The NFL Draft gave teams the opportunity to put the finishing touches on their offseason quarterback depth charts. Here is a ranking of the 32 QB situations in the NFL.
The NFL Draft gave teams the opportunity to put the finishing touches on their offseason quarterback depth charts. While a couple of additional pieces may well move in the coming months, teams are going into the virtual offseason with their respective groups. Here is how the league stands at the quarterback position.
After throwing 50 touchdown passes in his lone season as Ohio State's starter, Dwayne Haskins submitted 2019's worst Football Outsiders QBR figure — by an eight-point margin . The 2019 No. 15 overall pick will be given another chance, but Ron Rivera's arrival and trade for ex-Panther starter Kyle Allen will likely shorten Haskins' leash. Alex Smith remains on Washington's payroll, but considering his 17 surgeries and age (36 on May 7), odds are he will not throw another pass for the team. It would cost the Redskins $32 million in dead money to release Smith.
The Patriots are either being incredibly patient with a potential Bengals release of Andy Dalton, low-key investigating Cam Newton or are on the cusp of an incredibly bold Tom Brady succession strategy. The Pats made 10 draft picks last weekend; none was a quarterback. The recently re-signed Brian Hoyer, 34, and 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham (four career pass attempts) join two undrafted free agents on New England's QB depth chart. Stidham topped out at 18 TD passes in a college season (once at Baylor, once at Auburn), and Hoyer is 1-11 as a starter since 2016.
Drew Lock may possess the most upward mobility on this list. The Broncos have rising star Courtland Sutton and promising tight end Noah Fant and just added route-running phenom Jerry Jeudy in Round 1 as well as diminutive but electric K.J. Hamler in Round 2. Denver will find out about its 2019 second-round pick this season. But Lock has just five games' worth of experience and averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt as a rookie. Jeff Driskel profiles as a low-end backup. For all the hype the Broncos are sure to receive, they are — for now — looking up at most of the league's QB situations.
After shedding two of the worst QB contracts in recent memory in consecutive offseasons — those given to Blake Bortles and Nick Foles — the Jaguars are committing to Gardner Minshew. For now. The 2019 sixth-rounder surprised most by finishing 2019 with a 21/6 TD-INT ratio and starting all six of the Jags' wins. The odds are against the Washington State product, given his draft position, and the Jags will be connected to Clemson uber-prospect Trevor Lawrence. But the Minshew show will get a second season. Ex-Steeler Josh Dobbs and 2020 sixth-rounder Jake Luton are the backups.
Although a sizable gap existed between Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert on most public big boards, the Chargers made the pick and filled a glaring need. Herbert was not Tua-level impressive or consistent but also lacked Alabama's amenities. The Bolts are battling a two-front war here, navigating the issues of attracting Los Angeles interest and replacing Philip Rivers. Herbert has four years' starting experience at Oregon and whenever he replaces Tyrod Taylor as a rookie, he will have a talented skill-position corps awaiting him. Taylor has not been a full-time starter since 2017 but is a top-flight backup.
It is difficult to gauge Sam Darnold's NFL trajectory. Through two seasons, he has been protected by one of the league's worst offensive lines and has not enjoyed a bevy of reliable receivers. His Total QBR rankings: 28th and 25th. Year 3 will be key to providing a clearer picture if a new Jets regime can trust Darnold or if Adam Gase and GM Joe Douglas will want their own guy under center. The USC-developed pocket passer has shown flashes to indicate the former scenario is in play. The Jets drafted Florida International's James Morgan in Round 4 as a possible backup.
Daniel Jones completed one of the stranger rookie seasons in quarterback history. In 12 starts, he threw 24 touchdown passes — fourth-most for a rookie all time. Jones also fumbled 18 times in his shortened season — fifth-most in single-season history. Jones showed plus mobility (at least compared to Eli Manning) but shaky pocket presence in Year 1. The Giants now have No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas set to block for him, however, and still feature a strong mix of weapons. The Giants' Colt McCoy signing gives them quality experience at QB2 as well.
Measured by #QBWinz, Bridgewater has done well despite a career-threatening injury. He took the 2015 Vikings to the playoffs and went 5-0 during Drew Brees' absence last season. But in that 2015 season, the former first-round pick threw 14 TD passes.(432nd out of 468 QBs who have started 16 games), and last season he ranked third to last in Next Gen Stats' average completed air yards metric. The Panthers have given Bridgewater a host of weapons (Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson), however, for his age-28 season. Will Grier and XFL 2.0 MVP front-runner P.J. Walker are Carolina's backups.
