Numerous 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. Jordan Love, Packers. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
With Aaron Rodgers vowing never to play for the Packers again, Jordan Love has been handling all of the snaps in OTAs this summer. Love has reportedly looked good, but OTAs are a dog-and-pony show, where puff pieces are written about everyone all the time. I have severe doubts about Love, but the upside certainly exists.
31. Jalen Hurts, Eagles. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Jalen Hurts dazzled with his rushing ability last year, but he'll need to be a competent thrower to succeed in the NFL. We saw no evidence of that last year. Hurts didn't complete better than 56.7 percent of his passes in any game in which he threw more than one pass. He was ultimately benched in the finale against the Redskins because he was 7-of-20 for 72 yards and an interception. Hurts is a hard worker, so I won't dismiss his ability to become a solid starter, but I'm not particularly bullish on his outlook.
30. Sam Darnold, Panthers. 2020 Ranking: 27. 2019 Ranking: 15. 2018 Ranking: 30. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Sam Darnold's tenure with the Jets was a disaster. However, we've seen players leave Adam Gase and make vast improvements elsewhere. The same could happen with Darnold. He's a former third-overall pick, after all. The Panthers have a terrific coaching staff that could get the most out of him.
29. Trey Lance, 49ers. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
I could have listed Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers' starting quarterback, but I believe Trey Lance will end the season playing for the 49ers. Lance reminds me of Josh Allen coming out of Wyoming. He's very raw, but has immense upside. It might take him a couple of years for everything to click, much like it did for Allen, but Buffalo fans aren't complaining.
28. Daniel Jones, Giants. 2020 Ranking: 16. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Daniel Jones had a roller-coaster rookie campaign. He was brilliant at times, but also had some poor moments, mostly with his poor ball security. I expected him to develop last year, but that never happened. In fact, he was far worse in his second season. Saquon Barkley's injury was a huge factor, as was some horrible coaching by Jason Garrett. Jones has better weapons at his disposal now, but he'll have issues reaching his potential because of Garrett.
27. Jared Goff, Lions. 2020 Ranking: 23. 2019 Ranking: 14. 2018 Ranking: 19. 2017 Ranking: 30. 2016 Ranking: 29. 2015 Ranking: --.
Jared Goff was brilliant in 2017 and 2018, but he's been exposed for what he really is. Goff was a byproduct of great coaching (Sean McVay, Greg Olson) as well as an elite offensive line. Goff, however, has lost Olson and some key blockers in recent seasons, which would explain a major decline in his production. Goff needs everything to be perfect because of his low football IQ, poor pocket awareness and shaky accuracy. He really hurt the Rams last year, which is why they surrendered draft picks to trade him to Detroit.
26. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins. 2020 Ranking: 30. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
I maintain that the Dolphins shouldn't have played Tua Tagovailoa last season. He wasn't even a year removed from his devastating injury from his final year in Alabama. He struggled in numerous games during his rookie campaign as a consequence. There were flashes of brilliance regarding his ball placement at times, but Tagovailoa would've been better served learning on the sideline, much like Patrick Mahomes did when he was a rookie. Nevertheless, I expect Tagovailoa to make a big jump in 2021.
25. Zach Wilson, Jets. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Zach Wilson has tremendous ability and upside, but he's a one-year wonder who didn't exactly face the toughest competition while playing for BYU. There are vast, mixed opinions about Wilson's trajectory among talent evaluators in the NFL.
24. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Redskins. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: 27. 2015 Ranking: --.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Benjamin Button of the NFL. He just seems to get better every year despite advancing into his late 30s. He'll be an improvement over the very limited Alex Smith last year. Surrounded by a great supporting cast and defense, Fitzpatrick should be able to lead the Redskins into the playoffs.
23. Cam Newton, Patriots. 2020 Ranking: 14. 2019 Ranking: 10. 2018 Ranking: 8. 2017 Ranking: 8. 2016 Ranking: 5. 2015 Ranking: 11.
Cam Newton is extremely difficult to rank because he gets hurt every year. If Newton is healthy, he can go toe to toe with Russell Wilson, like he did in Week 2 last year. If he's hurt, he'll get blown out at home by an injury-ravaged 49er team. Newton will be 100 percent heading into 2021, but that's not going to last very long.
22. Derek Carr, Raiders. 2020 Ranking: 25. 2019 Ranking: 24. 2018 Ranking: 14. 2017 Ranking: 5. 2016 Ranking: 18. 2015 Ranking: 26.
Derek Carr is very frustrating. He's hesitant to take downfield shots even though they are available, which makes it puzzling as to why Mike Mayock used a recent first-round pick on Henry Ruggs. Furthermore, Carr's toughness has been called into question. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Marcus Mariota takes his job at some point in 2021, now that the Raider offensive line is in complete ruin.
21. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers. 2020 Ranking: 13. 2019 Ranking: 12. 2018 Ranking: 9. 2017 Ranking: 10. 2016 Ranking: 4. 2015 Ranking: 4.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 33 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions last year, but all he did was dink and dunk. His YPA was a ghastly 6.3, easily the lowest of his career (except in 2019 when he played hurt in two games.) Roethlisberger claims his elbow is healthier now, but he turned 39 this offseason. Meanwhile, his offensive line will be the worst he's ever been behind in his entire career.
20. Taysom Hill, Saints. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
People love to bash Taysom Hill for some reason, but he did a great job of filling in for an injured Drew Brees last year. Starting four games, Hill went 3-1, completing 72.7 percent of his passes on a 7.7 YPA. He also rushed for 457 yards. With an entire offseason to get ready as a starter under Sean Payton's guidance, Hill should be even better in 2021.
19. Justin Fields, Bears. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: 16. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: 20.
I have a feeling that in two years, we'll be wondering how in the world Justin Fields fell out of the top 10. Part of that had to do with the Broncos realizing that they could trade for Aaron Rodgers, but still. It's ridiculous that the Bears were able to obtain Fields without surrendering very much. I expect him to play at a relatively high level as a rookie.
18. Kirk Cousins, Vikings. 2020 Ranking: 22. 2019 Ranking: 19. 2018 Ranking: 15. 2017 Ranking: 16. 2016 Ranking: 19. 2015 Ranking: --.
Kirk Cousins is as mediocre as it gets. He posts great numbers sometimes, thanks in part to the fantastic receivers he has at his disposal. However, Cousins just isn't good enough to consistently beat good teams.
17. Ryan Tannehill, Titans. 2020 Ranking: 26. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: 24. 2017 Ranking: 19. 2016 Ranking: 26. 2015 Ranking: 14.
It would be foolish to say that Ryan Tannehill hasn't made great strides since his mediocre days in Miami. He threw 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last year, all while completing 65.5 percent of his passes. His receiving corps will be better with Julio Jones added to the roster, but I have concerns about Tannehill because his coordinator, Arthur Smith, took the head-coaching gig in Atlanta. Tannehill could regress a bit with a new coordinator.
16. Joe Burrow, Bengals. 2020 Ranking: 17. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Joe Burrow was on pace to set rookie records before suffering a crushing knee injury against the Redskins in Week 11. It's a real shame because Burrow was throwing for 300 yards every single week, looking like the next, great signal-caller. It remains to be seen how Burrow will rebound off knee surgery.
15. Carson Wentz, Colts. 2020 Ranking: 8. 2019 Ranking: 5. 2018 Ranking: 3. 2017 Ranking: 15. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
What in the world happened to Carson Wentz last year? He was an MVP candidate in 2017, and following an injury-ravaged 2018 campaign, he led a group of backups into the playoffs in 2019. Despite this, he had his worst season as a pro by a long shot last year. The offensive line and receiving corps were terrible, but Wentz made so many bad decisions, particularly in the red zone. I believe he'll bounce back, but his inexplicable regression is troubling.
14. Matt Ryan, Falcons. 2020 Ranking: 9. 2019 Ranking: 9. 2018 Ranking: 7. 2017 Ranking: 4. 2016 Ranking: 16. 2015 Ranking: 10.
Matt Ryan has been a perennial top-10 quarterback on this list, but that's no longer the case. He's lost some zip on his passes, but don't take my word for it. Julio Jones demanded a trade for this reason. Now 36, Ryan will regress with Jones gone.
13. Dak Prescott, Cowboys. 2020 Ranking: 19. 2019 Ranking: 25. 2018 Ranking: 21. 2017 Ranking: 12. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Dak Prescott has played behind a great offensive line for most of his career. He's been exposed when some of the blockers have been injured. He posted tremendous numbers last year before getting injured, but most of that occurred in garbage-time performances against the Falcons and Browns. Prescott, who was already one of the most overrated players in the NFL, may not be 100 percent this year.
12. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars. 2020 Ranking: --. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect I've seen since I began covering the NFL on this Web site back in 1999. I'll be shocked if he's not a perennial Pro Bowler. There will be some rookie struggles, but Lawrence has enough talent around him to lead the Jaguars to six or seven wins.
11. Baker Mayfield, Browns. 2020 Ranking: 20. 2019 Ranking: 13. 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 took a big step backward in his second year, but the offensive line was largely responsible for that. The Browns wisely improved the blocking last offseason, and Mayfield had his best year as a result, despite Odell Beckham Jr. not being available in the second half of the season.
