Former NFL quarterback Matt Cassel provides his way-too-early 2023 QB rankings. All stats are from the 2022 regular season.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
QB Record: 14-3 | QBR: 77.6 | Passing TDs: 41 | Passing Yards: 5,250
Comment: MVP, check. Super Bowl MVP, check. One of the gutsiest Super Bowl performances ever, check. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains on top of the mountain until someone can knock him off next season.
>> READ: Mahomes Is Already an All-Time Great
2. Jalen Hurts, Eagles
QB Record: 14-1 | QBR: 66.4 | Passing TDs: 22 | Passing Yards: 3,701
Comment: Jalen Hurts made a big jump up my rankings with his consistent, dynamic playoff performances culminating with a historic Super Bowl showing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Hurts heads into next season with one of the best chances to become No. 1 on this list.
>> READ: How Hurts Improved from 2021 to 2022
3. Joe Burrow, Bengals
QB Record: 12-4 | QBR: 58.7 | Passing TDs: 35 | Passing Yards: 4,475
Comment: During the past two seasons, Joe Burrow has been as cool and consistent as any quarterback in the league, including the two guys above him on this list. Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to the AFC Championship Game one season after making the Super Bowl. There’s an argument right now these three guys are 1A, 1B, and 1C rather than one through three.
4. Josh Allen, Bills
QB Record: 13-3 | QBR: 71.4 | Passing TDs: 35 | Passing Yards: 4,283
Comment: Josh Allen peaked at No. 1 on our list mid-season, but the turnovers late in the year dropped him down a bit. That said, don’t count this guy and the Buffalo Bills out. He is huge, athletic, and has a cannon. Now, more than ever, he might have the biggest chip on his shoulder of any quarterback on this list.
5. Justin Herbert, Chargers
QB Record: 10-7 | QBR: 58.3 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 4,739
Comment: You might have forgotten by now how Justin Herbert‘s Los Angeles Chargers blew a 27-point lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs, but I’m certain Herbert hasn’t. I’m looking forward to seeing if a new offensive coordinator — Kellen Moore — can help Herbert crack into the elite tier of NFL quarterbacks.
6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
QB Record: 8-4 | QBR: 59.1 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 2,242
Comment: If you forgot about the Chargers’ loss in the playoffs, then you also could have forgotten how dynamic a healthy Lamar Jackson can be in the Baltimore Ravens’ lineup. I expect Jackson to be healthy next season after not playing much in the back half of 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing what type of weapons he’ll have at his disposal — and where he’ll be using them.
>> READ: Jackson Among Top Franchise Tag Candidates
7. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 54.5 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 4,113
Comment: Only three quarterbacks last year threw for at least 25 touchdowns and ran for at least five more: Allen, Burrow … and this guy. Trevor Lawrence‘s amazing comeback win against the Chargers showed me he’s on pace to be yet another young, talented, superstar quarterback. The future of the position is bright when this guy is only ranked seventh on my list.
8. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
QB Record: 8-9 | QBR: 39.3 | Passing TDs: 26 | Passing Yards: 3,695
Comment: It’s like Groundhog Day right now. When will Aaron Rodgers reveal himself from his cave, and what will the news be when he comes out? But seriously folks, without knowing if he’ll end up with the Green Bay Packers or another team, it’s tough to quantify his ranking. We do know the New York Jets have reached out already. If he winds up in the right spot, expect to see one of the greatest ever challenge the guys above him on this list for the top spot.
>> READ: Packers Reportedly “Disgusted” with Rodgers
9. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
QB Record: 8-4 | QBR: 57.9 | Passing TDs: 23 | Passing Yards: 2,860
Comment: What a roller-coaster season for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott played well when he returned from his Week 1 injury, but obviously, they fell short of the NFC Championship again. I’m intrigued to see what happens when Mike McCarthy replaces Moore as the primary play-caller. It could mean big things for Prescott and the entire offense in Dallas.
