23 min read

NFL Week 10 Quarterback Power Rankings: C.J. Stroud Enters Top 10

All of the peaks and valleys of quarterback play were on display in Week 9. 

C.J. Stroud, Jalen Hurts and Josh Dobbs provided us with some amazing peaks, all of a different flavor. Stroud broke the single-game passing record for a rookie by throwing for 470 yards on a fierce Buccaneers defense. 

Hurts cooked a Cowboys defense that had the audacity to play man coverage against his stud receivers. And Dobbs, though far from as dominant as the other two, basically learned the Vikings playbook in the huddle and led the team to an improbable win against the Falcons. 

But for every exceptional performance, there was a nightmare to balance it out. Justin Herbert and Geno Smith were both tormented by relentless pass-rush units. 

Bryce Young imploded against a defense that could get to him in the pocket. And Zach Wilson started another football game on primetime. 

Let’s see how those performances changed this week’s rankings. 

Week 10 Quarterback Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranking: 1  

The Dolphins game was a weird one for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense. 

In positive news, the Chiefs didn't make mistakes. Mahomes took two sacks, but that's not a debilitating amount. He didn't throw any picks and hardly put the ball at risk. That was enough to score 14 points in the first half, giving themselves a comfy lead to work with. 

On the flip side, the Chiefs offense didn't try anything. Mahomes was limited to a flurry of screen passes and RPOs, only occasionally letting loose down the field. 

The biggest issue was the Dolphins' ability to pressure Mahomes. It felt like every time the Chiefs tried to throw down the field the Dolphins were sending an extra body and getting pressure on Mahomes before the ball could get out cleanly. The Chiefs offense kind of just wilted as a result. 

I still don't think the Chiefs' relative struggles (still a top-five offense, by the way) are a Mahomes problem, though. Shaky tackle play and young wide receivers who can't separate are the primary issues. That Mahomes has even made the offense functional is a testament to his ability. 

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranking: 3

Another week in the NFL, another Lamar Jackson masterclass. Jackson was lights out against the Seahawks on Sunday as a passer and runner. 

Jackson was wildly efficient as a passer. He completed 80.8 percent of his passes and finished with a 52 percent passing success rate. For context, the average passing success rate around the league is about 46.2 percent. 

Almost every pass was to the intended target, at the right time and in the right spot. Jackson's only struggles were down the field, but that's kind of just assumed with him at this point. 

As a runner, Jackson was a force. He terrorized the Seahawks with and without the ball. The Ravens spammed read plays over and over again, often at DE Boye Mafe, and the Seahawks’ defense looked like they'd never seen quarterback read plays before. 

Jackson carried the ball 10 times for 60 yards, contributing to a 298-yard day for the Baltimore Ravens’ rushing offense. 

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Previous Ranking: 2

Let's get this out of the way: Josh Allen moving down is not a Josh Allen problem. I just think Jackson is playing out of this world. 

Allen is still playing at a high level. That's true even after a Bengals game that doesn't look impressive in the box score. But when you watch that game — or any Bills game, for that matter — it's so clear Allen is the one driving everything for the offense. 

Allen's creativity, poise and improved quick-game ability raise the floor of the offense so much. 

The Buffalo Bills just don't have any impact players to take the burden off Allen besides Stefon Diggs. Even Dalton Kincaid, a promising rookie, isn't a reliable difference-maker yet. 

Allen is still a dominant force. All but a handful of quarterbacks would be drowning in this offense, but with Allen, they're still a top-five unit. 

They don't ever crater completely, even if some weeks they leave you wanting more. That's all Allen. 

4. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Ranking: 4  

Trevor Lawrence got to take it easy in Week 9 with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a bye. He'd better be ready to spring back into action this week, though. The Jaguars face a 49ers defense bolstered by DE Chase Young

5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Previous Ranking: 5  

Justin Herbert is playing some of the worst ball of his career right now. Even as a Herbert apologist, it's pretty undeniable. 

The problem is twofold. 

On one hand, Herbert isn't getting any help. Keenan Allen is the only wide receiver worth his game check, and the C/RG/RT side of the offensive line is a major issue. All of that was painfully obvious against the Jets, who have the pass-rushers and the defensive backs to suffocate the Chargers’ offense with ease. 

On the other hand, Herbert isn't himself right now. The broken middle finger on his left hand is clearly bothering him. In recent weeks, he hasn't been as aggressive a thrower as usual. That's only contributed to the Chargers offense being uneven and constipated. 

