32. Desmond Ridder — Atlanta Falcons
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 102-of-156 passes, 1073 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT
Labeled the “most NFL ready” QB prospect in last year’s draft, Desmond Ridder responded well in his first taste of action. In four starts, Ridder connected on a pair of passing touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions. Ridder has a lot of the traits teams look for in a franchise QB — good athlete, quick processor, and accurate thrower. However, Ridder’s first full season as a starter hasn’t gone quite as swimmingly. The Falcons offense has struggled to move the ball through the air, and Ridder has done a poor job of getting the ball to his playmakers. He’ll need to channel some of the factors that made him successful at Cincinnati in order to find success at this level.
31. Zach Wilson — New York Jets
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 91-of-149 passes, 911 yards, 4 TD, 5 INT
The start to the Jets season could have not gone more poorly. Just four plays in, Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers ruptured his Achilles and will now miss the remainder of the season. It’s a crushing blow to a franchise that has been searching for an elite quarterback for decades. Now, the ball is turned back over to former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. Wilson has not lived up this draft spot in two years under center, and is plagued by issues of inaccuracy and poor decision making. Perhaps he can settle into a role of game-manager and allow the Jets defense to carry the team to wins — much like they did in Week 1 after Rodgers went down.
30. Bryce Young — Carolina Panthers
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 92-of-144 passes, 750 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
It’s unclear how late in the process Carolina zeroed in on Alabama QB Bryce Young. With a few options on the board, the Panthers opted for the diminutive playmaker who terrorized SEC defenses. While he’ll have to adjust his game to account for bigger, faster athletes, Young was the top QB on the board and one who could very well become a franchise cornerstone in Carolina. That being said, there was always a chance for some growing pains. Young has struggled out of the gates as a rookie — though some of that can be attributed to factors such as the team boasting arguably the league’s worst offensive line. Young hasn’t shined quite like his rookie peers, though he clearly has plenty of talent.
29. Josh Dobbs — Arizona Cardinals
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 102-of-155 passes, 980 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT
With Kyler Murray on the mend to begin the year, the Cardinals were put in a bit of a predicament. Years of drafting poorly and inking ill-fitting players to major contracts has led to their current situation. The Cards boast arguably the worst roster in football, and are without the one player who could make it all work in Murray. Veteran Josh Dobbs has seemed to have won the job in the interim, but he’s certainly not a long-term option. Dobbs is capable of stringing together a few drives here and there, but his potential is primarily as a high-end backup.
28. Sam Howell — Washington Commanders
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 131-of-191 passes, 1349 yards, 6 TD, 6 INT
Washington’s QB situation remains murky. The Commanders signed Jacoby Brissett this offseason after letting longtime backup/spot-starter Taylor Heinicke walk. Brissett played fairly well for the Browns — given the circumstances — and could challenge for the starting role. Though, reports out of Washington indicate the team believes in second-year hurler Sam Howell who got his first taste of NFL action late last season. Howell has a strong arm and is still just 22 years old. Fortunately for him, he’ll be inheriting a strong receiving corps led by Terry McLaurin. As of now, it appears the Commanders will do whatever it takes to allow their young passer to develop and mature in the league.
27. Kenny Pickett — Pittsburgh Steelers
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 95-of-159 passes, 1027 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
The Steelers believe they have their QB for the future in former Pitt Panther Kenny Pickett. Pickett wasn’t always a shoe-in to be the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Through just one season, Pickett has shown why he was selected ahead of the rest. The rookie showed exquisite poise down the stretch, engineering multiple game-winning drives for a Steelers team that nearly snuck into the postseason after a 2-6 start. While his overall numbers aren’t great, Pickett improved immensely over the course of the season. That’s why the team isn’t overreacting to a slow start from the former Pitt Panther. He’s not going to blow anyone away with gaudy passing numbers, but Pickett is a gamer who can get it done in clutch moments.
