With the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft, most starting quarterbacks are in place. Except maybe Aaron Rodgers.
In 2020, fans witnessed incredible performances from rookie quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. With five QBs selected in the first 15 picks, we may see something similar this year from at least one or two new starters.
Updated weekly throughout the football season, here are the top 20 NFL starting quarterback rankings.
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20. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Jared Goff has the keys to the offense in Detroit, at least for one season. Despite what appears to be a weak stable of weapons, what Goff does with the fresh start will be up to him. A strong NFL resume will give fans hope, but the more likely reality is that the Lions use this as a tryout year for the Super Bowl-losing QB. Despite being the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, his time as a starting NFL QB is on thin ice.
19. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were right to add some weapons through the draft, but the offensive line remains questionable at best. Perhaps since Ben Roethlisberger got the ball out quicker than any other QB with ten or more starts last season, they feel confident. While the Steelers may opt for more of a run-heavy approach, Big Ben is still 39. The two-time Super Bowl winner is likely entering his farewell campaign.
18. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Mission Tank for Trevor is complete. Let the hype train begin. As the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence appears to be the next superstar entering the league. Instantly plugged in as the starter, the former Clemson QB is already an early favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Having never lost a regular-season football game in his life, how Lawrence handles adversity as a Jaguar will be interesting to watch in his first season.
17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
With the opportunity to take two different quarterbacks selected in the top fifteen, the Atlanta Falcons gave Matt Ryan a weapon with elite potential reminiscent of Julio Jones. Matty Ice and the Falcons had a miserable 4-12 record last season, but now this offense is stacked. New head coach Arthur Smith could turn things around in a hurry. Will they combine Pitts with their existing talent, or will Julio get traded once June 2 rolls around?
16. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Barring some crazy blockbuster trade, Derek Carr will enter his eighth season as the Raiders starting QB. While Carr slightly improves each year in the West Coast system Jon Gruden prefers, they have yet to reach the postseason. It feels like a make-or-break season for Carr with Marcus Mariota waiting for another chance. The Raiders reconstructed the offensive line this offseason, but is it any better? That will be a big question as they try to be competitive in a tough AFC West division.
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15. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow is likely thrilled to reunite with LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, and as a fan of the game, so am I. While drafting another lineman is never a bad investment, sometimes adding an elite target for a young quarterback can work wonders. Burrow now has a litter of different Bengals to target. A bolstered offensive arsenal could help Burreaux get the ball out quicker so he can stay off the turf.
14. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
To no surprise, the Cleveland Browns are a popular Super Bowl pick. Their roster is stacked. Baker Mayfield finally has a competent head coach to further his development. Odell Beckham Jr. returning to health should only make the offense even more dangerous, in theory. The Brownies will go as far as Mayfield takes them, but this season, that could be as far as SoFi Stadium, where Super Bowl LVI will be played.
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13. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
The time has come, the Minnesota Vikings have brought in a competent backup to Kirk Cousins. But that may not necessarily mean Cousins gets replaced this season. Unless the Vikes find themselves competing for draft picks late in the year. After finally addressing the offensive line needs, maybe Cousins can elevate the fourth-best offense even higher. If the pass protection holds up, there will be no excuses for lackluster play.
12. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Amidst all the quarterback movement rumors, one team never mentioned throughout the chaos was the Tennessee Titans. With Ryan Tannehill firmly entrenched as the starter, the Titans had a very quiet offseason. Two consecutive winning seasons throwing fewer than ten interceptions should provide job security. Especially when leading an offense ranking fourth-best in the NFL, scoring 29.6 points per game. Tannehill may be one of the most underrated QBs in the game today.
11. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Fresh off winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert now has a franchise left tackle to protect his blindside. Avoiding a sophomore slump as seen recently from Baker Mayfield and Dak Prescott will be crucial. No longer hindered by the questionable decisions of former head coach Anthony Lynn, can Herbert lead the Chargers to the playoffs now? If his rookie season was any indicator, Herbert could be the best QB from the 2020 Draft class, despite being the third one selected.
