Ranking of all 16 NFC QBs: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers headlined the list for 2022

Ranking of all 16 NFC QBs: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers headlined the list for 2022

Ranking of all 16 NFC QBs: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers headlined the list for 2022

In case you weren’t aware, the pool of quarterback talent in the NFL is pretty deep. That can be seen most clearly in the AFC, where four different signal callers aged 26 or under have either won MVP or advanced to the conference championship over the past four seasons. But the NFC isn’t too shabby either, where some of the league’s oldest signal callers are also the best. So how would we rank all 16 of the NFC’s projected starting QBs going into 2022? We’re glad you asked.

This is our pecking order:

headshot image

It’s a cliché at this point to discuss Brady’s winning appearance, but as long as he’s in the NFL, few players — let alone QBs — earn more trust. TB12 is kicking off his 45-year season after a short-lived “retirement” and is coming off one of the best years of his career, which is saying something considering he has 22 seasons and seven Super Bowl wins to his credit. One of these days his arm will definitely deteriorate, but he looked stronger than ever during his two MVP campaigns in Tampa. And no one is better than Brady. The transition from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles as head coach may come with some hiccups, but it could also give Brady the freedom to lead his own attack, which is still loaded with weapons. A new title run simply cannot be ruled out.

headshot image

Like Brady, A-Rod has only shifted into high gear over the years, returning to major stardom under Matt LaFleur as the NFL’s reigning MVP. The clock may be ticking on his shot at a second ring, as Rodgers appears to be just as close, if not closer, to true retirement than Brady, and hasn’t progressed to the Super Bowl since winning it in 2010. But even at 38 years old, he’s infusing a youthful punch, with an otherworldly touch and unshakable confidence. Losing long No. 1 target Davante Adams might introduce hurdles we haven’t seen in a while, but he’s always been the QB type to make his entire supporting cast better.

headshot image

What deserves more weight, the 12 sometimes ostentatious but barren years he spent with the Lions, or that one MVP-caliber Super Bowl run he just enjoyed with the Rams? Stafford’s actual Super Bowl appearance is a fitting example for the middle ground: imperfect, but good enough to win everything. His big arm gets him into more trouble than he should as he tends to force early throws. And yet, given a great supporting cast, that rocket on his shoulder proves worth it. He and the Rams are a strong match for each other, as long as Sean McVay remembers not to overload his man. And he’s got all the toys to make noise again.

headshot image

Not so unlike Stafford, Prescott is at the top of the “really good-but-not-necessary-elite” QBs. Since an erratic start to his career, ranging from Offensive Rookie of the Year to collapsing sophomores, he has established himself as one of the game’s best pure pocket passers, getting all the little things right and returning from a serious injury in 2021 with an extra zipper to suit his needs. The problem lies with his resume for the big game, or lack thereof; Prescott didn’t always excel at the end of the year, and he is 1-3 in four playoff games. Like Dallas, he’s got all the talent for a run, but the results aren’t always there when it counts.

headshot image

This is a pivotal season for Murray, who enters a contract year as a curious combination of elite talent and unfulfilled expectations. The good: He’s got both a gun of an arm and the legs of a running back, starring as one of the NFL’s best double-threats when he’s healthy. The bad: He’s either hurt or dipped all three of his seasons for a team prone to crumbling at the end of the year. Some of Murray’s problems can be attributed to his staff or older supporting cast, but there are documented internal concerns about his own responsibility. It’s still safe to bet on his advantage — he’s a athleteand that counts for a lot — but it’s unclear what his Arizona ceiling is.

headshot image

If you’re looking for a comparable AFC QB, consider the Raiders’ Derek Carr. Both veterans are undeniable source material who have proven to be highly efficient while looking for the big game. Both also struggle to win when it matters most. In 10 years, Cousins ​​has racked up one playoff win on multiple lucrative deals. That’s not all his fault, but it’s an indication that he’s more of a stable QB than a special one. It’s possible that the Vikings’ transition from old-fashioned Mike Zimmer to young attacking spirit Kevin O’Connell will further unlock Cousins’ ability, especially with elite weapons like Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson by his side.

