Ranking The Top 48 Quarterbacks From A Mathematical Perspective

When assessing who the best quarterbacks are, people have their different ways of evaluation. Some look at intangibles and playoff production, while others look at statistics such as passing yards and touchdowns. However, both of those methods have a flawed foundation, so I’ve come up with a different way to evaluate quarterback production. Using eight advanced statistics from Pro Football Focus, I’ve established a formula to rank the top 48 quarterbacks in the NFL. These are not my specific rankings, and are thus completely based off of the numbers; for each quarterback, I’ll be providing my thoughts on if they’re ranked too high or too low, while assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

Before we rank the quarterbacks, let’s go over my process. Here are the eight statistics that I’ve referenced to calculate these rankings, ranked in order of importance:

  • PFF Grade= Pro Football Focus assigns players with a grade from -2 to 2 for each play, and over time, that accumulates to a grade out of 100. 60 is considered average.
  • Big Time Throw Percentage= Rate of high-end plays.
  • Turnover-Worthy Play Rate= Percentage of plays that Pro Football Focus assigns a negative-1 grade to.
  • Pressure Rate= Amount of time a quarterback is pressured. Believe it or not, quarterbacks tend to control their pressure rate.
  • Adjusted Completion Percentage= A good way to measure a quarterback’s accuracy.
  • Passer Rating When Kept Clean= Performance when in a clean pocket is much more predictive and stable that performance under pressure.
  • Deep Passer Rating= The NFL is predicated on vertical offenses with a lot of speed, so throwing the ball down the field is critical.
  • Passer Rating When There Isn’t Play-Action= Play-action passes can protect the quarterback, so this is a good way to separate their performance from offensive scheme.

For each player, I found their mean variable in each of these statistics, with a slight weight towards the 2019 production. Then, I converted it to a percentile based on the mean and standard deviation from all 48 quarterbacks. At the end, the eight percentiles were used to compile a “mean percentile” overall grade, based on this formula:

(.4XPFFGrade)+(.24XBTT)+(.19XTWP)+(.05XPressure%)+(.03XAdj.Comp%)+(0.3XDeep)+(0.3XClean)+(0.3XNOPA).

For incoming rookies, I used my scouting reports and their college statistics to project them to the NFL. As for second-year and third-year players, they were given slight boosts to compensate for normal college to pro learning curves; this is the year where they should reach their peak production.

Also, the quarterbacks will be placed into tiers, based on their mean percentiles:

Tier 1: “Blank-Check Players”- Players who can carry a franchise

Tier 2: “High-End Starters”- Need some help, but teams shouldn’t be looking to replace them

Tier 3: “Mid-Tier Quarterback Part 1”- You could replace these players in the perfect situation, but they’re very capable of being your immediate answer at quarterback.

Tier 4: “Mid-Tier Quarterback Part 2”- These players are more replaceable, but are capable of being top-ten quarterbacks in the perfect situation.

Now, based on those overall grades, here are the top 48 quarterbacks, based on their recent production.

TIER 1

#1: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

mahomes
Photo Cred: Sports Illustrated

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays/Pressure Rate

Classification- Capable of Carrying a Franchise

Overall Grade- 91.8045

Few players have ever had the success that Patrick Mahomes has had in their first two seasons as a starter; he won an MVP in his first season and a Super Bowl in his next season. Despite dealing with multiple injuries last season, he still ranked in the 74th percentile or better in every statistic, so although his arm talent steals the show, he really is a well-rounded quarterback. Sure, he’s benefited from playing with a lot of supporting talent and maybe the best offensive play-caller in football, but before even considering that he’s only entering his third season as a starter, he’s established himself as the best quarterback in the NFL.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#2: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

wilsonrussell
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate

Classification- Capable of Carrying a Franchise

Overall Grade- 90.8881

Based on production from his simply throwing the football, Russell Wilson is actually a better quarterback than Patrick Mahomes. He ranks in the 99.9th percentile in big-time throws, but unlike Mahomes, is also much better at limiting turnovers- a great combination. Yet, Wilson’s tendency to hold onto the ball too long has always put his offensive line in a tough position, as they probably get more criticism than they should. Even if Seattle commits to improving their offensive line, the commitment has to be two-fold; Wilson needs to become more efficient at getting the ball out quicker. Obviously, his high pressure rate hasn’t prevented him from being a consistent MVP candidate, but can you imagine what he’s capable of with a slight improvement in play style?