That said, I still have a lot of faith in Herbert. I'm willing to ride out this rough stretch with the belief he's too good not to rebound. 

>> READ: Chargers' Offense Isn't Good Enough

6. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Previous Ranking: 6 

Dak Prescott is a tragic figure. 

For about 55 minutes, Prescott played unbelievable football. Tough throws from the pocket, keyhole throws into tight windows, creation outside the pocket — you name it, Prescott was doing it. Prescott was going blow for blow with a dang good Eagles offense. 

But in true Dallas Cowboys fashion, it fell apart at the end. Prescott made a mistake on a crucial fourth down by targeting Jalen Tolbert on an isolated curl route rather than reading out the field-side concept, which saw TE Jake Ferguson spring free.

Then on the final possession, Prescott took a sack with no timeouts left, a mistake that more or less crushed their remaining chances of winning. 

I'm definitely choosing to believe more in the first 55 minutes. Everything Prescott did to keep them in this game should be the real story. 

Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to be a force in the NFC moving forward. They just narrowly lost a Kaiju battle to the reigning NFC champs. It happens. 

7. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Previous Ranking: 8

Joe Burrow's game against the Bills was quintessential Burrow. 

On 44 attempts, Burrow basically never threw over the intermediate area of the field. And it didn't matter. Burrow was masterful in the short area, bouncing between RPOs and standard quick game to pick the Bills’ defense apart. 

When Burrow needed to push it further down the field, he was unstoppable throwing to the sideline. Tee Higgins had a huge day as a result. Burrow found Higgins time and time again outside the numbers, letting the big fella go to town against a depleted Bills cornerback group. 

It was the exact kind of performance we've seen from Burrow through each of the last three seasons. 

I'm almost all the way there with Burrow. The confidence and creation ability feel normal again. He's letting loose in a way we just didn't see through the first six weeks. With a couple more games like this, I'll feel comfortable saying he's 100 percent back. 

8. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Previous Ranking: 7

Matthew Stafford didn't end up playing in Week 9 thanks to a broken thumb. His status was up in the air all week, but the team ultimately rolled with Brett Rypien. It did not end well. 

Stafford's status is still up in the air. The team considered him day-to-day when the injury happened, and it seemed like he had a legitimate chance to play last week, even though he didn’t. 

So, I'm still keeping Stafford on the list until it becomes obvious they're keeping him out. 

9. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Previous Ranking: 9

Dan Quinn's Cowboys defense played right into Jalen Hurts' hands on Sunday afternoon. 

Think about how the Philadelphia Eagles are built. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith man the outside while Dallas Goedert works the middle of the field. All three of those guys are problems in 1-on-1 coverage, Brown in particular. 

Yet, the Cowboys played Cover 1 on 44.4 percent of Hurts' dropbacks, per TruMedia. Hurts made them pay for it all day long. He constantly found the right matchups and abused them. 

Take the touchdown he threw down the left side to Smith. The Cowboys were in Cover 1 man with Smith matched up on Daron Bland. As good as Bland has been this season, Hurts trusted Smith would win, and he did. Simple as that. 

Hurts did all of this with a bum knee, too. His knee has quietly been bothering him all season long, and he clearly aggravated it in this game. Didn't matter. Hurts was awesome anyway. That's the kind of stuff I hope to see from Hurts for the rest of the season. 

10. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Previous Ranking: 13

Yes. We're here. C.J. Stroud is a top-10 quarterback. 

Stroud just has it all. He's fearless; he's prepared; he's talented. Everything you want in a young and ascending quarterback, Stroud has it and more. 

For a deeper look into why Stroud has climbed into the top 10, read my column on his record-setting day against the Buccaneers.

>> READ: C.J. Stroud Isn’t Just Top Rookie QB, He’s Already One Of NFL’s Best

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranking: N/A

All hail the return of Kyler Murray

It feels like people have forgotten how good Murray can be. The final year of the Kliff Kingsbury era left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Couple that with Murray's injury history and all the "film study" stuff in his contract, and it's easy to understand why his star has lost some of its shine. 

Murray is an MVP-caliber quarterback when he's rolling. We saw that through the first eight games in 2021 before a midseason injury had Murray stumbling to the finish line. Murray was the only reason the Arizona Cardinals got to .500 the season before, too. 

At his best, Murray is a playmaker with a huge arm and the athleticism to create something out of nothing. Murray makes defenses cover every blade of grass in the run game and the pass game. He is still a little inconsistent throwing over the middle and can be a sack magnet, but the good outweighs the bad. 

