The player that controls the game, that leads the team, starts every play on the field; that would be the quarterback. Quarterbacks often receive the most recognition within their respective football team, and considering their importance to the game, it seems justified. However, not all men are created equal, so some quarterbacks are obviously better than others. For the 2021 season, these are the starting quarterbacks, listed from worst to best.
32. Mac Jones (Patriots)
With Cam Newton recently being dropped by the franchise, it’s time for Mac Jones to step in as the new quarterback for the New England Patriots. Some say that picking Jones over Newton is a huge mistake. It appears as though he doesn’t know what he’s doing quite yet, but maybe he’ll come into his own.
31. Zach Wilson (Jets)
This is the second time in two seasons that the Jets have used a first round draft pick on a quarterback. Wilson was highly skilled at the collegiate level, if not a bit indecisive, but whether or not he can play at the NFL level, we’ll just have to wait and see.
30. Daniel Jones (Giants)
Jones certainly has a strong arm and skilled receivers, but without one of them his offense greatly suffers. We’ll just have to wait and see how Jones does this season.
29. Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
The Eagles have made it clear that they want Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback. They even let Nick Foles leave for the Jaguars and replaced Carson Wentz with Hurts after a poor season. A duel threat, it’s still unknown if he’ll be the starting quarterback for the Eagles in the long term.
28. Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
While a star player at the collegiate level, it remains to be seen if Tagovailoa has what it takes for the NFL level. Even one of his former teammates, Jayden Waddle, drafted to give him more support, said they preferred playing with Mac Jones over him.
27. Teddy Bridgewater (Broncos)
Bridgewater is playing as the team’s starting quarterback this season, replacing former rookie Drew Lock after a lackluster season. Whether or not Bridgewater will prove to be a superior choice remains to be seen.
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington Football Team)
Coming off of one of his best years, Fitzpatrick has moved from Miami to D.C. While his old team lacked offensive weapons, his new one lacked a skilled quarterback. Hopefully the two can complement each other to give the Washington Football Team a chance at the playoffs.
25. Jameis Winston (Saints)
Winston has had a rather mixed career. While he’s thrown for over 5,000 yards in the past and scored 30 touchdowns, he’s also thrown nearly that many interceptions. As the successor to Drew Brees, he’ll be under extra scrutiny as the Saints’ starting quarterback.
24. Sam Darnold (Panthers)
After another injury took him out for a season, the Jets decided to trade Darnold to the Panthers. Hopefully, now surrounded by skilled receivers, Darnold will be able to show that he can still be a franchise quarterback.
23. Andy Dalton (Bears)
While they were both still with the Cowboys, Dalton needed to take over the starting position following Dak Prescott being injured. He’s an intelligent player, and, at his best, is able to lead his team to victory. After a tough start to the season last year, Dalton will need to prove why he should be the starting quarterback over fan-favorite Justin Fields.
22. Carson Wentz (Colts)
Wentz has been reunited with his former coach, Frank Reich. Hopefully he’ll be able to bring out the same skill that made him an MVP-player while still with the Eagles. He’s been having a rather poor past seasons, and was even benched in favor of Jalen Hurts. Hopefully he’ll be able to bounce back for this season.
21. Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
Lawrence being selected in the first round of the draft cements the beginning of a new era for the Jaguars. While at Clemson, he showed a great deal of skill and athleticism. The jaguars needed some kind of shock to revitalize themselves, and Lawrence might be just that.
20. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Burrow has proven that he deserves to be in the NFL, with even his college football stats supporting his skill. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely after having torn his ACL. He’ll be returning this season, and with a slew of great offensive weapons, it’ll be interesting to see where this all goes.
19. Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)
After an incredibly strong start to his season in 2017, Garoppolo’s first season as a starting quarterback ended after only two games. Ever since then, the two-time Super Bowl Champion has been trying to get back into his groove. And with Trey Lance waiting in the wings, Garoppolo needs to put out a fantastic showing to fend off his potential replacement.