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

TIER 2

#3: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

rodgers
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws + Limiting Turnovers

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Classification- Needs a Little Help, But a High-End Starter

Overall Grade- 87.0181

Before Patrick Mahomes took over the league, Aaron Rodgers was the top playmaking quarterback in the NFL, as despite the Packers investing little into their offense, he always was able to guide them into the playoffs. However, the team’s inability to add offensive talent appears to finally come back to bite them, as Rodgers’ surface-level production was very underwhelming last season. Yet, looking at statistics that separate him from scheme and supporting talent, it’s clear that 36-year-old is still a high-end quarterback. The ability to produce chunk plays and limit turnovers is crucial, and Rodgers is amongst the best at both. Now, he did struggle with his overall accuracy last season, as well as limiting pressure, but regardless, he is still elite in the most important statistics. In the second year of Matt LeFleur’s scheme, here’s hoping that Rodgers’ actual production accurately reflects the type of quarterback he is.

#4: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

brees
Photo Cred: WFAB.com

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage, PFF Grade, Pressure Rate

Worst Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Classification- High-End Starter Who Needs More Help Than He Once Did

Overall Grade- 85.3007

During the draft, arm talent is seen as a necessity for quarterbacks. However, accuracy may be the actual top trait needed; as long as you reach a certain level in terms of arm strength, a highly accurate quarterback is going to have a lot of success. Drew Brees is a prime example of this. His accuracy is easily the best in the NFL, and his ability to limit turnovers, be efficient, and limit pressure are all due to his elite anticipation. Now, the 41-year-old isn’t going to be high-volume thrower down the field, so he won’t generate a lot of chunk plays. Yet, in New Orleans’ offense, which is all about attack the underneath and intermediate areas of the field, while being efficient, he should continue to produce at a terrific level.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#5: Ben Roethlisberger*, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger
Photo Cred: NFL.com

Best Stat(s)- Pressure Rate, Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Classification- High-End Starter Who Needs More Help Than He Once Did

Overall Grade- 79.4244

Is Ben Roethlisberger healthy? Honestly, we have no way to know how the 38-year-old will play next season after he underwent elbow surgery, but from his previous baseline, he still ranks as a top-five quarterback. He’s never been the best at taking care of the football or having top-notch accuracy, but he’s always been able to generate “big-time” plays, while he’s always helped out his offensive line by controlling his pressure rate. This comes with an asterisk, considering his age and injury, but if he’s fully healthy, he’ll make a massive difference for a very talented Steelers team.

Verdict: Ranked Slightly Too High

#6: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate

Classification- High-End Starter Who Needs Some Help

Overall Grade- 79.2334

Due to his quiet demeanor, Kirk Cousins tends to go under-the-radar. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a capable quarterback. He’s one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL, is very efficient, and is effective both down the field and from a clean pocket. However, if I have some concerns about Cousins, it easily starts with his pressure rate, as his lack of pocket presence has always been an issue; his offensive line is better than it looks because of him. Also, he definitely benefits from Minnesota’s play-action heavy scheme, which is very favorable for his abilities. Yet, it’s two-fold, as the Vikings tend to run on early downs, and if he got more favorable passing situations, perhaps he could be a much more productive quarterback. Some may question his leadership qualities, but when it comes to on-field production, Cousins is a very underrated player. I can see why my system is so high on him.

