The NFL season is in full swing and the future looks bright for some of these QBs. With an influx of new talent, there are many rising stars on their way to becoming top-tier players. Here’s a ranking that will help you keep up with which teams have the best shot at winning in 2022.
The “2022 nfl qb rankings” is a list of the top 32 NFL quarterbacks for 2022. The list includes names such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers.
Would you rather have Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Joe Burrow as quarterback in the 2022 NFL season? Where does Aaron Rodgers fit into the quarterback conversation now that he’s coming off yet another MVP season and about to enter his age-39 season (assuming he decides to play at all)? What about Matthew Stafford, who just won the Super Bowl?
These are projected quarterback rankings for the entire 2022 NFL season, not just for a single game. Otherwise, following a great but turbulent performance in 2021, Rodgers would be a shoe-in to retain his No. 1 place, and many of the up-and-comers would falter.
The rankings are based on previous performance, predicted growth or decline, and intangibles. They take into account as many variables as possible, including coaching staffs, offensive lines, and supporting casts, since a lot may change over the summer. Subjectivity must also be factored in, which is typically the most enjoyable aspect since everyone values things differently than the guy in the middle.
We’re splitting hairs at a lot of locations in the countdown from No. 32 to No. 1, so let us know where you disagree.
Nos. 32-28: There’s a lot of promise here, but there’s also a lot of suffering.
The New York Jets’ Zach Wilson throws the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars. | Getty Images/Al Pereira
Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Taylor Heinicke, Taysom Hill, Tyler Huntley, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, Davis Mills, Gardner Minshew, Kenny Pickett, and Desmond Ridder are other candidates for consideration.
Sam Howell, a 21-year-old entering rookie, is number 32.
Sam Howell should be able to make a smooth transition to the NFL after strengthening his pocket presence and knowing when to utilize his legs as a scrambler after throwing an effortless pass versus North Carolina that looked to zip its way to short and intermediate receivers.
He’ll also benefit from playing behind a stronger offensive line than the Tar Heels’ patchwork one, but he’ll still need to improve his progressions rather than staring down a particular target.
Jordan Love, 23, of the Green Bay Packers, is number 31.
As they prepare for another will-he-or-won’t-he drama with Aaron Rodgers, the Packers aren’t exactly exuding confidence in Jordan Love.
During his few appearances in the lineup during the 2021 season, he failed to impress, although he did deliver a few plays that demonstrated his arm skill and overall potential. He may not be ready to be “the man,” but another year learning the ropes will only help him as Green Bay either transfers him or slows down his growth.
Matt Corral, a 23-year-old entering rookie, is number 30.
Matt Corral will benefit and be harmed by Ole Miss’ system as he moves to the NFL.
On the one hand, it simplified his life by allowing him to go through fewer progressions and run-pass alternatives that let him to demonstrate his rapid release, arm strength, and agility on planned runs. On the other hand, as he tries to read professional defenses and avoid having tunnel vision on his main and secondary options, he’ll have a lot to learn.
Zach Wilson, 22, of the New York Jets, is 29 years old.
As a rookie, Zach Wilson didn’t give the Jets much cause to be optimistic, as he struggled under pressure, threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and frequently submitted a couple of turnover-worthy plays against even the NFL’s lesser pass defenses.
Even though he has yet to complete more than 64 percent of his passes in a single game, he won’t be 23 until August and possesses jaw-dropping arm power when given time to target deep-developing routes, which keeps optimism alive.
Malik Willis, a 22-year-old rookie, is number 28.
Malik Willis is, without a doubt, a project. He has to become used to waiting for plays to develop rather than tucking and running at the first hint of pressure in order to prepare for the challenging transition to the NFL. At Liberty, he seldom gave players open, preferring to wait for them to create it on their own, which is a style that doesn’t work against competent secondaries.
His arm strength and movement, on the other hand, should transfer quickly, and we’ve seen plenty of dual-threat players make quicker-than-expected impressions in an NFL environment that is more geared for them.
