Ranking Every Starting 2020 NFL QB From Worst to Best

From Patrick Mahomes to Tom Brady, here are 32 starting NFL Quarterbacks from worst to best for the 2020 season, ranked by the Complex Sports team.

Ranking the Best NFL QBs
Image via Complex Original
Ranking the Best NFL QBs

You get some right, you get some wrong. Ranking just about anything in sports is a completely subjective endeavor and our inaugural NFL QB rankings that dropped last August featured some astute slotting, if we do say so ourselves, and a few misses we have to own up to. 

While we’ll give ourselves credit for the top portion of our 2019 rankings being spot on (except for Philip Rivers at No. 6), we'd like to have back Baker Mayfield at No. 10 and we absolutely whiffed with Jared Goff at No. 13, Mitch Trubisky at No. 16, Marcus Mariota at No. 18, and—oof—Lamar Jackson at No. 21. 

Now you can’t give us too much grief over positioning the Ravens QB towards the bottom tier of NFL signal callers since he was about to enter his first full season under center in Baltimore and precisely NO ONE saw his historic MVP season coming. Twelve months later, Jackson has dramatically ascended the list of the league’s best, presenting the biggest jump from last year's rankings to this year's. Meanwhile, 2019's No. 1 selection repeats proving the more things change in the NFL, the more they stay the same.

Don't get it confused: 2020's rankings weren't any easier to solidify than last year's. We had some serious debates about where living legends like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers—all supremely gifted future Hall of Famers, but all getting up there in age and past their primes—belong and the conclusions we came to might rile up Brady Bros and Cheeseheads alike. [Insert shrug emoji here.]  

Know we tried our best and are prepared for any backlash. Cam Newton’s slot might surprise NFL followers, Kirk Cousins made a big jump up from No. 23 last year, and if you believe Kyler Murray's legit after one season, you're going to think we're geniuses. If not, well, deal with it. This ain't that serious. 

It's a fair 32, thank you very much. Regardless, just be happy football's back next week because we're going to need something to get us through a November, December, and January sports scene that's increasingly looking like it will not be—like everything else in 2020—normal.  

32. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins 

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzmagic probably won’t be around too much longer in Miami since the Dolphins took Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and the rookie out of Alabama is the future of the franchise. So we slotted Fitzpatrick, who is entering his 16th season in the league, at No. 32 not necessarily based on talent—because we could low-key make a case he’s better than more than a few starters out there and he’s coming off some damn respectable seasons in 2018 with the Bucs and 2019 with the Fins—but more so based on the fact he’s just keeping the seat warm until Tua’s ready to takes the reins. The 37-year-old veteran’s deficiencies are obvious—he still throws a lot of interceptions we’ll chalk up to his ultra-aggressive passing style—but he’s easily one of the best backups in the business and the quintessential bridge quarterback. That being said, if he’s still starting in December, that ain’t a good look for the Dolphins. — AC 

31. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears 

Mitch Trubisky

This one was tough because we don't even know if Mitch Trubisky will win the starting job for the Bears. With no announcement yet, we're going to slot Trubisky in as the starter and promptly place him at No. 31. I'm sure Bears fans are tired of hearing about how they passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to select Trubisky, so we'll stop talking about it...after this: The Bears really picked Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson. Damn. Well, if this is truly the beginning of the end of Mitch in Chicago then they had a pretty forgettable run. He's simply not been good enough and has essentially wasted a phenomanl Bears defense. The Bears have some nice weapons on offense, yet Trubisky just hasn't been able to put it together. This really seems like his last shot in Chicago after the team declined his 5th year option earlier this year. — ZF 

30. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team

Dwayne Haskins

Ok, so it's weird writing "Washington Football Team," but hey, it's better than their last name. As for on the field, Dwayne Haskins seems to be getting every chance to succeed in Washington, but you have to remember they have a whole new regime in place. That usually isn't great for a young QB and he could easily be on the hot seat soon. However, Haskins did show some flashes in 2019 and should improve in his second year and first as a full-time starter. He has a good core of weapons in Washington and already has chemistry with budding star WR Terry McLaurin. Nobody is really expecting this team to be good, but it will be interesting to see how much freedom they give Haskins to be a playmaker, or if they rely on Adrian Peterson and the ground game to drive the offense. — ZF 

29. Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers

Tyrod Taylor

Another bridge quarterback, Chargers fans hope Tyrod Taylor is soon supplanted by the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft. But until Justin Herbert proves to LA’s coaching staff he’s ready to take the reins, Taylor will have to suffice. And he’s fine, I guess, as the Chargers transition from the Philip Rivers era to (hopefully) Herbert, the Oregon product, as their signal caller for the next decade-plus. Just like Ryan Fitzpatrick, we all know Taylor’s keeping the seat warm for the kid lurking behind him. But it’s not like Taylor hasn’t had some success, like Fitzpatrick, at different stops, most notably during his days with the Bills from 2015-17. At age 31, Taylor’s athleticism is a huge asset to the Chargers and he won’t kill them with egregious interceptions. But he always leaves you wanting more and there’s a reason why he won’t be under center for very long in Los Angeles. Being “good enough” will keep you employed as a quarterback in the NFL and that’s what Taylor is— “good enough.” “Good enough,” of course, ain’t going to cut it over the long haul. — AC

28. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Drew Lock

Maybe, just maybe, John Elway has finally found a quarterback the Broncos can build around. But we all know the legend now running the show in Denver has failed miserably trying to find a QB who can lead the three-time Super Bowl champs back to the playoffs for the first time since a washed Peyton Manning was under center. Lock has a big arm—there’s little doubt about that—and he looked very promising leading the Broncos to a 4-1 record down the stretch last season. Still, there are reasons you can’t anoint him Denver’s savior just yet since his pocket presence needs polishing, 53.3 percent of his 1,020 yards last season came after the catch (according to Pro Football Focus), and, you know, he’s only started five games in his career. Denver got Lock a few offensive weapons, like recent Load Management podcast guests Melvin Gordon and Jerry Jeudy, and if he puts up numbers (and wins) over a full slate of games, we’ll gladly slot him higher on our 2021 list. — AC

27. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars

Gardner Minshew

A top-notch mustache does not make one a top-tier quarterback. But it absolutely makes Gardner Minshew one of the more recognizable signal callers in the NFL who had himself a few memorable moments in his rookie campaign. Nick Foles was supposed to be the answer under center for the Jaguars, but an injury to Big Dick Nick opened the door for Minshew, the Washington St. product with the kind of facial hair perfect for that northern Florida fan base, and all he did was take the Jags on a roller coaster through 14 games. The highs were great—like wins over the Titans, Colts, and that game-winning drive he led on the road in Denver—while the lows, well...Listen, after one season we’ll call Minshew a respectable NFL quarterback that ultimately could carve out a career way longer than you’d ever expect from someone taken in the 6th round. I wouldn’t bet on him being the next big thing in the league, but I wouldn’t bet against him authoring a few crazy comebacks while rocking that epic lip tickler for years to come. — AC

26. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow

We slotted the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, who went No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, 26th on our list last year. And look where he is now—a helluva lot higher on this year’s list. That means Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to get on Kyler Murray’s level. The present and future of the Bengals blew up during his final season at LSU and expectations will be high for him to at least make Cincinnati respectable in the coming years since he put up historic numbers in college. Burrow’s upside is tremendous and, if we’re being honest here, that’s really all we can say about the 23- year-old. But the reason we have him higher than a handful of established NFL quarterbacks is because the guys who know and understand football in ways we never will—aka the scouts and talent evaluators—keep saying Burrow is a can’t miss prospect. And if that’s really the case he definitely won’t be ranked in the mid-20s in 2021. — AC

25. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr

Why does it feel like every offseason we’re speculating on Derek Carr’s future with the Raiders? He’s only been around for six seasons and while he’s signed through 2022 it honestly feels like time is running out on his tenure with Las Vegas’s newest sports franchise. Carr’s had a respectable run as the Raiders starter, he still features a big arm, and he’s only 29. Let’s give him credit for finishing ninth in passer rating last season and he’s steadily improved his accuracy each campaign, finishing with a career-high 70.4 completion percentage in 2019. He’s got plenty of productive years ahead of him and sometimes quarterbacks don’t really start to “get it” until their 30s. But it’s never quite clicked with the silver and black, other than the 2016 season, of course, and everyone and their mother can see the writing on the wall. Head coach Jon Gruden is going to seriously start to explore options if Carr doesn’t elevate Las Vegas into playoff contenders ASAP. You can make the argument Carr could (should?) be ranked a little higher than 25, but his lower ceiling compared to others on this list is why we have him where we have him. — AC

24. Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Sam Darnold

Entering Year 3 with Gang Green, the jury’s still out on whether Darnold is really the franchise quarterback he was billed to be out of USC. Injuries have held up his development, including that ridiculous bout with mono last season, but the 23-year-old’s about to be out of excuses as he’ll be expected to pick up in 2020 where he left off in 2019. We’ll forgive you for forgetting, but Darnold led the Jets to a 6-2 record over the second half of the season and showed glimpses of being worthy of the No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft. This upcoming campaign will be his second season with coach Adam Gase and there’s already talk out of Jets camp that Darnold’s grasp of the offense is night and day compared to a year ago. Plus, the Jets have tried to upgrade his weapons. But if Gang Green's completely revamped offensive line can’t do its job then Darnold’s going to see nothing but ghosts again and the Jets will soon enough have to make a tough call on his future. His skills scream top 10 potential, but right now he’s closer to the bottom than the top. — AC 

23. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers 

Teddy Bridgewater

It’s been five seasons since Teddy Bridgewater was QB1 on a roster, but the signal caller gets a chance to run the show in Carolina after a successful stint filling in for Drew Brees last season in New Orleans. At age 27, and about four years removed from a devastating knee injury that almost cost him his leg, Bridgewater is never going to ascend to the MVP levels of the man he’s replacing—Cam Newton—but he can capably get the job done while Carolina figures out what the long-term solution is at the position. Bridgewater’s at his best when using play-action—according to Pro Football Focus, Bridgewater’s 92.9 grade on play-action passes led the league—and he’s now paired up with one the best running backs in the game in Christian McCaffrey. Will Teddy ever blow you away with his numbers and make Panthers fans forget about peak Cam? Hell nah. But there’s something to be said for being dependable and not having a history of committing back-breaking turnovers every other week. That’s Bridgewater in a nutshell. — AC

22. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams 

Jared Goff

Wow, did things go south for Jared Goff last season. Just before the Rams’ 2019 campaign kicked off, Goff got PAID—a four-year, $134 million deal that included a then league-record $110 million in guarantees—after he helped lead the Rams to the Super Bowl. And then he immediately made LA regret their decision. You think the Rams would like do-over on that contract right now? At some point, they’re going to ask Goff to do some restructuring if he plays more like the 2019 version rather compared to the 2018 version. After showing some impressive improvement over his first three seasons in the NFL, Goff glaringly regressed last season. Sure, the offensive line had a lot to do with that as the Rams endured the typical hangover of the Super Bowl loser, but more than enough of those poor throws were on Goff. Is he closer to a top 10 quarterback or bottom 10? We know he can be a lot better than he was in 2019 but heading into 2020 we absolutely know he doesn’t belong anywhere near the top tier of QBs. — AC

21. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts 

Philip Rivers

After 16 seasons with the Chargers that saw him put up prolific passing numbers, Rivers enters the twilight of his career as the quarterback of the Colts. Now that he’s hitched his wagon to Indianapolis for one season, with one of the better offensive lines in the game, can Rivers morph into an upper-echelon QB again or is he really washed? His final season with the Chargers was a dud considering Rivers threw almost as many interceptions (20) as (23) touchdowns and LA woefully underachieved. Rivers told the Colts website he has to “find that sweet spot again, from aggressiveness to stupid” in order to be successful with his new squad. But it’s not like the man who entered last season ranked 17th in the NFL Top 100 completely fell off a cliff after he completed 66.0 percent of his passes, threw for 4,615 yards, and played behind an offensive line that was light years away from elite. Rivers’ QB rating was problematic and he’s clearly no longer a top 10 quarterback like he was for nearly a decade but dismiss him at your own peril. While the 38-year-old’s arm strength may have decreased, he can still air it out and—laugh all you want—Rivers numbers could easily have him in Hall of Famer one day. Sitting at sixth in career passing TDs, sixth in career passing yards, ninth in career pass completion percentage, 10th in career passer rating, and 13th in career comebacks, Rivers owns some legendary numbers. The only thing missing from his impressive resume is a Super Bowl appearance. — AC

20. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills 

Josh Allen

Look, we already know Bills fans are going to be upset with this. They're all in on Josh Allen as their franchise QB, and maybe that's the right call. They did make a playoff appearance last season and are the favorites to win the AFC East. They added Stefon Diggs this offseason, but there are still questions about Allen's game as a passer and especially his accuracy. He did a good job managing games for the Bills last season and with their elite defense maybe that's all they need from him. However, conventional wisdom, and anyone who watched the playoff game against the Texans, will tell you that the Bills need Allen to be more accurate, especially on his deep passes. According to PFF, Allen was the least accurate QB on passes over 20 yards or more. For a guy with such a big arm, the Bills really need him to figure that out. Don't hate us, Bills fans. — ZF 

19. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones surprised a lot of people last season, including Giants fans. If you remember, the fanbase was pretty upset when the team picked him sixth in the 2019 NFL Draft. Fast forward to today and they see him as the new face of the franchise, taking over after Eli Manning's retirement. While Jones showed some flashes last season, this will be the first campaign where he is fully the guy leading the offense. With new coach Joe Judge in charge, we'll have to see if there's any learning curve from Jones to start the season, but there's no question that he'll be building off of a successful rookie year where he threw 24 TDs and 61 percent accuracy in just 13 games. Jones did have a fumbling problem and it led him to be one of the most turnover prone QBs in the NFL. He absolutely needs to clean that up, but things are looking up for the Giants in 2020. — ZF 

18. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield

It is an undeniable make or break year for Baker Mayfield in 2020. Disaster is really the only word to describe Baker and the Browns season in 2019. They had all the hype in the world and fell completely on their faces. In the end, GM John Dorsey and head coach Freddie Kitchens were fired because of it. We all know what Mayfield did during his rookie season, but fact is it's year three and he has to show he's capable of being a winning QB. He has all the weapons in the world in Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt, but now needs to put it all together. Browns fans, which I am, will say that coaching and the offensive line doomed Mayfield and the Browns in 2019. That's not a completely wrong statement, but the Browns addressed both this offseason, which means there's no more excuses. Put up or shut up time. — ZF 

17. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill’s ascension to the ranks of respected starting quarterback seems kind of preposterous when you think about where he was a few seasons ago—largely an afterthought in Miami with Dolphins fans bemoaning the first-round pick the franchise used on him in the 2012 draft. But a change of scenery, a competent offensive line, and the wisdom of old(er) age allowed Tannehill to author an inspiring career pivot that saw him win 2019 Comeback Player of the Year honors. Absolutely no one expected him to morph into one of the league’s better passers in 2019, but Tannehill led the NFL in QB rating (117.5), yards gained per pass attempt (9.6), and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (8.52), among a few other statistical categories. The Titans rewarded him with a massive four-year, $118 million extension during the off-season after he helped lead them to the AFC Championship Game. We’re going to need to see him put up similar numbers in 2020 to confirm he wasn’t using some sort of sorcery every Sunday to rack up those impressive numbers, but if he comes close to equaling them than we just might need to start talking about Tannehill being top 10 material. — AC 

16. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Big Ben

How much Big Ben, at age 38, has left in the tank remains to the seen. Coming off elbow surgery last year, and with retirement not too far off in the distance, 2020 could be a pivotal year in the future Hall of Famer’s career. He’s due a significant amount of money through 2021 after signing an extension in 2019 and if his new elbow doesn’t allow him to air it out like we’re used to seeing, would the Steelers seriously think about severing ties? Cap logistics could make such a drastic measure a nightmare and how you treat the franchise’s best quarterback this side of Terry Bradshaw during his final few seasons will require delicacy. All that being said, if Roethlisberger’s arm is sound he’s still better than half of the league’s starters. And with his pedigree, you’d pick him to win a game over a lot of other guys. Word out of Steelers camp is Big Ben is all the way back and throwing the ball like nothing was ever wrong. If that’s legitimately the case, the putrid Steelers offense should bounce back from a dismal 2019 season and Big Ben won’t be hanging ‘em up anytime soon. — AC

