Four summers ago, I got into an argument with a Facebook friend about Russell Wilson being a top-three NFL quarterback. That, plus Ron Jaworski's quarterback list got me thinking about making a power ranking for signal-callers. I figured it would be nice to have this as a yearly feature during the summer. So, here it is. If you disagree with anything on here, leave a comment below. Note that I'm grading the starters of each team only, so don't be confused if a talented backup is left off the list.
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32. Dwayne Haskins, Redskins. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Dwayne Haskins will probably be the starter early in 2019, but he won't have much help. The Redskins have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL, while the offensive line will probably be without Trent Williams. Haskins is very talented, but is raw and will need some time (and a better supporting cast) to develop.
31. Josh Rosen, Dolphins. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Regardless of the number of safe spaces there are in Miami, Josh Rosen will not succeed with his second NFL team. Rosen has some great tools (namely, his accuracy), but he doesn't love football. He prefers to party rather than put the maximum amount of work into his game, which is why he won't ever be a good starter in the NFL.
30. Eli Manning, Giants. 2018 Ranking: 28. 2017 Ranking: 20. 2016 Ranking: 9. 2015 Ranking: 13.
This may be the final time Eli Manning appears on this annual list. The Giants used the sixth-overall pick on Daniel Jones to eventually replace the decrepit Manning, who looked done in most games last year. Jones looked great in his preseason debut, so he could start soon.
29. Josh Allen, Bills. 2018 Ranking: 31. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Josh Allen made his fantasy owners lots of money last year because of his rushing stats. Allen will continue to be a threat on the ground, but his passing must improve for the Bills to make the playoffs. Allen has immense potential, but is very raw and will still need more time to develop.
28. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers. 2018 Ranking: 29. 2017 Ranking: 14. 2016 Ranking: 15. 2015 Ranking: 22.
Jameis Winston is a bozo. Whether it's on the field (throwing interceptions in the red zone) or off the field (groping Uber drivers), Winston always seems to do something stupid. Winston is down to his final chance, and there won't be any excuse for him failing. He'll be coached by Bruce Arians, who should be able to get the most out of him. Winston has improved in training camp, but we'll have to see if that translates to real action.
27. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears. 2018 Ranking: 26. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Mitchell Trubisky is extremely inconsistent. He has looked great one game, then regressed the following week. A big problem for him is constantly throwing off his back foot. Perhaps this is something that Matt Nagy can fix. Trubisky is young enough to make big improvements to his game, and I trust Nagy to get the most out of his young quarterback.
26. Andy Dalton, Bengals. 2018 Ranking: 22. 2017 Ranking: 22. 2016 Ranking: 22. 2015 Ranking: 23.
You're familiar with Andy Dalton's story by now. He's solid in the regular season, but simply cannot win in the playoffs because of his limitations. Dalton has failed to reach the playoffs these past three seasons, two of which were derailed by injuries to his supporting cast. Now, Dalton won't be getting help from Marvin Lewis, who was single-handedly keeping the Bengals afloat. The coaching change, coupled with the problems on the offensive line, means that Cincinnati is in for a long season.
25. Dak Prescott, Cowboys. 2018 Ranking: 21. 2017 Ranking: 12. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Dak Prescott had an amazing rookie campaign. but he was playing behind the best offensive line in the NFL, and he had the league's leading rusher in the backfield with him. Things fell apart for Prescott once his offensive line regressed. He struggled at times in 2018, though was aided by the Amari Cooper trade. Once Cooper begins to slack off, like he did in Oakland, Prescott will revert to his mediocre playing ability.
24. Derek Carr, Raiders. 2018 Ranking: 14. 2017 Ranking: 5. 2016 Ranking: 18. 2015 Ranking: 26.
Derek Carr is a talented quarterback, but his toughness has been called into question. He cried when he was hit hard in a game last year, and players and coaches believe that he just doesn't have what it takes to be a successful signal-caller in the pros.
23. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Lamar Jackson is an electric runner, but I fear as though he's in danger of repeating Vince Young's career. Young had a great start to his time in the NFL, getting voted into the Pro Bowl and leading his team into the playoffs. The Chargers exposed Young, who struggled mightily after that. Jackson was also beaten up by the Chargers, and like Young, it seems as though he'll struggle with the mental part of his game.
22. Kyler Murray, Cardinals. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
If Kyler Murray isn't too small to play quarterback, he'll be very successful at the position. He has a terrific skill set, both as a passer and a scrambler. He's smart, and he also loves football. He could have taken guaranteed money to play baseball, but he wanted to pursue his favorite sport. This makes him drastically different than Arizona's previous first-round quarterback, which makes me believe that he'll thrive in the NFL.
21. Marcus Mariota, Titans. 2018 Ranking: 17. 2017 Ranking: 13. 2016 Ranking: 14. 2015 Ranking: 18.
Availability is an underrated aspect of a player's profile, and Marcus Mariota is horrible in that regard. Mariota has yet to play an entire season in his career. He has performed well when healthy, even leading his team to the second round of the playoffs in 2017, but the Titans simply cannot count on him to remain healthy.
20. Joe Flacco, Broncos. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: 18. 2016 Ranking: 10. 2015 Ranking: 5.
I'm wondering why Joe Flacco was ranked fifth four years ago. I argued that he had a huge arm and often came up big in the clutch, but placing him so high was a dumb moment on my part. Flacco has gotten worse each season after that, though he rebounded a bit in 2018. Unfortunately for Flacco, he suffered an injury and ultimately lost his job to Lamar Jackson. Flacco should play well in Denver when healthy, but his ability to remain on the field isn't very promising.
19. Kirk Cousins, Vikings. 2018 Ranking: 15. 2017 Ranking: 16. 2016 Ranking: 19. 2015 Ranking: --.
"Kirk Cousins has struggled in some must-win games toward the end of the past few seasons." I wrote that last year, and lo and behold, Cousins choked away a must-win game in Week 17 versus the Bears, who had nothing to play for once the Rams established a big lead over San Francisco. Cousins has plenty of talent, but he's not all there mentally. I expect him to continue to struggle versus top-tier opponents and in important moments, and his pedestrian offensive line won't do him any favors.
18. Matthew Stafford, Lions. 2018 Ranking: 12. 2017 Ranking: 9. 2016 Ranking: 13. 2015 Ranking: 15.
Matthew Stafford has an amazing arm, and he has posted some terrific stats at times, but there just seems to be something missing with him. For whatever reason, the Lions always seem to fail to live up to expectations. Stafford has also been banged up frequently in recent years. Stafford is now in his 30s, so it's fair to wonder if this is a trend that will continue going forward.
17. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers. 2018 Ranking: 11. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Jimmy Garoppolo hadn't lost a start entering 2018, but he was 1-2 before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 3. Garoppolo is a very talented quarterback with tremendous leadership skills, so with an upgraded supporting cast, he should be able to succeed in 2019. I expect a playoff appearance from the 49ers, with Garoppolo being voted into the Pro Bowl.
16. Nick Foles, Jaguars. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: 20.
Nick Foles makes an appearance on this list for the first time since 2015. Foles struggled after he left Philadelphia the first time, but he was coached very poorly in St. Louis. Foles has improved under Andy Reid and Doug Pederson, so he received a deserved big contract from the Jaguars. I'd have concern about him leaving those two coaches, but he'll be reunited with John DeFilippo, who was his offensive coordinator when the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017. Foles should play well in Jacksonville, but his upside will be limited by a pedestrian receiving corps.
15. Sam Darnold, Jets. 2018 Ranking: 30. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Sam Darnold had his ups and downs in his rookie campaign, but showed great improvement toward the end of the season. Darnold battled Aaron Rodgers down to the wire in a high-scoring overtime battle in the penultimate game of the season. I expect Darnold to take a big step forward in his second year. He'll have a better coaching staff aiding him, and he'll have better talent around him to help him grow. In fact, I bought a 100/1 ticket on him to win MVP.