The Dolphins are preparing to build around Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama prodigy is coming off a severe hip injury and joining a team fully committed to a rebuild. No first-round rookie has failed to start a game in his first season since the Titans' Jake Locker in 2011, but the Dolphins will not rush a passer they spent over a year evaluating. Tua left Alabama with an absurd 87/11 TD-INT ratio and a Division I-FBS-record 10.9 yards-per-attempt figure. Ryan Fitzpatrick is 37 and somehow won five games with last year's rich man's XFL roster. The 16-year veteran can hold down the job until Tua is ready.
Mitchell Trubisky's regression from playoff quarterback to basement-level starter prompted the Bears to trade for Nick Foles — Trubisky's 2018 first-round playoff opponent. The former Super Bowl MVP faltered as a starter in St. Louis and Jacksonville but thrived in Philadelphia in the 2017 playoffs and in a final tour of duty as Carson Wentz's injury sub in 2018. The 31-year-old journeyman should be considered the favorite to start, with Trubisky having not remotely justified being 2017's No. 2 overall pick.
Marcus Mariota will attempt to usurp Derek Carr after being usurped by Ryan Tannehill. An argument can be made Carr has not been given enough to work with since Jon Gruden's 2018 Amari Cooper trade. The Raiders' subsequent Antonio Brown mess left Carr shorthanded again. But he ranked 10th in 2019 QBR, set new career-highs in completion percentage (70 percent) and yards (4,054) and now has a much deeper receiving corps after Las Vegas' Henry Ruggs-fronted draft. Mariota has fared worse than Carr since both were injured on Christmas Eve 2016, not being particularly good since he threw 26 TD passes that year.
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year joined Cam Newton as the only rookie QBs in the 3,500-500 club. The second of Lincoln Riley's Oklahoma superstar passers showed promise despite leading a rebuilding Cardinals team with a porous offensive line. Murray's O-line does not look too much better, but he now has DeAndre Hopkins in a suddenly deep receiving stable. The 6-foot passer could have the Cards much higher on such a list in 2021, but Kliff Kingsbury's offense would be in a bit of trouble were Murray to go down, however. Ex-Packer Brett Hundley remains Arizona's backup.
A year after driving the 2019 Browns' all-terrain hype vehicle, Baker Mayfield has receded into the background for 2020 NFL storylines. Last season the former Heisman winner threw 21 INTs — third-most in the NFL since 2014 — and saw his completion rate drop by four percentage points. But the Browns were poorly coached and have now outfitted Mayfield with two new tackles: Jack Conklin and first-rounder Jedrick Wills. Working with new coach Kevin Stefanski and with his weapons back, Mayfield will be better equipped to succeed. Case Keenum also represents a QB2 upgrade.
Josh Allen's significant development from Year 1 to Year 2 helped the Bills to the playoffs. Still, he has a ways to go. The tools-heavy dual threat completed less than 59 percent of his passes and averaged less than 7 yards per attempt. Buffalo trading for Stefon Diggs to team with John Brown and Cole Beasley has Allen's arrow pointing upward. The Bills also nabbed Jake Fromm in Round 5, who has Allen beat for accuracy but is well off the Buffalo starter for arm talent. Still, the Georgia product poses as an intriguing developmental player behind Allen.
Joe Burrow Solo would be ranked a few spots lower, having yet to take an NFL snap and lacking the arm talent of most quarterbacks who are chosen No. 1. But for the time being, Andy Dalton is still a Bengal. The Bengals probably will not retain their nine-year starter, who is attached to a $17.5M cap hit, but have not ruled it out. All Burrow did was throw 60 touchdown passes as an LSU senior and transform from a Day 3 pick to the draft's consensus No. 1 QB. The Bengals are well armed at receiver as well, even if they are a rebuilding squad. Ryan Finley would be Burrow's backup if/once Dalton departs.
Ryan Tannehill's October 2019 promotion changed the Titans' season. Derrick Henry's playoff dominance notwithstanding, Tennessee would have been well off the postseason pace without Tannehill. The ex-Dolphin not only led the NFL in yards per attempt (9.6) but also finished top 10 all time in that category. The 31-year-old passer obviously has knee issues and submitted a so-so Miami tenure. However, in thriving in a new system, the former top-10 pick changed his perception immensely in 2019. Tennessee is light on insurance, though, rostering only Logan Woodside and seventh-rounder Cole McDonald.
