Few positions matter more to the prospects of championship success than the NFL quarterback.
Whether a team is pushing all the chips into the table to make a run at the Super Bowl, is in the infancy of a rebuild around a highly drafted rookie, or is piecing a season together with at least one eye towards mega-prospects Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, success largely hinges on who's behind center as the 2023 season nears.
Now that the NFL preseason is underway and the regular season opener is rapidly closing in, here's a look at how every quarterback situation around the league stacks up:
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has a pair of MVP awards already on his mantle, the luxury of playing for arguably the greatest offensive play-caller in the sport, and an explosive collection of skill players around him. The Chiefs may struggle to repeat as Super Bowl champions given the abundance of elite talent in the AFC. But Mahomes remains the most gifted player at his position, especially after coming off a career-high 5,250 yards in 2022 and surpassing 4,000 yards every year as a starter.
2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
One of the most clutch and most cerebral quarterbacks in the sport, Joe Burrow's ability to quickly process information and get the football to dynamic playmakers such as Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins has been a driving force behind the Cincinnati Bengals' run of success in recent years. Only Daniel Jones and Aaron Rodgers' on-target percentage was higher than Burrow's 79.1% in 2022, despite tying for the league's worst pocket time at 2.2 seconds.
3. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts played his way into the MVP conversation — and the Eagles in the Super Bowl — last season, and he has the potential to be even better in 2023. Another year of continuity with receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith could elevate Hurts' ceiling even loftier than what we saw in 2022, when the Eagles' quarterback set career highs with 3,701 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. As if that wasn't enough, Hurts was a driving force behind Philadelphia's red zone success, rushing for 13 more scores.
4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Few quarterbacks tax a defense more for 60 minutes than Josh Allen, thanks to his combination of elite arm strength and an aggressive, physical running style when he tucks the football and takes off from the pocket. Combine Allen's 7.6 yards per passing attempts (seventh best among qualified starters in 2022) with his 6.1 yards per carry average on 124 rushing attempts — plus an electrifying supporting cast that includes the likes of Stefon Diggs and rising running back James Cook — and it's easy to see why the Bills are a Super Bowl favorite in the AFC each year.
5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
It's high time for Justin Herbert's immense potential and talent to start translating into lengthy postseason runs for the Chargers. Only Mahomes passed for more than Herbert's 4,739 yards last season, as the Chargers' signal-caller connected on 25 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions — all while completing 68.2% of his passes. Los Angeles is betting big that new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can get the most out of Herbert and a dynamic receiving corps consisting of veterans Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and speedy rookie Quentin Johnston.
6. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is back, and the Ravens have built the most prolific receiving corps of his career over the course of the offseason. Jackson's athleticism is nearly unmatched, and he already has an MVP award on his resume?. The trio of Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., and rookie Zay Flowers presents the opportunity for Jackson to elevate his performance in the vertical passing game like no supporting cast he's previously had in his career.
7. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Justin Fields made significant strides in his second NFL season, while finishing as the league's seventh-leading rusher. In 15 games, he added 1,143 yards and eight rushing touchdowns to his career-best 2,242 passing yards with 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The former Ohio State star has some work to do to develop into a complete passer, but after the Bears added field-stretching veteran receiver D.J. Moore alongside Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool in Fields' supporting cast, 2023 is setting up to be a breakout season for the 24-year-old.
8. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
The biggest question facing Aaron Rodgers and the Jets in his Gotham debut is whether the 39-year-old and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett can find a way to turn back time. Two years ago, Rodgers was named MVP by passing for 4,115 yards with 37 touchdowns to just four interceptions. If Rodgers can put last season's forgettable — and ugly — performance behind him and return to form, the Jets have all the pieces on both sides of the ball to make a deep postseason run.
9. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Make no mistake about it, Daniel Jones is one of the game's most impressive ascending quarterback talents. The biggest task for Jones and the Giants is to prove that 2022 — the 26-year-old's first season in head coach Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka's system that saw him pass for 15 touchdowns with a career-low five interceptions — wasn't an outlier. The additions of potential game-breakers such as tight end Darren Waller, veteran Parris Campbell and speedy rookie Jalin Hyatt should help, but it's up to Jones to prove he belongs among the game's elite.
10. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has vowed to cut down on interceptions that have dogged his career and lowered the Cowboys' ceiling in recent seasons. Amari Cooper's absence was felt in a significant way by Prescott and the Cowboys' offense last season. But the addition of veteran burner Brandin Cooks could round out Prescott's supporting cast and give the veteran quarterback the potential to lead the Cowboys to new heights in 2023.
11. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence has arrived. Working alongside head coach Doug Pederson brought out the best in the former No. 1 overall pick and generational prospect. And the addition of veteran receiver Calvin Ridley to Lawrence's arsenal should make last season's 4,113-yard performance with 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions far closer to the floor than his and Jacksonville's ceiling.
12. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
So long as Kirk Cousins has Justin Jefferson to throw to — and an efficient bruising running game to complement the vertical offense — the Vikings are going to tax opposing defenses. Cousins' 47.8 deep-ball completion percentage was third in the NFL in 2022, so stretching the field isn't a concern for the veteran quarterback. But this might be his last chance in Minnesota to prove he's capable of leading a legitimate Super Bowl run.
13. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
If Tua Tagovailoa can stay on the field and put last season's nightmarish concussion concerns behind him, Miami has built a Ferrari of an offense to complement his skill set and power a deep postseason run. While only appearing in 13 games in 2022, Tagovailoa passed for a career-high 25 touchdowns. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle's game-altering speed helped propel Tagovailoa to finishing with a league-high 8.04 net air yards per pass attempt. Speed kills, and Tagovailoa has plenty of it at his disposal.
14. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
It's difficult to project what Deshaun Watson is capable of on the field in 2023 following a 2022 campaign that saw his conduct off the field lead him to being suspended the first 11 games before being thrown into the maelstrom of a mediocre offense down the stretch. The Browns are betting big that Watson will be a transcendent figure for the franchise's trajectory; but after failing to pass for over 300 yards in any of his six appearances last season and finishing two of those games without a touchdown pass, Watson better hurry up and prove Cleveland was right to wager all it has on him.
15. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith's comeback to prominence was one of the best stories of the 2022 season, and the Seahawks have assembled one of the most prolific receiving corps around the 32-year-old journeyman. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett each surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in 2022, and that was before Seattle dropped explosive rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba into Smith's arsenal. If Smith can replicate last season's success, the Seahawks have all the weapons on both sides of the ball to crash the NFC's Super Bowl party.
16. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
For Kenny Pickett, the task at hand in 2022 is building on a rookie campaign that showed some flashes that should encourage plenty of optimism about the future. The biggest reason to be encouraged is that Pickett had a full offseason to develop chemistry with dynamic young receiver George Pickens. Early returns have been extremely positive, especially watching Pickett methodically pick apart the Buccaneers in a preseason debut that saw him complete 6 of 7 passes for 70 yards with a touchdown. The benefit of a rookie season in the rearview and an entire offseason program as the Steelers' starting quarterback could set the stage for 2023 to be Pickett's launching pad.
17. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love's time has finally arrived in Green Bay. General manager Brian Gutekunst is downright giddy about Love's upside and where he is currently in his development, according to league conversations. Love looked the part in his preseason debut, including dropping a perfectly placed touch-pass to Romeo Doubs against the Bengals. There's some exciting talent at receiver around Love in Green Bay, but the veteran will quickly need to prove Gutekunst's instincts accurate.
18. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
The case for Jared Goff resurrecting his career and emerging as the Lions' franchise quarterback stems from an electrifying supporting cast that includes receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and explosive running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Goff authored one of the finest seasons of his career in 2022, and if he can build on 4,438 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and tying a career-low seven interceptions, the Lions have Super Bowl upside. Just in case, the Lions seem to have drafted a potential long-term successor in Hendon Hooker this spring.
19. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
It would seem unfathomable that Russell Wilson could be as bad as he was during a wholly dysfunctional Denver Broncos debut. With Nathaniel Hackett exorcised, and Sean Payton's influence guiding Wilson, a major bounce-back season could be in the offing. Jerry Jeudy and tight end Greg Dulcich have the makings of reliable weapons with upside, but it's up to Wilson to prove he's still capable of maximizing them.
20. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
After being jettisoned by the Las Vegas Raiders, Carr gets to orchestrate an offense built around Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Not bad. Prior to last season's swoon, Carr had been in the midst of a run of four consecutive seasons with over 4,000 passing yards. Can he get back there? New Orleans certainly has the weapons to facilitate a Carr comeback, and the opportunity is there in the NFC South for the Saints to compete.
21. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
Frank Reich gets to mold a young prote?ge?, and Bryce Young gets to lead an offense with experienced pass-catchers such as Adam Thielen, tight end Hayden Hurst, and potentially explosive rookie Jonathan Mingo. All that is to say that the pieces are in place for Young — who has turned heads with his decision-making and accuracy during Panthers camp — to have a soft landing after being chosen No. 1 overall in this spring's NFL Draft.
22. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Trade rumors swirled about the Rams moving on from Matthew Stafford this offseason, and Los Angeles appears to be a franchise straddling the line between rebuilding and trying to forge one last run at the Lombardi. While injuries have exacted a toll on Stafford, he's a year removed from consecutive seasons of more than 4,000 passing yards. Stafford's ability to bounce back will define the Rams' ability to come close to competing in 2023.
23. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy's meteoric rise from Mr. Irrelevant to the doorstep of the Super Bowl — in the NFC Championship Game — was one of the most impressive storylines of 2022. However, Purdy's health — following an elbow injury suffered in the 49ers' title game loss to the Eagles — and whether he was merely a one-year wonder are major question marks. But, as one executive pointed out, having a supporting cast that includes Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk certainly lessens what Purdy would need to do to lead San Francisco on another deep postseason run.
24. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
Mr. Consistency — so far as leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship Game in consecutive seasons, prior to getting hurt in 2022 — is now tasked with putting his injury history behind him and resurrecting one of the league's biggest underachieving franchises. Can Davante Adams and Company bring out the best in Jimmy Garoppolo, who thrived in Kyle Shanahan's system when healthy?
25. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
It's a new era in Houston, and the Texans are banking on C.J. Stroud to lead a franchise renaissance. Stroud's 41 touchdowns to six interceptions in 2022 combined with a 125 passer rating had the former Ohio State standout in the conversation as the No. 1 pick in the draft this spring.There may be growing pains for Stroud, but he has all the tools to command an NFL offense at a high level.
26. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
The Titans admitted that by drafting Will Levis this spring, at least one eye is trained on life after Ryan Tannehill. Last season, Tannehill's season was largely derailed by an ankle injury, but he managed only a career-low 2,56 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. The clock is very much ticking on Tannehill's days as a starter.
27. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
This season will be Desmond Ridder's audition to become the Falcons' long-term solution at quarterback, and he'll have a prolific supporting cast at his disposal. In what could evolve into a truly "positionless" scheme, rookie running back Bijan Robinson, receiver Drake London, and tight ends Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith will force defenses to cover every last blade of grass. Early returns from Falcons camp have been encouraging; and if Ridder succeeds, he'll be significantly higher on this list next August.
28. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is Baker Mayfield anything more than a career backup at this stage of his career? His Panthers performance was certainly uninspiring. But with the Buccaneers, Mayfield gets to throw to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who remain two of the more reliable pass-catchers in the game.
29. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Whether it's Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe, the Patriots seemingly prove the old adage "if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks." But, in actuality, New England might not have a viable NFL starter on the roster. Time will tell if Bill O'Brien can resurrect Jones' career.
30. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
Leading an offense loaded with star power including Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Brian Robinson, Sam Howell is an open question as to whether he can quickly develop into a franchise quarterback. Eric Bieniemy's arrival as offensive coordinator could be the kind of influence that leads to Howell making major strides in his second season.
31. Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Richardson's exceptional athleticism had personnel departments salivating ahead of the draft, and all that's standing in the former Florida standout's way of becoming the Colts' Week 1 starter is Gardner Minshew. Whether Richardson's elite athletic traits translate to victories and NFL success remain an open question.
32. Colt McCoy, Arizona Cardinals
Who knows if we will see Kyler Murray this season, or ever again, in an Arizona Cardinals uniform. Colt McCoy seems the perfect candidate to command the good tank SS Caleb Williams.
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