18. Jared Goff (Lions)
Goff’s career has had its ups and downs over the four years he’s been in the NFL. Playing abysmally in his rookie year, he managed to turn things around in his second and third season. However, after a much poorer fourth season, he’s since been moved from LA to Detroit. Hopefully, without the expectations that were once put on his shoulders, he can relax and player better.
17. Baker Mayfield (Browns)
Another player whose had their ups and downs over their career, Mayfield has been playing in the NFL for an even shorter time than Goff. Starting out with a great record, things collapsed for the Browns halfway through the season. However, in 2020, he managed to get back on the right track and led his team to a playoff victory over the Steelers. Now, the pressure’s on for him to continue winning this season.
16. Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)
Roethlisberger is considered a lock as a future Hall of Famer. An injury in 2019 cost him most of that season, but he’s since returned with avengeance. With rumblings about potential retirement, this may be his last year, but he’ll certainly go out with a bang.
15. Derek Carr (Raiders)
Every year seems to be a make or break season for Derek Carr. He’s risk-averse in his plays and previous injuries have many doubting his ability to become an elite player. However, he’s rarely been surrounded by a good supporting cast, so perhaps his new targets will improve his overall game.
14. Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
The Vikings seem to expect Cousins to become one of the best quarterbacks in the league, especially given the flashes of brilliance he showed while still with Washington. While the change seemed to initially not suit him, Cousins has since turned things around. He even led his team to a rare victory against the Saints in the Wild Card round.
13. Matt Ryan (Falcons)
Ryan has become a statistical marvel in the last couple of years, averaging nearly 4,600 passing yards. While he started out as a more average quarterback, he has since come into his own.
12. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
This veteran quarterback has plenty of targets to throw to now that he’s with the Rams. His ability to throw accurately to every level of the field will prove invaluable to his new team.
11. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
Tannehill has always been a talented player. While his cannon arm has been somewhat lessened in impact by his poorer decision-making in the past, his consistency has vastly improved since joining the Titans.
10. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
The Cowboys offense leans heavily on Dak Prescott. Last season, after being on the road to make career-high marks, Prescott was taken out for the season due to a leg injury. But now he’s back, and the Cowboys success rests on his shoulders.
9. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
Murray is an extraordinary talent. Even though he had a few missteps in his debut season, he’s since come into his own. He boasts a great arm, excellent mobility, and great decision-making skills. As long as he remains healthy, there might not be much that can stop the Cardinals.
8. Deshaun Watson (Texans)
Watson is certainly a talented player, having earned his third consecutive Pro-Bowl nod last season. However, he’s currently facing multiple lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct. It’s still possible that he won’t play at all this season.
7. Justin Herbert (Chargers)
Last season, Herbert wasn’t supposed to become the starting quarterback so early, but after Tyrod Taylor’s injury, he had to step up. And step up he did. His strong arm and analytical mind allowed him to stand up to some of the truly great quarterbacks, such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees. and Patrick Mahomes.
6. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
Lamar Jackson has improved tremendously from his first to second year. He threw 30 more touchdowns than in his first season and set a single-season rushing record for quarterbacks at 1,206 yards.
5. Josh Allen (Bills)
Allen’s performance has been a bit of mixed bag over the years, especially in his first season. He needs to become a more accurate hurler to truly be considered elite, but Allen has been greatly improving over the years.
4. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
There aren’t many other quarterbacks you’d want on your team. Despite his age, Tampa Bay is lucky to have him. With seven Super Bowl Championships under his belt and a plethora of new targets with the Bucs, Brady still seems to have a few more years left in him.
3. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)
Wilson was once underestimated due to his short stature, but not anymore. He made it to the post-season for eight out of nine of his first years in the NFL, and even received a Lombardi trophy.
2. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
With incredible arm strength, great nimbleness, and some of the most impressive accuracy in the league, Aaron Rodgers is one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the league. Even though he’s deteriorated somewhat in his older age, the Packers are only able to go as far as Rodgers will allow them to.
1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Mahomes has one of the strongest arms in the league, and some impressive accuracy to boot. It seems as though he is capable of making any kind of pass. Just 46 starts into his career, Mahomes had already claimed an MVP and Super Bowl title.