26. Mac Jones — New England Patriots
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 105-of-168 passes, 1008 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT
Mac Jones has been free-falling ever since the season began.. Jones enjoyed early NFL success, putting together a strong rookie campaign which ended in a playoff berth for the Patriots. Instead of building upon his first year, Jones massively regressed in Year 2 and even lost his starting spot to fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe at one point. Jones finished towards the bottom of the league in nearly every major passing category. The New England brass believed getting a new offensive coordinator (Bill O’Brien) and a couple of new pass-catching options would help revitalize Jones. That hasn’t materalized, as the Pats once again boast an anemic offense. There’s no telling how much longer Jones will last with the Pats.
25. Jordan Love — Green Bay Packers
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 90-of-162 passes, 1083 yards, 8 TD, 6 INT
Under center for the Green Bay Packers i none other than Jordan Love. With the Aaron Rodgers saga finally coming to a close, Love is set to take over the franchise. We haven’t seen much the former first-round pick who was drafted all the way back in 2020. Love has shown glimpses of talent, but we’d like to see it over a full season. The early results have been a bit of a mixed bag. Love loved excellent in a Week 1 win over the Bears, but the offense has struggled mightily over the ensuing weeks — especially in the first halves of games. It’s still early, and Love has plenty to learn on the fly.
24. Justin Fields — Chicago Bears
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 94-of-152 passes, 1143 yards, 11 TD, 5 INT, 191 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
While some of the players listed lower may have Fields trumped in traditional passing stats, Chicago’s young quarterback is an absolute gamechanger who still has plenty of room to grow. In his second year with the Bears, Fields proved capable of carrying an offense (almost) single-handedly. Chicago finished first in rushing yards thanks to Fields’ playmaking ability. In one of the greatest rushing seasons ever for a QB, Fields (1,143 yards, eight TD) virtually matched Lamar Jackson’s MVP campaign (1,206 yards, seven TD) in terms of ground production. Now, Fields has much to prove as a passer, but he was plenty good at that during his time at Ohio State. It’s only a matter of time until he shows that skillset in the NFL.
23. Jimmy Garoppolo — Las Vegas Raiders
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 86-of-125 passes, 917 yards, 6 TD, 7 INT
Las Vegas has a new quarterback in town, and he’s one that has done a whole lot of winning over his career. Jimmy Garoppolo is no stranger to big games and the bright lights. The former Patriot is 40-17 as a starter and has gone to two NFC Championship games plus a Super Bowl. Whether Garoppolo is a considerable upgrade over former Raiders QB Derek Carr is up for debate. However, it must be said that Jimmy G is plenty familiar with piloting a star-studded offense. With Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow, and Jakobi Meyers to get the ball to, Garoppolo has a good chance to have a better season with the Raiders’ weapons than Carr did last year.
22. Anthony Richardson — Indianapolis Colts
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 50-of-84 passes, 577 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 136 rush yards, 4 rush TD
In a bit of an early shocker, the Colts — who had been endlessly linked to Kentucky QB Will Levis — opted to select Florida gunslinger Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 overall pick. It’s just the third time in the last 25 years that the Colts selected a QB in the first-round. It worked out fairly well the other two times they’ve tried (Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck). Richardson had the best tools of any QB in the draft, and instantly has one of the most powerful arms in the entire NFL. If his development is steady, Richardson has the chance to be a dual-threat superstar.
21. Baker Mayfield– Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 87-of-125 passes, 882 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT
Things turned south in a hurry for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland. After a strong rookie campaign, Mayfield failed to develop into the player the Browns envisioned when they selected him first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft — ahead of future superstars like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. While Mayfield is equipped with a strong arm, he’s been highly prone to turnovers over his career. Following a short stint in Carolina, Mayfield built himself back up a bit with a strong finish in Los Angeles with the Rams. The 27-year-old signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason — Mayfield’s fourth team in three years. As the replacement for Tom Brady, the Bucs could do a whole lot worse than the former No. 1 pick.
20. Daniel Jones — New York Giants
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 104-of-151 passes, 884 yards, 2 TD, 6 INT, 197 rush yards, 1 rush TD
What a turnaround ’22 was for Daniel Jones. Entering the year, the Giants declined the QB’s fifth-year option — indicating a potential breakup this offseason. Instead, Jones was rewarded a lucrative four-year extension worth $160 million following a breakout campaign. New head coach Brian Daboll unleashed Jones and crafted a gameplan which accentuated his quarterback’s skillset. Jones finished the year with career highs across the board, and led the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2016. In the Wild Card round, Jones was excellent accounting for 379 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. Now, he’s struggled in ’23 behind a leaky offensive line. It will be interesting to see how Jones and Daboll adjust to New York’s deficiencies.
