32. DeShone Kizer - Cleveland Browns
2017 stats: 255-for-476 (53.6%), 11 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 77 carries, 419 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns
0-16 automatically places you last on this list. Following in the footsteps of greats such as Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, Johnny Manziel, Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden (and that’s just over the past few years), the second round pick out of Notre Dame performed similarly to his predecessors in his rookie year. Kizer is a good athlete offering the potential to be a starter in the league, but has plenty of room for improvement. He has prototypical size at 6’4” and 234 pounds, but needs to improve his decision-making and accuracy as a passer if he’s to experience any success in the NFL. With Cleveland holding the No. 1 pick thanks to the second 0-16 season in NFL history, Kizer seems unlikely to be Cleveland’s Week 1 starter in 2018.
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31. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs
2017 stats: 22-for-35 (62.9%), 284 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception
Apparently one regular season game was enough for the Chiefs to determine Patrick Mahomes was ready to be Kansas City’s starting quarterback. The Chiefs traded away Alex Smith, clearing the way for the Texas Tech alum to inject some life in a stagnant Kansas City franchise. A gunslinger in college, Mahomes frequently showed off a ridiculously strong arm and enough mobility to make pass rushers miss. If Mahomes adjusts to the NFL as quick as Deshaun Watson did, the trade by Kansas City will look brilliant. If he plays more like the aforementioned Kizer, the seat is going to get awfully hot for Andy Reid.
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30. Trevor Siemian? - Denver Broncos
2017 stats: 206-for-349 (59.0%), 2,285 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
The question mark following “Siemian” wasn’t an accident. There isn’t a messier quarterback situation right now than Denver’s. Paxton Lynch appears incapable of completing 5-yard passes, the Brock Osweiler reunion in 2017 went as poorly as everyone anticipated, and Siemian threw more interceptions than touchdowns while looking lost as a starter. We can expect John Elway and the Broncos to be big players in free agency (Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford) and/or the 2018 draft (5th overall pick), but for now, we’ll call Siemian Denver’s starter.
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29. Blaine Gabbert - Arizona Cardinals
2017 stats: 95-for-171 (55.6%), 1,086 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
With Carson Palmer announcing his retirement, the Arizona quarterback gig is as wide open of a race as any. The league-wide expectation is for them to select a quarterback in this year’s draft, but sitting with the 15th pick, the top signal callers will likely be off the board. Barring a trade up or a free agent signing, Blaine Gabbert looks poised to be the Cardinals’ Week 1 starter. The former first-round pick won’t wow you in any area, but at 6’4” and 235 pounds with good mobility, Gabbert has the tools to be a legitimate NFL quarterback.
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28. Mitch Trubisky - Chicago Bears
2017 stats: 196-for-330 (59.4%), 2,193 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 41 carries, 248 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
The Jay Cutler era officially ended in 2016, and the Mike Glennon era didn’t last for much of 2017. Rookie Mitch Trubisky has already taken the reins, leading Chicago to a 4-8 record in the 12 games he started. Chicago’s ridiculously conservative run-first (and run always) offense has many wondering if Trubisky will ever develop into an above-average passer in the NFL. It’s still way too early to draw any conclusions, as Bears fans are hoping the new coaching staff can unlock a Jared Goff-like leap for Trubisky in his second year.
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27. Josh McCown - New York Jets
2017 stats: 267-for-397 (67.3%), 2,926 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
It’s safe to say Josh McCown and the Jets were one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 season. Not only did many think the Jets would go 0-16, but McCown was expected to be nothing more than a body to help guide New York to the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft. Instead, the 38-year-old completed 67.3% of his passes and guided the Jets to a 5-8 record in games he suited up for. He doesn’t possess elite arm strength or accuracy and obviously isn’t the long-term solution for New York, but as the organization bides its time trying to find its franchise quarterback, he has proven to be more than capable of putting his team in a position to win.
