We’ve reached the worst part of the NFL’s off-season. Free agency is basically over, the draft was weeks ago, and we don’t have anything but the NBA finals to keep us satiated until “schism” season starts in August. So get used to fun lists like these, because we’re scratching our heads for three more months. Here are four lists, ranking the (presumed) starting quarterbacks of the four divisions in the NFC.
Ranking NFL Starting Quarterbacks by Division (NFC Edition)
Duh. I’m not a fan of Mr. Rodgers, but there’s no denying he’s one of the few truly undisputed elite quarterbacks in pro football. #PABAR
Kirk Cousins really doesn’t have any reason to struggle in Minnesota. Solid offensive line, great receivers, and depth at tight end, if he struggles, that’s on him. Statistically, he had a very good 2018, but those numbers have to start translating into wins to justify that contract.
Matthew Stafford is a complicated quarterback. He’s almost guaranteed to get you in the neighborhood of 4,000 yards, 25 touchdowns every year, but he’s never really been able to carry the team. He’s too good to get rid of, but not really good enough to get you to the next level.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think Mitchell Trubisky’s limited success is a direct result of Matt Nagy’s coaching. What has he done that’s impressive so far in his career? A fourth of his 24 touchdowns came in one game in 2018, and I want to see him take that next step and prove he’s a franchise quarterback and not just a gimmick in 2019.
If you’re a quarterback in the NFC South and you’re a first ballot hall of famer, raise your hand. Mk, just Drew? Moving on.
I really think Matt Ryan is actually kinda underrated. I get that quarterbacks receive the credit for wins and blame for losses, but it wasn’t Ryan’s fault that his entire defense seemingly got hurt last year. Matty Ice threw for nearly 5,000 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions last season. Say what you will about garbage time, but you don’t accidentally put up numbers like that.
Cam Newton is one of the more divisive players in professional football. His physical ability is undeniable, and at 30 years old, he might be the best pure dual threat quarterback in NFL history. Heading towards the end of his career, his health and ability to evolve as a passer will be crucial to both his, and the Carolina Panther’s success.
Watching Jameis Winston play under Bruce Arians will be fascinating in 2019. Winston’s physical abilities have never been brought into question, but his decision making both on and off the field have. Can he keep his nose clean and avoid turnovers? That reamins to be seen.
Carson Wentz is the only quarterback in the division that’s put up decent numbers lately, and unlike a lot of others, I’m not as down on him after last year. I don’t think he was completely healthy when they threw him into action last year and he didn’t really get a chance to get back to 100%. Now his safety net in Nick Foles is gone, and he’ll have to prove he is who everyone thought he was in 2017.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a Dak Prescott fan. He’s about to get paid franchise quarterback money, but I’ve just never seen “it” from him. He’s started all 16 games every year of his career, he’s had a great offensive line, and a good supporting cast, but he’s never really blown up. He has more than three times as many games with under 200 yards passing (17) than he does with at least 300 (5). He’s good, not great, and that’s why despite probably winning the division this year, he’s not QB1 in the NFC East.
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think Eli Manning is a little underrated. He’s not his brother by any means, but he’s also had some questionable supporting casts. His offensive line has been an issue for years now, even when he had great receivers, he didn’t have time to throw the ball. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost his job to Daniel Jones this year, because time waits for no man.
I like Dwayne Haskins a lot, and I hope the Redskins do whatever it takes to build around him and give him a chance. But for now, he’s a rookie quarterback in a very competitive division. Hopefully he’s higher up the list this time next year.
Russell Wilson is an elite quarterback, and I’ll take that to my grave. True, he doesn’t throw for as many yards as other quarterbacks, and he doesn’t run up the score in fantasy football, but he’s reliable, he’s consistent, and most importantly, he’s a winner.
Jared Goff is kinda like the anti-Russell Wilson. He can be a fantasy football treasure, but he’s not exactly reliable or consistent. His performance in the Super Bowl last year was dreadful, and it does make you wonder if he’s just a product of Sean McVay’s scheme. Maybe this year, he’ll step out on his own a little and prove he’s a bonafide franchise quarterback and not just a cog in the machine.
I’m Jimmy Garoppolo’s most vocal detractor, and I feel no shame about it. Garoppolo is consistently brought up in the conversation as one of the best young quarterbacks in football, but (and I add, through no fault of his own), he hasn’t really accomplished anything yet. He only has 10 career starts, and while eight of those were wins, that’s an impossibly small sample size. I think he really needs to prove he’s half the quarterback he’s hyped up as this season.
I like Kyler Murray, and I think he could be a lot of fun to watch on Sundays, but I also have my doubts. Will Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense work in the NFL? Is Murray big enough to survive the grind? Until he does, I can’t justify putting him higher on this list.