashes. Simple as that. Whether it’s arm strength, timing, or route recognition, he has to work on it.
8. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
A year ago, he looked done. After winning his cold war with Belichick, Brady produced the second best year of his career in Tampa (great skill guys helped). If he was not 43, and soon to be out, he would be much higher on this list.
9. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
Kyler Murray is the most complete dual threat QB on this list. He is also in need of a further jump in 2021 to remain so high up in these rankings.
10. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
Dak Prescott was well on his way to a big season as a passer (after he had a big one in 2019) when he suffered a catastrophic ankle injury. No complications in his recovery so far, have him ready for 2021. Is a new contract on the way?
11. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
Another big Ram trade, where they empty out their magazine of 1st round picks, as they make a final push with this core for a Super Bowl title. Stafford is a major upgrade.
12. Justin Herbert (Chargers)
The reigning Rookie of the Year, had the strongest rookie season in the NFL since RG3’s 2012. Herbert blew away expectations in 2020, and a big jump is expected in 2021.
13. Baker Mayfield (Browns)
It’s been an up and down career, but as 2020 was mostly “up”, Baker holds onto his status as a Franchise guy.
14. Matt Ryan (Falcons)
Matt Ryan continues to produce productive seasons, although wins aren’t piling up. The Falcons could move to replace him soon, but if they do, somebody will get a very good short term fix at QB.
15. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
You can make a case for Tua to be in this spot seeing as their numbers are similar. While Tua won more, Burrow holds on as he made good on his #1 overall draft pick status by following it with a solid rookie campaign. Full recovery is expected from his knee surgery. Now, get him some protection.
16. Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
I don’t get what all the fuss was about. By every measure, Tua Tagovailoa had a solid rookie campaign. Ryan Fitzpatrick as relief pitcher vs. Denver/Las Vegas, hurt the optics, and created a narrative. Vast improvement is expected in 2021. Looking forward to it.
17. Jared Goff (Lions)
Is Goff where Ryan Tannehill was in 2018? Needing a change of scenery/system is the “Bull case” for Goff. The “Bear case” is that Goff has had plenty of opportunities with good skill guys, and his career has stagnated.
18. Drew Lock (Broncos)
I debated putting Lock in here, seeing as they sought to replace him in trade this offseason. Lock might hold on for a year and give it one last try to lock up this starting role. Drew Lock has moments of brilliance, with stretches of mediocre play. Ultimately, he is inconsistent, and on the way out?
THE BEST OF THE REST
19. Derek Carr (Raiders)
His numbers remain consistent, but Raiders interest in replacing him also remains consistent. Will be interesting to see where Carr eventually ends up, as he remains a top quality NFL starter.
20. Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
The Kirk Cousins experiment is nearing it’s end, but Cousins is a capable stop gap for many teams and is still capable of big passing numbers.
21. Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)
He came and went, and is now in a prove it or lose it stage in his career. No QB has more at stake in 2021 than Jimmy G.
22. Carson Wentz (Colts)
From MVP, and near elite status, to traded, and a future in doubt. In Indy, he gets with Frank Reich, a great offensive line, and good skill talent. Sound familiar?
23. Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)
A first ballot Hall of Famer on the way out. This is one QB that is not defying his age. Big Ben likely has one good run at it left.
24. Daniel Jones (Giants)
Hard to know where he stands, as team success as of late, came by other means. We are in a holding pattern on Jones going into year 3.
25. Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
An early splash, followed by a steady decline till his week 17 thud, leaves his future as installed starter in doubt. Wentz traded, but the Eagles are in the market for a new signal caller.
26. Sam Darnold (Jets)
Is Sam a bust? He hasn’t busted yet, but he sure hasn’t showed the promise to be a franchise guy. A rebirth in Pittsburgh makes a lot of sense for Darnold in the near future.
27. Cam Newton (Patriots)
It’s almost the end for the former MVP. His accuracy as a passer has gone to nill, and the injuries have mounted to rob him of some arm strength. He still remains one of the best ball carriers from the QB position and could become a valuable backup in the sunset of his career.
28. Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers)
Teddy could be the best backup in the game, and make a lucrative living at it, but his insistence on being a starter paid big dividends in 2020, and he could get looks as a starter going forward.
29. Mitch Trubisky (Bears)
Late season resurgence aside, the Bears have already looked to replace him (Nick Foles), and will look again. Change of scenery is coming.
30. Gardner Minshew (Jaguars)
It is not Minshew’s fault that he is dead last of the starters here. He had some untimely injuries, and some in season/in-game implosions that have shown what he likely is. An NFL QB, but not much else. The Jags come April will have a Franchise Guy and immediately improve their QB situation into the top 15.
31. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (Empty)
The word continues to be that Drew Brees will retire, which leaves this situation empty, or with Taysom Hill, which is either, not a good situation or a complete unknown one.
32. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (Empty)
Gone is 1st round pick Dwayne Haskins, and now Alex Smith is not likely to return. WFT is in the market for anybody. Ryan Fitzpatrick makes a ton of sense here, as a place holder for a 2021 draft pick.
Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.