10. Geno Smith, Seahawks
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 60.8 | Passing TDs: 30 | Passing Yards: 4,282
Comment: Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks had a strong first half of the season followed by a bit of a dip in the second half of the season. But overall, Smith proved he absolutely can be a starting NFL quarterback. Perhaps having that pressure off heading into this year’s camp will allow even more growth for one of the feel-good quarterback stories of the year.
11. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
QB Record: 13-4 | QBR: 49.9 | Passing TDs: 29 | Passing Yards: 4,547
Comment: It’s that time of year again when Minnesota Vikings fans ask if Kirk Cousins is their quarterback or if it’s time to move on. I argue the Vikings would not have had nearly as much success as they did last season without the veteran slinging it all over the field. Clearly, he knows how to get his wide receivers the ball, including one of the best in the game — Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson.
12. Jared Goff, Lions
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 61.1 | Passing TDs: 29 | Passing Yards: 4,438
Comment: Give me a rival team hoping to see the Detroit Lions sneak into the playoffs last year, and I’ll give you a firm handshake. All Jared Goff did in the second half of the season was lead one of the most dynamic teams in the league just short of the playoffs. They clearly found their groove and with the sixth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Goff and the Lions may be one of the scariest opponents on any team’s schedule in 2023.
13. Justin Fields, Bears
QB Record: 3-12 | QBR: 54 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 2,242
Comment: Will Justin Fields be the Chicago Bears‘ franchise quarterback? Or will he be looking for that title in another uniform? Either way, no quarterback was more dynamic with his feet in 2022. Fields finished with 1,143 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns in 2023.
>> READ: Should Bears Replace Fields?
14. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
QB Record: 8-5 | QBR: 68.8 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 3,548
Comment: We saw flashes of the greatness Tua Tagovailoa has inside him early in the season. His injuries, especially the concussions, are concerning. I’m hoping to see a healthy Tagovailoa show us his full potential next year for the Miami Dolphins.
15. Derek Carr, Free Agent
QB Record: 6-9 | QBR: 55.6 | Passing TDs: 24 | Passing Yards: 3,522
Comment: If Rodgers is the most prized potential addition for teams in need of a new quarterback, then Derek Carr is probably the second. Arguably one of the most durable signal-callers on our list, Carr is a veteran who can still sling it. He may end up being the most important signing all offseason.
>> READ: Carr Visits New York Jets
16. Daniel Jones, Giants
QB Record: 9-6-1 | QBR: 60.8 | Passing TDs: 15 | Passing Yards: 3,205
Comment: Daniel Jones proved he can play. Now the New York Giants may have to prove they can pay. Jones is one of the more underrated arms in the league. He is accurate, and he has arm strength that doesn’t get talked about enough. He’s also become a hybrid pocket-running passer like we’re seeing more and more in the league right now. The future is bright for Jones.
>> READ: Jones Wants $45 Million Contract
17. Brock Purdy, 49ers
QB Record: 5-0 | QBR: 65.6 | Passing TDs: 13 | Passing Yards: 1,374
Comment: I absolutely hated seeing him get hurt in the playoffs. But as much of a disappointment as the end of the season was for Brock Purdy, he went from third string to third in the Rookie of the Year voting, helping the San Francisco 49ers remain a legit Super Bowl contender. There are no more questions he needs to answer. He can play in the NFL. Now, we’ll see if he can get healthy and add more chapters to that Cinderella story.
18. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
QB Record: 3-8 | QBR: 51.7 | Passing TDs: 14 | Passing Yards: 2,368
Comment: The 2022 season was a nightmare for the dynamic talent, who threw just 14 touchdown passes vs. seven interceptions. Kyler Murray also suffered a torn ACL in Week 14, forcing his season to end early. But the Arizona Cardinals wouldn’t have given him that long-contract extension last offseason if they felt like he couldn’t return from adversity. We’ll see soon enough if that decision pays off.