Verdict: Ranked Slightly High

#7: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

stafford
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Best Stat(s)- Big-Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Classification- Underrated High-End Starter

Overall Grade- 74.7243

The 2018 season was a disaster for Matthew Stafford, as he struggled while the Lions finished last in the division. However, 2019 appeared to be different for him, as Detroit got off to a fast start while he played at a high level. However, he missed every game after Week 9 due to a back injury, which sort of worked out for Detroit, who was able to use the #3 pick to land an elite cornerback prospect in Jeffrey Okudah. So, what changed for Stafford? It’s clear it had something to do with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was able to get Stafford to take more shots down the field; he raised his average depth of target significantly. His accuracy and efficiency down the field isn’t great, but Stafford is the perfect quarterback for a big-play offense, and I still think he has plenty of good football up ahead at 32-years-old. He’s another player that I see as criminals underrated.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#8: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

brady
Photo Cred: Tampa Bay Times

Best Stat(s)- Pressure Rate, Turnover-Worthy Plays

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage, Non-Play-Action Passer Rating

Classification- High-End Starter Who Needs More Help Than He Once Did

Overall Grade- 74.1131

Even at 43-years-old, Tom Brady has been the talk of the offseason, as he did the unthinkable by leaving the Patriots to join forces with head coach Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. So, how much does he have left in the tank? It’s abundantly clear that Brady has regressed in recent years, as his accuracy and big-play ability has gotten significantly worse. That could be a problem in Arians’ vertical-passing scheme, as even if I expect him to alter his offense, Tampa Bay’s weapons are built to be dominant down the field. Yet, Brady’s main benefits will come with what Jameis Winston couldn’t- he’ll take care of the football and put the offensive line in a position to succeed by getting rid of the ball quickly. Therefore, even if Brady is no longer a flashy quarterback who needs a lot more help than he once did, I think the fit in Tampa is better than we think it’ll be. I’m very excited to see if he can continue to be a top-ten quarterback in a new situation next year.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#9: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

deshaunwatson
Photo Cred: houstontexans.com

Best Stat(s)- PFF Grade, Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate

Classification- Young, Playmaking Quarterback With Some Flaws

Overall Grade- 71.0245

From a highlight-reel perspective, few players are more exciting than Deshaun Watson, who has the rare ability to carry a team to victory. Yet, to this point, his inconsistency has plagued him, as he actually isn’t elite in any statistic. The main issue with Watson is his tendency to hold onto the ball too long. He actually was the worst-rated player in pressure rate among players who’ve played multiple seasons (Daniel Jones is last), and for a playmaking quarterback, hasn’t consistently generated chunk plays they way you’d assume he would. Without his top receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, I’m actually a little worried about how Watson will perform next season. His upside is tremendous, but his game-to-game variance has plagued him tremendously throughout his early career, and needs to improve at some point.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#10: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

lamarjackson
Photo Cred: The Ringer

Best Stat(s)- Deep Passer Rating, Limiting Turnovers

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Classification- Young, Playmaking Quarterback With Some Flaws

Overall Grade- 68.28918075

Coming off of an MVP season, the hype train has been off the rails for Lamar Jackson. Between him being on the cover of Madden 21, and the consistent ranking of him as an elite quarterback, it’s clear that he’s been put in the same conversation as Mahomes. Yet, even when diminishing his subpar performance in his rookie season, the numbers would suggest he’s a slightly overrated player. His accuracy did improve last season, but his accuracy numbers still were extraordinary, while he doesn’t produce many big-time throws and can hold onto the ball too long. He obviously doesn’t have to worry about this, but I currently do see him as the quarterback that has benefitted the most from his scheme, and still question his ability to throw outside the numbers. He’s an ascending quarterback, but with a system that only takes into account scheme/supporting cast-independent statistics, he shockingly falls to the #10 on this list.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

TIER 3

#11: Joe Burrow, Cincinatti Bengals

burrow
Photo Cred: Market Watch

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate

Classification- High-Floor Starter With Top of Tier 2 Upside

Overall Grade- 67.9891

Can Joe Burrow one day be a “tier 1” quarterback? That remains to be seen, but in my opinion, he’s the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. His accuracy is off the charts, and he projects to be a very efficient passer, particularly in the intermediate areas of the field. Furthermore, his ability to sense pressure, extend plays, and be an effective down-the-field thrower is very enticing, as there aren’t any concerns with him. If there’s one, however, it was his tendency to hold onto the ball too long at LSU, and if he does that behind the Bengals’ poor offensive line, that could become an issue. Regardless, it’s very difficult to find quarterbacks who are both accurate and sound mentally, but Burrow offers that as a potential franchise-changer for Cincinnati.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#12: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

carr
Photo Cred: The Mercury News

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Worst Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Classification- Conservative Mid-Tier Quarterback With All The Tools To Be Better

