2023 Quarterback Rankings

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All Time Great

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This category is for those quarterbacks who aren’t just Hall of Famers, but those who are above average even for the Hall of Fame and are at their peak. There is only one such player right now.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

Is there even a debate? I know pundits have always tried to find a guy to put above Mahomes. From Lamar to Allen to Burrow to most recently Hurts. But no active quarterback besides Aaron Rodgers is even in the same universe as Mahomes when it comes to career accomplishments. Only Mahomes has won multiple Super Bowls. Only Mahomes and Rodgers have won multiple MVPs. Mahomes has led the Chiefs to 5 straight AFC Championship games in his 5 seasons, the second longest streak in NFL history and the longest when it comes to hosting the game.

No matter the opponent, the Chiefs go into every game knowing they have a significant advantage at the most important position in sports.

Very Good

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There is a missing category of “Elite” for quarterbacks who are on their way to the Hall of Fame or very close. We’re just in a slump of top end quarterback talent with guys like Drew Brees and Tom Brady out of the league, and Aaron Rodgers and even a Matt Ryan no longer at their peaks. So we have this next level, which are guys who are just shy of that Hall of Fame level but could maybe get there if they take another step or accumulate some hardware.

2. Josh Allen, Bills

3. Joe Burrow, Bengals

These two are very clearly a step above everybody else not named Mahomes. There’s a reason that they’re the only active quarterbacks under 30 with 4 or more playoff wins.

But it’s a tough call between these two. You can make a strong argument for either one being ranked higher. Personally I give the edge to Allen for now simply because Burrow’s receiving talent is so incredible that I’m not as confident that he could put up his good numbers once he gets paid and they have to let some of them walk.

Merely Good

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These players are nowhere near the Hall of Fame (or are future Hall of Famers that are past their prime), but still are a positive to their team and can occasionally put a team on their back.

4. Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Dak has always been a bit underrated. Maybe it’s because the Cowboys get so much media hype that they feel he need to create drama where there is none by downplaying him (similar to what they do with Mahomes), but Dak has always been among the better quarterbacks in the NFL.

That being said, he is not consistent enough to be above this category. While he can go out and dominate, he also has a few too many stinker games to really be considered elite.

5. Jordan Love, Packers

There is obviously a lot of uncertainty around Love. With only 83 career pass attempts, 62 of which came as a rookie when he did not look good at all, there is every possibility that he ends up being a bust and the Packers finally feel what it’s like to not have an elite quarterback heading the team.

However, there are some very strong signs that Love did improve over his rookie season and is now a quality starter. For one, watching his game against the Eagles (where he came in in relief of an injured Aaron Rodgers in a very meaningful game) he looked legitimately good. This wasn’t a case of throwing a bunch of screens and having them going the distance to make his numbers look good. He went and and played well.

Success rate is a good stat for eliminating fluke plays. It simple counts each play as successful or unsuccessful and counts them up. In that game against Philly Love had by far the best day of any of the quarterbacks who played with 67% (average is 50% by definition). Rodgers, with the same team facing the same defense, was at 42%, and even the MVP candidate Hurts was also at 42%.

On top of that 67% success rate, he also had a massive 0.81 EPA per play. To put into perspective just how good these numbers are, one of Mahomes’ best games on his way to winning MVP was against Arizona, and in that game he had a 70% success rate and 0.70 EPA per play. While brief, Jordan Love’s play last year was as good as it gets.

But wait, there’s more!

When it comes to players we haven’t seen much of, a good policy is to see how their team is acting towards them. The team sees them in practice and meetings every day, so generally have a better idea of how good they really are. Green Bay’s actions have matched this pattern we’ve observed.

When they drafted Love, they clearly intended to sit him for a year and then move on from Rodgers and give him the keys. But when he struggled as a rookie they didn’t have the confidence to move on with him, so were forced to give Rodgers a desperation extension. One year later their tune has completely changed. Now they’re all but forcing Rodgers out the door even though it will be difficult for them to handle with the cap.

Put all of this together and there is every reason to believe Love will be at least a quality quarterback, to the dismay of the long suffering NFC North.

6. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins

Speaking of EPA per play, you’ll never guess who topped the list last year. Unless you guessed Mahomes.

But Tua was second, and he also put up the 9th best success rate and was actually above Mahomes in ANY/A. Statistically he should have been in the MVP conversation if it wasn’t for his injuries.

Yes it’s true that part of it was having the incredible receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle, but he made legitimate improvements over his disappointing first two seasons. If he remains healthy there is every reason to expect him to continue playing at a high level.

7. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

After a disastrous rookie season Lawrence bounced back nicely in his sophomore season. He established himself as a pretty good quarterback. The hype around him is a little beyond what’s actually warranted by his play, but there is still no doubt that he has evolved into at least a solid starter.

8. Justin Herbert, Chargers

There is a weird duality with Herbert. When you watch him play he looks awesome, and the traditional stats back it up. He has 4,000 yards passing in all 3 of his seasons (even including his rookie year when he didn’t start every game), and last year was 2nd in passing yards with only 10 interceptions.