10. Justin Herbert, Chargers. 2020 Ranking: 31. 2019 Ranking: --. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Justin Herbert took the NFL by storm last year, which was a huge surprise. He was very inconsistent at Oregon, yet was dominant in his rookie campaign despite having no experience and playing behind an injury-ravaged offensive line every week. Herbert should have a huge 2021 season with the Chargers making enormous improvements to their blocking.
9. Matthew Stafford, Rams. 2020 Ranking: 15. 2019 Ranking: 18. 2018 Ranking: 12. 2017 Ranking: 9. 2016 Ranking: 13. 2015 Ranking: 15.
I ranked Matthew Stafford 15th last year because his back was a big question mark coming into the season. Stafford continued to play very well when healthy, but he was still limited by bad coaching and a mediocre supporting cast. Now that Stafford is out of Detroit, I'm excited to see how he'll fare with a competent organization and a smart coaching staff.
8. Kyler Murray, Cardinals. 2020 Ranking: 11. 2019 Ranking: 22. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Kyler Murray has proven that his height isn't an issue, as he completed 64.4 percent of his passes as a rookie and then saw that figure increase to 67.2 in 2020. He threw 26 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions, all while rushing for 819 yards. Had he not suffered an injury versus the Seahawks in a Thursday night affair, the Cardinals would have made the playoffs. They should get there in 2021 with Rodney Hudson offering a huge upgrade in the interior of the offensive line.
7. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. 2020 Ranking: 7. 2019 Ranking: 23. 2018 Ranking: --. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Robert Griffin and Vince Young were both Pro Bowl scrambling quarterbacks when they began their careers, yet their play plummeted after their hot starts. I do not expect Lamar Jackson to suffer a similar fate. Unlike Griffin and Young, Jackson works tirelessly to improve his game, so while his mobility will decline as the years pass by and the injuries mount, his passing ability will continue to be upgraded.
6. Deshaun Watson, Texans. 2020 Ranking: 5. 2019 Ranking: 11. 2018 Ranking: 10. 2017 Ranking: 24. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
I'm ranking Deshaun Watson instead of Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills because I believe he'll play again at some point, despite all of the sexual assault allegations. It may not be this year, but it wouldn't surprise me if Watson returns as Houston's starting quarterback at some point in the future.
5. Josh Allen, Bills. 2020 Ranking: 10. 2019 Ranking: 29. 2018 Ranking: 31. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Josh Allen was a raw passer with great mobility as a rookie, and then he made a big leap in his second season. And yet, he made the same type of jump in his third season, becoming a top-five NFL quarterback. Allen is still just 25, so he could continue to improve. This should terrify every franchise in the AFC East.
4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks. 2020 Ranking: 2. 2019 Ranking: 4. 2018 Ranking: 4. 2017 Ranking: 3. 2016 Ranking: 2. 2015 Ranking: 3.
Russell Wilson was once again terrific last year despite having substandard blocking in front of him. He threw for 40 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions, all while completing 68.8 percent of his passes. The Seahawks traded for Gabe Jackson this spring, so Wilson will have a solid offensive line protecting him for the first time in a long while.
3. Tom Brady, Buccaneers. 2020 Ranking: 3. 2019 Ranking: 1. 2018 Ranking: 1. 2017 Ranking: 2. 2016 Ranking: 6. 2015 Ranking: 8.
Tom Brady did not look like the same GOAT quarterback we're used to at the beginning of the 2020 season. He was blown out on multiple occasions, and he missed numerous easy throws. However, Brady improved exponentially as the year progressed and ultimately won his unprecedented seventh Super Bowl. Brady turns 44 in August, so regression could come at any time, but it would be foolish to bet against him.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Broncos?. 2020 Ranking: 4. 2019 Ranking: 3. 2018 Ranking: 2. 2017 Ranking: 1. 2016 Ranking: 1. 2015 Ranking: 1.
What Aaron Rodgers did last year was amazing. Armed with just one competent receiver and an offensive line missing several starters in numerous games, Rodgers rallied his team and led the Packers to the NFC Championship. Understandably frustrated, however, Rodgers has claimed that he'll never play for the Packers again. The Broncos remain the favorite to trade for him, so I'm listing him as Denver's quarterback at the moment.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs. 2020 Ranking: 1. 2019 Ranking: 2. 2018 Ranking: 16. 2017 Ranking: --. 2016 Ranking: --. 2015 Ranking: --.
Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, and there's no doubting that. He has no weaknesses. He has a rocket arm, great accuracy, dangerous mobility, infectious leadership, a very high football IQ, and a tireless work ethic. It's scary to think that Mahomes has just three years of starting experience. Imagine how good he'll be when he has even more starts under his belt. Mahomes has the potential to go down as the greatest quarterback of all time.
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