It could take a few weeks for Murray to find his sea legs, but I'm betting on him through the back half of the season. 

12. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Previous Ranking: 10

Geno Smith's pocket situation was untenable on Sunday. 

The Ravens pressured Smith on 48.5 percent of his dropbacks. It felt that way watching it, too. Smith was constantly under duress. The Ravens front was also doing an unbelievable job of throwing their hands up to knock passes down even when Smith got the ball out. 

The Ravens’ front was suffocating in every way, and the coverage unit was just as good. 

Smith had his faults, of course. He missed a couple of throws and threw an interception on a clear miscommunication with WR Tyler Lockett. He didn't do much to overcome and outplay what the Ravens were doing to him. 

That said, I still think this game says a lot more about the Ravens than it does Smith or the Seattle Seahawks. Smith will be fine moving forward. This game was just a look at how dominant this Ravens defense is right now. 

13. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Previous Ranking: 11

I'm usually on the skeptical side with Tua Tagovailoa. Last week's loss to the Chiefs wasn't as bad as it might have seemed, though. 

Yes, Tagovailoa blew up at the end. It was embarrassing. The massive underthrow to Cedrick Wilson, which was really just Tagovailoa misreading where to throw the ball based on the cornerback's leverage, is hard to forget. That's the moment that will stick in everyone's brain. 

The Miami Dolphins were so, so close to hitting on a handful of huge plays in this game, though. Potentially game-changing plays. Tyreek Hill dropped a corner route that Tagovailoa put right in his hands. 

Jaylen Waddle just barely couldn't reach a deep throw Tagovailoa gave him a chance on, too. Even some of the Dolphins' perimeter runs and screens almost went off if not for some close tackles by a chippy Chiefs defense. 

So, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins will probably be okay. Tagovailoa played a quality game in the exact same way he usually does, blemishes and all. Some of the swing plays just didn't quite connect. That's the way it goes sometimes.

The Dolphins get a bye next week to sort all that stuff out anyway. 

14. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Previous Ranking: 12

The Detroit Lions were on a bye last week. Considering how good this coaching staff is, expect the Lions to come out swinging with their post-bye bump. That could mean a huge day for Jared Goff against the Chargers in Week 10. 

15. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Previous Ranking: 14

Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers had a much-needed bye in Week 9. Purdy gets to reset after two of his weirdest games to date in the NFL. We'll see if they can right the ship against a stingy Jaguars defense. 

16. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranking: 15

The Bears are the perfect defense for Derek Carr to play his game. All the Bears want to do is sit deep and surrender everything underneath. For quality quarterbacks who play with timing and accuracy, like Carr, it's a goldmine. 

Carr feasted. He completed 25-of-34 passes for 211 yards and two scores. Despite the heavy workload, Carr only attempted one pass beyond 20 yards. He barely threw outside the numbers, either. The whole game was just Carr peppering the underneath areas in the Bears' Cover 2 zones. 

It was boring, but it was good quarterback play. Carr can put together those kinds of games against the right defenses. 

17. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Previous Ranking: 16

The Denver Broncos had their bye in Week 9. They were always a team to keep an eye on coming out of the bye, considering all the new stuff they were trying to sort out on offense. 

We'll see if Sean Payton and Russell Wilson have figured anything out with their bye-week reset. 

18. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranking: 17

Poor Baker Mayfield. The dude played maybe his best game all season long, only to be overshadowed by Stroud going absolutely nuclear. Tough break. 

Mayfield was awesome, though. He continues to be tough as nails under pressure and in tight pockets — a fairly new development for him. Combined with his high-velocity arm, Mayfield can uncork some tough throws outside the numbers and over the middle. 

He still lacks high-level touch and the ability to layer throws, but there's no doubt he can spin it. 

This version of Mayfield is fun. He's tough, aggressive and talented enough to finish on the opportunities that arise before him. Mayfield will still have some down weeks, just like any mid-level quarterback, but his highs can be pretty high, too. 

19. Mac Jones, New England Patriots 

Previous Ranking: 20

Week 9 was more of the same for a constipated New England Patriots offense. 

Mac Jones has his issues. He doesn't have a big arm, and he can't really create. Both of those things limit the offense, and it's why he probably won't ever be a top-10 quarterback. 

The offense is not at all conducive to the things he does well, though. Jones can play on time, get the ball to the right guy via pre-snap operation and throw accurately. 