14. Jared Goff, Rams. 2018 Ranking: 19. 2017 Ranking: 30. 2016 Ranking: 29. 2015 Ranking: --.
I'm sure I'm lower on Jared Goff than most publications are or would be. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if some considered Goff to be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL at the moment. I think that belief is incorrect, however, despite what Goff has done over the past two seasons. Goff is very talented and works hard, but his football IQ is lacking. Sean McVay has masterfully masked this, but we saw what happens when McVay can't out-coach the competition; Bill Belichick confused Goff so much that Goff forgot the snap count on one occasion in the Super Bowl. It's also worth noting that Goff has been able to benefit from having the best offensive line in the NFL. His play could decline in the wake of the Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan departures.
13. Baker Mayfield, Browns. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Baker Mayfield had a stellar rookie campaign, throwing for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns despite not playing in the first two games of the season. Mayfield didn't have a great receiving corps at his disposal, but that has changed in the wake of the Odell Beckham trade. Mayfield should make a big leap forward in 2019, though I wonder if expectations will be too high for him and the rest of his team.
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers. 2018 Ranking: 9. 2017 Ranking: 10. 2016 Ranking: 4. 2015 Ranking: 4.
Ben Roethlisberger turned 37 this offseason, so he's due for some regression in the near future. It could happen this year, especially with Antonio Brown gone. However, Roethlisberger is protected by one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, and he still has JuJu Smith-Schuster at his disposal. I expect Roethlisberger to perform on a high level for two more years before falling off at the age of 39.
11. DeShaun Watson, Texans. 2018 Ranking: 10. 2017 Ranking: 24. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Deshaun Watson is a major injury risk because of the state of his horrendous offensive line. While he's healthy, however, he'll be one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Watson has tremendous skills as both a passer and a runner, and he's also a tremendous leader. The one flaw in his game is red-zone efficiency, but some of that blame must go to Bill O'Brien, who is one of the worst coaches in the NFL. It's amazing to think that Watson has been so successful in his young career thus far despite O'Brien's poor coaching.
10. Cam Newton, Panthers. 2018 Ranking: 8. 2017 Ranking: 8. 2016 Ranking: 5. 2015 Ranking: 11.
Thanks to the tutelage of Norv Turner, Cam Newton was able to complete a career-best 67.9 percent of his passes in 2018. He threw 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, which was tied for the second-best ratio of his career. Newton had the Panthers at 6-2, but an injured shoulder prompted the Panthers to end the season poorly. Newton, however, is 100 percent right now, and if he remains that way, he'll have his team in contention for the Super Bowl this year.
9. Matt Ryan, Falcons. 2018 Ranking: 7. 2017 Ranking: 4. 2016 Ranking: 16. 2015 Ranking: 10.
Thanks to the addition of All-Pro center Alex Mack heading into 2016, Matt Ryan threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions that year, winning MVP in the process. Ryan has regressed a bit these past two seasons, thanks mostly to Steve Sarkisian, formerly the worst offensive coordinator in the NFL. The Falcons finally fired Sarkisian, so I expect Ryan and the Falcons to have a rebound 2019 campaign.
8. Andrew Luck, Colts. 2018 Ranking: 13. 2017 Ranking: 11. 2016 Ranking: 3. 2015 Ranking: 2.
Andrew Luck hadn't thrown a regular-sized football in more than a year. He finally returned for the 2018 opener and progressively improved each week. Luck was sharp by the end of the year, ultimately leading his team to the divisional round of the playoffs. With another offseason to improve his shoulder, Luck should be able to perform even better in 2019, especially considering how good his offensive line is.
7. Philip Rivers, Chargers. 2018 Ranking: 6. 2017 Ranking: 7. 2016 Ranking: 7. 2015 Ranking: 7.
Philip Rivers has eclipsed 4,200 passing yards in each of the previous six years. Even more remarkably, he hasn't missed a start in his career ever since taking over for Drew Brees in 2006. The bad news is that Rivers turns 38 in December, so a decline will come soon. Another problem is the offensive line, especially if left tackle Russell Okung misses time due to a heart condition.