19. Ryan Tannehill — Tennessee Titans
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 90-of-142 passes, 1052 yards, 2 TD, 5 INT
Tannehill’s talent has never been questioned — the former Texas A&M wideout is a superb athlete equipped with a cannon for an arm. Consistency and decision-making have always been an issue, but it seems like the veteran has cleaned up his game a bit since changing teams.
After quarterbacking the Titans to the AFC Championship in 2019, Tennessee rewarded Tannehill with a huge $118 million contract — and he responded with another fantastic season in 2020. In ’21, Tannehill helped lead the Titans to the No. 1 seed in the AFC despite Derrick Henry missing half the season. However, after a down ’22, Tannehill enters ’23 with youngster Malik Willis and Will Levis angling to take over as QB1.
18. C.J. Stroud — Houston Texans
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 114-of-186 passes, 1461 yards, 7 TD
It’s been a great start for C.J. Stroud who is already showing the NFL world why he likely should have been the first overall pick. Stroud is a highly-accurate passer who is more capable as a runner than he showed back at Ohio State. He built off a strong performance in the Peach Bowl against a vaunted Georgia defense, and continues to improve each and every game. Through the early season, Stroud is among the league leaders in passing yardage, and set the rookie record for passing attempts without throwing an interception. The Texans got their guy.
17. Brock Purdy — San Francisco 49ers
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 98-of-136 passes, 1271 yards, 9 TD
It didn’t take long for the 49ers to establish who their starting QB was. GM John Lynch and head coach were adamant that Brock Purdy had earned the job — despite being on the mend with an elbow injury — following a stellar rookie campaign. The San Francisco brain-trust further cemented this idea by letting Jimmy Garoppolo walk in free agency, and trading away former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance. Now, Purdy is the unquestioned starter with Sam Darnold serving as backup. And, the results with Purdy under center cannot be disputed. The 49ers are 11-0 in regular season games with Purdy under center. Additionally, the team has scored at least 30 points in all but one of those games. He may not have the cannon arm, but Purdy is quarterbacking at a high level for the league’s top team.
16. Deshaun Watson — Cleveland Browns
2023 Stats: 3 games, completed 65-of-102 passes, 678 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Watson was downright awful in 2022. Playing his first season as a Cleveland Brown, Watson completed passes at just a 58.2-percent clip and posted a 79.1 QB rating. Those in the Cleveland front office are hoping Watson was just shaking off some rust after not playing for nearly two years. At his best, Watson was a hyper-accurate thrower who consistently made plays out of structure. Cleveland improved its receiver room with the additions of Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin. We’ll see if that makes a difference in the Browns’ passing game.
15. Russell Wilson — Denver Broncos
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 109-of-163 passes, 1210 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT
Russell Wilson and the Broncos failed to live up to expectations after the team traded a boatload of picks to acquire the QB last offseason. Denver’s offense struggled all year, primarily due to Wilson’s ineffectiveness as a passer. Wilson set career-lows in touchdowns and QB rating (84.4), while leading the league in sacks (55). There’s a possibility that the 34-year-old never returns to his previous standing as a top QB, but the offense has looked better under new HC Sean Payton.
14. Derek Carr — New Orleans Saints
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 98-of-150 passes, 946 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Nothing went right for Derek Carr and the Raiders last season. A historic run of blown second-half leads led to a disappointing year for Vegas, and, eventually Carr’s release after nine years with the team. While Carr is well-liked around the league and certainly talented, he hasn’t performed particularly well over the last couple of seasons (47 TD, 28 INT). The QB carousel landed Carr in New Orleans with a familiar face in former Raider HC Dennis Allen. Playing in a winnable division, the veteran Carr is expected to lead the Saints to a postseason berth.
