Ranking the Top 10 NFL QBs right now

Who is the best NFL QB headed into the 2021 season?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The start of the 2021 NFL season is less than three months away. Now is a good time to take a look at the top QBs in the NFL. These rankings will be based on success and production over the past few years as well as projections for the upcoming season and beyond. Let’s start at ten and count down to number one.

10. Ryan Tannehill

One of the most underappreciated QBs in the NFL is Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans. Running back Derrick Henry seems to get most of the praise for the success of their offense but they would not be what they are without Tannehill. Last season he ranked 15th in passing yards with 3819 and 7th in passing touchdowns with 33 in a run-first style of offense. Impressively, he was also in the top 5 for both rating and QBR. He took good care of the football by only throwing 7 interceptions and also chipped in an additional 7 touchdowns on the ground. He is a dual-threat quarterback that thrives in play action. He very quietly had an impressive 2020 season and cracks the top 10 QB rankings.

9. Lamar Jackson

The best rushing QB in the NFL right now, and arguably of all time, is Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. He has now rushed for over 1000 yards with more than 6 yards per carry and also 7 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. He won the league MVP back in 2019 and followed it up with a solid 2020 season. His statistics in the passing game are respectable, with a career 64 completion percentage and 68 passing touchdowns against just 18 interceptions, but his legs are obviously a much bigger threat than his arm. The biggest weakness in his game is his inability to consistently make big throws down the field. If he could improve in that area, he would jump much higher in the rankings.

8. Kyler Murray

One of the best true dual-threat QBs in the NFL is Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals. He is just as dangerous throwing the ball as he is running it. After just two seasons, he has already accounted for over 9000 combined yards and 61 total touchdowns. Unlike Jackson, what makes Murray especially dangerous in addition to running the ball is his ability to attack defenses with the deep ball. At just 23 years old, and with a young head coach in Kliff Kingsbury as well, it is fair to assume that he will be even better moving forward with more experience and chemistry with the team and coaching staff. He is a special talent and it will be exciting to see where his development and maturity will take him.

7. Josh Allen

The biggest breakout star of the 2020 NFL season was Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. He finished the season in the top 5 in every major passing category including yards, touchdowns, completions, completion percentage, rating, and QBR. The most impressive being his 69.2 completion percentage which was well above his career 61.8 average. Accuracy was the biggest issue with his game through his first two seasons so if he has now figured that part out he is a whole new level of dangerous. Rushing the ball is another weapon in his arsenal, averaging more than 500 yards and 8 touchdowns per season on the ground. If these rankings were based on 2020 alone he would easily be in the top 3 but because 2020 was so drastically better than the first two years he will be ranked 7th for now. If he repeats in 2021 what he did last year or even continues to improve, he will catapult much higher on the list.

6. Dak Prescott

For the first time in his five-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott was unable to play a full season in 2020. Unfortunately, a gruesome ankle injury ended his season after just 5 games. Though it was a very small sample size, his passing yards were off the charts last year averaging a ridiculous 371.2 yards per game. It is unlikely that he would have been able to keep up that pace for a full 16 games but if he did, it would have easily set an NFL record in passing yards. The season before in 2019 was the best of his career with 4902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. All 3 seasons before that one were solid as well and he has consistently improved and matured. As long as he can fully recover from the injury, all signs point to him being one of the best QBs in the NFL for many years to come.

5. Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans are a disaster but that does not mean Deshaun Watson is not still one of the best QBs in the NFL right now. He is an example of a great player in a bad situation but he has still shined brightly despite the lack of talent around him in both the roster and the coaching staff. He was the league leader last season with 4823 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions. He is an incredible athlete who has the ability to make plays in a wide variety of ways. He can do it all from the QB position and has done exactly that. Since becoming the full-time starter, he has consistently been one of the best in the NFL statistically for three straight seasons. Whether or not he plays this season because of legal problems is a whole different story, but if he does he will continue to be towards the top of the rankings even if the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league.

4. Tom Brady

Tom Brady will be 44 years old when the 2021 season begins but somehow he is still playing at an extremely high level. He put together one of the best seasons of his long career last season and even lead the Tampa Bay Bucs to a Super Bowl championship. He threw the third-most yards in the NFL last year with 4633 and the second-most touchdowns with 40. His longevity and an extensive list of accomplishments are the reason why he is clearly the greatest quarterback of all time and still one of the best in the game today despite his age. Conventional wisdom would say that he is going to drastically regress but that’s been the assumption for years now and it still hasn’t happened. Betting against Brady has always been a losing proposition so there is no reason to believe that he won’t once again dominate in the 2021 season.

3. Russell Wilson

In 9 straight seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson has not missed a game. He has played at an MVP caliber level every year and is still improving his all-around skill set. He is an extremely intelligent QB who understands how to attack a defense in multiple ways and has all of the tools to do it. He has no holes in his game and is a lethal combination of athleticism and arm talent. He probably has the best deep ball in the entire NFL and is one of the most dangerous at making plays with his legs as well. He is a master at the two-minute drill and just finds ways to win games. He is one of the most consistent and reliable players in the entire NFL over the last decade and has plenty of years to continue writing his legacy.

2. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is not only one of the best QBs right now but also one of the greatest of all time. Last season was one of the best of his entire career and that is beyond impressive considering how many great seasons he’s put together. He just won his third MVP last season so even at 37 years old he’s showing no signs at all of slowing down. He has arguably the best arm talent in the history of the NFL. He will be one of the favorites to win another MVP if he plays this year but that is actually not a guarantee at this point. He has not yet reported to camp and is threatening to sit out this entire season if he is not traded because of his reported frustrations with the Packers organization. If he does play this year, no matter what team it is for, there is no reason to believe he will be anything but his usual dominant self.

1. Patrick Mahomes

What Patrick Mahomes has accomplished in just 3 full seasons as the starting QB for the Kansas City Chiefs is more than most QBs achieve in their entire careers. He has already won a league MVP, a Super Bowl championship, two AFC championships, and a Super Bowl MVP. It’s hard to believe that he’s still only 25 years old considering what he’s already done. In fact, with how young he is he could realistically still get better than he already is. That is a scary concept for the rest of the league when looking at the way he already dominates. His numbers are just ridiculous so far, averaging 4623 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns per season over the last 3 years. It is still very early in his career, but Mahomes has a very real chance of going down as one of the best of all time. He definitely has the talent to do so and has already started to rack up the accomplishments to go with it.

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