15. Cam Newton, New England Patriots 

Cam Newton

This one might cause some controversy. But for starters, we’ll tell you that a motivated Cam should scare the shit out of the rest of the league. And when you couple the hurt feelings and disrespect coursing through Newton’s veins following his release from Carolina with the coaching geniuses of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels he’s working with in New England, who isn’t expecting big things this fall from the 2015 NFL MVP? The Patriots took a one-year flyer on one of the most dynamic QBs the league has ever seen after he battled injuries and declining numbers in his final few seasons in Carolina. Despite the Panthers giving up on their former franchise player, it would be unwise to bet against the 31-year-old. At his best, Cam’s been borderline elite. At his worst, you’d still rather have him under center than a third of the QBs in this league. So, we felt slotting Newton right around middle of the pack was most appropriate. We may never get MVP-caliber Cam again, but we couldn’t in good conscience demote Newton to the mid-20s—where some would argue he rightfully belongs. His skillset is superior to guys like Jared Goff and Tyrod Taylor and if he falters in New England and loses the job to Jarred Stidham we’ll be shocked. Newton’s too good, too young(ish), and too primed not to put up numbers with the Patriots and remind us all why he’s still got the juice. — AC 

14. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

Kyler Murray

The Cardinals seem to be a trendy pick to make the playoffs in 2020, which is surely driven by the fact that people think Kyler Murray is about to make a huge jump in his second season. Though Arizona only won five games in 2019, you could tell that Murray and Kliff Kingsbury we're just getting into their groove as the season went on. And yet, Murray still had 24 total TDs and a 64.4 completion percentage, which was enough to secure Murray the NFL Rookie of the Year award. With DeAndre Hopkins now in the mix, the sky seems to be the limit for Murray and this offense. The biggest knock on Murray coming into the NFL was his small frame and whether or not he could take the beating of the position. The Cardinals have worked to improve their offensive line, but they'll need to do a better job of protecting Murray this season if they want to be the sleeper playoff pick that a lot of people think they could be. — ZF 

13. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers 

Jimmy G

Talk about a tough QB to rank. Yes, Jimmy G led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, but very few people would say he's a top 10 QB right now. That's what happens when you have such a good offensive system in place and an otherworldly defense. And none of that is meant to knock Garoppolo, but the fact is the 49ers showed in the playoffs how they intend to win and that really seems to be asking Jimmy G to do as little as possible. In the NFC Championship game against the Packers, Garoppolo only had to throw the ball eight times. He only threw it 19 times against the Vikings in the game before. Their offense just doesn't rely on Jimmy G like that. However, will that need to change for them to win a Super Bowl? You could argue yes, based upon what we saw happen against the Chiefs in Miami. The game was in Jimmy G's hands and he overshot Emmanuel Sanders for a sure TD late in the 4th quarter. There's no question that Jimmy G is a talented QB on a great team, but for the 49ers to go all the way they just might need more out of their star QB. — ZF 

12. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings 

Kirk Cousins

In today’s NFL, Cousins earns top-third status because the QB position isn’t choc-full of game-changing talent like years past. But it’s not like Cousins is a slouch, either. He’s earned impressive grades from Pro Football Focus the past few seasons (top 10 finishes in their 2018 and 2019 QB rankings) and while we still have reservations about him winning a big game, he’s perfectly capable of leading the majority of franchises to the postseason. Give him the right personnel and he can thrive because his two seasons in Minnesota, with its impressive complement of pass catchers, saw him post completion percentages of 70.1 and 69.1 and passer ratings of 99.7 and 107.4, respectively. Among active QBs, Cousins has the sixth-best passer rating (96.8) and probably deserves more respect than he gets. He’s never going to reach the levels of today’s vaunted signal callers, but Cousins is a reliable, respectable QB who gives the Vikings a damn good chance of winning every Sunday. — AC

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions 

Matthew Stafford

The most underrated QB in the NFL? You could easily make the case for Matthew Stafford, who because he plays for the Detroit Lions probably isn't given the credit he deserves. Like a few others on this list, Stafford is coming off of an injury-plagued 2019 season, but he's just two years removed from 3,700 yards and 21 TDs campaign. And honestly, that's a down year for him. The biggest question for Stafford going forward will be if the Lions can put enough talent around him and if he can stay healthy. Those could really be said for most QBs in the NFL, but for a guy like Stafford, it really comes down to that. He's still super talented and has one of the biggest arms in the league. — ZF

10. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Tom Brady

Let's check something. Yes, it's still weird to think about Tom Brady playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And yes, Tom Brady is still a top 10 QB in the NFL. Now, some of you might get mad that we have him at No. 10. Well, based on last season, there seemed to be a real decline in Brady's play. While his numbers were still pretty good as he finished with over 4,000 yards and 24 TDs, his play certainly slipped as the season went on. Many would argue that Brady's weapons in New England were depleted, but it would be foolish to think that his age didn't play into it a little bit. Regardless, with a stacked offense in Tampa Bay, we should get a real good look at how much Brady still has left in the tank. Was last year a fluke or the beginning of the decline? One of the many questions we're waiting to see out in Tampa Bay. — ZF 

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons 

Matt Ryan

Can you believe that Matt Ryan won the NFL MVP award less than five years ago? Seems crazy, but when you look at Ryan's stats he's clearly one of the best and most consistent QBs in the league. That hasn't always translated to wins for the Falcons and it won't be easy this year in the NFC South, but Ryan has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 20 TDs in each of the past nine seasons. That's crazy. We've seen that Ryan is capable of leading the Falcons deep into the playoffs, and though the last two seasons have been disappointing, they still house one of the best offenses in the league through the air. Ryan and Julio Jones have become one of the best duos in NFL history, whether you like it or not. — ZF 

8. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles 

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz is a tricky one. The talent is clearly there but the injury issues over the years have become a thing. It was a good sign to see Wentz play in all 16-regular season games in 2019, especially with the wide receiver group he had around him due to their own injuries. Wentz guided the Eagles to the playoffs and threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 TDs while his wide outs consisted of the likes of Greg Ward and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Philly made it a priority to get some more weapons for Wentz in the offseason and he should fare even better with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery returning from injury. It is a bit curious that the Eagles decided to use such a high draft pick on QB Jalen Hurts back in May, especially after breaking open the bank for Wentz just last year. There's always pressure to win in the NFL. The spotlight is bearing down on Wentz going into 2020. — ZF 

7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys 

Dak Prescot

It remains puzzling that the Cowboys didn't open their wallets for Dak Prescott this offseason. While the Cowboys did miss the playoffs in 2019, it would be hard to put that solely on Dak, who threw for almost 5,000 yards and 30 TDs with only 11 INTs. Dak was straight up very good last season and has continued to improve every single year he's been in the league. How much more can you ask for someone taken in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. To get that sort of production out of a late pick is truly remarkable. What else could Jerry Jones and the Cowboys be looking for out of their franchise QB? Ezekiel Elliott got paid. Amari Cooper got paid. It's time to pay Dak. — ZF 

6. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson

One of the most exciting QBs in the game possesses as many skills that deserve celebration as faults that deserve dissection. His dynamism is electric since he has the insane ability to make something outta nothing like few quarterbacks. Watson, who won a national championship at Clemson, has a big arm and owns a 24-13 record as a starter over three seasons as Houston’s starter. But the 24-year-old still takes too many sacks (offensive line issues aside), continues to struggle with turnovers—especially fumbles—and no longer has the services of arguably the game’s top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, at his disposal. Texans coach Bill O’Brien had his reasons for trading Hopkins that we’ll never fully understand, but when you have a carpenter at quarterback who can carve up defenses why give him inferior tools to work with? Breaking up the Watson-Hopkins duo will never make sense to us and we guarantee Watson’s going to miss his big play receiver. But even without that security blanket, Watson will continue to be one of the premier QBs in the league and a little more seasoning is all that’s required before he ascends to elite status. — AC 

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 

Drew Brees

Yes, Drew Brees had a down year last season due to injuries. Yes, the Saints have underperformed in the playoffs the past few years. Yes, it looks like this could be Brees' last season in the NFL. No, we did not drop him from the top 5. He's simply still too good of a QB to do that and his stats in limited games backs that up from last season. In only 11 games, Brees tossed 27 TDs and only four INTs. That's production that you can't just replace. Many will say that Sean Payton's offensive system is just that good, and you're not wrong, but you still need your QB to execute. This will very likely be Brees' last run at it and the pressure will be high to get another Super Bowl. Will he be able to stay healthy and keep the Saints offense humming? That's the big question going forward. — ZF 