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26. Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
2017 stats: 352-for-549 (64.1%), 3,141 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Many might be surprised to see a former Super Bowl Champion rank so poorly on this list, but based on Flacco’s stats since winning Super Bowl XLVII, this ranking might actually be a little generous. Flacco’s arm strength isn’t what it once was, and he has struggled to connect on the deep ball that is pivotal to his game. While Flacco did manage to play in all 16 games in 2016 and 2017 after having his 2015 season cut short due to a torn ACL and MCL, the man responsible for a $24.75 million cap hit in 2018 is not living up to his hefty contract. To make matters worse, at 33 years old, Flacco isn't exactly at the age where we expect to see improvement.
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25. Eli Manning - New York Giants
2017 stats: 352-for-571 (61.6%), 3,468 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
2017 was a rough year for Eli and the New York Giants. Expected by many to be the most explosive offense in the league with the wide receiver trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, the first two combined to play a total of nine games. Without playmakers, Manning simply doesn’t have the ability to mask his team’s deficiencies. His questionable decision making and inability to evade pass rushers leaves him as a below average quarterback in today’s league. At 37 years old with an arm starting to deteriorate and the Giants holding the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, it remains to be seen if he will be New York’s Week 1 starter in 2018.
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24. Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins
2016 stats: 261-for-389 (67.1%), 2,995 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Dolphin fans have to be happy not to see Jay Cutler’s name listed here. A freak Ryan Tannehill injury in practice brought Cutler out of retirement to start 14 games for Miami in 2017, but the results weren’t too exciting. With Tannehill expected to make a full return from his ACL tear, he should be Miami’s starter in Week 1. We know he isn’t in the elite tier of NFL signal callers, but he is solid. Possessing good athleticism for the position, Tannehill can extend plays and does a good job avoiding forced throws (the same can’t be said of Cutler). He doesn’t have the strongest or most accurate arm, but he is an above-average game manager capable of leading this Dolphins team to the postseason.
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23. Blake Bortles - Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 stats: 315-for-523 (60.2%), 3,687 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 57 carries, 322 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
What a year for Blake Bortles. After initially losing the Week 1 starting gig to Chad Henne in the preseason before taking it back, Bortles led his Jacksonville squad all the way to the AFC Championship Game. With four seasons under his belt, we have learned Bortles isn’t going to be the gunslinger who throws 45+ times and leads his team to shootout victories. However, he is more than capable of making defenses pay when they stack the box, or using his underrated mobility to evade the pass rush. Backed by a ferocious defense and a strong rushing attack, Bortles is a serviceable NFL quarterback capable of helping his team win games.
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22. Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals
2017 stats: 297-for-496 (59.9%), 3,320 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
The jury is still out on where Andy Dalton should be on this list. Even though he has been in the league for seven years, Dalton’s biggest criticism remains his 0-4 postseason record. Dalton’s combination of athleticism, toughness and excellent touch make him an average quarterback in today’s league. However, he has a tendency to hold the ball too long, and with A.J. Green, John Ross, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert to throw to, his stats should certainly be more impressive. Plus, the past two seasons have yielded zero postseason appearances, and Dalton needs to be held at least partially responsible.
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21. Case Keenum - Minnesota Vikings
2017 stats: 325-for-481 (67.6%), 3,547 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Of the many teams with messy quarterback situations, Minnesota is the most well-prepared to win. The Vikings boasted the three-headed monster of Case Keenum-Teddy Bridgewater-Sam Bradford (not a very scary monster) in 2017, but all three are unrestricted free agents this offseason. For the time being, we’ll assume they retain Keenum, who led them to the NFC Championship Game and gained momentum as a surprise MVP contender by season’s end. The 5-year veteran isn’t a gunslinger, but he is an accurate passer capable of leading a conservative offense. In other words, he’s a perfect fit for the Vikings’ vanilla offensive scheme.
