By: Steven Wasco
As we enter a new year in the NFL it’s time to look at the new Quarterback landscape and rank them based on three areas:
1. Success. This will obviously not apply to rookies
2. Surrounding Talent. This is a widely overlooked area but even the best quarterbacks sometimes struggle when the support isn’t there.
3. Projected success. This is a subjective area of critique but looking at this are from a neutral point of view will hopefully help establish a fair and just critique of the players in each tier.
Tier 7: Last Chance to get it Right
This tier of Quarterbacks has players that can go anywhere from being a franchise player for the next 10 years to benched, cut, or retired before the seasons over with.
32. Eli Manning- New York Giants:
This is self-explanatory. Honestly I want to see Eli retire with dignity because he does deserve it. However, with Eli under center I don’t see the Giants as a big threat this season.
31. Jameis Winston-Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
He could be a great player under Arians. But Arians also won’t have trouble replacing Winston if he doesn’t produce.
30. Joe Flacco- Denver Broncos:
Not much to say except he has become a bridge Quarterback now. He can be a dependable starter that is replaced when youth needs to be injected into the offense.
29. Marcus Mariota- Tennessee Titans:
So much potential that keeps getting hindered by injuries, he could be a franchise staple or replaced next year.
28. Josh Rosen- Miami Dolphins:
Not much of a better situation in Miami but it’s up to him to improve.
27. Jimmy Garrapolo-San Francisco 49ers:
Play a full season to give us a complete sample size please!
Tier 6: Rookie Starters
There is no pro sample size for us to gauge them except by their potential in this league. I am only Rankings the Rookies that are definitely starting the season.
26. Dwayne Haskins- Washington Redskins:
Haskins takes over a Redskins team in need of a spark. There are questions at the receiver position that could limit his upside this season.
25. Kyler Murray- Arizona Cardinals:
Kliff Kingsbury revamped the entire offense (except the line) to give Murray the best possible chance for success.
Tier 5: Mid-Level Quarterbacks
This tier is Quarterbacks who aren’t bad and are franchise leaders. However, question marks and concerns give me pause to rank them higher.
24. Andy Dalton- Cincinnati Bengals:
It’s Andy Dalton, never really disappoints but never really flashes. He plays his best when his weapons are healthy and producing so let’s hope AJ Green stays upright.
23. Nick Foles- Jacksonville Jaguars:
Like Foles as a leader of a team but his weapons are a real concern. Foles is a great Quarterback and is a Super Bowl MVP so I’m going to bank on his talent and leadership to make the Jaguars relevant again.
22. Matthew Stafford- Detroit Lions:
He’s always been a solid starter but as of late he’s shown poor judgement that has cost the Lions several games.
21. Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys:
His athletic prowess has a lot of potential but there are times that he needs to really try and put this team on his back and lead the Cowboys offense.
20. Derek Carr- Oakland Raiders:
Strong arm and athletic. If he and his new weapons make an impact he could move up a tier or two.
Tier 4: Young Guns
This tier runs concurrent with tier 2 & 3. Some of these Quarterbacks at a young age could be higher on this list but they’re so young that we’re going to temper expectations until we see a larger sample size.
19. Lamar Jackson- Baltimore Ravens:
Rounding out this tier is arguably the quarterback with the most questions. His ability to run makes him a tremendous threat. However, despite having a strong arm, his accuracy gives me pause. His playoff performance was a disaster so he has to show progress in throwing the ball so he can become more of a complete Quarterback.
18. Josh Allen: The Bills made a noticeable effort to give Allen more weapons this offseason. When Allen plays he is the most athletic player on the field. Let’s see Allen put together a complete season so we can truly gauge his potential.
17. Sam Darnold- New York Jets:
Darnold had a great start to his season, got benched for four games and then came back to really flash his potential! It’s that potential that makes me excited to see how he develops! He now has Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell as new weapons which will make the Jets a threat this year.
16. Mitchell Trubisky- Chicago Bears:
Trubisky showed a lot of promise in his 2018 season! He showed great decision making and athleticism many times this year and having another offseason to work with Matt Nagy only increases the excitement for what we can expect going forward!
15. Baker Mayfield- Cleveland Browns:
Of the young Quarterbacks in this tier has proven he’s the most capable. He has a strong arm, mobile, and is accurate with the ball. His 63.8% is just below the 64.9% league average. He is also very confident which is key for a young quarterback. There is a lot to look forward to with Mayfield and the Browns this year!
Tier 3: The Dependable Ones
This tier are the Quarterbacks who have shown that they can put up numbers and/or win games any given Sunday.
14. Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings:
There is so much to be said about Kirk Cousins and I stand here and defend him too much. All I’ll say is that Cousins has shown in the past that he can lead a team to the playoffs and now that the Vikings have finally solidified their offense. Cousins has arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the league and Dalvin Cook should be healthy. That should give Cousins the edge he needs to show he’s worthy of a fully guaranteed contract.
13. Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans:
Fantasy wise, Watson is a top tier quarterback but in reality he is not an elite Quarterback yet. However, Watson can prove with a second healthy full season that he can be an elite quarterback. He has DeAndre Hopkins but his other weapons can be unreliable, which is one of the only reasons he isn’t higher in this list.
12. Jared Goff- Los Angeles Rams:
Lets face it, Goff’s Super Bowl performance was horrendous. His performance over the last few weeks of the season also raised some legitimate concerns as well. After the injury to Gurley the Rams started suffering on offense and a lot more pressure went on Goff. However there are two things in Goff’s favor: Sean McVay and the outstanding trio of Wide Receivers. There is still hope for Goff because he’s young and still has a lot of upside!
11. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers:
Cam could probably be one tier higher but I have concerns about his weapons outside of DJ Moore and Christian McCaffery. Cam knows how to make plays but the Panthers honestly as a team have legitimate concerns that may be too big for Cam to overcome.
Tier 2: Top Level Elites
These Quarterbacks are still the best in the league, there’s not much to say other than these quarterbacks can literally be interchangeable anywhere in this tier.
10. Tom Brady- New England Patriots:
The 6 time champ himself may have had a big statistical drop off this season but there’s no denying how great Tom Brady is. Whether you agree or not with how he got his six rings is your personal choice. What’s not a fluke is how he can still shred defenses. His weapons may be highly questionable this year but Brady has worked with worse and I’ll keep him in my top 10 and an elite quarterback until he completely falls off the cliff.
9. Philip Rivers- Los Angeles Chargers:
Rivers is the Dan Marino of our error. This is a quarterback who is a true competitor and is tough as nails, however mishaps and poor game management have hindered a great talent. However, the talent surrounding him are all great at their positions and the defense is even better. The Chargers are a team that is primed to make noise this offseason.
8. Drew Brees- New Orlean Saints:
Brees’ arm after Thanksgiving was a genuine concern but he is still an elite quarterback. His decision making at the line of scrimmage is still top level. His pocket awareness is still top level, and not to mention he still has Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara so as long as his arm can get better and make passes over 30 yards, the Saints could be knocking on another Super Bowl run.
7. Matt Ryan- Atlanta Falcons:
It’s vexing how Matt Ryan can be overlooked sometimes. Even before his 2016 MVP season he has posted consistent numbers every year despite bad defenses or other factors. The facts are that Matt Ryan is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league. His numbers reflect that and when you watch the tape he shows it!
6. Carson Wentz- Philadelphia Eagles:
To be honest, Carson Wentz was difficult to place. He is a great quarterback and he is a top tier talent. His trouble the last two years has been health and that’s why he is where he is on this list. I think Carson Wentz is one of the better players in the league in general but he has to stay healthy.
5. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers:
Go ahead, give me the ‘homer’ hate, are you good? You’re not? Oh well because Big Ben is still a top 5 Quarterback. While certain criteria may separate each of the remaining Quarterbacks in this tier, Big Ben has been a consistent competitor. Regardless of weapons Ben has never had a losing season and has always posted consistent numbers and that’s why he is the top Quarterback in this tier.
Tier 1: The Best of the Best
These are the quarterbacks who are whether very good and can carry a team, or have some very good situations.
4. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers:
It’s no surprise that Rodgers is in the top tier of Quarterbacks, he played almost all season on one leg and had to carry the Packers through the season. If the defense of the Packers did their job then Green Bay could have possibly made the playoffs and done some damage. Instead of talking about what could have been let’s appreciate Rodgers for who he is, a great and consistent Quarterback who will make noise this year with a Packers team that has upgraded their defense and can only get better on offense.
3. Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs:
A lot of people are going to say that Mahomes probably deserves the #1 spot, but I’m pumping the brakes ever so slightly. Mostly because he has a significant downgrade in weapons. Yes it is a tired argument but we honestly don’t know what’s going on with Tyreek Hill, Rookie Mecole Hardman is a mystery, and Sammy Watkins constantly gets injured so there’s no telling how this will affect Mahomes. While I personally believe that he could be the best Quarterback in the league, I want to see what he does with his array of new weapons first before making that judgement call.
2. Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks:
This may seem a little weird but I’m standing by this pick 100%. Russell Wilson for the last two seasons has been carrying this Seahawks team on his back. When the chips were down he’d find some way to bring them back and he’s done that with quick thinking, mobility, and a strong arm. His cast of weapons have also gotten better, while his O-Line still leaves a lot to be desired Wilson has proven he can overcome that and that he is one of the top Quarterbacks in the NFL.
1. Andrew Luck- Indianapolis Colts:
It should come as no surprise that Luck ranks within the top 3, however I could see how people would be scratching their heads as to why he’s no. 1 and it’s pretty simple. He is on arguably one of the better teams in the league. His offensive line is better, his cast of weapons include TY Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Marlon Mack. Andrew Luck consistently comes through in the clutch and his comeback showed that Andrew Luck still has it and that the Colts will be a team to be feared this year!