Most of that stuff doesn't matter if wide receivers can't separate or make a play with the ball in their hands, which is where the Patriots are right now. That's especially true with DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne out of the lineup. 

Things still look mediocre for the Patriots offense. There's a good quarterback in there with Jones, though. The Patriots just don't have any of the tools to let him show it off consistently. 

20. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Previous Ranking: 20

Jordan Love's Week 9 game against the Rams was kind of a funhouse mirror version of his previous good games. 

When Love had quality games earlier in the season, he favored throws over the middle of the field with some vertical flashes. Love did hit on some deep throws this game as well, but he avoided the middle of the field like the plague. He instead ripped a ton of throws outside the numbers. 

Love had struggled with ball placement outside the numbers last week, so it's good to see him rebound in this particular way. 

21. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Previous Ranking: 22

Credit where it's due: Sam Howell is getting better, little by little. 

Facing a Bill Belichick defense for the first time can be a nightmare for young quarterbacks, but Howell handled it fairly well. He held his own. Howell wasn't scared to play his game and chuck the ball down the field. 

That's where he shines because of how snappy his arm is and how much he can put on the ball when he lets it rip. Howell was far from perfect, but he made enough splash plays to keep the offense moving. 

He also only took three sacks on 51 total dropbacks. That's not bad at all, especially for someone who was neck and neck with Daniel Jones for the highest sack percentage in the league through about six weeks. 

Howell cutting down on the sacks, even by just a little, is a good sign. 

22. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Previous Ranking: N/A

I have no idea what to make of Deshaun Watson's return to action. 

The box score looks fine. Watson completed 19-of-30 passes for 219 yards, two scores and no picks. He was only sacked once. 

But you watch how all of that happened, and it feels completely fake. All but eight of Watson's throws were within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but four of those eight throws were beyond 30 yards. Watson was in full-blown touchdown-to-checkdown mode, hardly giving the intermediate area a look at any point in the game. 

Watson did make some great throws, but that approach just doesn't feel sustainable. 

23. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Previous Ranking: 21

Given Bryce Young's own limitations and the poor talent around him, there will be some weeks where it looks brutal. Week 9 was one of those weeks. 

Everything went wrong for Young against the Colts. The Colts’ pass rush constantly tee'd off on him and sped up his clock. With nobody getting open on a reliable basis, that pressure led to Young spiraling a bit. He threw two pick-sixes, including one on a screen pass he threw over the running back's head. 

Young was bad in this game. There's no way around it. I do think the arrow was pointing up in the two or three weeks before this. I'll give him some grace and see how he responds against the Bears on Thursday night. 

24. Josh Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranking: 27

Life comes at you fast sometimes. After just being traded from the Cardinals, Josh Dobbs was thrust into the lineup unexpectedly when Jaren Hall left the game with an injury. 

Dobbs had to piece the Minnesota Vikings offense together on the fly. There was a video of Dobbs working on his with center Garrett Bradbury on the sideline before he took to the field. 

Dobbs admitted he needed other players in the offense, such as rookie Jordan Addison, to translate some of the offensive terminology for him in the huddle. Coach Kevin O'Connell was helping him understand key points of the offense with every bit of time he had. Dobbs was basically learning the playbook while running it on the field — in a live NFL game. 

Somehow, Dobbs played alright. He only averaged 5.3 yards per attempt, and he took three sacks, but he kept the train on the tracks. Dobbs didn't throw any picks, instead using his legs to extend plays when his receivers were covered. Dobbs ran seven times for 66 yards and a score. 

He isn't a big-time starter or anything, but you've got to appreciate the gumption to play a game like that on short notice. 

25. Taylor Heinicke, Atalanta Falcons

Previous Ranking: N/A

We know what Taylor Heinicke is. He's a stuntman who puts the ball and his body at risk every snap. Sometimes it turns out to be a cool play. Sometimes it's a turnover scare. 

That's exactly what we got from Heinicke on Sunday. He was extremely willing to throw the ball into tight windows and push the envelope, for better or worse. He ripped a few sweet throws to Kyle Pitts but should have been picked off four or five times. Heinicke was lucky to escape the day with one pick. 

It's also worth noting Heinicke's only touchdown was a 60-yard screen to Jonnu Smith

Heinicke certainly has value as a backup and spot starter. The toughness, creativity and baseline level accuracy are enough to stumble into quality offense from time to time. But we know what he is. 

26. Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

Previous Ranking: N/A

Aidan O'Connell ain't half bad. 