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20. Tyrod Taylor - Buffalo Bills
2017 stats: 263-for-420 (62.6%), 2,799 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 84 carries, 427 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns
After surprisingly winning the Bills’ starting job in 2015, Taylor has spent the past three seasons proving he belongs in the NFL. Unable to get Buffalo over the postseason hump to end the franchise’s 17-year playoff drought in his first two seasons, the third time was the charm for Taylor and the Bills. As a dual-threat quarterback who has long been considered more dangerous as a runner than a passer, Taylor continues to prove he can make defenses pay with his arm. Playing alongside stud running back LeSean McCoy and backed by a strong defense, Taylor has found the perfect situation to maximize his abilities.
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19. Jameis Winston - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2017 stats: 282-for-442 (63.8%), 3,504 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 33 carries, 135 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Eh. That’s the best way to describe Winston’s third season. After a stellar rookie season in which he threw for over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns and a sophomore season with 28 touchdown passes, Winston’s third year was underwhelming. Winston battled through a shoulder injury all season, but only tossed 19 touchdowns in 13 games. He has the physical tools and arm strength to make every play, but his poor decision-making often puts his team in precarious situations (21 total turnovers in 2017). At only 24 years of age, Winston has the chance to one day be an elite quarterback in this league, but he’s nowhere near that tier right now.
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18. Marcus Mariota - Tennessee Titans
2017 stats: 281-for-453 (62.0%), 3,232 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 60 carries, 312 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns
In complete contrast to the aforementioned Winston, Mariota is a passer who prides himself on his ability to protect the football. Following a disappointing rookie season cut short due to an MCL sprain, Mariota made a concerted effort to take fewer hits in 2016. Through the first 15 weeks, the effort produced sensational results, but Mariota suffered an extremely unfortunate fractured right fibula in Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2017, Mariota was his usual efficient self in a conservative, run-first Titans offense. When Tennessee finally decides to unleash Mariota, he has a chance to be the best dual-threat signal caller in the league.
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17. Jared Goff - Los Angeles Rams
2017 stats: 296-for-477 (62.1%), 3,804 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
What a difference a year and a new head coach makes. After a dismal rookie season in which everyone was ready to anoint Jared Goff as the biggest bust since JaMarcus Russell, new head coach Sean McVay revamped the offense and has the Rams’ signal caller looking like an entirely new player. In fact, he looks like the player the Rams were expecting when they took him first overall in the 2016 draft. Goff doesn’t have the strongest arm in the league, but his pin-point accuracy and underrated mobility offers Rams fans a reason to be optimistic moving forward.
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16. Deshaun Watson - Houston Texans
2017 stats: 126-for-204 (61.8%), 1,699 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 36 carries, 269 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
With Brock Osweiler jettisoned out of Houston and Tom Savage proving himself to be a stop-gap for two full quarters, the Texans are officially Deshaun Watson's team. Drafted No. 12 overall in the 2017 Draft, there was never a doubt that Houston viewed him as the option of the future - it was just surprising to see Bill O'Brien pull the plug on Savage so soon. Upon taking over, all Watson did was toss 19 touchdowns and run for 2 more in a total of seven games. An unfortunate ACL injury forced him to miss the rest of the season, but suffice to say that Texans fans are very excited to have him back in 2018.
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15. Alex Smith - Washington Redskins
2017 stats: 341-for-505 (67.5%), 4,042 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 60 carries, 355 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Washington has finally figured out its long-term answer at quarterback, and it’s far from what anyone expected. After franchise tagging Kirk Cousins the past two seasons and looking poised to make him the highest paid quarterback in NFL history, Washington acquired Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs and inked him to a four-year, $94 million deal instead. Smith isn’t the flashiest quarterback by any means, as he is an expert at protecting the ball, and never puts his defense in a difficult position. While he could never get over the hump in Kansas City, Washington is banking on Smith being dynamic enough to have this franchise competing for a Lombardi Trophy.
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14. Jimmy Garoppolo - San Francisco 49ers
2017 stats: 120-for-178 (67.4%), 1,560 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Few teams are entering the 2018 season more excited about the team’s future than the San Francisco 49ers. The biggest reason why? Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s a small sample size, but in five starts with the 49ers, Garoppolo carried a 1-10 team to five straight victories to finish 2017 with a 6-10 record. Showing great poise in the pocket, excellent arm strength, a high football IQ and the clutch gene teams so desperately covet, Garoppolo looks to be the real deal. However, it remains to be seen how Garoppolo performs in 2018 after defensive coordinators have an entire offseason to game-plan against him. Regardless, for the time being, San Francisco looks to have fleeced New England in only giving up a 2018 second-round pick in this trade.
