(Image Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
Coming into the 2021 NFL season there has to be a ranking of the top 10 starting QBs in the league. These are the best of the best QBs that are able to take control of games and pull out wins for their respected ball clubs.
10. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
36 Total TDs, 7 INTs, 4,823 Passing Yds, 444 Rushing Yds, 112.4 Passer Rating, 70.5 QBR
Obviously, if there were no legal troubles off the field then Deshaun Watson would be much higher on this list. Right now, there are 22 civil lawsuits filed by women who claim Watson committed sexual misconduct toward them. Watson would probably be on a new NFL team as well if it were not for what he will be facing off the field. You have to take Watson’s problems off the field into consideration when creating this list because Watson flat out might not play in 2021. There is no doubt that Watson is one of the best QBs in the NFL, but the unclear future is worrisome. This is a QB that put up MVP type of numbers on one of the worst rosters in the NFL last season. For 2021, Watson needs to begin off clean with a new start on a new team. But for now, we have no idea if or when that will happen so Watson will be at the number 10 spot on this list.
9. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
33 Tot. TDs, 9 INTs, 2,757 Passing Yds, 1,005 Rushing Yds, 99.3 Passer Rating, 73.7 QBR
May be faster than a cheetah and certainly has the ability to make a big play in a flash. Lamar Jackson did not have an MVP type of performance in 2020 but he did prove that he can still win ball games with his electric speed. The Baltimore Ravens were able to get some new weapons for Jackson to throw to in the offseason with the signing of WR Sammy Watkins in free agency and the draft selection of Rashod Bateman at pick #27. Jackson certainly is not the best thrower of the football on this list but one quality that goes unnoticed is Jackson does have underrated arm strength. Many do not think Jackson can throw because of some throwing accuracy problems that have hurt him in the past. More improvement on Jackson's passing touch and accuracy on balls will help a ton no doubt. However, this guy has top 10 NFL athleticism at the QB position that is rare to find. Jackson will be a playmaker in 2021 for the Ravens and will look to make a push in the AFC North.
8. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
37 Total TDs, 12 INTs, 3,971 Passing Yds, 819 Rushing Yds, 94.3 Passer Rating, 68.9 QBR
Here is a QB that also has a great ability to throw the football with his strong arm and is able to make plays with his quick feet to move the chains. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had a very up and down season in 2020. Murray was able to have a good statistical year, but the wins were just not being accomplished. One bright spot was Murray was able to make big-time plays with teammate DeAndre Hopkins. Both were able to show outstanding chemistry while working together which will look to improve to another level this season. Murray will also now have veteran WR A.J. Green joining the Cardinals' passing attack. Fellow WR Christian Kirk is still present on the roster to utilize as well for Murray. In the 2021 season, Murray must be able to protect the ball better, complete a higher percentage of completions, and flat-out win games for this Arizona team. The NFC West is a tough division where a simple mistake or loss can cost the season. There is tremendous pressure on Murray to perform at a high level in 2021 because this Cardinals team is ready to win now.
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
12 Total TDs, 3 INTs, 1,856 Passing Yds, 93 Rushing Yds, 99.6 Passer Rating, 78.7 QBR
Injuries are never fun and the horrific ankle injury that took Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott out of the season was difficult to watch. Prescott was having a great 2020 season up to the point of the ankle injury. Prescott will look to bounce back in a huge way for the Cowboys in 2021. Even with the ankle injury, Prescott was rewarded with a 6-year, $240,000,000 deal in the offseason. Another positive is Prescott will have all his weapons to throw to with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Of course, more pressure will be put on Prescott to win games since getting his new deal and the weapons galore he has on this Cowboys team. Many will be watching to see if Prescott can mentally get over his ankle injury and play at a high level for this football team. If Prescott's performances do not look good early on and the Cowboys are not winning games, then expect questions to be thrown at the Cowboys' front office for the decisions that they have made with Prescott’s contact.
6. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
36 Total TDs, 10 INTs, 4,336 Passing Yds, 234 Rushing Yds, 98.3 Passer Rating, 69.5 QBR
What a rookie season it was for the Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert. Herbert was able to win NFL Rookie of the Year and set new life into the Chargers franchise. Many people see Herbert as a huge playmaker that will bring the Chargers back to the playoffs in 2021. Herbert has great arm strength and throws the football with good overall accuracy. There is also the ability to extend plays with his legs if a play does break down. A jump in Herbert's QBR would be beneficial but we all have to remember that he is still going into his second season as an NFL starting QB. Mistakes may still arise but veteran players like Kennan Allen, Mike Williams, Jared Cook, and a strong offensive line will make Herbert's life easier. Herbert will also be on his second NFL head coach with the addition of Brandon Staley. Staley must work with the talented Hebert to get the Chargers over the hump in 2021.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
42 Tot. TDs, 13 INTs, 4,212 Passing Yds, 513 Rushing Yds, 105.1 Passer Rating, 73.5 QBR
In the first half of the 2020 season, Russell Wilson was on fire and was looking to win his first NFL MVP award. Unfortunately, Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks' play fell off a tad bit. The Seahawks and Wilson lost in the first round of the playoffs to their divisional rivals the Los Angeles Rams. Trade rumors circulated about Wilson wanting out of Seattle but all that looks to be a story for next NFL offseason. We all know what kind of player Wilson is with his leadership, incredible deep ball, and ability to make plays with his quick feet. Unfortunately, this Seahawks team lacks talent on the offensive line which has led to Wilson getting beaten up over the past couple of years. The Seahawks defense also lacks talent in the secondary and front seven which certainly will not help with team success for Seattle. With all that aside, Wilson should still put up monster numbers on offense with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and newly acquired TE Gerald Everett to throw the ball to. Wilson certainly is still a top 5 starting QB in the NFL and most importantly will enter 2021 as a Seahawk.
