Top 15 Quarterbacks in the NFL, Ranked
The quarterback is the most important position on the football field. Except for kicking plays, on any given down, the signal-callers dictate where the ball goes and controls what the outcome of a game will be.
What makes a good quarterback is their ability to win. This talent is based on their skill set and statistics to back them up.
These 15 signal-callers are the cream of the crop in today's NFL.
Note: All stats are through Dec. 10.
Honorable Mention: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
For the first time in a long time, something good is cooking in Cleveland. Thanks to Baker Mayfield, the Browns no longer stink and have a bright future.
The rookie quarterback has won at every stop of his football career since high school and brings a swagger — and wins — to an organization that has not had a winning season since 2007.
While Mayfield is not quite a league leader in stats (he ranks 21st in quarterback rating), he might be before long.
More importantly, the Browns have found a franchise player who can create a winning culture for the Dawg Pound.
#15: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson may not have a whole lot of experience, but the 23-year-old has the potential to become an elite player.
After leading Clemson to two national championship appearances, including a win during the 2016 season, the Houston Texans made him their first round pick (12th overall) in 2017. His rookie year was cut short due to an injury, but Watson showed he can be an effective starter in the NFL, throwing for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns in seven games with a 61.8 completion percentage.
Watson has picked up where he left off, leading the Texans to playoff contention in 2018. If he can improve his ball security, the sky's the limit.
#14: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
If it wasn’t for that pesky thing called aging, Ben Roethlisberger would rate higher. Though his skills are not what they once were, the 36-year-old still knows how to win. Roethlisberger has played his entire 15-year career with the historic Pittsburgh Steelers franchise, and he's never had a losing season.
After throwing for 4,251 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2017, he is on pace to eclipse those numbers in 2018 and lead the Steelers to another playoff berth.
Even though Father Time stops for no one in the NFL, Roethlisberger has some explosive weapons on his offense and is positioned to remain productive.
#13: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams were looking for a franchise quarterback in 2016, and they found one. After getting the first overall pick in the draft from a trade with the Tennessee Titans, the Rams took Jared Goff out of the University of California at Berkeley.
Following a rough rookie season — throwing more interceptions than touchdowns — he had an exceptional season in 2017 and proved that he was worth the No. 1 pick. In 2018, he has been even better. In two-plus seasons, he has thrown 60 touchdowns and 25 interceptions while completing 61.7 percent of his throws for 8,827 yards.
Those are the kind of numbers that can turn Super Bowl dreams into reality.
#12: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Entering 2018, Patrick Mahomes had more questions than expectations. Since taking over at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs from an established and consistent player in Alex Smith, Mahomes has done more than prove he is NFL ready.
Mahomes, nicknamed "Showtime," has turned the league into own personal video game, throwing for 4,584 yards at a 66.5 completion clip and scoring 43 touchdowns (41 passing, 2 rushing) while leading the Chiefs to the head of the AFC class.
If he keeps producing, Mahomes won't just be on top of the NFL quarterback chart. He will be on top of the world.
#11: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson might be higher on this list had the Seattle Seahawks kept their best receivers, but he seems to adapt to any situation thrown at him.
Although his completion numbers have dipped, he still is an accurate passer with some great mobility, which allows him to move around a lot more with the ball. He also has never thrown less than 3,000 yards in a season.
There’s a reason why Wilson is beloved in Seattle. He was the biggest reason why the Seahawks won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season, despite their great defense, and he remains super valuable to the city and franchise.
#10: Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Can you believe Phillip Rivers is 37? He still can sling the ball like he did when he entered the NFL out of North Carolina State in 2004.
Explosive offense has been a constant over his career. With great weapons like tight end Antonio Gates and Hall of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson, Rivers also has shown a unique ability to adapt with new players around him as he regularly throws for over 4,000 yards and at least 25 touchdowns.
In 2017, he threw for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 62.6. In 2018, he's already matched that passing touchdown total while completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards.
So much for an age decline.
#9: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
The 2018 season started slow for the Philadelphia Eagles, but Carson Wentz deserves a lot of credit for turning things around down the stretch.
While the third-year veteran out of North Dakota State, has not matched his 2017 campaign, which was on an MVP level before a season-ending injury, he is finding his rhythm again and continues to show glimpses of greatness.
He needs a few more games of sustained excellence to be among the elites. That could come sooner than later because Wentz is the complete package and fits head coach Doug Pederson’s offense like a glove.
#8: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Injuries have held Andrew Luck back, but he has all the skills to be the best quarterback in the NFL, especially with his cannon of an arm.