6. Drew Brees, Saints. 2018 Ranking: 4. 2017 Ranking: 6. 2016 Ranking: 8. 2015 Ranking: 12.
Drew Brees turned 40 this offseason, so even though he has stated that he wants to play until he's 45, regression will arrive at some point in the near future. Aside from age, the greatest issue Brees will have to deal with in 2019 is the retirement of his center, Max Unger. Unless second-round rookie Erik McCoy can be a viable replacement right away, it could be difficult for Brees to replicate what he accomplished last year.
5. Carson Wentz, Eagles. 2018 Ranking: 3. 2017 Ranking: 15. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Anyone who disagrees with his ranking may have a short memory. It might be easy to forget how dominant Wentz was prior to suffering a torn ACL in December 2017. Wentz threw 33 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. He also did some masterful things with his legs. Wentz's best attribute was his mind. In tough matchups, he would begin slowly, but he would always figure out a defense somewhere between the middle of the second and third quarters. Invoking Peyton Manning, he would dissect each stop unit masterfully, and yet he did this in just his second year. This was not a surprise, as Wentz works extremely hard and watches countless hours of film.
Wentz did not perform as well in 2018, but only because of knee and back injuries. He's healthy now, so I expect him to lead the Eagles deep into the playoffs, as you can see in my NFL Season Previews
4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks. 2018 Ranking: 5. 2017 Ranking: 3. 2016 Ranking: 2. 2015 Ranking: 3.
Russell Wilson is a wizard on the football field. What he does in terms of maneuvering around the pocket, and either finding open lanes to pass through or picking up yardage on the ground is just amazing. Wilson is also a winner; if the Seahawks are behind entering the fourth quarter, they can easily generate a comeback victory via Wilson's play-making. Wilson, unfortunately, is shielded by one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, and this could get him hurt in the near future. Wilson has never missed a game, but he's certainly at major risk for an injury.
I wrote this two years ago, and it still applies despite the trade of Duane Brown. While Brown was an upgrade at left tackle, he's been mediocre for Seattle. Still, despite the awful blocking, Wilson threw for 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 2018. If it wasn't for him, the Seahawks wouldn't win two games.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers. 2018 Ranking: 2. 2017 Ranking: 1. 2016 Ranking: 1. 2015 Ranking: 1.
If it weren't for his health problems, Aaron Rodgers would be atop this list. Rodgers, unfortunately, tends to get injured every year. Even when he doesn't miss games, he's banged up for several weeks with some sort of malady. We saw this in 2018 when he tore up his knee in the opener and then wasn't quite himself the rest of the year. It's a shame, as Rodgers' great years of his career are being wasted. Hopefully he'll have better luck with injuries for the next several seasons, which will give the Packers a great chance to win another Super Bowl.
2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs. 2018 Ranking: 16. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
It's crazy to recall that there was debate last year about whether or not Patrick Mahomes should have been ahead of Alex Smith, which is what I had in my 2018 quarterback rankings. Mahomes made that decision look good, though I still wasn't nearly as high on him as I should have been. Mahomes won the MVP award for the 2018 campaign and was just a coin flip away from battling the Rams in the Super Bowl. Oh, and he just completed his first year as a starter! The sky is the limit for Mahomes, and he'll reach the stars with Andy Reid's excellent coaching aiding him.
1. Tom Brady, Patriots. 2018 Ranking: 1. 2017 Ranking: 2. 2016 Ranking: 6. 2015 Ranking: 8.
Tom Brady turned 42 recently, but he deserves to be ranked atop this list. Brady's workout and dietary regimen is intense and unparalleled, so his proclamation that he'll play into his mid-40s is realistic. But don't take my word for it; the Patriots themselves gave Brady a 2-year, $70 million contract this offseason, which is unprecedented for a player his age. Brady lost his terrific left tackle this offseason, but only a fool would argue that New England couldn't compete for another Super Bowl this year.
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