13. Jared Goff — Detroit Lions
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 111-of-159 passes, 1265 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT
Jared Goff was set to be written off following his trade from the Los Angeles Rams to the Detroit Lions. It certainly seemed as such in Goff’s first year with Detroit. While the Lions limped to a 3-13-1 record, Goff’s former team went on to win the Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford at the helm. However, the narrative changed a bit this year following a Pro Bowl campaign from Goff. While the Rams were likely expecting more out of their No. 1 overall pick, Goff has stuck around now for seven seasons, has made three Pro Bowls, and was good enough to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Could he take Detroit to a Super Bowl?
12. Geno Smith — Seattle Seahawks
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 84-of-123 passes, 846 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
Talk about a comeback. For a while, it looked like Geno Smith had lost his chance at being a starter in the NFL. A starter with the Jets for his first two seasons, Smith made just two starts total from ’15-’20. In ’22, Smith started all 17 games for a playoff team which most had picked to finish last in the division. Did Smith have this ability the whole time? Or was it the years of learning as a backup which prepared him for this role? Either way, Smith took home Comeback Player of the Year honors after leading the league in completion percentage (69.8) and setting career-highs across the board. The Seahawks boast one of the league’s most explosive offenses, and Smith’s ability to drive the ball downfield with precision is one of the biggest reasons why.
11. Kirk Cousins — Minnesota Vikings
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 137-of-204 passes, 1498 yards, 13 TD, 4 INT
The Vikings backed up the Brinks truck for their quarterback, inking Cousins to a mega three-year, $84 million deal in March of 2018. That price tag makes it clear Minnesota expects Cousins to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He certainly flashed that sort of potential during his tenure in Washington. A couple of postseason appearance for the Vikings — highlighted by an overtime win over the Saints in 2019 Wild Card — have been the top moments for Cousins in Minnesota. After a 13-4 season a year ago, the Vikings have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments in ’23. That has led many to believe Minnesota could be shopping Cousins — who is set to be a free agent after the season.
10. Tua Tagovailoa — Miami Dolphins
2022 Stats: 5 games, completed 119-of-166 passes, 1614 yards, 11 TD, 5 INT
Tagovailoa has faced a tumultuous start to his career. Though he has shown promise, injuries and an unstable organization have threatened his development. In Year 1, Tagovailoa was benched several times in favor of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tagovailoa’s sophomore season was mired by several ailments including a fracture to a finger on his throwing hand. Last season got off to a great start — Miami won its first eight games that Tua started and finished — but was once again derailed by a series of gruesome head injuries. Health is now a major concern dating back to Tua’s days at Alabama. But, if he can stay healthy, this Miami offense is deadly with Tagovailoa at the helm. In ’23, Tua is putting up MVP-caliber numbers while leading the league’s most potent offense.
9. Matthew Stafford — Los Angeles Rams
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 124-of-203 passes, 1451 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT
After 12 years in Detroit, Matt Stafford led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl in 2021. Stafford’s ability to complete throws at every level of the field opens up the game for the Rams. Sean McVay’s offense only enhanced Stafford’s game. While Stafford’s arm talent is unquestionable, lingering injury concerns loom large. He dealt with a pair of concussions last year, and was ultimately shut down after playing in just nine games. Some may have written off the veteran heading into the season, but Stafford had other plans. The former Lion has looked excellent coming off an injury, and the Rams receiving corps looks a lot better than many expected (thanks to breakouts from Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell). The Rams might not be Super Bowl contenders, but they’re a whole lot more fun to watch when Stafford is back there slinging the rock.
8. Dak Prescott — Dallas Cowboys
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 111-of-160 passes, 1061 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
Any quarterback suiting up for the Dallas Cowboys is going to face an overabundance of criticism. Especially when the team has come up short time and time again in the postseason. Dak Prescott hasn’t had his breakout playoff moment just yet, but he remains one of the steadiest signal callers in the game. Prescott boasts a 64-37 record as a starter, and has been one of the league’s most successful QB’s since the first moment he stepped on an NFL field.
