Ranking NFL Divisions by Quarterback

NFL Divisions Quarterback

As of right now, the 2020 NFL season is just around the corner. Only time will tell if the season actually happens, but it’s still exciting to look ahead at the upcoming slate of games. Quarterback is the most important position in football, and some NFL divisions have better passers than others. Let’s take a look at the best, worst, and everything in-between heading into the upcoming season.

Note that this list is based on each quarterback’s specific skills heading into 2020. Past achievements and accomplishments were not considered.

Ranking 2020 NFL Divisions by Quarterback

NFC South

Quarterbacks: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Teddy Bridgewater

The NFC South boasts what is easily the best quartet of passers in the NFL. Brees, Brady, and Ryan might all be near the end of their careers, but all three have at least one or two more seasons left in their tank. Brees remains one of the most efficient passers in the league and should be in the thick of the MVP race, barring injuries. Brady showed some signs of decline, but most of the blame for his statistical shortcomings can be placed on his woefully inept supporting cast.

Ryan is coming off his worst season in quite some time, but it’s worth noting that he suffered a considerable dropoff after his injury. He probably doesn’t have another MVP season in him, but he should be one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Teddy Bridgewater has a decent sample as an NFL starter where the Panthers should know what they’re getting in him. While he lacks superstar upside, he takes care of the ball and won’t be the reason his team loses games. Ultimately, this group possesses the best combination of elite potential that you’ll find anywhere in the league.

NFC West

Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff

If Patrick Mahomes didn’t exist, Russell Wilson would be the consensus best quarterback in football. Even with Mahomes setting records left and right, it’s impossible to not be amazed by what Wilson does on a play-by-play basis. One could easily argue that nobody does more with less than Wilson, and he should remain one of the elites for at least the next half-decade.

Kyler Murray had his growing pains as a rookie, but he has plenty of promise moving forward. Blessed with a fantastic deep ball, Murray could easily take a step into the NFL’s upper echelon if he can establish an early rapport with DeAndre Hopkins. He probably won’t be an MVP candidate, but he should be Arizona’s long-awaited answer under center.

Jimmy Garoppolo is nothing more than a game manager, but that isn’t a bad thing. While he lacks the superstar ceiling of the previous quarterbacks, he’s good enough to keep an offense moving and avoids critical mistakes. Jared Goff might be the best of the “worst” quarterbacks in the respective divisions and isn’t that different from Garoppolo.

NFC North

Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Bears Quarterback

The Detroit Lions have a gift for ruining great talents. Matthew Stafford is one of the best deep passers in the league, and the Lions spent the majority of Stafford’s prime trying to turn him into a short, rhythm-based passer. The Lions finally let Stafford cook in 2019, and he played like a top-five quarterback in football. If he can overcome his back injury, he could be a sneaky MVP candidate.

Aaron Rodgers might not be the same guy he was in 2014, but he’s still a top 10-12 quarterback in the league. Rodgers needs more help than he used to, and the Packers haven’t provided that assistance this offseason. Even with a lesser supporting cast, Rodgers still has the arm to make some of the most ridiculous throws you’ll ever see, albeit not as consistently as in the past.

Kirk Cousins might be the most vanilla quarterback in the NFL. He’s a league-average starter that rarely elevates the talent around him but rarely holds a team back. That type of player has plenty of value in today’s NFL, even if you’ll always be looking for more than he can give. Mitchell Trubisky versus Nick Foles has to be the most depressing quarterback battle across the league. No matter who wins, Chicago loses.

NFC East

Quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins

Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz are two of the best young passers in the league. While neither player is top-five at their position, both guys are clearly franchise quarterbacks that most teams would love to have.

Daniel Jones showed plenty of upside as a rookie, but he also put the ball in harm’s way far too often. If he can hold on to the ball and improve his ability to read a defense, he should stick around for a while. Dwayne Haskins looked like a trainwreck during his first couple of starts but steadily improved as the season progressed. He’s got a long way to go before earning the title of a franchise quarterback, but it’s still too early to call him a bust.

AFC North

Quarterbacks: Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow

This group has the best chance to move up these ranks by the end of the 2020 season. Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP and possibly the best all-around athlete in the NFL. He should be able to sustain his unorthodox style of play over multiple seasons, but defenses will be better equipped to handle him with a full season of film.

Ben Roethlisberger is one of the biggest unknowns in the NFL. The probable Hall of Famer is coming off a serious elbow injury and, entering his age-38 season, might never recapture his old form. No matter how bad he is though, it’s hard to imagine him being worse than Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.

Baker Mayfield’s sophomore season left a lot to be desired, but he has a chance to bounce back in 2020. Freddie Kitchens is gone, Odell Beckham is healthy, and the offensive line is upgraded. If Mayfield can’t make it work with this supporting cast, then it’s time for Cleveland to find someone that can. Joe Burrow is last by default, as he’s never thrown an NFL pass. However, based on his fantastic college film, it’s easy to see him being the second-best quarterback in the division come 2021.

AFC West

Quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Drew Lock, Tyrod Taylor

Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in football, but the rest of the division leaves a lot to be desired. Derek Carr isn’t an outright liability at quarterback, but his obnoxiously conservative style of play won’t win any games. Ironically, he has the arm talent required to push the ball downfield, but he just chooses not to.

Drew Lock was a mixed bag as a rookie, but John Elway did everything in his power to put him in a position to succeed this year. Armed with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant, this passing offense has fantastic potential if Lock can play at a league-average level. Tyrod Taylor isn’t the worst starter in the league, but he might be the least inspiring. All of the other “bad” quarterbacks are young and have the potential to grow. At this point in his career, everyone knows exactly what Tyrod Taylor is.

AFC South

Quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, Gardner Minshew

Deshaun Watson has been nothing short of electric since entering the NFL. He’s a great talent, but it will be interesting to see how he does without DeAndre Hopkins by his side. Ryan Tannehill played like a top-five quarterback last season, but that was probably something of a fluke. Even if he regresses to his Miami self, he’s still good enough to lead a team to the postseason.

Philip Rivers had a rough year in 2019, but we’ve seen these types of struggles before. His arm isn’t what it once was, but he should have at least one or two more years of solid play behind a great offensive line. Gardner Minshew had his moments last year, but he doesn’t possess the elite traits to ever become a top quarterback. That said, Minshew can still be a league-average starter.

AFC East

Quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Jarrett Stidham

The worst quarterback division – by far – is the AFC East. Ryan Fitzpatrick has put together a few seasons of league-average play, which is more than we can say about anyone else in the division. Sam Darnold has been in a terrible situation ever since entering the league. There are moments of gold in his film, but most of his play leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully, he can take a Year 3 jump with an improved supporting cast.

The Bills win games in spite of Josh Allen rather than because of him. Last year, Allen led the league in negatively-graded throws and was at or near the bottom of just about every efficiency stat. Jarrett Stidham looked better than your typical fourth-round pick during the 2019 preseason, but he’s still a massive unknown as the heir to Tom Brady.

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