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10. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
For years, Matthew Stafford has been toiling in Detroit, missing the postseason year after year. Teaming up with Sean McVay, Stafford may get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Armed with two 1,000 yard receivers in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, Stafford could be in for a big season in LA. If enough goes their way, the Rams could find themselves playing Super Bowl LVI in their home stadium.
9. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Paired with an offensive guru for a head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, the sky is the limit for Kyler Murray. After adding five Pro Bowl players this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals are all in on a playoff push in 2021. Despite never missing a start, K1 battled injuries last season and still went 8-8. Entering his third year, expect Murray and the Cardinals to be a tough out in the NFC West.
8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Just three years into his career, Lamar Jackson is already the best running QB of all time, but this is just the beginning. Constantly improving, the former MVP won his first playoff game in 2020. After excelling in a run-heavy offense in college, Rashod Bateman is a perfect fit for Baltimore. Whether the new receivers can elevate LJ back to the elite play seen from his first-team All-Pro year in 2019 remains to be seen.
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
The NFL, outside of maybe three teams in the NFC East, will be happy to see Dak Prescott healthy again. After playing at an MVP level before his injury, Prescott should pick up right where he left off with the Dallas Cowboys. Hopefully, a better defense helps them remain competitive. Dak himself was averaging 371.2 yards per game before his injury. The entire Cowboys offense for the season finished averaging 371.8 per. It just shows how much they suffered once the offense had to rely on QB1 Andy Dalton.
6. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Compared to his fellow athletes, one could make a case Deshaun Watson was the best player on the worst team last year. Without Watson, the Houston Texans may not have won a game. The 2020 passing yards leader is young, very athletic, and has a great arm. A three-time Pro Bowl QB, many teams would leap at the idea of Watson becoming their franchise quarterback. Then, there are the sexual assault accusations. No team would want anything to do with anyone guilty of such things, no matter the talent level. Whether Watson suits up in 2021 remains to be seen.
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5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen went from above-average to elite last season. Scoring 29.9 points per game and going 13-3 was incredible. The Allen to Stefon Diggs connection was the best QB-WR duo in the NFL. Yet they added Emmanuel Sanders to an already potent receiving core. Sanders included, the Buffalo Bills have quietly had a great offseason. If they can stay healthy, this team can go all the way. Bills Mafia will be wilder than ever should they win the AFC East for the second consecutive year. Get the tables ready.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
While the offseason brought many wild rumors for several superstar QBs, the Seattle Seahawks say Russell Wilson is there to stay. Wilson got out to a scorching hot start before an unlucky string of turnovers brought the offense back down to Earth. Former coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is out, and Shane Waldron from the Rams is the new OC in town. Maybe that can help Wilson dominate all season.
3. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After winning Super Bowl LV MVP, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are NFC favorites again. By bringing back all 22 starters, they should be. TB12 is ageless, or maybe Brady is an alien. Nobody knows for sure. One thing we do know is that with seven rings, Brady is the GOAT.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Add another franchise QB to the list of players who crave a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out of Green Bay. For years, the Pack resisted giving AR12 more say within the organization. And have largely underwhelmed when surrounding A-Rod with a Super Bowl-caliber roster, outside of the MVP himself. It seems the three-time MVP has finally had enough. While any Rodgers trade to a new team would nearly break the internet, crazier things have happened.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Aside from the eye-popping highlights, the Patrick Mahomes stats are simply crazy. With a passer rating of 108.7, the 25-year old Mahomes is the all-time career leader in the NFL. During the 2021 Super Bowl, fans witnessed an offensive line in shambles. Not anymore. After adding three former All-Pro or Pro Bowl offensive linemen this offseason, Mahomes should have plenty of time. After reloading up front, Mahomes is the betting favorite to win MVP.