While the 2021 NFL season is still a few months away, it’s never too early to look ahead. Fan bases will argue day and night about who has the better team. Instead of debating the entire roster, why not debate positions. In the first part of a 12 part series, I will rank all 32 team’s quarterback position. These rankings are a culmination of what the player has done over the entirety of their career, how they performed last season, and projecting how they will play this upcoming season.
Be sure to check out all of Moran’s NFL Positional Rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the NFL. Mahomes has all the physical tools one could ask for. He can throw the football from any arm angle. His arm strength is special. On top of it all, he has great mobility. It was on display in the Super Bowl, he played the game with a toe injury and was still tough to get down. The first three seasons he has started have been a blast to watch. In 2021, expect Mahomes to continue to dominate and lead the Chiefs to many victories.
2. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is coming off a special season. Rodgers showed he can still make incredible plays with his arm. If Rodgers plays for the Packers this season, they will have a chance to win every week. Currently, Rodgers is very frustrated with the front office. However, it does not seem they have any interest in moving him. A trade will be hard to facilitate. It will be interesting to see if Jordan Love is the Packers’ Week 1 starter in 2021 or 2022.
3. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen had an awesome 2020 season. He has always been incredibly gifted physically. His size is imposing in and out of the pocket. Allen is very capable as a runner. Arm strength has always been a great attribute for him. Last season, his accuracy greatly improved. It led to him being unstoppable most of the season. Offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll is returning which is great. The offensive line was kept together this offseason and the group as a whole will be healthier than they were a year ago. The group of wide receivers Allen has is arguably the best in football. In 2021, Allen should continue to play top-notch ball. Signing Mitchell Trubisky to be the backup was smart if Allen were to miss a short amount of time.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is now entering his 10th season as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback. He played great football the first half of last season. Wilson has incredible touch as a passer. As a runner, Wilson is hard to stop. Despite the fact he has vented some frustration with the organization this offseason, still expect Wilson to play at a high level. If so, he will give the Seahawks a chance to win every game.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What Tom Brady did for the Buccaneers last year was unreal. Brady is the ultimate winner. He is still capable of making great plays with his arm. The competitiveness Brady still has at this stage of his career differentiates him. The Buccaneers retained most of their team from last season. He will continue to lead and motivate his team. With Brady, the Buccaneers have a chance of winning the Super Bowl again this season.
6. Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson led the league in passing a year ago on an awful football team. Watson has shown the ability to be a great passer and runner. His current legal situation leads to an unknown status for him playing football moving forward. Either way, the chances of him playing for the Texans ever again seem slim. There is a good chance Tyrod Taylor is starting for the Texans this season. Regardless of their starting quarterback, the Texans look to be in for a long year.
7. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has had a great start to his career. Jackson is the best running quarterback in the NFL. He has shown some good things as a pocket passer with accuracy. Jackson throws a great deep ball. He is a very dynamic player. An improved group of wide receivers should help him attain more success as a passer. With Jackson, the Ravens should be a playoff team once again this season.
8. Dallas Cowboys
It will be exciting to see Dak Prescott back healthy for the Cowboys this season. He played arguably the best football of his career in the early part of last season before his injury. Expect Prescott to pick back up right where he left off. His top three wide receivers are potentially the best trio in the NFL. Prescott should make this passing attack fun to watch. In 2021, expect him to do his part and lead this offense to great success.
9. Los Angeles Chargers
Out of nowhere, Justin Herbert had a special rookie season. He was very fun to watch every week. Herbert has great size and natural arm talent. Last year, he proved he can make every throw. With an improved offensive line, Herbert could be even better in 2021. Having Herbert, the Chargers will be in most games with a chance to win. The team as a whole just has to do a better job of finishing games and they could make the playoffs.