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers

For the first time since he took over as the starting QB of the Green Bay Packers, it seems like people are doubting what Aaron Rodgers can do. Everyone knows his skillset, but the critics are getting louder with complaints about how he plays and if he has enough in the tank to get the Packers over the hump. It's worth noting that the Packers apparently have some sort of concern as well, or else they wouldn't have shockingly drafted Jordan Love in the first-round of this year's draft. But they did, and now we're about to witness what maybe could be the last season of Rodgers in Green Bay. And while you can knock Rodgers for not taking enough chances in order to avoid dreaded interceptions and making his stats look messy, he still threw for over 4,000 yards and 26 TDs last year in leading the Packers to a 13-3 record. Who knows what's on the horizon for Green Bay, but it feels a bit premature to start writing Rodgers off now. But make no mistake, there's never been more pressure on Rodgers going into a NFL season. — ZF 

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks 

Russell Wilson

Mr. Unlimited is always in the MVP conversation and, dare we say, kind of underrated? Maybe it’s been a case of East Coast bias that has kept us from properly ranking Wilson among the likes of Brees, Brady, and Rodgers the past few seasons, or even ahead of them, but at age 31 Wilson has moved past his peers for some obvious reasons. For starters, nobody’s better at scrambling and freelancing his way to big plays than Wilson He’s the active leader in yards per attempts (7.9) and second among active QBs in career passer rating (101.2). He also led the NFL in 4th quarter comebacks (4) and game-winning drives (5) last season. He’d probably lead the league every season in absurd first-down conversions if such a stat ever existed. Between his legs and big arm, how many times has Wilson pulled off a magic trick to keep the Seahawks’ chances alive? You can knock him for taking too many sacks and his general corniness—i.e. that laughable Mr. Unlimited video from a few years ago that resurfaced this summer—but you can’t knock him for consistently winning nor ascending to a level few ever imagined when the Seahawks took him with the 75th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. If you don’t consider Wilson an elite quarterback—seven playoff appearances in eight seasons and a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII—take a nap. — AC 

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens 

Lamar Jackson

The biggest riser in this year's rankings compared to last year's list, and honestly, we really messed this one up. Lamar Jackson was the 2019 NFL MVP because he was simply incredible—and not just on the ground, but through the air. You don't throw for 36 TDs in a season by accident. You also don't roll off 14 straight wins by mistake, either. The Ravens fell short in the playoffs, but that shouldn't discount what Jackson was able to do during the regular season, especially since there were still people saying he can't play QB in the league just a year ago. That's crazy to think about. Man, he proved everyone wrong on that one. And while Jackson is coming off a historic season, there are still some improvements he can make to his game, notably the deep passing game, which he's said is a priority this season. Lamar is one of those guys where people are going to continue to hate until he shuts everyone up and wins a Super Bowl. With the way he's been able to prove people wrong so far, nobody should be surprised if that comes next. — ZF

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs 

Patrick Mahomes


It should come as no surprise who No. 1 is and, barring injury, the NFL’s first $500 million quarterback figures to stay atop our rankings until further notice. At only 24 years old, Patrick Mahomes has done things in his three short seasons in the league that few imagined from a kid out of Texas Tech that barely anyone was hyping before the 2017 NFL Draft. The 2018 NFL MVP just led Kansas City to its first Super Bowl victory in 50 years and as long as he’s healthy, and the Chiefs keep giving him weapons to work with, the man with a certified weapon for an arm is going to annihilate the record books. Just wait until he really figures out how to play the positions in a few more years and the league might actually have to institute rules changes that favor the defense for a change. The Chiefs smartly gave Mahomes a massive extension this offseason, locking in football’s most indispensable player through 2031 when he still should be slinging it at a high level. The $500 million contract deserved all the eyes emoji because only Mike Trout has a contract worth $400 million in North American sports. But considering what Mahomes has already accomplished and what he figures to do—secure a few more trips to the Super Bowls and earn another MVP or two—it’s preposterous to think he won’t be worth it. — AC

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