While the Colts struggle through another rebuild, Luck continues to post strong numbers and pad his resume. Remember, not too long ago, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft led Indianapolis to an AFC championship game appearance (infamously producing Deflategate) in the 2014 season.
That season, he threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns. Will he be able to match those numbers again? Don't count him out. He's already proven once he's a quarterback you can build around.
#7: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders struggled to find a quarterback when Rich Gannon retired after the 2004 season (although he only played in three games in 2004). From Kerry Collins to Terrelle Pryor, many signal-callers moved to the top of the depth chart. None lasted long.
The Raiders even drafted JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft, and he turned into one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
In 2014, the Silver and Black drafted Derek Carr, and he looked like the man to replace Gannon.
In 2016, Carr led them to the Raiders back to the postseason for the first time in 14 years, since they lost the Super Bowl in the 2002 season.
After a down year in 2017 — throwing for 3,496 yards and 22 touchdowns with a 62.7 completion percentage — Carr has endured a garbage dumpster fire in Jon Gruden's first season of his second Raiders act. Nevertheless, Carr has shown grit and posted respectable numbers.
At 27, he still has an opportunity to be an elite quarterback if he gets some offensive help and weapons. Of course, that's a big if with the Raiders at this point.
#6: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is a shoo-in Hall of Famer, yet it sure feels like he has been around for a long time. That's because he has. Still, after 18 years in the NFL, he remains an elite quarterback — one of the best ever.
Of course, always having an explosive offense helps, but his career took off after the 2005 season when he joined the New Orleans Saints. Since 2006, he has thrown for 4,000 or more yards 12 times in his career (the NFL record for the most consecutive 4,000 yard passing seasons), including five over 5,000 yards.
More than posting big numbers and breaking NFL records, Brees has the Saints playing at the highest level of the NFL, looking like a Super Bowl contender.
Not bad for a guy who turns 40 in 2019.
#5: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
When a legendary head coach like Mike Shanahan says you are a top 10 quarterback, you’re special. In 2012, the Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins in the fourth round out of Michigan State to be a backup for Robert Griffin III. Little did fans in Washington, D.C., know that Cousins would become the future while Griffin, the supposed savior of the franchise, became a thing of the past.
Cousins showed why he should have been a higher draft pick. After becoming the starter for the Redskins in 2015, putting up three straight seasons of 4,000 passing yards. That type of big-time production earned him a big payday from the Vikings.
With some offensive weapons in Minnesota, Cousins can continue to put big numbers — and perhaps even play in some big games in January and February.
#4: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford was a No. 1 overall pick for the Lions in 2009. Believe it or not, he has vaulted himself into the top five of NFL quarterback after his last three seasons, completing over 65 percent of his passes from 2015 to 2017.
That consistency continues. With his cannon of an arm and fast receivers, he has become a more complete passer as he enters the second half of his career.
If he continues on this same path, he might become the best in the league. Though his 2018 numbers will not match his 2017 stats (4,446 yards, 29 touchdowns), he is only 30, in the prime of his career, and still can get better.
#3: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
This ranking might be controversial because of Tom Brady's accomplishments,. But in terms of skill sets, he is diminishing. After all, he 41 years old. What makes Brady incredible is that he adapts to what his skills are now and who the new receivers are around him.
The New England Patriots have been the model of NFL success for a long time. Brady is synonymous with that success. While he may have lost a few miles on his fastball, he still is as accurate as they get and can rack up yards. His 2018 stats (3,700 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 65.6 completion rate) suggest he still has a few years in the tank, after a 2017 campaign (4,577 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, 66.3 completion percentage) that did the same.
Even more remarkable, his touchdown to interception ratio from 2014 to 2017 has been at 28 or more touchdowns with nine or less interceptions.
Enjoy every moment of this surefire Hall of Famer. Who knows when we'll see someone as great as Brady again.
#2: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Some people consider Matt Ryan overrated, but he has such great skills that he could become the best in the NFL once some other quarterbacks retire.
With his strong, accurate throwing arm, he is one of the most complete quarterbacks in the league. His career completion accuracy is 65.4.
He also has seven straight seasons of throwing 4,000 or more yards. He threw for 4,095 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2017, and he has been even better in 2018.
All he's missing is a Super Bowl ring.
#1: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers waited a while to take over for Brett Favre, but it was worth the wait as the Green Bay Packers replaced one Hall of Famer with another.
Year after year, Rodgers delivers elite numbers, but when you watch his tape, you really see why he is so great. He has great leadership skills, a great arm, and is accurate.
While Rodgers is coming off an injury in 2017, and the Packers may miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008, who else would you want under center running the two-minute drill in the fourth quarter?
Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, and he is only 34 years old. Plenty of time to cement his legacy.