Did you guys know that next week marks our first “game week” of the NFL season? That, of course, also means the return of my weekly NFL power rankings. Our long national nightmare is over!
As is tradition, a week ahead of my first power rankings of the season, I attempt to power rank the quarterbacks* in the league. I have also done that hip thing football writers are doing where they “group” quarterbacks together because someone else did it and it got internet clicks and that’s how the world works, you guys.
(*Mitchell Trubisky also included.)
Here are my 2020 NFL Quarterback Power Rankings:
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
He’s the best quarterback in the league and everything in the league revolves around him until further notice. He’s the only player in the league who you currently say, “I’m not sure how his team loses a playoff game if he’s healthy.” But rumor has it they’re going to play the games anyway and we’ll see.
2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
I still think it’s important we recognize that even if there is separation between Mahomes and these two, there is also separation between these two and the rest of the league. Wilson’s resume is undebatable, and even though he’ll turn 32 in November, we’ve seen no signs of regression. Jackson is nearly a decade younger yet there’s reason to believe he’s still ascending.
4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
8. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I struggled about which group Watson should be in at least as much as I struggled to understand anything happening on the VMA’s. He’s an unbelievable talent and he’s definitely ahead of the rest in Group 3 (who all appear to be on the downside of their respective careers). But I think he still has a little bit to prove this season before he’d graduate to the top groups. Brady still sneaks into this group, but admittedly I’m not sure he’ll prove he still belongs here as the season goes on.
9. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
11. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
13. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
14. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
15. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
16. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
18. Cam Newton, New England Patriots
This is obviously a particularly large and somewhat strange combination of quarterbacks. Murray is the only one in the group that there’s much of any reason to feel strongly about. He’s young and incredibly talented. I would be stunned if he hasn’t separated himself a bit by this time next year.
The rest of the group is … confusing. On any given day, they’re perfectly capable of doing really good things. But there are so many warts. Wentz is permanently listed as questionable. Garoppolo and Tannehill were probably both better than they get credit for last season, yet we still have lingering doubts about whether either is worthy of being a “franchise” quarterback. Prescott and Stafford will probably have monster seasons and yet win nothing at all of significance. Cousins is basically the definition of a middle-of-the-road NFL quarterback.
And then there are the three at the bottom of the list. It’s hard to fathom a 38-year-old man coming off a significant elbow injury being the same player, but it’s hard to write off Ben Roethlisberger. Rivers was not the same player a season ago and is also 38, but in new circumstances, you kinda wonder if maybe there might still be something left in the tank. And Newton has been so physically beaten up that he will absolutely need to prove he’s capable of being the same player again before any of us are willing to believe it.
19. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
20. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
21. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
22. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
23. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
24. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
26. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
27. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
This is another large group of quarterbacks in very unique circumstances. Allen’s athleticism helped overshadow his accuracy issues, but we’re only a year removed from saying similar things about Jackson. Lock looked great in 2019 but in a small sample size. If I had to bet on someone making a big jump from this group, it would probably be him.
Jones and Darnold have had their moments. There’s reason to have high hopes for last year’s Heisman Trophy winner with some good talent around him in Cincinnati. Mayfield once looked like he was going to be incredibly special. Bridgewater was a capable sub a season ago but mostly looks like a placeholder in Charlotte. Goff was quite good two years ago but not remotely that a season ago and Minshew seems to get a little more recognition than he truly deserves thanks to his very likable persona.
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins
29. Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
30. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team
31. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
32. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
There’s not much to say here. Trubisky and Carr seem likely to be the first quarterbacks to be “benched” this season, while Tagovailoa and Herbert appear most likely to be given their shot the first time the team feels they need to do something to shake things up. Haskins is intriguing. He didn’t do enough last year to warrant being any higher on the list, but he’s talented and you wonder how we’d look at him if he wasn’t in the most dysfunctional franchise in all of American sports.
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