In a similar situation to the next quarterback on the list, Jimmy Garoppolo is working with one of the game's top offensive minds in Kyle Shanahan. Garoppolo's co-pilot work alongside a loaded 49ers defense trekked to Super Bowl LIV. The ex-Patriot threw 27 TD passes before San Francisco's efficient ground game relegated him to a handoff machine in the NFC playoffs. Garoppolo has just 837 pass attempts in six seasons; his career arc is still forming. Shanahan coaxing competent play from UDFA and current QB2 Nick Mullens in 2018, however, leaves little doubt about Garoppolo's conductor.
Sean McVay-Jared Goff soared to a higher place in 2018 than Shanahan-Garoppolo did last year, but Goff's 2019 regression leaves his trajectory uncertain and his four-year, $134M contract a potential anchor for the Rams if he cannot rebound. Goff ranked 23rd in 2019 QBR, though the Rams had a suboptimal Todd Gurley, got little from Brandin Cooks and struggled to match their 2018 offensive line play. But Goff is a two-time Pro Bowler who threw 32 TD passes and for 4,688 yards during Los Angeles' Super Bowl LIII run. The Rams may need to address their backup situation, however.
Were Ben Roethlisberger healthy, the Steelers would rank much higher. But the already injury-prone QB suffered the most significant malady of his career last season and is now 38. The future Hall of Famer cannot be considered a safe bet to pick up where he left off. Big Ben was off to a slow start post-Antonio Brown before his elbow injury hijacked the Steelers' 2019 season. They did not draft a QB, leaving embattled backups Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges as the next in line. Given Roethlisberger's situation and his backups' 2019 showing, the Steelers should be kicking the tires on Cam Newton.
The Vikings leaned on a ground attack last season, reducing Kirk Cousins' attempts from 606 in 2018 to 444 in 2019. Cousins has proved plenty capable and ended the year with a 26/6 TD-INT ratio and his first playoff win. Cousins' clunker against a stacked 49ers defense again showed how much help the soon-to-be 32-year-old passer requires. He will now move forward with first-rounder Justin Jefferson replacing Stefon Diggs. Sean Mannion and seventh-round rookie Nate Stanley (Iowa) provide little insurance were Cousins to go down, which he hasn't in two Vikings seasons.
His down 2019 aside, Philip Rivers will have advantages going from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. The potential Hall of Famer will be working with two ex-Chargers offensive coordinators in Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni; the systemic knowledge will be pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colts also boast a far better offensive line than anything Rivers was working with the past several seasons. Rivers was seventh in QBR just two seasons ago and isn't downgrading in skill weaponry too much. Jacoby Brissett and rookie Jacob Eason -- a one-time five-star recruit — round out a better Colts group than last year's.
A process accelerated by his status on perhaps the country's most popular NFL team and quest to become the league's highest-paid player, Dak Prescott has become a polarizing player. But the Cowboys quarterback took steps forward last season, throwing for 4,902 yards (a career-high by more than 1,000) and 30 TD passes. Prescott needs considerable help, but the fifth-year passer now has CeeDee Lamb joining Amari Cooper. While Prescott will miss All-Decade center Travis Frederick, he and wunderkind offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will look to build on 2019's improvement.
Rarely equipped with a reliable defense and never given a dependable run game, Matthew Stafford has one Pro Bowl season in 11 years. If the 2009 No. 1 pick had landed with a better organization, his career probably turns out much differently. But he remains one of the NFL's top talents, still possessing a rifle capable of giving the Lions a quality passing attack. Stafford was sixth in QBR before a season-ending back malady. The Lions also improved considerably at backup quarterback, adding to Chase Daniel's historic QB2 bank account.
Employing a 67-year-old head coach and with Jameis Winston leading them nowhere, the Bucs were a perfect Tom Brady suitor. Brady will have two Pro Bowl wideouts and the player who did the most to enable his ludicrously long prime (Rob Gronkowski) with him in Tampa. But Brady slipped considerably last year, albeit without Gronk and with an evolving receiving corps, and has entered uncharted waters as a starting quarterback ahead of an age-43 season. The Bucs are going full-speed to help him, however, finalizing the effort by drafting likely Day 1 right tackle starter Tristan Wirfs.
