The biggest factor in determining the success of an NFL team is their quarterback. Perhaps more than any other position, a quarterback can make or break a team. While some teams with loaded rosters are able to get by with average QB play, others require elite QB play to really win games at all. This list is the first of what will be a handful of Top Ten lists. So be on the lookout for those as well.
Just Missed the Cut – Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers), Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)
Each of these four listed are quarterbacks I’d say could make a valid argument for placement in the top 10 of the NFL’s most important position. Really it would make more sense to do this in tiers, and if so, these four would likely be grouped into a similar category with the next few names on the list. All very good quarterbacks, ones that any franchise would be lucky to have behind center. However, they fall just short of this group below.
#10 – Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
Perhaps the next QB to receive a mega-extension from his team, Prescott took the league by storm following an injury to then-starter Tony Romo. Since then, Prescott has played a very efficient brand of football, but stepped it up last year and delivered a career high in touchdown passes (30) and passing yards (4,902). Prescott has claimed his position amongst the league’s best, impressive for someone taken as the eighth quarterback taken in his respective draft class.
#9 – Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles)
Wentz would likely be higher on this list if his injury history were not so worrisome. A near MVP in his second season in the league, Wentz is an incredibly dynamic player who excels through plus athleticism, good decision-making, a good arm, and an incredible amount of poise for a quarterback at his age (27 years old). Wentz and Prescott will likely be one of the more exciting QB rivalries in the next few years to come, squaring off twice a year in the NFC East.
#8 – Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
Stafford does not yet have a playoff win to his name, but that comes largely due to the issues the Lions franchise has had in putting a competent team around him. One of the best arms in the NFL, Stafford was on his way to what would’ve been a league leading 38 touchdown passes in the regular season before a back injury kept him out the second half of the season. Another year in Darrell Bevell’s aggressive play-action scheme should give Stafford a chance to continue to climb the rankings.
#7 – Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Ryan vs. Stafford was one of the closest debates on this entire list. Their statistical production is very similar, but ultimately, Ryan’s better history in the playoff gives him the nod here. Now, ultimately, he has been boosted, relative to Stafford, by better talent around him, but he’s made the most out of it, and nearly had himself a Super Bowl ring a few short years ago.
#6 – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
Few quarterbacks are as precise as Rodgers is, as he’s set records throughout his career for avoiding interceptions and making smart decisions. While the Packers were dismantled in the NFC Championship game by the 49ers, Rodgers will give them a chance to get back this season, with the aim of winning one more Super Bowl before handing the reins over to first-round pick Jordan Love, the Packers first-round selection in this year’s draft.
#5 – Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Whether Brady is actually slowing down will be determined this season. The New England Patriots have struggled in the past year or two to replace departing weapons on offense, and Brady’s play has lagged behind in response. Now in Tampa Bay, which features one of the best receiving corps in the NFL (with Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin), Brady should have enough talent around him to make one last push for a Super Bowl ring, what would be his 7th. Brady will likely retire as the Greatest of All-Time (GOAT), but in the more direct context of the 2020 season, he’s not on top right now.
#4 – Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
Perhaps no quarterback has proved more wrong than Jackson, the NFL’s most recent MVP, and at a mere 23-years old. Coming out of Louisville, many doubted whether Jackson had the arm talent to excel as an NFL quarterback, but thus far, he’s been able to mix accurate play with electrifying rushing ability to become a dangerous dual-threat quarterback. A perfect fit in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s smashmouth style of football, featuring a heavy downhill rushing attack and plenty of play-action.
#3 – Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Brees considered retirement at the end of this past season, but decided to return for another year in New Orleans. Brees continued to play elite football last season, throwing for 27 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions last year, though missing a few games with an injury. Brees will return with hopes of making one more Super Bowl run himself, with the talented Saints roster around him. With his poise and accuracy, Brees continues to be one of the NFL’s best.
#2 – Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Much like Brees, Wilson has shed the stigma of shorter NFL quarterbacks, weighing in at only 5’11, 205 lbs. He is, however, one of the more polished passers in the league, able to create magic out of almost any play. Last season, Wilson came just shy of breaking some of his own career records, throwing for 4,110 yards (2nd best), 31 touchdowns (3rd best), and only 5 interceptions (career best). Wilson’s play should keep the Seahawks competitive in perhaps the NFL’s toughest division in the NFC West.
#1 – Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Just signing the biggest contract in sports history, Patrick Mahomes sits atop the NFL QB world. At only 24 years old, Mahomes’ dynamic style of play and cannon arm helped him propel the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl win over the 49ers. Along the way, Mahomes dazzled fans with his off-balance throws, unique arm angles, and crazy play making ability that perfectly compliments the diverse array of talent around him.