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Ranking Every Starting Quarterback in the 2023 NFL Season

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published July 10, 2023
7 min read

There is no question that quarterback is the most important position in the NFL. There’s a reason the 10 most recent MVP winners have all been QBs, and why nearly every top pick is invested on a gunslinger. See our expert predictions on who will be the NFL’s most valuable player during the 2023 regular season.

While there is no shortage of arm talent in the NFL, a majority of it is stockpiled in the AFC. That leaves the NFC not only open for individual rankings, but also for team success and the opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Here, we will rank every starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season and give our thoughts on each player.

Ranking Quarterbacks 2023 NFL Season

#1: Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs

What words can be said that properly do Mahomes justice? He just won his second MVP and Super Bowl ring in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ full-time starter and threw for a career-high 5,250 yards despite severely lacking wide receiver talent. To say that he is anything short of the best quarterback in the league by a wide margin is betraying the integrity of the game of football.

#2: Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow has firmly emerged as the second-best QB in the league. He has the stats to back up that claim, but he also has the calmness and clutch factor that separate the greats from the elites—more on that below.

#3: Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills

Allen can make every throw in the world and can take off and pick up first downs with his legs. However, he has repeatedly come up short against Mahomes and Burrow in the playoffs and commits too many turnovers. He also doesn’t have the same coolness in the big moments and is prone to making egregious errors below the level of player he is.

#4: Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles

Hurts is tough to position because of the explosion he had in 2022. To Hurts’ credit, he capped off a phenomenal season with the best game of his professional career in a losing effort in the Super Bowl, where he picked up nearly 400 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

#5: Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers

Herbert has benefitted from playing with great wide receivers but has put up great numbers every year and already has the sixth-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in league history. Although he has a cannon for an arm, the word that best defines his game is “smooth,” and he is firmly in the running for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year if he stays healthy.

#6: Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence shrugged off concerns regarding his poor rookie season and began to take off in the back half of 2022 under the tutelage of Doug Pederson. His performances may not quite warrant his number six ranking, but he is getting better and getting better fast and now has another playmaker in Calvin Ridley joining the fold.

#7: Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens

Jackson is coming off the worst year of his career and has been the center of controversy because of his unwillingness to play down the stretch of 2022. That said, he has already won a unanimous MVP trophy and is the best running threat of all quarterbacks despite the excellence of Hurts and others.

#8: Aaron Rodgers - New York Jets

Rodgers was only 27th in QBR in 2022, which was incredibly strange considering that he won the MVP each of the two preceding years. We don’t think Rodgers has fallen off a cliff, but we don’t believe that he is as much of a game-breaker as the other names that we have already mentioned.

#9: Kirk Cousins - Minnesota Vikings

Cousins is somehow both better and worse than people make him out to be. His numbers are truly at the elite level (4,547 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in 2022), but he is also one of the least-reliable big-game players there is. He was only 23rd in QBR last year despite his statistical excellence and does not have a great impact on winning games.

#10: Tua Tagovailoa - Miami Dolphins

Tua showed flashes of brilliance prior to being knocked in and out of the lineup with injuries and concussions. The Dolphins had one of the most explosive offenses in the league with him under center, but his ball placement wasn’t as excellent as the numbers the Dolphins posted suggest.

#11: Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys

Dak is entering a crucial year in his career. The Cowboys just moved off of his draft-mate Ezekiel Elliott, and the ever-ambitious Jerry Jones could look to upgrade the QB position if Prescott does not impress. Dak led the league in interceptions in 2022 despite missing a quarter of the season with an injury but always has his team near the top of most offensive metrics.

#12: Matthew Stafford - Los Angeles Rams

Stafford is a bit of an unknown heading into 2023. He’s dealt with serious, potentially career-threatening injuries lately, was beat up even before that, and threw just 10 touchdowns in nine games last year. However, Stafford had 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions the year prior en route to a Super Bowl championship and has some of the best arm talent in the game—if he’s not over the hedge.

#13: Geno Smith - Seattle Seahawks

Geno won the Comeback Player of the Year award last year—over Brian Robinson Jr., who returned to football four weeks after being shot twice in the leg (no, we still don’t understand)—and was great for the Seahawks. It’s very hard to see Smith finding his way back in the MVP conversation for the second year running, but who truly knows if he’s closer to his 2022 form or the version that was run out of New York. 

#14: Justin Fields - Chicago Bears

We are expecting to see progression from Fields in 2023. He quickly became one of the most dominant runners at any position once the Bears’ coaching staff took him off the leash, and he now has additional help in the form of tackle Darnell Wright and wideout D.J. Moore. It’s important to remember that Fields was an excellent passer in college, and if he can become even average in the pros, his running ability will make him a top-half QB.

#15: Jared Goff - Detroit Lions

Goff was nothing short of awesome last season and looked like the quarterback that helped drive the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl in 2019. The knock on Goff is that he doesn’t handle pressure very well, and the eye test shows that his numbers don’t necessarily translate to big plays. 

#16: Derek Carr - New Orleans Saints

Carr has been a fringe top-10 QB for most of his career but bottomed out in 2022, which coincided with the end of his tenure with the Raiders. Assuming his completion percentage doesn’t continue to plummet and he capitalizes on a weak NFC South, we may actually have Carr ranked a little too low. 