27-26: Uninspiring vets with long-term potential
The Indianapolis Colts’ Carson Wentz dives back to throw against the Las Vegas Raiders. Getty Images/Michael Hickey
Carson Wentz, 29, of the Indianapolis Colts, is 27 years old.
A Week 18 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars, which knocked the Colts out of the postseason race — and effectively the rest of the team’s second half of the 2021 season — radically changed the perspective of Carson Wentz, who had seemed to be on the mend. He was more than sufficient during the first half of the season, averaging 244.2 passing yards per game with 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions in nine outings.
However, his year-long inefficiencies and inaccuracy operating beyond the line of scrimmage are obscured by his numbers, which is why Indianapolis has been cautious to invest in the once-promising Philadelphia Eagles prospect.
27-year-old quarterback Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions is ranked 26th.
Even if the Detroit Lions’ weapons develop to the point that Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds, and KhaDarel Hodge aren’t the most targeted wide outs, Jared Goff’s potential seems to be limited.
He can put up good counting metrics, particularly in Year 2 in Detroit with an above-average offensive line, but he’s more likely to put players in situations to succeed than to win games with his arm.
Nos. 25–18: There’s a point to be made (and Ryan Fitzpatrick)
During the first half against the Minnesota Vikings, Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears looks to throw. | Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
Justin Fields, a 22-year-old Chicago Bears player, is ranked 25th.
Even if you take into consideration his problems during his first season, it’s easy to feel enthusiastic about Justin Fields when you recall that he won’t be working under Matt Nagy’s supervision.
Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy, the head coach and offensive coordinator, should be significantly better at getting the most out of the young sophomore, who still has the dual-threat potential and deep-passing aptitude to have a breakthrough at any moment. Patience is still required, but the flashes of brilliance should be more frequent and shorter in duration.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, free agent, 24,
Ryan Fitzpatrick may be able to put up his cleats for good this summer, but he’s much too talented to be left out of the rankings altogether if he signs with the Washington Commanders or another team for his age-40 season. The veteran won’t be lighting up the scoreboard anytime soon, particularly after suffering a hip injury only six passes into 2021, but combining him with a strong run game and a top-notch defense generally results in minimal errors and a respectable amount of victories.
Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles is 23 years old.
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t have to be sold on Jalen Hurts as their franchise quarterback, but they shouldn’t be.
He’ll do just fine as a temporary stand-in until the genuine future signal-caller comes. Both in structured setups and when improvising as a scrambler, the 23-year-old excels at making the most of opportunities with his feet. Even though his presence in the pocket is steadily increasing, he still can’t deliver the ball consistently. Hurts reaches the ceiling in a jumbled manner, and the tall floor, held up by his legs, is his actual selling feature.
Jameis Winston, 28, is a free agent who is 22 years old.
Despite the fact that Jameis Winston’s tenure with the New Orleans Saints was cut short due to a ruptured ACL, he made a great impression.
The Florida State product started his 2021 season with a five-touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers, and through his first six outings, he had 13 touchdowns and just three turnovers. While working in a more cautious system, he didn’t take the same chances he did earlier in his career, which may have covered some of the bad decision-making that plagued him throughout his first five professional seasons.
During a game against the Houston Texans, Alex Mack of the San Francisco 49ers prepares to snap the ball to Trey Lance. | Getty Images/San Francisco 49ers/Michael Zagaris
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers, 21.
There’s certainly something going on here, and a second season under Kyle Shanahan should help the “what” become clearer.
Trey Lance struggled as a rookie, notching just five touchdowns and two interceptions while amassing 603 passing yards in six outings, owing in part to the irregularity with which he was given chances. But if he can make even the tiniest beneficial changes to his lengthy windup and jittery feet in the pocket, he might unlock all of the world’s potential in no time.