Overall Grade- 67.2616

Due to his tendency to check the ball down and be conservative, Derek Carr is a player that is always rumored to be on the verge of being replaced, and that mostly comes from the media not seeing him as a viable quarterback. Yet, I find that mostly prosperous. You can’t teach a quarterback to be as accurate as Carr, and when he does throw the ball down the field, he’s very efficient. Sure, he needs to be more aggressive, but with speedster Henry Ruggs III in the mix, perhaps he can be coaxed to throw the ball vertically. If that’s the case, he can produce like a top-ten quarterback.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#13: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

mayfield
Photo Cred: businessinsider.com

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Classification- Mid-Tier Quarterback Who Can Produce Like a Top-Ten QB

Overall Grade- 66.786385

Heading into last season, this ranking may have been too low for Baker Mayfield, who was coming off of an excellent rookie season. Despite being a popular pick to win MVP, however, he crumbled in his second season, as the Browns went from a hyped-up team to a bottom-ten team. As a result, people have suddenly sold their stock on Mayfield, which is a mistake. There are serious concerns with him, as his adjusted completion percentage, turnovers, and performance from a clean pocket or on non play-action plays are all on the low end. Yet, he has a knack for producing chunk plays, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t in a favorable scheme next season. With a much better play-caller in new head coach Kevin Stefanski, a revamped offensive line, and some nice weapons to throw to, I’m very excited to see if Mayfield can get back on track this upcoming season.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#14: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

jimmyg
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Best Stat(s)- Deep Passer Rating, Adjusted Completion Percentage

Worst Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Classification- Conservative Mid-Tier Quarterback With All The Tools To Be Better

Overall Grade- 64.091

Speaking of quarterbacks who are criticized more than they should be, many were calling for the 49ers to replace Jimmy Garoppolo, despite the fact that they were coming off of a Super Bowl appearance. Luckily for 49er fans, the front office didn’t cave into those foolish demands. He certainly isn’t a world-beater, but he ranked in the 72nd percentile in seven of the eight statistics, and is a great fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Now, the one statistic that is well-below-average happens to be big time throws, which is far from ideal, but with his efficiency throwing down the field, I don’t see why he can’t create more big plays if needed to; he’s not asked to do so in the 49ers offense. He’s not a perfect quarterback, but he’s someone I’d trust to help me compete for a Super Bowl, which San Francisco rightfully has decided to continue to do.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#15: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

dak
Photo Cred: NBC News

Best Stat(s)- Deep Passer Rating

Worst Stat(s)- Big Time Throws, Pressure Rate

Classification- Mid-Tier Quarterback Who Can Produce Like a Top-Ten QB

Overall Grade- 63.858

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak Prescott was the second most-valuable quarterback. Simply put, he’s in a fantastic position to succeed with an innovative offensive mind in Kellen Moore, an excellent offensive line, and a talented receiving core that just added a superstar receiving prospect in CeeDee Lamb. For the sake of evaluating Prescott, which is critical as he’s trying to get a massive payday, let’s look at his production outside of the scheme and supporting cast. For the most, he isn’t weak in any statistics, and has been a very efficient throwing the football. In fact, he greatly improved his pressure rate last season, and with a more opened-up offense this season, will likely produce more chunk plays. Given how hard it is to even find a tier-3 quarterback, I’d probably pay Prescott and deal with it. Yet, you can’t help but wonder how much of his success is predicated on the situation he’s in, and hopefully, for his sake, Dallas can continue to support him even when he’s making top-of-the-market quarterback money.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#16: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

wentz
Photo Cred: inforum

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Deep Passer Rating, Turnover Worthy Plays