However his efficiency stats aren’t as good. His ANY/A was worse than Andy Dalton’s last year, which is backed up by his 18th ranked EPA per play. This has also translated to a team that isn’t quite as good as you’d expect if Herbert was truly as good as everybody thinks. He is 25-25 as a starter including playoffs, which includes losing to the Jaguars despite the benefit of a 5-0 turnover ratio.

You could argue I have Herbert a bit overrated here. But there just aren’t a lot of quality quarterbacks right now, so the bottom of this tier seems good enough.

9. Aaron Rodgers, Jets

It’s hard to know where to rank Rodgers. In terms of his overall career, he should easily be up in that top tier with Mahomes. He is easily one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But last year he looked like a 40 year old as he struggled through a losing season.

Which Rodgers is going to show up in New York? It’s hard to say, so I’ll put him in the middle of those extremes.


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The average quarterbacks are those who are a reflection of the talent around them. Nothing more, nothing less.

10. Jalen Hurts, Eagles

Hurts was nearly MVP and nearly a Super Bowl champion last year, so most people have him as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. But because of his cheap contract the Eagles were able to surround him with incredible talent, which is a big reason why he was able to have such a great year.

Looking at ANY/A, he and Gardner Minshew weren’t so different (7.31 vs. 6.83). Like when I used this sort of comparison to say that the Colts made a horrible decision to trade for a Carson Wentz who couldn’t significantly out perform Nick Foles, the fact that Hurts wasn’t significantly better than Minshew on the same team should give people pause when declaring him a top quarterback.

11. Ryan Tannehill, Titans

12. Jared Goff, Lions

13. Kirk Cousins, Vikings

14. Matthew Stafford, Rams

15. Derek Carr, Saints

These guys are all roughly the same. All have proven to be effective starters, but they have also all shown that they’re not capable of carrying a team beyond the talent around them.

The two most interesting ones of this group are Goff and Stafford, who have shown flashes. But those flashes are simply not consistent enough to declare them anything more than average.

16. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders

Garoppolo has put up huge numbers in San Francisco, but that is likely because of their extremely quarterback friendly system. The Raiders were wise to move to him for salary cap reasons, but otherwise they should expect similar levels of quarterback play as they had from Carr.

17. Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Lamar had one exceptional season, but since then has fizzled out. His ANY/A the last 3 seasons has hovered around the league average, and the constant injuries have kept him off the field. For all the talk from some that teams should be giving up two 1st round picks to sign him, in reality he may be headed toward being a backup in the near future.

18. CJ Stroud, Panthers/Texans

19. Bryce Young, Panthers/Texans

Obviously a bit of projection here. I expect these two will be the top two quarterbacks taken, and I also expect them to be the only rookie quarterbacks to start immediately (with Richardson and Levis being seem as projects).

A while back the draft class was views as Bryce Young and then everybody else. At that time I took the bold position that CJ Stroud was the top of the class, and I’m happy to report that the public zeitgeist seems to be shifting in my direction.

While I do have Richardson above Young because of his potential, I believe Young is much more pro-ready and will be able to step in and be an effective starter immediately. I also believe Stroud should be effectively immediately as well, but Stroud does seem slightly more likely to bust. That’s why I have them ranked similarly heading into 2023 even though I view Stroud as a significantly better prospect.

20. Gardner Minshew, Colts

21. Kyler Murray, Cardinals

We’ll see if the Colts draft a quarterback and have them start immediately, but for right now I believe they are going to start Minshew no matter what.

Of course I love Minshew, but this ranking shows that my love is relative. He’s been treated as a decent backup at best, while I believe he’s on the lower end of being a quality starter. That still makes his $3.5 million contract a great deal for Indianapolis.

Good Backup

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This category is for quarterbacks who really shouldn’t be starting, but if they were forced to play for a contender they could be trusted to come in and give the team a real chance to win. As a starter, these guys are going to have a hard time winning games without some elite talent and coaching supporting them.

22. Geno Smith, Seahawks

Smith had a nice year in Seattle, but it wasn’t that good, and was still an outlier in his career. There is no real reason to expect him to suddenly become a consistent quality starter.

23. Sam Darnold, 49ers

This ranking may not reflect it, but I’m actually really optimistic about Darnold in San Francisco. Despite being backup level at best for most of his career, Darnold actually put up a really good ANY/A+ of 117 in his 6 starts last year in Carolina. While his success rate wasn’t quite as good, he still was 18th among quarterbacks with at least 140 plays, which is even higher ranking than I have him here.

The key seemed to be to limit his pass attempts and put him in favorable situations. He averaged a mere 25 pass attempts per game in the 5 games he started and played all the way through, far lower than the 32.5 that he averaged before last year.Naturally the 49ers provide arguably the most quarterback friendly scheme in the NFL, so I am expecting him to play at an even more efficient level next year.

However, I can’t justify putting him above the backup tier when he needs to be limited in order to be effective. That’s almost the definition of a backup.

24. Jacoby Brissett, Commanders

Brissett actually did pretty well in Cleveland before being benched for Watson, but it’s hard to argue he’s anything more than a quality backup. That being said he’ll at least represent an upgrade at the position over Wentz for Washington.