Baker Mayfield, 26, of the Cleveland Browns, is number 20.
Betting on Baker Mayfield’s game-to-game consistency at this stage is foolhardy. No one should be surprised if he looks like he’s worthy of the “No. 1 overall selection” designation one week and then fails to lead the Browns on a single touchdown drive the next.
But, before suffering the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season, Mayfield averaged 245.7 passing yards, completed 67.1 percent of his throws, and only threw three picks in six games. Judging him simply on the second half of the season ignores the fact that towards the conclusion of the season, he seemed to be a physical shell of himself.
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“This season, Miami’s offensive line allowed a league-high 235 pressures and had the lowest pass-blocking efficiency score in the NFL. Despite being adequately protected by a quarterback who gets rid of the ball swiftly and a club that runs the third-most RPOs in the league, the unit did this, according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, who ranked Miami’s offensive line as the worst in the league.
Tua Tagovailoa, who coped with continual rumors about external quarterbacks, injuries to his supporting cast, and a terrible offensive line while still looking the part of a long-term starter until slowing down at the conclusion of the year, needs to include that into his analysis. He may not be a household name, but his uncanny precision while in rhythm is a game changer in any system.
Trevor Lawrence is a 22-year-old wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars had almost nothing surrounding Trevor Lawrence, and Urban Meyer’s rocky — and fortunately short — stint didn’t exactly help his growth.
During his first season, he was one of the least useful quarterbacks in the NFL, but the raw skills that made him the clear No. 1 choice in 2021 didn’t vanish overnight. Lawrence should be able to convert the few exceptional plays into the occasional special games this year, with a little more steadiness and skill behind him. If he and incoming head coach Doug Pederson click right away, he may achieve even more.
Nos. 17-12: With a little support, they’ll win some games.
The New England Patriots’ Mac Jones looks to throw against the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter. Getty Images/Bryan M. Bennett
Mac Jones, a 23-year-old New England Patriots player, is ranked 17th.
The New England Patriots were set up to win with practically any game-managing quarterback who could make passes to short and intermediate routes, hand the ball off, and trust a playmaking defense to suffocate the opponent, so evaluating Mac Jones’ debut season is tough.
Jones excelled in that capacity, seeming to have some “it factor” attributes at times and displaying some growth ahead of his years while directing an uptempo, hurry-up offense. But were the constraints placed on him because of the roster surrounding him or because of his own limitations?
Jimmy Garoppolo, 30, of the San Francisco 49ers, is ranked 16th.
Don’t evaluate Jimmy Garoppolo just on his performance in a playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams, which had him fleeing for his life and frantically hurling the ball into Travin Howard’s arms. That was the result of some big-game problems and a playoff journey to the NFC Championship Game that saw San Francisco win despite him, but it didn’t reflect the player he’d been otherwise.
Though Jimmy G is unlikely to grow into an MVP candidate at this point in his career, his 37 wins in 53 games as a starter is no fluke.
Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan, 36, is ranked 15th.
Matt Ryan should be a Hall of Famer one day, but the case became much more difficult when his Atlanta Falcons — notice that we didn’t say “he” — lost a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51 to the New England Patriots. Nonetheless, his extraordinary raw output and enormous 2016 campaign should warrant a gold-jacket size.
That doesn’t change the fact that Ryan’s arm is too small to propel the ball downfield, and his average depth of target has already dropped from 8.6 in 2018 to only 7.1 in 2021. Last year, only Tua Tagovailoa (offensive line issues), Ben Roethlisberger (completely washed), and Jared Goff (Jared Goffing) were worse among qualifying quarterbacks.
The Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins throws a ball above Deon Bush of the Chicago Bears’ pressure. | Getty Images/Stephen Maturen
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, No. 14
Kirk Cousins is a considerably more prolific quarterback than his reputation suggests, based on his failures in front of the cameras and during the most important games. He’s also not as successful as his raw statistics suggest, thanks to a superb supporting cast, the fact that he benefits from working in his comfort zone, and the fact that he racks up stats in meaningless scenarios.