Classification- Mid-Tier Quarterback Who Can Produce Like a Top-Ten QB

Overall Grade- 61.5491

Had Carson Wentz not missed the final month of the 2017 season, he would’ve likely been the MVP, which speaks to this entire tier of players- they can be elite producers in the right situation, and Wentz had that with a great offensive line and skill position talent. However, he hasn’t had quite as much success in recent years, and a lot of that may have to do with the lack of talent around him- the Eagles’ receiving core was decimated with injuries last season. Still, it’s clear that he still has all the tools to succeed, and it’ll be interesting to see how the addition of TCU receiver Jalen Reagor helps him; he wasn’t an effective vertical passer last season. Wentz takes a lot of risks and has a fumbling problem, which are my main issues with him, but teams would love to have a quarterback with the tools to make the type of plays he can. He hasn’t developed like he wasn’t supposed to, but he’s in the same boat as Prescott, Mayfield, and others as a player who can easily be a top-ten quarterback in any given season.

Verdict: Ranked Slightly Low

#17: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

fitzpatrick
Photo Cred: The Phinsider

Best Stat(s)- Deep Passer Rating

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate, Turnover-Worthy Plays

Classification- Underrated Mid-Tier Starter With Big-Play Ability

Overall Grade- 60.7816

Do you believe in Fitzmagic? He’s become a bit of a meme with his personality and play style, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has quietly produced at a high level over the past two seasons, despite being in an awful situation with the Dolphins. Yet, the 37-year-old continues to throw the ball effectively down the field and generate big plays, which is due in large part to his fearless mentality. Now, he’s always going to be a bit careless with the football and holds onto the ball a bit too long, but I’ve never seen a quarterback perform under pressure like he’s been able to, and he’s the perfect quarterback to succeed with a suboptimal supporting cast. Tua Tagovailoa is the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future, but if I’m in charge, Fitzpatrick is the quarterback I’m starting next season.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#18: Phillip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts

riverscolts
Photo Cred: colts.com

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws, Adjusted Completion Percentage, PFF Grade

Worst Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays

Classification- Mid-Tier Starter With Big-Play Ability

Overall Grade- 60.181

Considered a consensus top-ten quarterback heading into the season, Phillip Rivers was expected to lead the Chargers on another playoff run in 2019. Yet, the opposite happened, as the team finished last in the AFC West, and now, he finds himself as a member of the Colts. It’s just a one-year deal worth $25 million, and in the end, it should work out tremendously for all sides. Rivers is still an accurate quarterback capable of producing big plays, but his play style didn’t mesh well behind a putrid offensive line. He won’t have to worry about that in Indianapolis, and if head coach Frank Reich can get him to tone down on his turnover-worthy plays, he can easily produce like the quarterback he was expected to be in 2019. I don’t know what the future holds for Rivers, but I’m confident he’ll outperform this ranking in 2020.

Verdict: Ranked Slightly Low

#19: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

mattryan
Photo Cred: ESPN.com

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage, PFF Grade, Non-Play Action 

Worst Stat(s)- Pressure Rate

Classification- Mid-Tier Quarterback Who Can Produce Like a Top-Ten QB

Overall Grade- 59.5412

Throughout his entire career, Matt Ryan has always been an above-average starter for the Falcons, but never has quite elevated the talent around. In fact, he’s been roughly the same quarterback for the entirety of his career, even in his MVP season- his revamped production was more about the scheme and surround cast he had that year. Along the same lines, we’ve seen his overall numbers decrease in a worse situation, which accurately reflects him as a player. He’s accurate and doesn’t have any fatal flaws, but he hasn’t really produced big plays, nor has he done a proper job taking care of the football. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s offensive line has been a focal point of criticism in recent years, but Ryan’s 26th percentile rank in pressure rate is a major reason why he faces so much pressure; play under pressure is super unstable, so you want to avoid those situations at all costs. The 34-year-old Ryan has shown throughout his career that he has the talent to produce at an elite level in every year. Yet, he’s the epitome of the mid-tier quarterback, and if I were the Falcons, I would seriously consider the idea of adding some youth to the quarterback room at some point.