#17: Russell Wilson - Denver Broncos

Okay, so, Wilson was terrible last season, and he has been on the decline for the last two-and-a-half years. He’s developed an unwillingness to run the ball and does not appear as athletic as he once was, but he at least gets to play under Sean Payton, who is one of the sharpest offensive minds in football.

#18: Daniel Jones - New York Giants

Jones has improperly been thrust into the conversation for one of the spots in the 10 best QBs conversation. His ability to consistently run the football is a huge plus and increases his value, and while his turnovers have continued to decline, it was evident that he greatly benefitted from the Giants hiring Brian Daboll. Jones was sixth in QBR last year but is allergic to big plays through the air and only threw 15 TDs in 17 games.

#19: Deshaun Watson - Cleveland Browns

Watson is the toughest player to rank on the entire list. Before injuries and off-field controversy kept him out of football for a couple of years, he was in the conversation for top-five QBs in the league. Last season, after returning from his suspension, he averaged 183 yards per game and threw seven touchdowns to five interceptions. We think he can improve from pedestrian to mediocre, but anything beyond that is a gamble.  

#20: Brock Purdy - San Francisco 49ers

Purdy filled in admirably during his rookie season and would be in line for a better season if he were not coming off of a torn UCL. And while Purdy really could not have done better than he did, that season alone is not enough to greatly convince of his ability. He stepped into a ready-made 49ers offense with a genius coach in Kyle Shanahan and needs to sustain that level of play to rise higher on our list.

#21: Ryan Tannehill - Tennessee Titans

Tannehill fell out of favor last season but has still had a fairly successful tenure in Tennessee, racking up 225.1 yards per game and 89 touchdowns to 33 interceptions in four seasons. The Titans have not helped Tannehill’s last-career decline with the decay of the offensive line and poor receiving corps they’ve left around him.

#22: Mac Jones - New England Patriots

Jones made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but regressed in nearly every statistical category in his sophomore season. It’s safe to say the Patriots’ experiment of hiring a defensive coordinator to run the offense did not work, and Jones was a frequent target of cheap criticism. Whether or not Jones still has Pro Bowl ability, he does not have great playmakers around him and also repeatedly displayed poor body language and poise in 2022.

#23: Jimmy Garoppolo - Las Vegas Raiders

Jimmy G is one of the most injury-prone players in the NFL and was significantly outplayed by Purdy in last season’s Niners offense. He doesn’t make many big plays and turns the ball over too much and is basically stuck below the 20 mark. 

#24: Kenny Pickett- Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickett showed spite and moxie in his rookie season, but neither of those makeup for him throwing seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games, especially considering he played five years of college football in the same city he plays in professionally. Pickett can run the ball, which makes him more of a weapon, but he really needs to take advantage of the weapons the Steelers have put in place.

#25: Sam Howell - Washington Commanders

Howell could be one of the fastest risers on the list, or he could finish the year exactly where he is. He was an outside candidate for the Heisman trophy during his senior season at North Carolina and led the Commanders to a 26-6 win over the Cowboys in the lone start of his rookie year. He’s only 6 feet tall on a good day, but he’s a strong-armed risk-taker that can also run the ball and has tons of weapons surrounding him, plus Eric Bieniemy dialing up the plays.

#26: Baker Mayfield - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It wasn't too long ago that Mayfield set the NFL’s rookie record for passing TDs and led the Browns to the playoffs. Now, he’s a young journeyman that’s constantly at risk of being out of a job. He’ll benefit from having an offseason to get healthy and familiar with a couple of nice receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but he’s been poor for too long to merit ranking him any higher. 

#27: Jordan Love - Green Bay Packers

The Packers finally bit the bullet and ended their 30-year streak of having either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers starting under center. Love has big shoes to fill but had nice zip on the ball in his four appearances last year. Despite this being his first year starting, he’s also playing for a contract as the Packers look to reset their roster in the post-Rodgers era.

#28: Bryce Young - Carolina Panthers

Young was the top pick in the draft and had an incredible career at Alabama, where he won a national championship and a Heisman trophy. He also put together some of the best films ever and set a record for S2 cognitive test scores before the draft. It’s up to him to use his mental skills and feel for the game to overcome his diminutive height in the big league.

#29: Colt McCoy - Arizona Cardinals

McCoy is a career backup for a reason—however, he’s a long-tenured veteran that likely won’t have as low of a floor as some of the rookie QBs. He also completed 71% of his passes over the last two seasons across 231 attempts, which is not a small sample size.

#30: Anthony Richardson - Indianapolis Colts

We like Richardson ahead of his draft-mate Stroud partially because he’s stepping into a better situation, and also because we think that he’ll make an immediate impact as a runner and general athlete. He’s teaming up with Shane Steichen, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator that helped develop Jalen Hurts into an elite dual-threat, but he was still not that impressive in college and will need lots of work as a passer.

#31: C.J. Stroud - Houston Texans

Stroud has potential as a player but is going to suffer in his rookie season because of the Texans’ lack of offensive talent. Their offensive line is not good and their receiving corps is arguably the worst in the entire league, which is a recipe for disaster for a rookie quarterback. He also struggled to deal with pressure in college, which could expose him early on.

#32: Desmond Ridder - Atlanta Falcons

Ridder did not put many impressive moments on tape, to put it lightly. He simply did not look like someone that reserved to start in the NFL and does not have the pedigree to suggest that growth is an inevitability. We’ll hold off on judgment because he only attempted 115 passes, but he is our worst starter in the league heading into 2023.

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

472 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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