1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2019 stats: 319 of 484 (65.9%) for 4,031 yards (8.3 yards per attempt), 26 TDs and five INTs; 78 QBR; 43 carries for 218 yards and two TDs.
The 2018 league MVP and this season’s Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes is the king of the NFL castle at the moment and for the foreseeable future. While he wasn’t quite as good as his absurd 50-touchdown season in 2018, Mahomes, when healthy, still put on a show throughout the 2019 regular season and in the playoffs. He is one of the league’s most creative players and has the rare ability to be equally as effective inside and outside of structure. There’s not a quarterback on the planet who is more talented and consistently effective than Mahomes.
2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2019 stats: 341 of 516 (66.1%) for 4,110 yards (8.0 yards per attempt), 31 TDs and five INTs; 69.4 QBR; 75 carries for 342 yards and three TDs.
Russell Wilson didn’t have as good of a year as Lamar Jackson did (though it was closer than many believe), but his proven track record puts him ahead on this list. Playing behind a below-average offensive line, the level of difficulty for Wilson is often pushed to 10. For example, he was pressured on 39.8% of his dropbacks (third most in the NFL). Even with the volume of pressures, Wilson was more effective than most quarterbacks, finishing with the third-highest passer rating when pressured (89.7). And if there’s a clutch gene, Wilson has it — he tied for the NFL lead in game-winning drives with five.
3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2019 stats: 265 of 401 (66.1%) for 3,127 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 36 TDs and six INTs; 81.1 QBR; 176 carries for 1,206 yards and seven TDs.
Lamar Jackson is probably the most difficult player to defend in the NFL. He’s an electric runner and an extremely efficient passer. He led the league in expected points added (EPA) per play on his way to a deserved NFL MVP award. He runs a unique offense by NFL standards, mainly because he’s the only quarterback in the league capable of running such an offense at an elite level. Although most focus on his exhilarating running ability, Jackson’s ability to be an efficient and ever-improving passer is the best indicator that he will have sustained success in the NFL.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2019 stats: 281 of 378 (74.3%) for 2,979 yards (7.9 yards per attempt), 27 TDs and four INTs; 74.2 QBR.
Even at 40 years old while battling a thumb injury for much of the season, Drew Brees still proved to be one of the best QBs in the NFL. Brees is unquestionably the most accurate passer in the NFL, as he led the league in adjusted completion percentage (dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball, per PFF) in total (82.9) and when pressured (83.1), on-target percentage (84.1%), completion percentage over expected (9.2) and success rate. Brees isn’t getting any younger and has yet to commit to another NFL season but if he does, you can expect him to continue to be one of the best QBs in the NFL.
5. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
2019 stats: 333 of 495 (67.3%) for 3,852 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 26 TDs and 12 INTs; 69.5 QBR; 82 carries for 413 yards and seven TDs.
Much like Wilson, Deshaun Watson has proven to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league despite playing behind a porous offensive line. Watson was often forced to put the team on his back and lead it to victory as he tied for the league lead in game-winning drives (five). When he’s on, he’s one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL who is capable of making incredible plays. He finished sixth among quarterbacks in Pro Football Focus’ big-time throw percentage metric. On the negative side, Watson needs to improve his ball security, as he fumbled 10 times to go with 12 interceptions.
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2019 stats: 353 of 569 (62%) for 4,002 yards (7.0 yards per attempt), 26 TDs and four INTs; 53.5 QBR; 46 carries for 189 yards and one TD.
The dirty little secret in the NFL is that Aaron Rodgers has seen a steady decline in recent years. Don’t get it twisted, he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the league whose high-end play is unrivaled by anyone not named Mahomes — there is just more variance in his game than ever before. His 53.5 QBR was the lowest of his career and his 7 yards per attempt was the second-lowest mark of his career since becoming the full-time starter. But Cowboys fans know his high-end throws are as good as anyone’s, and he finished fourth in PFF’s big-time throw percentage metric. He also rarely turns the ball over, ranking sixth in turnover-worthy plays. Finally benefiting from good defense and an effective run game, Rodgers led Green Bay to 13 wins.
7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2019 stats: 408 of 616 (66.2%) for 4,466 yards (7.3 yards per attempt), 26 TDs and 14 INTs; 58.4 QBR.
It was a frustrating year for Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who finished with a disappointing 7-9 record. While quarterbacks lower on this list played better than Ryan in 2019, his sustained success over the past few years indicates that he should be able to bounce back once he gets better protection, as his slight step back was likely due to an utterly abysmal offensive line. Ryan was pressured on 269 dropbacks, 26 more than any other quarterback. Although he wasn’t terrible, Ryan wasn’t great when pressured either, finishing 13th in passer rating to go along with eight touchdowns and five interceptions when pressured.
8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2019 stats: 388 of 596 (65.1%) for 4,902 yards (8.2 yards per attempt), 30 TDs and 11 INTs; 71.2 QBR; 52 carries for 277 yards and three TDs.