Verdict: Ranked Slightly Low

TIER 4

#20: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

ryantannehilltitans
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays

Classification- Mid-Tier Starter With Big-Play Ability

Overall Grade- 57.8247

Has any quarterback’s situation changed more in one year than Ryan Tannehill? After being traded by the Dolphins last offseason, he was expected to be Marcus Mariota’s backup. Instead, he took over in Week 7, and ultimately led the Titans to the AFC Championship game. So, is Tannehill the real deal? Tennessee is certainly hoping he is, as they signed him to a massive four-year extension this offseason, but in the end, they’re probably getting a mid-tier quarterback. The 31-year-old quarterback’s big-play ability is tailor-made for Tennessee’s offense, which utilizes a lot of play-action downfield passes, but at the same time, he tends to be careless with the football and was one of the league’s worst quarterbacks just a season ago. In fact, the idea that a new scheme and better receivers helped him so much proves that he is a mid-tier quarterback.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#21: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

jaredgoff
Photo Cred: CBSSports.com

Best Stat(s)- Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays, Deep Passer Rating

Classification- Mid-Tier Starter With Big-Play Ability

Overall Grade- 56.9925

A common theme with mid-tier starters is that their production is heavily reliant on the talent around them, and Jared Goff is a prime example of this. His terrific overall statistics in 2017 and 2018 led to him signing a massive $136 million extension, and one year later, Los Angeles may be regretting that move. The team’s offensive line was far worse in 2019, while receiver Brandin Cooks struggled to stay healthy. Naturally, Goff regressed tremendously, and his play style certainly doesn’t mesh behind a poor offensive line. Despite his tools, he hasn’t been an effective vertical passer, and his turnover-worthy plays, especially with fumbles, have been an issue. Considering that the Rams didn’t add a single offensive lineman this offseason, it’s safe to say I’m not overly optimistic in a bounce-back season from Goff, who just a year ago was considered a rising star.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately 

#22: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals Football
Photo Cred: The Denver Post

Best Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays

Worst Stat(s)- PFF Grade

Classification- Ascending Young Player Who Could Become a Tier 1/Tier 2 QB

Overall Grade- 55.157245

Heading into the 2019 draft, the Cardinals were facing a cross-roads. They had traded up to select Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick, but he never figured to be more than a mid-tier starter at his peak. Therefore, Arizona did what several other teams often don’t do, and did not settle at the quarterback position. With his athleticism, accuracy, play extension, and arm talent, Kyler Murray has all the skills in the world to be a top-tier quarterback soon, even if his rookie year wasn’t quite as spectacular as planned. Yet, I’m still encouraged by Murray’s progression. He didn’t produce enough chunk plays, but he did do a great job at taking care of the football and getting the ball out quickly, which are two statistics that don’t have a lot variation year-to-year. With better talent around him, which he’ll have this year with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins on board, I’ll expect him to be even more dynamic and be a big-play machine; Murray is legitimately an MVP candidate.

Verdict: Ranked Too Low

#23: Sam Darnold, New York Jets

samdarnold
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Best Stat(s)- Pressure Rate, Big Time Throws

Worst Stat(s)- PFF Grade, Deep Passer Rating

Classification- Young Quarterback Who Needs To Be Supported Better

Overall Grade- 53.005365

When you’re bringing in a young quarterback, it’s always important to have a plan to put the surrounding cast around them necessary for him to progress. That hasn’t been in the case for the Jets, who traded three second-round picks to move up for Sam Darnold, but still don’t have a read whatsoever if he can be their franchise quarterback. Even after drafting receiver Denzel Mims and upgrading the offensive line, I’m not sure his situation will be ideal enough. So, can Darnold elevate the players around him? To his credit, the 22-year-old has done a terrific job producing big plays and controlling his pressure rate. Unfortunately, he hasn’t performed well in any of the following situations: deep passing, clean pocket, non-play-action passes. His ratio between big time throws and turnover-worthy plays is adequate, but in the future, Darnold just needs to be more consistent. Hopefully, that can happen this season.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

