Top Quarterbacks In NFL 2019
As we head into the NFL’s offseason, it’s time to analyze the top players at the league’s most high-profile position: quarterback. Here is a rundown of the best 20 quarterbacks in the league right now.
The list is based primarily on each players’ performance in 2018, although their history is taken into consideration to some extent.
The players on this list are judged on more than their pure passing ability. Leadership, intangibles, the ability to create plays and lead their team to victory are all also factors.
20. Derek Carr, Oakland—Two seasons ago, Carr looked like he would be joining the league’s elite signal callers. He has since fallen off that pace due to injuries and a lack of talent around him. Carr is a three-time Pro Bowler who threw only 19 touchdown passes in 2018. His career is at a cross roads now. He could regain his form in 2019 or he could become one of those quarterbacks who briefly flashed potential before falling back into permanent mediocrity.
19. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee—Mariota has led the Titans to the playoffs in 2017 with grit and determination. He is a good leader who gets the job done even if it’s not pretty. He has not played in a wide-open, pass happy offense so his numbers won’t compare with some of the players ranked higher on this list, but Mariota’s intangibles are a plus and he has yet to reach his prime.
18. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland—Mayfield is the only rookie who made this list. The top overall pick in last year’s draft showed his leadership skills while setting an NFL record for rookies with 27 touchdown passes. Mayfield improved dramatically after the Browns fired Hue Jackson midway through the season. The Browns never felt out of a game with Mayfield under center. He has the potential to join the league’s elite QBs in a year or two if he continues to work hard and develop.
17. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago—Trubisky’s best asset remains his running ability. He has a good arm but is still learning to read defenses and needs to mature a bit more as a passer. He led the Chicago Bears to the playoffs in just his second season in the league and tossed 24 touchdown passes. Trubisky’s yards-per attempt and completion percentage improved significantly in year two. If he can reduce his interception percentage and improve his decision making, he can take a big step forward.
16. Dak Prescott, Dallas—Prescott rallied late last season to lead the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs. He clicked with Amari Cooper who was acquired midseason in a trade with Oakland. Prescott remains at his best with a strong running game but tends to struggle more when he is the focal point of the offense. Dak’s touchdown percentage has gone down in each of his three seasons as a starter. He is a good quarterback at this point in his career, but not a great one.
15. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota—Cousins was a disappointment in his first season in Minnesota. He just didn’t seem like a great fit in the Vikings system and a Vikings team that had Super Bowl aspirations failed to make the playoffs. Cousins is a vocal leader with a good arm who loves to prove doubters wrong. Cousins’ best season came in 2015 when he led the Redskins to a surprise playoff berth. One year later he was in the Pro Bowl. Despite the disappointing record with the Vikings, his 30-10 touchdown to interception ratio was a good one. The Vikings paid a lot of money to sign Cousins last season, now he needs to prove he can lead his team deep into the playoffs and work through that tough Minnesota Vikings schedule.
14. Cam Newton, Carolina—Injuries slowed Newton down substantially in 2018 and by the end of the season, he had trouble throwing the ball downfield. When healthy, Newton is athletic, big and has a very strong arm. He can do things that few other quarterbacks can do. Cam’s best season came in 2015 when he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a berth in the Super Bowl. Newton needs to cut down his interception percentage a bit, but he has proven he can play at an elite level and is dangerous any time he lines up under center.
13. Matthew Stafford, Detroit—Stafford puts up impressive passing numbers and his teams probably win more games than they should but just when you think you’re ready to add the Lions starter to the list of truly elite quarterbacks, his play falls off and he remains in the second tier. Stafford seems to have a better campaign every other season and 2018 was an off year for him. He has led the Lions to the playoffs three times but has yet to win a postseason game. Stafford has a strong arm and leadership qualities, but he isn’t consistently elite.
12. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia—The biggest question is Can this guy stay healthy? Wentz was a serious MVP candidate in 2017 before suffering a late-season injury. He is mobile and smart and has a strong arm, but somehow, the Eagles play smarter and win more with Nick Foles at the helm. Wentz still must prove he can stay on the field and lead a team to victory when it counts. The talent is there but he has yet to prove he can be consistently elite when it counts the most. The Philadelphia Eagles schedule looks tough as usual.