10. Los Angeles Rams
It will be fun to see Sean McVay coach a dynamic talent in Matthew Stafford. Stafford has a special playmaking ability with his arm. In 2021, he should improve the Rams deep passing game which has been a weakness. Stafford joins a team that has great skill talent around him. The Rams should have a chance to win the Super Bowl if Stafford puts it all together.
11. Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill has had quite the turnaround the last year and a half with the Titans. Most weeks, he has done his part to help the team win. Last season, the Titans’ defense was terrible. This season, if the defense is better it should help Tannehill and the offense. Tannehill fits the philosophy the Titans have offensively. In the offseason, some offensive talent was lost along with the play-caller of the unit, Arthur Smith. However, the Titans’ offense still has enough talent. In 2021, Tannehill should continue to play close to the level he has.
12. Cleveland Browns
Two of the three seasons Baker Mayfield has had for the Browns have been the best the franchise has seen in a long time. He played some of his best football down the stretch last season. With more experience in the system led by Kevin Stefanski, his comfort should progress. A year ago, the Browns had a pretty complete offense around Mayfield. Most of that unit was already under contract for 2021. Mayfield should continue to lead the Browns to success and back to the playoffs this season.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray made improvements in his second season. He is one of the top running quarterbacks in the league. Murray does have to be more consistent as a passer. He is entering a pivotal season and not enough was done around him this offseason. There are multiple positions the Cardinals could have improved to help Murray take a big next step. However, Murray is a special athlete who should still play good ball.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan is still a respectable NFL quarterback. Ryan can make great throws. He will now be playing in a good offensive system under the new head coach, Smith. There is some unknown around Ryan, though. It seems likely star-wide receiver, Julio Jones will be traded soon. The Falcons defense could also struggle this season. In the end, the team may struggle but Ryan should still play at a good level this season.
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow had some great moments as a rookie in a tough situation. In the offseason, the offensive line could have been addressed more. On the other hand, the skill talent around Burrow looks very promising. Seeing Burrow reunited with Ja’Marr Chase will be very fun. In 2021, anticipate Burrow doing his part to keep the Bengals competitive in most games. He should take a step forward in his development as a franchise quarterback. It will be exciting to watch Burrow in his second year.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins has put up some great statistics over the last six years as a starter. Unfortunately for him, he has not had his team win consistently even when he has done his part. In 2021, hopefully, the defense can improve in any way possible. Cousins has a top running back and wide receiver tandem around him. It should be fun to watch with Cousins. Along with the defense improving, hopefully, the additions made to the offensive line in the draft help. Cousins is capable of making great throws. Expect him to continue at a similar level in 2021.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr played some of his best football in 2020. He did not get much help from the rest of his team, specifically on defense. Carr has always had great arm talent. Hopefully, the defense improves for him this year. Anticipate Carr doing his part for his team in 2021. If he does, expect the Raiders to be in the mix for the playoffs.
18. San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo enters a big season in 2021. He has struggled to remain healthy, which has been his biggest problem. If Garoppolo is on the field, the 49ers should be a playoff team. His best attribute as a player is his ability to win. When he has not been on the field, the 49ers have not won. Also, if the skill talent remains healthy it is capable of being great. Barring anything unforeseen, expect third overall pick Trey Lance to start in 2022.
19. Indianapolis Colts
Expect Carson Wentz to play better being reunited with Frank Reich. Wentz gets a fresh start that should benefit him. He has proven in the past he can do some great things. The Colts’ offensive line is one of the best in the league. Wentz has three good running backs at his disposal which will help. If Wentz can play consistently the Colts team is good enough to make the playoffs.