O'Connell played well against an aggressive Giants defense. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale kept sending pressure, but O'Connell continually beat the blitz with the ball. He was making quick, accurate throws to avoid sacks. 

O'Connell also flashed some real NFL arm strength. The deep ball to Tre Tucker is the obvious standout throw, but he was lights out throwing outside the numbers. He can push the ball like an NFL-caliber quarterback. 

I'm not sure what O'Connell's ceiling is. He's not a good athlete, and we haven't seen much evidence of creativity from him. He does seem put together mentally, and he's got an NFL arm. That's enough to make him interesting. 

27. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranking: 28

It was a tale of two halves for Will Levis against the Steelers on Thursday night. 

Through the first two quarters, Levis was kind of dealing. Despite unrelenting pressure in the pocket, Levis was making throws all over the yard. It was clear how much his pocket toughness and arm talent alone could carry him at times. 

In the second half, however, things slowed down. The Steelers did a better job gloving things up in coverage. Levis started holding onto the ball, taking sacks and generally making worse decisions. 

For Levis' second start, the flashes are what matters. He gave us some awesome throws and moments of impressive poise under pressure. We'll see if he can find consistency in the coming weeks. 

28. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous Ranking: 24

I know the Pittsburgh Steelers are winning games. I know Kenny Pickett makes some plays in the fourth quarter. But I can not get over the down-to-down inconsistency with this offense. Pickett is the source of that. 

Pickett has a 39.2 percent success rate this season. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts, only Zach Wilson, Jones and Ryan Tannehill are worse. 

Two of those guys are playing behind some of the worst offensive lines in the league, and the other is Wilson. That's terrible company to keep for a second-year quarterback with decent weapons to throw to. 

I still think Pickett could turn things around. He's a plus athlete with an NFL arm and flashes of awesome playmaking ability. The consistency just has to improve. By a lot. 

29. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranking: 26

I'm over it with Gardner Minshew

It's just hard to make a living in the NFL when you can't attack down the field. Sunday's game against the Panthers was a good example of that. 

The Panthers knew Minshew and the Indianapolis Colts wouldn't attack them down the field, so they just sat on everything and tee'd off to make tackles in the short and intermediate area. Minshew was held to 4.9 yards per attempt as a result. 

The Colts still won because they nabbed two pick-sixes, but it's starting to become clear how limited their offense is with Minshew behind center. 

30. Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears

Previous Ranking: 32

There may be a little more to Tyson Bagent than I first thought. But only a little bit. 

At his best, you can see a pathway for Bagent to be a high-level backup. He plays with a relatively good rhythm. You don't see him wasting time and dilly-dallying around often. 

He is also a capable scrambler as a runner and passer. He can scoot in the open field, and he's a smooth thrower on the move. Those baseline skills can keep him afloat. 

However, Bagent doesn't have an NFL arm. That makes the margin for error slim, which is a tough place to live for a UDFA rookie who isn't scared to chuck the ball. The three interceptions he threw on Sunday were proof of that. 

31. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Previous Ranking: 29

Zach Wilson should never get 50+ dropbacks in an NFL game like he did on Monday night. That can't happen. 

In three seasons, we've never seen Wilson be consistent enough to sustain good offense, much less over that many reps. You see flashes of good ball placement over the middle and a rare play outside the pocket, but for the most part, Wilson plays offbeat and with shaky accuracy. 

That's not a player you can ask to throw almost 50 times in a game. 

While Wilson isn't a good quarterback, the Jets are equally to blame for Monday night's grotesque viewing experience because they're asking him to be something he's not. 

32. Tommy Devito, New York Giants

Previous Ranking: N/A

The New York Giants can not escape Tommy DeVito

Daniel Jones returned this week against the Raiders but swiftly tore his ACL, rendering him done for the season. 

DeVito stepped in again. This time they let him throw the ball down the field. He made a couple of impressive throws, but the downside of letting him hold onto the ball on dropback concepts far outweighed the few good plays he made. 

DeVito threw two picks and took a whopping six sacks. That's just no way to sustain offense.

But I don't want to crush Devito too much. He's a UDFA rookie who was on the practice squad to start the year. He never should have been someone thrust into the lineup right away. It's not fair in some ways. The Giants just don't have any other options right now. 

Derrik Klassen is an NFL and NFL Draft film analyst with a particular interest in quarterbacks. Klassen’s work is also featured on Bleacher Report and Reception Perception. You can follow him on Twitter (X) at @QBKlass.