4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
45 Tot. TDs, 10 INTs, 4544 Passing Yds, 421 Rushing Yds, 107.2 Passer Rating, 81.7 QBR
This guy can flat-out play with the best of them and has finally put the Buffalo Bills back on the NFL map. Josh Allen was able to have a tremendous season with the Bills where he was able to come in second in the NFL MVP voting. This is a QB with a powerful arm and throws with great overall accuracy. There is also the ability to run and make electric plays outside of the pocket in Allen’s game. Most importantly, Allen’s passer rating was able to increase from 85.3 to 107.2 in 2020. Allen was also able to lead the Bills all the way to the AFC championship game but fell short to the Kansas City Chiefs. Coming into 2021, Allen will have his top weapons of Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and free-agent addition Emmanuel Sanders to get the rock to. Allen is expected to lead this Bills team to the AFC East crown again, but they will have the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on the back of their heels. Many are going to question if Allen will be able to take down Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs as well. Much pressure will be put on this 4-year starter to win games for Buffalo once again.
3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
40 Total TDs, 6 INTs, 4,740 Passing Yds, 308 Rushing Yds, 108.2 Passer Rating, 82.9 QBR
A consistent QB that has all the talent in the world and just keeps on winning for his football team. That would be a serious way to describe Patrick Mahomes, and many would argue that the sentence above certainly is not enough. In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to have a 14-2 record and were able to get back to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Chiefs and Mahomes, they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an ugly 31-9 defeat. We are all ready to see how Mahomes bounces back in 2021 after the Super Bowl loss. There is still Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Mecole Hardman on the roster so many see Mahomes lighting up the league again. There is not a throw on the football field that Mahomes cannot make. Mahomes will have to carry this football team on his back this season. This Chiefs team certainly is not the most talented team Mahomes has had in his young career. Pressure will be on Mahomes in 2021 to prove that he is back as the best QB in the league.
2. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
43 Total TDs, 12 INTs, 4,633 Passing Yds, 6 Rushing Yds, 102.2 Passer Rating, 72.5 QBR
Tom Brady made one heck of a statement in the 2020 season when he went to his second NFL team at the age of 43. Brady left the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which left many of us in shock. With the Buccaneers, Brady was able to win the Super Bowl for the 7th time in his hall of fame career. Now, Brady and the Buccaneers are looking to repeat as champions of the NFL. The good news for Brady is that the Buccaneers were able to retain all 22 starters in the offseason which certainly is uncommon coming off a championship. Brady is only going to get better in this Tampa offense in his second year. The likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller, and Leonard Fournette are only going to continue to help Brady reach the Super Bowl once again. There is just too much talent on both sides of the ball with this Tampa team. The Buccaneers are going to be a force to take down and I am not very sure if any other NFL teams will beat Tampa. Brady will be going for his 8th Super Bowl title at the age of 44 in 2021.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
51 Total TDs, 5 INTs, 4,299 Passing Yds, 149 Rushing Yds, 121.5 Passer Rating, 84.4 QBR
It was some 2020 NFL season for Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was able to win his 3rd NFL MVP and set the 2nd highest passer rating in NFL history at 121.5. Rodgers' 2020 passer rating fell 1.0 off from tying his own record that was set in 2011. Unfortunately for Rodgers and the Packers, they lost their 2nd consecutive championship game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In this offseason, drama was even leaked out that Rodgers and the Packers are not on good terms in their current state. Rumors include that Rodgers is not happy about how he has been treated by upper management and wants a fresh start with a different NFL team. So far, the Packers have not granted Rodgers his wishes for a trade and are committed to him being the Packers starting QB for the 2021 season. If Rodgers does return and play for the Packers, they still have a roster to compete for the Super Bowl. Rodgers will still have Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and rookie Amari Rodgers to get the ball to. Rodgers is coming off arguably his best season as a starting QB and it is only right to have him at the #1 QB spot coming into the 2021 NFL season.