20. Washington Football Team
Ryan Fitzpatrick has played good football over the last few years for several teams. In a great situation with Washington, expect him to continue playing well. The team around Fitzpatrick is very talented. In particular, the group of wide receivers should be greatly improved. The defense should continue its dominance. If Fitzpatrick can limit mistakes, Washington should be in contention to win the NFC East again.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
All eyes will be on the rookie, first overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has incredible talent and potential moving forward. The situation around him looks good. The offensive line has some great players. The running backs and wide receivers are good enough and have the ability to make life easy for Lawrence. In 2021, expect Lawrence to lead the Jaguars to more wins and hope going into the future.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, he looked close to being done by the end of 2020. Heading into 2021, it feels similar to what Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers were going into their final seasons. Luckily for Roethlisberger, there is great skill talent around him that is young. There is an unknown at left tackle for the Steelers. It will be interesting to see what Roethlisberger does this season.
23. Detroit Lions
The Lions acquired Jared Goff through a blockbuster trade in the offseason. Goff did some great things with the Rams. Unfortunately, the last two seasons were too inconsistent. This season, he will have a great offensive line in front of him which will help. In 2021, expect Goff to play fine. If he can be more consistent Goff could rejuvenate his career at a pivotal point.
24. New Orleans Saints
It will be interesting to see how the Saints utilize Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Expect Winston to play many more snaps between the two. However, Hill should also get more playing time than he has in the past. Winston will show whether or not sitting behind Brees and under Sean Payton a year ago helped him. He just needs to cut back on turning the ball over.
25. New York Jets
Zach Wilson should be fun to watch in his rookie season. Wilson has great arm talent and can move well. His arm strength, accuracy, and ability to throw from different arm angles give him great potential. In 2021, expect Wilson to make exciting plays. This season, the Jets may not be a playoff team. However, if Wilson provides hope for the future that is most important. The talent surrounding Wilson looks very good.
26. New York Giants
Daniel Jones enters a big season with the Giants. His rookie year showed promise. However, last season was not good enough. This offseason, the Giants did a great job surrounding him with skill talent. Expect Jones to play his best football yet in year three. If he can be consistent, the rest of the Giants team is talented enough to make a playoff appearance.
27. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa is entering a big year. His rookie season was underwhelming. Tagovailoa does have great accuracy. The Dolphins upgraded the talent around him in the offseason. If Tagovailoa does not make strides this season, look for the Dolphins to move on. However, there is some hope with the talent Tagovailoa has. He has proven some great things in the past and has to put it all together this season.
28. Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold was acquired by the Panthers in the offseason through a trade. To this point, Darnold has shown potential but has not put it all together. Turnovers have been his biggest problem. Hopefully for Darnold, being in an offense led by Joe Brady with much better skill talent will help him execute better. The Panthers have a good football team. If Darnold can be the player most have thought he can be, the team can win a good amount of games.
29. Chicago Bears
As of now, it seems to be an unknown whether it will be Andy Dalton or Justin Fields starting Week 1 for the Bears. Dalton was signed in the offseason. He did some good things with the Cowboys last year. The Bears traded up to draft Fields in the first round. Fields has great arm strength, accuracy, and running ability. He is certainly the future. Whether it is Dalton or Fields, the Bears team as a whole has some unknowns. Do not expect them to make it back to the playoffs.
30. New England Patriots
Similar to the Bears, it will be a competition between Cam Newton and Mac Jones for the Patriots’ starting quarterback position. Newton has had a great career but has looked close to the end the last few years. Jones was drafted by the Patriots in the first round. He had great success in college as a pocket passer. He should be starting by the mid-way point of the season.
31. Denver Broncos
Third-year quarterback Drew Lock will be competing with veteran Teddy Bridgewater. Lock showed some great ability in his rookie year. Last season was not good though. Bridgewater is a respectable quarterback who should push Lock to be his best. This is it for Lock to put it all together. The rest of the Broncos team is ready to compete. Both of these quarterbacks could start for the Broncos at some point this season.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts had some good moments as a rookie. He should continue to have success as a runner. It will be interesting to see how he performs as a passer going into the season as the starter. The Eagles team looks like it will struggle this season. It is a tough situation for Hurts to be in. However, if he can make plays it will lead to optimism around him moving forward.
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