A concussion ended Carson Wentz's 2019 season, but the would-have-been 2017 MVP took strides last year by starting 16 games and making do with the NFL's least healthy receiving crew. DeSean Jackson missed 14 games, Alshon Jeffery, six and Nelson Agholor, five. Wentz still finished with a 27-7 TD/INT ratio and surpassed 300 yards with none of his wideout starters in a win over a more talented Cowboys team. The curious but intriguing Jalen Hurts second-round addition also boosts the Eagles' QB cadre. Hurts rushed for 1,298 yards during his Oklahoma season and has at least a rich man's Taysom Hill ceiling.
More dependable than Wentz, Matt Ryan is entering his 12th season as the Falcons starter. About to turn 35, the former No. 3 overall pick might be approaching the end of his prime. But Ryan remains at worst an upper-middle-class passer with a dominant season on his resume. Ryan has not made the Pro Bowl since that 2016 performance but gives the Falcons an annually high floor. Atlanta should have a healthier offensive line than it did last season and still employs all-time great Julio Jones and emerging WR2 Calvin Ridley. Soon-to-be 39-year-old Matt Schaub is still under contract as well.
Overshadowed by Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson (and undermined by the Texans naming coach Bill O'Brien as GM), Deshaun Watson is a rare talent and has delivered two 26-TD pass seasons since tearing his ACL as a rookie. The success of Jackson and Mahomes has made the ex-Clemson national champion underrated. The multi-threat QB is a two-time Pro Bowler before age 25. O'Brien trading DeAndre Hopkins could pose a problem though. It will be interesting to see how Watson looks without the catch-radius monster. A.J McCarron remains Houston's backup.
Aaron Rodgers may no longer be the player who looked like the most talented quarterback ever in the mid-2010s. But he is still one of the game's best. The two-time MVP is 8-for-9 in Pro Bowls in seasons he started throughout, and he guided the Packers to a 13-3 record and the NFC championship game despite somehow having one 500-yard pass-catcher (Davante Adams). The Packers have not exactly helped their 36-year-old superstar this offseason, amazingly not drafting a wideout. But the addition of first-round pick Jordan Love does bolster Green Bay's QB group — perhaps at the expense of Rodgers' sanity.
Quarterbacks who rely so much on rushing talent are more volatile than pure passers, but Lamar Jackson submitted a transcendent season to rocket from uncertain running QB to one of the NFL's best players. Jackson accounted for 43 TDs and threw just six INTs in 2019, guiding the Ravens to their best regular season ever. Jackson's 9.0 TD pass percentage is likely unsustainable, and he again failed to keep Baltimore's wideouts involved. But Jackson is going into only his third season; few QBs have ever achieved what he has in their first two. Robert Griffin III remains on board as Jackson's caddy.
Were this just about starting quarterbacks, Russell Wilson would rank even higher. He has morphed into one of the game's most consistent passers and has done so despite the Seahawks annually fielding iffy offensive lines. Wilson has four 30-plus-TD seasons in the past five years and piloted Seattle to back-to-back playoff berths despite the team's defensive rebuild and the 2019 squad being bereft of a pass rush. Wilson has relied less on his legs in recent years but can still vex defenses when necessary. The Seahawks have a rookie UDFA as their backup, but Wilson has never missed a start.
The obvious No. 1 were this all about starters rather than QB stables, Patrick Mahomes has no present equal. He has an MVP and a Super Bowl MVP by age 24 and blends historic passing chops with underrated elusiveness ( as the Titans discovered ). The Chiefs have equipped him with a future Hall of Fame coach and a dangerous assortment of playmakers — which now includes first-round running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire — but Mahomes' three playoff comebacks leave no doubt about today's best quarterback. After missing 2019, Chad Henne is back as Mahomes' insurance.
A former No. 1 overall pick coming off a 5,000 yard season joins the NFL's passing kingpin and its most versatile active player to form a unique group. The Saints are the first team to roster two 5,000-yard passers; Drew Brees and Jameis Winston are responsible for six of the NFL's 12 5,000-yard seasons (Brees has five). New Orleans' 41-year-old starter (27 TD passes in 11 games) is still one of the game's best; Winston is more talented than Teddy Bridgewater. Taysom Hill caught six TD passes in 2019 and should get more quarterback work in what could be Brees' last year. This is an all-time QB depth chart.