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13. Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys
2017 stats: 308-for-490 (62.9%), 3,324 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 57 carries, 357 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns
It’s safe to say no one expected Dak Prescott to emerge from the 2016 season as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. But after a ridiculously efficient 23 touchdown, 4 interception campaign his rookie year, Prescott came back to Earth a bit in his second season. His numbers across the board dropped, and Dallas came up just short of reaching the postseason. He isn’t the most accurate passer, and clearly benefits from playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football. However, his uncanny pocket presence, ability to extend plays with his legs and strong arm make him an above-average quarterback in this league.
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12. Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers
2017 stats: 291-for-492 (59.1%), 3,302 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 139 carries, 754 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns
After an incredible 2015 season in which he won the MVP award, led Carolina to a 15-1 regular season, and came one victory short of the franchise’s first ever Lombardi Trophy, 2016 was a disaster. For Newton, 2017 was pretty much the average between those two extremes. He helped lead the Panthers to the postseason, but only accounted for 28 touchdowns (he had 45 his MVP season) and also turned the ball over 19 times. Built like a linebacker, Newton still has the talent to be the best player on the field at any given time. However, he is no longer capable of taking the punishment he absorbed early in his career, meaning he must improve as a passer to remain among the upper-echelon of quarterbacks.
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11. Derek Carr - Oakland Raiders
2017 stats: 323-for-515 (62.7%), 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
The hype train was in full swing for Derek Carr in 2016. Putting together an MVP-worthy season while helping guide the Raiders to the postseason, all momentum was halted when he broke his fibula in Week 16, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Returning in 2017, Carr struggled to find similar success. A 6-10 season resulted in Jack Del Rio leaving, and Jon Gruden coming in. Expectations will be high for the second-highest paid quarterback in the league, and Gruden is well known for being extremely hard on signal callers. Carr has the arm and the IQ to thrive, as 2018 will be a huge year for he and the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders.
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10. Philip Rivers - Los Angeles Chargers
2017 stats: 360-for-575 (62.6%), 4,515 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
He may not have the best looking passes, but Rivers continues to get the job done for the Los Angeles Chargers. Always at or near the top of the passing yards list despite throwing to a bunch of receivers who aren't exactly household names, Rivers has an uncanny ability to make the most out of nothing. Even though he offers zero mobility/athleticism, Rivers remains one of the premier pocket passers in the game.
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9. Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
2017 stats: N/A
After the horrific Scott Tolzien experiment lasted one whole week, the Colts went out and traded for Jacoby Brissett. The stop-gap until Andrew Luck’s return wasn’t exactly a franchise savior, but he was a huge improvement over the aforementioned Tolzien. While Brissett ensured himself a roster spot, there’s no doubt this remains Andrew Luck’s team. The former No. 1 overall pick’s mysterious shoulder injury is certainly troubling, but this ranking assumes he makes a full recovery. At 6’4” and 240 pounds with nimble feet, a strong arm capable of making every throw, and a high football IQ, Luck is one of the very best when on the field.
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8. Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
2017 stats: 342-for-529 (64.7%), 4,095 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Matt Ryan always had the talent to be elite, and put it all together in 2016 with his first career MVP award. Leading the extremely dynamic Falcons offense, Ryan posted career highs in yards (4,944), touchdowns (38), completion percentage (69.9) and QBR (83.1), while throwing a career-low 7 interceptions. Unfortunately for Falcons fans, Ryan reverted back to his 2008-2015 form in 2017. It may simply take time for Ryan to grow more comfortable in new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s system, as Ryan possesses deceptive athleticism, a quick release, pinpoint accuracy and a stellar deep ball. Entering 2018, Ryan will aim to recapture his 2016 magic.