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh—”Big Ben” is past his prime but is still a very good NFL quarterback capable of putting up a lot of points. Roethlisberger threw for a career high 5,129 yards this season and 34 touchdowns and that was without his top runner who held out for the entire season. Roethlisberger’s size and arm strength make him a great quarterback. He is gutsy and works hard and when plays break down, he is willing and able to take a hit to make a big play. Roethlisberger has led Pittsburgh to three Super Bowls and won two of them. He is a sure Hall of Famer when his career is over.
10. DeShaun Watson, Houston—Watson is young and exciting. Despite coming off a major injury that ended his rookie season prematurely, the Texans QB showed major improvement in his second year, finishing with an impressive 68.3 percent completion percentage and a 26-9 TD-to-INT ratio. Watson can move well in the pocket and puts the ball where his receiver has the advantage over the defender. The sky is the limit for this talented and hard-working quarterback. Watson will need to navigate a rough Houston Texans schedule year in and year out.
9. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams—Goff’s overall numbers are impressive despite the fact that his production fell off in the final few weeks of the season. Don’t let his poor Super Bowl performance spoil the big picture. In his last two seasons, Goff’s record as a starter is 24-7. He threw for 32 touchdown passes this season and only 12 picks. He has averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and 12.9 yards per completion in each of the past two seasons. Goff runs a high-powered and dangerous offense and should continue to get better as he enters his prime.
8. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis—Luck was the NFL’s comeback player of the year this season after sitting out all of 2017 with a serious injury. He showed what a difference maker he was by leading the Colts back to the playoffs. Luck threw 39 touchdown passes this season, the second-highest mark of his career and completed a career-best 67.3 percent of his passes. Luck loves the game and has the skills and leadership qualities that make him fun to watch any time he plays.
7. Tom Brady, New England—At 41, Brady is slowing down, but a slightly diminished Brady is still better than almost any quarterback out there. The Michigan grad led the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl title for the sixth time in his career, better than any other quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Brady is dedicated and is a true student of the game. He will go down in history as one of the greatest signal callers of all time and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle—Wilson’s lack of size has never hindered him, and he makes up for it with his intelligence, mobility and arm strength. Wilson had an 8.2 touchdown percentage and threw just seven interceptions while leading the Seahawks to an unexpected playoff berth. His 110.9 quarterback rating was the best of his career. At 30, Wilson is in his prime. Never count a Russell Wilson led team out of any game.
5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta—The Falcons struggled this season due to a rash of injuries, but Matt Ryan’s numbers were still impressive. He tossed 35 touchdowns and threw just seven interceptions while completing 69.4 percent of his passes. Ryan sees the field well and can pick apart an opposing defense as well as any quarterback. He led the Falcons to the Super Bowl and was the league’s MVP in 2016 and he’s certainly capable of doing that again.
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay—Rodgers had an off season in 2018 and still threw for more than 4,000 yards and only two interceptions. Few quarterbacks ever can extend plays like Rodgers does and his arm strength and accuracy are among the best to ever play the game. Rodgers seemed to lose confidence in head coach, Mike McCarthy this season. He also played all year with a knee injury suffered in Week 1 against Chicago. Rodgers is an all-time great who can easily climb back up this list in 2019 if he stays healthy and has more confidence in his coach and receivers.
3. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers—Rivers is a smart veteran who has seemingly done everything in this league except win a Super Bowl. The Chargers signal caller completed more than 68 percent of his passes and led his team to a playoff berth despite not having much of a home field advantage. At age 37, Rivers can still throw deep and accurately and averaged an impressive 8.5 yards per attempt.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans—Brees is starting to slow down a bit but he’s still capable of beating any opponent at any time. His teammates believe in him and he is a leader on the field and in the community. Brees is masterful and spreading the ball around and finding mismatches anywhere on the field. Brees threw for 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions and led the league in quarterback rating. This future Hall of Famer is not done yet and had another impressive season in 2018.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City—There is not a more exciting player in the game today than Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs second-year quarterback. Mahomes has outstanding arm strength and can make improvised throws from seemingly any place on the field. He threw for a league-best 50 touchdown passes in his first year as a starter and had an impressive 8.8 yards per attempt. He was rightfully named as the league’s MVP in 2018. The scariest thing may be that at 23, Mahomes can still get better. Any game with Mahomes under center right now is worth the price of admission.