#24: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

tuaphins
Photo Cred: Sun Sentinel

Best Stat(s)- Adjusted Completion Percentage

Worst Stat(s)- Turnover-Worthy Plays

Classification- Young Quarterback With Tier 2 Potential

Overall Grade- 50

When the Dolphins tore down their roster last offseason, it was declared by the media that they were tanking for Tua Tagovailoa. Yet, they won enough games to finish with the 5th overall pick, which hurt their chances of landing Tagovailoa. However, in the end, they were able to select the Alabama quarterback. His injury concerns are a legitimate concern, but between his accuracy, poise, and big-play ability, Tagovailoa was clearly worth a top-five pick, as those traits give him tier-two potential. He needs to be more consistent with his decision making and must learn to get off his first read, but those aren’t major flaws and are very coachable. Now, I wouldn’t start Tagovailoa, especially with his injury issues, behind such a putrid offensive line and with subpar receivers. Still, in a few years, I think he can be challenging for a spot as a top-ten quarterback, and Miami should be thrilled that they were able to select him.

Verdict: Ranked Appropriately

The rest of these quarterbacks are either low-end starters or high-end backups. If any of these quarterbacks are starting for your team, the front office needs to actively be looking for a long-term replacement.

#25: Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 48.925696)

At the moment, Teddy Bridgewater is a conservative game manager. However, he showed some flashes of aggression and effective deep passing at the end of his five-game stint with the Saints, and could easily be a true mid-tier starter.

#26: Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 48.62352941)

Taylor has been criticized a lot, but he’s a pretty stable game manager. His posted solid Pro Football Focus grades, but must learn to control his pressure rate better and isn’t very accurate.

#27: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 48.074741)

We all love Gardner Minshew, but there’s a reason he was a sixth-round pick. He’s a much more effective deep passer than you’d expect, but his impact accuracy, pocket presence, and big-play ability are all underwhelming.

#28: Nick Foles, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 46.7924)

Minshew replaced Foles in Jacksonville last season, which was quite the turnaround for a former Super Bowl MVP who just signed an $88 million contract. He’s the type of volatile quarterback who can be productive in small samples, but there’s nothing he does really well.

#29: Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 43.082)

Mariota was brought in to provide competition for Derek Carr, hoping to do to Carr what Ryan Tannehill did to him. The former second overall pick is a very conservative player who is very hesitant through his progression; if the Raiders are going to get the most out of him, they’re going to have to get him to be significantly more aggressive.

#30: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 41.1671)

Andy Dalton’s time with the Bengals has come to an end, but at his peak, he was a very serviceable mid-tier quarterback. He can still be a stable option for a team, but he’s coming off a disastrous season and doesn’t do anything particularly well besides making quick decisions.

#31: Jake Fromm, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 40.5)

In the draft, teams can become so tantalized with athletic tools, that they forget what matters most at the quarterback position. Jake Fromm isn’t a world-beater, but he is a quick decision-maker with tremendous pocket presence, and if his accuracy rebounds, he’ll prove a lot of NFL teams wrong. He’s actually the best quarterback on the Bills’ roster.

#32: Blake Bortles, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 40.45009804)

Blake Bortles is a highly scrutinized quarterback, due to his struggles in Jacksonville after being the third overall pick. Still, his big time throw/turnover-worthy play ratio is actually solid, and he should be signed as a backup quarterback.

#33: Joe Flacco, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 38.4704)

Flacco won’t be a starting quarterback again, but with his accuracy, he’s an effective backup quarterback. He simply just takes too many sacks and is a check-down machine.

34: Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 35.6545156)

Winston has the talent to easily exceed this part of the list. However, when you rank in the 1st percentile in turnover-worthy plays, 10th percentile in adjusted completion percentage, and don’t produce enough big plays, how high can you rank? Here’s hoping that he can rediscover him college form in New Orleans.