25. Daniel Jones, Giants

Jones has gotten a lot of hype after improving last season. But this improvement came almost entirely from his legs, as his ANY/A+ is still underwater at a mere 98. Running is simply not a sustainable path to success for a quarterback (see Lamar Jackson), so he will continue to be a backup level player.

26. Mac Jones, Patriots

27. Kenny Pickett, Steelers

Despite struggling as a rookie, there is still hope for Pickett since plenty of quarterbacks have developed into good or even great players despite starting slow. However, I didn’t like him as a prospect, so I’m not going to hold my breath that he actually will take a significant step.

28. Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers

29. Desmond Ridder, Falcons

Ridder only started 4 games in 2022, and was about equally productive as Mariota. You could argue that the Falcons having faith in him should make us optimistic a la Jordan Love. But that logic doesn’t apply here, since the Falcons really have no other option. The Packers could simply keep a Hall of Fame quarterback but chose Love. What exactly were the Falcons supposed to do? They might as well give Ridder a shot and if he doesn’t improve they’ll have a chance at a top quarterback next year.


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Bad quarterbacks aren’t just backups, they bring everything around them down. If they were a backup on a contender you’d cover your eyes when they were forced to see action. They are likely on their way out of the league once their contracts are over and no team believes in them anymore.

30. Deshaun Watson, Browns

Now we get to the straight up bad quarterbacks, the ones who will suck their franchises down no matter how much talent they have. And Watson is the first on the list. Sure, maybe he was just rusty and will come back to his per-allegations level. But is there really any evidence that this should be the case?

Look at Aaron Rodgers, who sat on the bench for 3 seasons with minimal playing time yet played well when he became the starter. Or Joe Montana, who missed almost 2 entire seasons with injuries but played well immediately after coming to the Chiefs.

I just don’t see any reason to believe this isn’t the new normal with Watson.

31. Russell Wilson, Broncos

The Broncos foolishly decided to double down on Wilson, so they will have to suffer another year of irrelevancy due to poor quarterback play. They will presumably move on from him after this year since his 2025 salary becomes guaranteed if they don’t, but that is going to be a huge hit to their cap. Since they’re going to have to tank eventually anyway, why not just get it over with and do it now?

32. Justin Fields, Bears

Fields is a good runner, but that’s about it. His ANY/A+ of 79 last year is absolutely horrid. And even that overstates how good he was in the passing game, as his rushing allowed him to have an artificially large number of touchdowns which are counted in ANY/A. If he can keep that rushing pace up the Bears can maybe keep their heads above water.

But even that is unlikely. Fields had 1143 rushing yards on a 7.1 per attempt average. Even lowering those numbers to 700 and 6.5 yields only 2 quarterbacks who have done it multiple times; Michael Vick who did it 3 times and Lamar Jackson who did it twice.

He should put up better passing numbers this year simply from having better talent around him, but he’s so far away from even being a competent backup that it’s hard to rank him above any other starter.

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03/23/2023 4:53 pm

This list is crazy. Jordan Love has literally shown nothing to warrant a ranking at all. Top 5? Over Herbert?

03/22/2023 7:09 pm

You nailed number 1.

After that…not so much.

03/22/2023 5:09 pm

Patrick belongs in a category by himself: UNICORN 🙂
All Time Great are: Montana, Elway, Brady, a few others

Reply to  gonzangkc11
03/23/2023 4:15 pm

Elway does not belong in that conversation

03/22/2023 5:08 pm

Daniel Jones & Deshawn Watson – both making a lot of $$$

old saying goes: There’s a sucker born every minute.

zulu trader
03/22/2023 12:47 pm

You lost me at Jordan Love at no. 5 ???

Reply to  Tony Sommer
03/22/2023 2:03 pm

as much as it pains me to do so, I have to agree with zulu on this one (Jordan Love)

definitely positive signs, but the same could be said of a few other young QB’s who (it seems) may only need more time and reps to prove themselves worthy (Jalen Hurts who’s more the style of Lamar Jackson)

I’ll also contend that you have Rodgers too high … yeah, he WAS pretty good, now he’s a hostage to his own ego

guys to watch: D Jones, M Jones, K Pickett and yes, J Garoppolo … all have a chance to “move up” on a list like this in a year)

Bryce Young: doesn’t belong on this list at all (yet) as he’s not even been drafted (at least keep the “playing field level”) and compare apples (NFL) to apples instead of oranges (NCAAF)

Last edited 2 months ago by upamtn
Reply to  Tony Sommer
03/22/2023 3:06 pm

here’s some Breaking News (or maybe Broken News) vis-a-vis Mecole Hardman – 1 Yr deal for $6.5M according to reports (Aaron Rodgers must be beside himself with glee)

Last edited 2 months ago by upamtn
Reply to  upamtn
03/22/2023 10:25 pm

Jalen Hurts is nothing like Lamar Jackson (who is criminally underated in this article)

Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
03/23/2023 1:54 pm

Hurts not jackson. Lamar us right where he should be.

Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
03/23/2023 4:17 pm

Maybe he got Tua and Jalen mixed up. All those Bama guys are alike

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