The truth, as is customary, lies somewhere in the center. The Vikings will have to determine whether that’s still good enough after his failures to deliver when the pressure is on his right arm.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 33, is number 13 on the list.
Ryan Tannehill’s 2021 season will be remembered for a three-interception blunder against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoff opener, but it shouldn’t define the 33-year-old quarterback. He couldn’t say the same about the 2021 season in general, since he was working with a new offensive coordinator in Todd Downing, who failed as a play-caller, with a set of turnstiles guarding him when he dropped back, and with an injury-depleted skill-position group.
Tannehill’s mobility helps him, but so does his downfield accuracy and determination to remain in under heavy pressure until the last possible second to deliver an unobstructed pass.
Derek Carr, 30, of the Las Vegas Raiders, is No. 12 on the list.
Derek Carr continues to improve, but how sure are you that the trend will continue in his age-31 season in what will almost certainly be a new offensive system?
In recent years, the veteran has combined his avoidance of turnover-worthy plays with more boldness, increasing his intended air yards per passing attempt from 6.8 in 2018 to 8.1 in each of the previous two seasons. Although there is a significant gap between him and everyone else in these rankings, defining moments are too few and far between to propel him to the next tier.
Nos. 11-6: On any given Sunday, they may look like MVPs.
The Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams. | Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Russell Wilson, 33, of the Seattle Seahawks is ranked 11th.
Russell Wilson seemed to be on his way to receiving an excess of MVP votes at the start of the 2020 season. Then came the second half of the year, which saw a fast (and relative) decline. In 2021, the irregularity remained. Wilson wasn’t able to remain healthy all year due to an injured finger and sprained ankles, and it showed in his performance in the middle of the NFL season.
But he still delivers a magnificent long ball, avoids pressure well (even if he takes off with his legs less often), and peppers opponents with enough on-target passes to keep his MVP status.
Kyler Murray, 24, of the Arizona Cardinals, is ranked tenth.
Sure, Kyler Murray cleaned up his social media and looked to be dissatisfied with the Arizona Cardinals, at least for a while. His last game of the 2021 season, a 34-11 playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams, was as dreadful as they get.
Murray, on the other hand, started the season on fire, seeming fully evolved as a passer and decision-maker until an ankle injury and Arizona’s overreliance on his heroics led him into a premature fall. When everything comes together, he appears like a superhero with his evasiveness and cannon arm. That doesn’t happen often enough for him to contend for the top-five slot he seemed to be vying for in October.
Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford, 34.
It may seem surprising that Matthew Stafford is only in the top 10 after winning the Super Bowl, but this isn’t a backward ranking. It’s a forward-thinking piece.
A slight lack of consistency and a proclivity for risk-taking that results in a few too many turnover-worthy plays (the majority of which went in the Los Angeles Rams’ favor throughout 2021), combined with expected progress from the many young guns sweeping the NFL, makes him appear a little sooner than expected.
To be clear, this is not intended as an offense. Stafford is a top candidate who might end up in the Hall of Fame, even though it’s difficult to assume everything will go his way in the future.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott directs a play against the New England Patriots. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
8. Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (28).
Dak Prescott can put up ridiculous statistics if he has a clean bill of health and is able to sling the football about with confidence. He averaged 302.2 passing yards per game in the first six games of 2021, with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 115.0 quarterback rating while completing 73.2 percent of his throws.
During a poor second half and a weak playoff performance, though, indecision played a role far too often. That may have been the last impression, but don’t forget what Prescott is capable of when he’s on fire.
7. Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (25).
Since Lamar Jackson earned MVP in 2019, has the NFL figured him out? Not quite, yet his lack of progress as a passer has been a source of concern, preventing him from climbing to the top of the signal-calling ranks.