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7. Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions
2017 stats: 371-for-565 (65.7%), 4,446 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
To the surprise of many, Matthew Stafford’s 2016 season - his first without future Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson - ended up being his most prolific. Then, after inking a deal in the 2017 offseason to make him the highest paid quarterback in football, he was even better. Posting a career high 99.3 Passer Rating, Stafford routinely put his team in a position to win. Stafford’s ability to complete short and intermediate throws acts as Detroit’s pseudo-ground game. If the Lions can figure out a way to generate any semblance of a rushing attack to take pressure off Stafford in 2018, they will be a playoff squad.
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6. Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 stats: 360-for-561 (64.2%), 4,251 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
One of four active quarterbacks who is a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ben Roethlisberger continues to perform at a high level. His propensity to hold the ball too long leads to him taking vicious shots, but it is also part of what makes him such a spectacular quarterback. After hinting at retirement before the 2017 season, Roethlisberger started the season slow. However, he rediscovered his groove down the stretch and all reports indicate he will be back for the 2018 season. With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown by his side, Roethlisberger has a tremendous opportunity to add a third Super Bowl title to his trophy case.
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5. Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks
2017 stats: 339-for-553 (61.3%), 3,983 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 95 carries, 586 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
The Seattle Seahawks struck gold when they selected Russell Wilson with the 75th pick in the 2012 draft. Many pointed to Wilson’s short stature as a potential roadblock to a successful NFL career, but after making the postseason each of his first five years in the league - including one Lombardi Trophy - it’s fair to say Wilson has gotten the last laugh. His ability to avoid sacks is second to none, and his rocket arm is extremely underrated. In 2017, the lack of a rushing attack placed an insurmountable burden on Wilson as the Seahawks missed the postseason for the first time in his career, but as long as he is at the helm, they will remain competitive.
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4. Carson Wentz - Philadelphia Eagles
2017 stats: 265-for-440 (60.2%), 3,296 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 64 carries, 299 rushing yards
Despite Nick Foles’ heroics in helping lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy, there’s no denying that this remains Carson Wentz’s team. Wentz was the MVP frontrunner before suffering a torn ACL in Week 14, and looks to be the best young quarterback in the league. At 6’5” and 237 pounds, he combines tremendous escapability with great arm strength and a high football IQ. While he is occasionally susceptible to trying to do too much, assuming he makes a full recovery from his ACL injury, Wentz is a lock to be a top 5 QB for the next decade.
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3. Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
2017 stats: 386-for-536 (72.0%), 4,334 passing yads, 23 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Now 39 years old, it doesn’t seem as if there’s anything that can slow Drew Brees down. The Saints quarterback hasn’t missed more than one game in a season since 2003, and has thrown at least 23 touchdown passes every year since then. Much like Philip Rivers, Brees is an expert at making the most of whatever receiving corps he has. In 2017, Brees posted the highest completion percentage (72.0%) for a single season in NFL history, and continues to solidify his case for his inevitable spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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2. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
2017 stats: 154-for-238 (64.7%), 1,675 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
The Packers can only go as far as their superstar quarterback can carry them, and in 2017, that wasn’t very far. A broken collarbone forced Rodgers to miss a key chunk of the season, resulting in the Packers missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. When on the field though, there’s no denying Rodgers’ greatness. With tremendous nimbleness in the pocket, incredible arm strength and unmatched accuracy, Rodgers is arguably the most physically gifted quarterback the sport has ever seen. Assuming he can stay on the field, the future Hall of Famer will have his Packers in the thick of the Super Bowl discussion in 2018.
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1. Tom Brady - New England Patriots
2017 stats: 385-for-581 (66.3%), 4,577 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
The comeback Brady orchestrated in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all-time. Sure, he and the Patriots came up short against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, but at 40 years old as the only 5-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in NFL history, Brady remains the best among his peers, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. His quick release, high football IQ, accuracy and unbelievable arm strength have helped build the greatest dynasty football has ever seen. Brady’s dominance keeps the Patriots firmly in the Super Bowl hunt every year, and 2018 will be no different.
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