headshot image

The problem with Hurts has never been dedication. Even before he succeeded Carson Wentz as a rookie, the Alabama product has walked, talked and played like a veteran, sending teammates behind his lead. But in a competition where you have a better chance of going far with an elite passerby, can he be more than just a dangerous runner, his primary role during a playoff run in 2021? He has made some strides in that area, but 2022 should be the ultimate test. In theory, at least he now has all the tools to emerge as a legitimate weapon, combining his poise and powerful legs with an attack that now sees AJ Brown face off against DeVonta Smith.

headshot image

The pendulum has swung both ways during Wentz’s polarizing career. For one, the ex-Eagles star was likely overhyped when he came out of a 2017 MVP candidacy, in which his game enabled the Philadelphia title. Now the Colts’ rejection is an afterthought in DC, where the commanders bet he can finally stop playing hero ball and get through the clutch. Wentz’s one-time run with Indianapolis is probably a good representation of his stature: not nearly as bad as critics suggest, but also not nearly as impactful as his early career teased. Give him help and you’ll have a useful QB.

headshot image

The Saints fill out Winston as if he were the entrenched franchise QB, acting as draft receiver Chris Olave as they feature recurring stars like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. But their behind-the-scenes actions, recruiting Deshaun Watson and entertaining Drew Brees’ comeback, probably say more about the reality: Winston will only get another trial in 2022, after his relatively promising debut as Brees’ successor was announced. canceled due to injury. The prototypical size and big arm are still there, but he struggles to stay healthy for long or avoid turnover marks. Related: Andy Dalton is the new backup here.

headshot image

These rankings are clearly not perfect; you can’t say the commanders and saints don’t much prefer Lance as a long-term option below the center. But how high can you rank a man who has made two career starts and who may or may not have to come out of the (injury riddled) shadow of Jimmy Garoppolo again? All signs point to the NDSU product taking over in San Francisco, and talent wise he has all the tools – nice size, great athleticism, promising arm – to become a star for Kyle Shanahan. But he looked a lot more polished as a runner than a pitcher in his limited rookie action, so there’s a lot of projection here.

headshot image

He and Lance are both essentially projections. Fields, for instance, had the advantage of being able to log ten starts in Chicago as a rookie, but he’s still an unknown given the shoddy supporting cast he had in 2021. 2022, at least on paper. Like Lance, he has all the physical aids, especially a strong arm and playing legs. But can he improve as a decision maker and truly develop as a face of the franchise amid such a dubious lineup?

headshot image

Detroit has inexplicably refused to add competition here, and if a late-game trade for another veteran is ruled out, the idea that Goff could be more than a placeholder will double. His supporting cast isn’t bad, with a solid line and faster receiving corps now featuring Jameson Williams. But Goff has proven with both the Rams and Lions that, like most QBs, he is only as good as his environment. He’s capable of some pretty accurate passes, but he’s also been skittish in some big moments.

headshot image

He may have the best chance of moving up the list simply by playing for Brian Daboll instead of the Joe Judge and Pat Shurmur regimes that came before. There is certainly some untapped potential in Jones’ game; the Duke product is athletic, but stuck next to or behind bad help. Still, his propensity to follow up a big play with a fool is well documented. He has never been more efficient. New York is already prepared to look for a replacement if he doesn’t pass his final audition.

T-14. Marcus Mariota (Falcons), Geno Smith (Seahawks), Sam Darnold (Panthers)

Yes, you read that right. The bottom tier is so uninspiring that we lump these last three “starters” together. No disrespect to Darnold, Mariota and Smith, who are no doubt all working hard to seize their QB1 opportunities. But there’s a reason these three teams aren’t expected to do much damage in 2022. At the very least, Darnold offers the mobility and live arm of a former first-rounder, but without the required confidence or presence in the bag. Smith replaced Russell Wilson so-so in 2021, but his ceiling is nothing more than a figurehead for a heavy Seahawks attack. And Mariota, while elusive with starting experience, has struggled to stay consistently healthy or successful through the air, and he will be working with a roster that is being completely overhauled.