#35: Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 35.643806)

It’s important to remember that this system is ranking the quarterbacks right now, so a player like Daniel Jones could easily improve over time. However, between his turnovers and utter lack of pocket presence, I personally don’t see him as a franchise quarterback.

#36: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 34.7561)

Trubisky’s struggles are well documented. He can’t get past his first read, and is as indecisive as it gets. It’s a shame that his athletic tools will never turn into a franchise quarterback, and Chicago needs to officially move on at some point.

#37: Cam Newton, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 34.4384)

Once upon a time, Cam Newton was a very talented mid-tier starter, even though his MVP season was an outlier. At this point, however, he neither produces big plays or takes care of the football, and that’s without taking into account his recent injuries.

#38: Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 32.413196)

Similarly to Jones, Haskins could prove to be a franchise quarterback. However, his accuracy, deep passing, performance from a clean pocket, and big time throw rate were all absurdly poor last season. Plus, unlike Jones, the Redskins did nothing this offseason to support him.

#39: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 28.7344)

Some saw Brissett as the Colts’ long-term answer at quarterback following the retirement of Andrew Luck, but that was never going to happen. He takes too many sacks, doesn’t produce chunk plays, and offers very little in the vertical passing game.

#40: Case Keenum, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 28.5395)

Case Keenum’s 2017 season with the Vikings earned him a nice contract from the Broncos, but he’s always been a backup, albeit one with the accuracy to succeed in that role. He’ll be a nice backup for Baker Mayfield in head coach Kevin Stefanski’s scheme in Cleveland.

#41: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 26.59965)

This is probably the most controversial ranking that this system provided, but it makes sense. Josh Allen may be the least accurate quarterback in the NFL, is careless with the football, takes too many sacks, and doesn’t perform well: from a clean pocket, throwing down the field, and on non-play-action passes. The Bills have a great roster, but Allen is a massive liability.

#42: Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 26.441)

Mullens is a very similar player to Keenum, as he’s an effective backup in a “Shanahan” still scheme. He was very accurate and took care of the football well when he had to star under center for the 49ers in 2018.

#43: Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 21.818115)

I tend to be somewhat of a believer in Drew Lock, but there’s a reason he wasn’t a first-round pick. Though many saw his five-game debut as a success, he didn’t produce big plays or take care of the football, and his only above-average statistic was his passer rating from a clean pocket. By drafting receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, he has enough explosive playmakers to succeed. I’m skeptical that happens, however.

#44: Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 21.5)

Whoever drafted Jordan Love in the 2020 draft was going to have to sit him for a year or two. His arm strength, pocket presence, and play extension are all intriguing, but for him to be a franchise quarterback, he needs to clean up his decision making and be the accurate quarterback that he’s shown he can be. He lands in a good spot in Green Bay, where he can sit behind Aaron Rodgers, though he’s a strange fit in Matt LeFleur’s offensive scheme.

#45: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 21.4)

Herbert is the standard tall quarterback with arm talent and athleticism, but unlike Love, I don’t think he can develop into a franchise quarterback. He simply can’t go through progressions, doesn’t actually use his tools, and is far too inconsistent and unreliable; he reminds me way too much of Mitch Trubisky, and his ceiling is that of Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff.

#46: Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 21.4671)

It’s a shame that Josh Rosen has ended up in two awful situations, as there’s no reason why he couldn’t have turned into a mid-tier quarterback. Unfortunately, his development has been damaged, and he ranks in the second percentile or lower in: adjusted completion percentage, Pro Football Focus grade, and passer rating from a clean pocket.

#47: Kyle Allen, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 18.665)

It’s unbelievable that some thought Kyle Allen was the Panthers’ franchise quarterback last season. He ranked in the 0th percentile in turnover-worthy plays last season, and I don’t see what he brings to the table at all; I’m not sure the Redskins should even be confident in him as a backup.

#48: Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: N/A, Very Low)

The Patriots can say that they believe in Jarrett Stidham to replace Tom Brady, but do we really believe that to be the case? In my opinion, Bill Belichick is clearly positioning them to be in the sweepstakes for the top quarterbacks in the 2021 draft.

 

 

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