With Kellen Moore as his play-caller, Dak Prescott had an outstanding season in which he displayed a lot of improvement. Prescott was extremely aggressive in 2019, pushing the ball 20-plus yards downfield on 12.8% of his passes — by far the most in his career. That downfield aggressiveness combined with better lower-body throwing mechanics led to Prescott being more accurate than ever on deep passes, as his 52.6% adjusted completion rate on deep throws — a career high — ranked third among quarterbacks with at least 30 attempts of 20-plus yards. Prescott’s productivity could have been even better if his weapons didn’t have a season-long case of butterfingers — 36 of Prescott’s passes were dropped in 2019, the most in the NFL. On top of his passing ability, Prescott is also one of the most gifted runners at the position. He finished third in yards per attempt (5.3) and avoided tackles (14) among quarterbacks with more than 25 carries, according to PFF. An injury to his throwing shoulder toward the end of the season caused a decline in his play, but he played well enough otherwise that the Cowboys should be confident in his future. They need to pay this man before he gets even more expensive.
9. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2019 stats: 388 of 607 (63.9%) for 4,039 yards (6.7 yards per attempt), 27 TDs and 7 INTs; 62.9 QBR; 62 carries for 243 yards and one TD.
Carson Wentz was hampered by a host of injuries to the Eagles’ offense, but thanks to the Cowboys’ incompetence, he still led Philadelphia to the playoffs. Wentz remains capable of making difficult throws, having finished ninth in PFF’s big-time throw percentage metric, but he also has his fair share of turnover-worthy plays, ranking 22nd in that metric. Wentz’s general accuracy took a dip in 2019 as he finished 25th in on-target percentage (72.3%). Even when he was accurate, he dealt with a ton of drops from his pass catchers (28; tied for fifth most). Still, Wentz remains one of the better quarterbacks under pressure, finishing ninth in passer rating while tying for the league lead in passing touchdowns (10) while pressured.
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2019 stats: 373 of 613 (60.8%) for 4,057 yards (6.6 yards per attempt), 24 TDs and eight INTs; 52.5 QBR.
The greatest quarterback in NFL history finally saw a notable decline in his play in 2019. One of the areas where Brady’s decline is most evident is in his effectiveness under duress. After being one of the best quarterbacks in this area through most of his career (he finished first in QB rating when pressured in 2017), Brady finished 34th out of 38 eligible quarterbacks in passer rating under pressure (51.8) and 29th in adjusted completion percentage (59.6). Still, he does a good job of avoiding turnovers and can still be lethal in the short-to-intermediate passing game.
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2019 stats (two games): 35 of 62 (56.5%) for 351 yards (5.7 yards per attempt) and one INT; 20.8 QBR.
Ben Roethlisberger missed almost the entirety of the 2019 season because of an elbow injury and he isn’t exactly young (37 years old). But if Pittsburgh can add another weapon to make up for the absence of Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger is still capable of putting together a productive season. He wasn’t great in the one full game he was healthy for in 2019, but that was against the Patriots — who had a top-two defense — and one game is simply too small of a sample size to learn much from. When he was healthy in 2018, Roethlisberger finished fifth in PFF’s big-time throw percentage metric.
12. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2019 stats: 307 of 444 (69.1%) for 3,603 yards (8.1 yards per attempt), 26 TDs and six INTs; 59.8 QBR.
Blessed with one of the best supporting casts in the NFL, Kirk Cousins put together an impressive 2019 campaign. He was lethal with play-action, ranking eighth in completion percentage (71.8) and yards per attempt (9.7), fourth in passing yards (1,373) and passer rating (129.2), and first in passing touchdowns (14). While Cousins isn’t the type of quarterback who can win regardless of his supporting cast, 2019 proved that he can play at a high level if he has a great one.
13. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2019 stats: 329 of 476 (69.1%) for 3,978 yards (8.4 yards per attempt), 27 TDs and 13 INTs; 60.2 QBR.
Jimmy Garoppolo showed well in his first full season as a starter, helping lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. Much like Cousins, Garoppolo benefited greatly from his situation in San Francisco. He may not have had a star-studded receiver corps, but he did benefit from a top-three play designer in Kyle Shanahan, a great run game and dominant defense. But Garoppolo deserves credit for being one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the NFL, finishing fourth in on-target percentage (80.7).
14. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
2019 stats: 349 of 542 (64.4%) for 3,722 yards (6.9 yards per attempt), 20 TDs and 12 INTs; 56 QBR; 93 carries for 544 yards and four TDs.
Although his team didn’t see a ton of success, Kyler Murray’s individual rookie season was certainly a success, one he capped with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He had his low points, but Murray’s arm talent and legs make him a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He will need to do a better job of avoiding sacks and turnover-worthy plays in the future, but if Arizona can provide a better supporting cast, Murray could creep closer to the top 10 sooner than later.
15. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
2019 stats (10 starts): 201 of 286 (70.3%) for 2,742 yards (9.6 yards per attempt), 22 TDs and six INTs; 65.3 QBR; 43 carries for 185 yards and four TDs.
Bolstered by Derrick Henry and Tennessee’s dominant run game, Ryan Tannehill was outstanding after taking over for Marcus Mariota, finishing first in the NFL in yards per pass attempt (9.6), third in PFF’s big-time throw percentage metric and third in on-target percentage. Tannehill was also great under pressure, finishing with the second-highest passer rating (98.4) when pressured. Having said that, Tannehill is going to have to prove that 2019 was more than just a flash in the pan in order to earn a higher ranking on this list.