7. Trevor Lawrence — Jacksonville Jaguars
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 121-of-180 passes, 1258 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
Year 2 went a whole lot better for Trevor Lawrence. The former Clemson QB didn’t stand much of a chance as a rookie. Entering a dire situation in Jacksonville under former coach Urban Meyer, Lawrence endured a disastrous introduction to the league. The tide began to turn when the Jags hired Doug Pederson to lead the team this past offseason. The underdog Jaguars took the AFC South title for the first time since 2017, and Lawrence even led the team to an epic 27-point comeback victory in the Wild Card round. He has all the tools to become a superstar, and will only continue to get better.
6. Joe Burrow — Cincinnati Bengals
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 123-of-197 passes, 1045 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Following a record-breaking campaign at LSU, some questioned if Joe Burrow’s elite play would translate to the NFL level. The cool-handed gunslinger has wasted no time silencing those concerns. Before sustaining a season-ending injury, Burrow was off to a great rookie season despite playing behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines. In 2021, Burrow started in 16 games and led the league in both completion percentage (70.4) and yards-per-attempt (8.9). In the playoffs, Burrow led the Bengals to the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. Burrow followed that up by finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2022, proving the previous year’s Super Bowl run was not a fluke.
5. Jalen Hurts — Philadelphia Eagles
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 113-of-168 passes, 1262 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT, 206 rush yards, 4 rush TD
In just his second full year as a starter, Jalen Hurts led the Eagles to the league’s best regular season record and a berth in the Super Bowl. While some had concerns over Hurts’ abilities as a passer, the former Alabama hurler showcased a prolific all-around skillset in Year 2. Hurts consistently made plays down field — both with his arm and legs — on Philadelphia’s path through the NFC. The roster did take a hit this offseason with several departures, but at least the Eagles are set at QB for years to come.
4. Lamar Jackson — Baltimore Ravens
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 100-of-143 passes, 1030 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 265 rush yards, 4 rush TD
Lamar Jackson’s murky contact situation with the Ravens continues to be one of the big stories of the offseason. When looking at the numbers, Jackson undoubtedly deserves to be paid as a superstar QB. The Ravens have won 66-percent of their games with Jackson at the helm — reaching the postseason in each of his first three seasons. While injuries have slowed him down a bit the last couple of years, Jackson is just entering his prime (26 years old) and is already a league MVP. Will the Ravens and Jackson eventually come to an agreement? Or will Baltimore trade a supreme talent to one of the teams in need of a dynamic QB?
3. Justin Herbert — Los Angeles Chargers
2023 Stats: 4 games, completed 103-of-145 passes, 1106 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Justin Herbert was not supposed to be the Chargers’ starting quarterback so early as a rookie. Veteran Tyrod Taylor started the 2020 season as the No. 1 option, but a rib injury and subsequent trainer-inflicted injury sent Taylor to the bench. In his place, Herbert starred. The No. 6 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert held his own against the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Josh Allen. His arm strength is special, and the young man has shown more poise and better decision making than most expected of him at this point in his career. Herbert is already one of the best passers in the game.
2. Josh Allen — Buffalo Bills
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 128-of-175 passes, 1407 yards, 11 TD, 5 INT, 120 rush yards, 3 rush TD
Josh Allen’s performance as a rookie was a mixed bag. Gifted with extreme arm-talent and dynamic legs, Allen has all the tools to succeed in the league. However, Allen struggled mightily throwing the football in Year 1. He has found success as a runner over his career, and Allen’s improved accuracy has now pushed him into the ‘elite’ conversation. There were flashes of Allen making strides in Year 2 — improved accuracy and better decision-making — and the last three years Allen was absolutely sensational. While Buffalo has failed to progress in the postseason, Allen has shown up in big games and looks to eventually get over the hump in 2023.
1. Patrick Mahomes — Kansas City Chiefs
2023 Stats: 5 games, completed 123-of-184 passes, 1287 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT
Gifted with one of the strongest arms in the league, there is no throw that Mahomes is incapable of making. He’s not just a big arm though; Mahomes has exhibited great touch and accuracy. Most impressively, Mahomes has been excellent at completing passes from outside of the pocket and on the run. The 27-year-old claimed his second regular season MVP and second Super Bowl victory last season. And, the Chiefs’ roster is set to be even stronger in 2023. At this point, Mahomes is several notches above the rest of the pack.