Even in a mediocre 2021 (apart from a hot start), the dual-threat runner was a productive, efficient runner whose dynamic style of play made life easy for everyone around him and won him a vote of confidence from the one and only Tom Brady.
Avoiding injury and maintaining a calm demeanor when confronted with a blitz would go a long way toward rolling back the clock, and the 25-year-old still has chance for huge mechanical advances that would improve his arm’s consistency.
6. Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson, 26
The off-field activities of Deshaun Watson should be the only thing that matters here. The quarterback is still facing 22 civil lawsuits over sexual misconduct charges, which is much more serious than anything that happens on the field.
However, if we concentrate just on his ability as a quarterback — which is not to minimize the importance of the legal processes — it becomes evident that he remains an exceptional option even after missing the full 2021 season. Where will he be seen? Since his trade request is still pending, no one knows. Is he going to play? No one knows, once again.
He’s one of the top pigskin slingers in the NFL, regardless of where he’s playing.
Nos. 5–1 are true MVP contenders.
During Super Bowl 56, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow looks to throw the ball. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Joe Burrow, 25, is a quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals.
A real appraisal of Joe Burrow is practically difficult because to the Bengals’ dreadful offensive line, which became more obvious during a against-the-odds playoff run that concluded in a Super Bowl defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.
But it’s clearly clear that the LSU product diagnoses defenses with lightning speed, making apparently effortless passes that are only so because he digested the defensive scheme and went through his reads in the blink of an eye. His arm strength is still not up to par with the best in the NFL, but it has improved.
Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, 38.
Is he going to play at all? Will he play for the Green Bay Packers if he does? Will he return to Lambeau Field with a smaller supporting cast if he does? Is it possible for the front office to re-sign both him and Davante Adams?
Can Green Bay beat Father Time for another year, even if he’s effectively rushing it back?
Aside from the inevitable turmoil surrounding Aaron Rodgers, there’s no dispute that he’s one of the finest quarterbacks in the game, particularly after winning his fourth MVP. Allow him a little more skepticism as he enters his age-39 season, since Warren Moon is the only one of the eight Pro Bowl quarterbacks over the age of 38 who has avoided a drop-off the following season. Obviously, the injury histories are very different, but it is the precise time at which Peyton Manning’s career came to an end.
3. Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert, 23
Justin Herbert has an uncanny ability to throw the football. Even whether he’s firing it into a tight window or lofting it 60 yards down the field into the extended arms of his intended target, his delivery appears easy. Though he’s still growing as a vocal leader and may be tricked by disguised covering on occasion, his arm skill is objectively measurable as “unreal,” and he improved in almost every manner as a sophomore.
If you want to rate him as a “2a” or “1c,” go ahead and do so; at this point in the rankings, it’s all about picking hairs.
2. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), 25
Josh Allen’s season ended on a sour note with an overtime defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in which he didn’t play after the fourth quarter, but he still played flawless football in two playoff outings. He threw for 637 yards, nine touchdowns, and zero interceptions while completing 77.4% of his passes and ran for 134 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, both of whom possessed strong pass defenses.
He could be invincible now that he’s combined his bazooka arm and powerful running style with substantially better accuracy.
1. Patrick Mahomes, a 26-year-old Kansas City Chiefs quarterback
Great quarterbacks, and Patrick Mahomes is one of them, make adjustments.
With defenders effectively refusing to blitz him and instead opting for shell coverage, he had to push himself to suppress his aggressive inclinations and take what he was given, which he did well in the second half of the 2021 season. Defenses will surely break those trends and open more of the late-developing routes on which he’s particularly positioned to profit if that occurs with even greater frequency, especially with the devastating weaponry at the Kansas City Chiefs’ disposal.
Physical characteristics have never been questioned, and mental characteristics are beginning to catch up. That combination should put a stop to any production issues for good.
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
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The “nfl quarterbacks 2021” is a ranking of the top 32 NFL QBs for 2022.
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