19. Matthew Stafford, Rams
QB Record: 3-6 | QBR: 50.3 | Passing TDs: 10 | Passing Yards: 2,087
Comment: This was a down year for both Matthew Stafford and his squad. However, coach Sean McVay decided to come back and right the ship in 2023. There’s no doubt Stafford has the skillset and the pedigree to captain it. Stafford has been doubted in the past and has always shut down the haters. He’s a Super Bowl champion, and you can’t bet against that.
20. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
QB Record: 6-6 | QBR: 49.1 | Passing TDs: 13 | Passing Yards: 2,536
Comment: Losing A.J. Brown hurt. I can only imagine having to watch my former best receiver help his new team to a Super Bowl as Brown did for the Eagles. That said, Ryan Tannehill has gotten himself off the ground throughout his college and NFL careers, and I wouldn’t doubt he has something to prove heading into next season.
21. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
QB Record: 7-3 | QBR: 54.3 | Passing TDs: 16 | Passing Yards: 2,437
Comment: Jimmy Garoppolo is still technically on the 49ers, but they’ve already said he won’t be back next season. Last season was certainly an interesting one for Garoppolo. He was the backup, then the starter before eventually landing on IR. Then, he watched his backup become a star. Garoppolo may miss that dynamic 49ers offense, but he could use a fresh start somewhere else.
>> READ: 49ers Say They’re Moving on From Jimmy G
22. Andy Dalton, Saints
QB Record: 6-8 | QBR: 50.7 | Passing TDs: 18 | Passing Yards: 2,871
Comment: To a degree, Andy Dalton righted the ship in New Orleans during a funky year for the Saints. He’s a veteran who has been on both sides of the mountain and is battle-tested. His story isn’t fully written yet, especially if he ends up on a different team this offseason.
23. Russell Wilson, Broncos
QB Record: 4-11 | QBR: 37.0 | Passing TDs: 16 | Passing Yards: 3,524
Comment: No need to sugarcoat it. It was an awful, nightmare, horrible season for Russell Wilson. I’m sure he’d be the first one to admit that. But now, with Sean Peyton at the helm, there are reasons for optimism in Denver for the first time since about Week 4 of last year. Wilson is low on this list because he has a lot to prove next season.
>> READ: Payton’s Offense Can Revitalize Wilson’s Career
24. Deshaun Watson, Browns
QB Record: 3-3 | QBR: 38.3 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 1,102
Comment: Speaking strictly about on-field play, Deshaun Watson still has a lot to prove to the city of Cleveland on whether or not that guaranteed contract was worth the money and the years. He played in six games and threw seven touchdowns and five interceptions. That means Watson will need to boom next season to avoid a historic bust tag.
25. Mac Jones, Patriots
QB Record: 6-8 | QBR: 36.2 | Passing TDs: 14 | Passing Yards: 2,997
Comment: There were a lot of ups and downs for Mac Jones this past season. I’m still unsure of what type of quarterback he can be. But we will certainly find out with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien returning to the New England Patriots this season.
26. Jacoby Brissett, Browns
QB Record: 4-7 | QBR: 60 | Passing TDs: 12 | Passing Yards: 2,608
Comment: Jacoby Brissett was thrust into a tough situation in Cleveland and showed a little fear early with some big turnovers. But in his final five starts, he threw just one pick. Brissett proved he can play quarterback elsewhere in the NFL next season.
27. Kenny Pickett, Steelers
QB Record: 7-5 | QBR: 51.5 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 2,404
Comment: Kenny Pickett needs to limit mistakes, stay on the field and show some consistency. Throwing game-winning touchdowns with less than a minute left in consecutive games might be a glimpse into Pickett’s moxie. He’s going to need it to carry the weight of one of the league’s most historic franchises on his back.
28. Baker Mayfield, Rams
QB Record: 2-8 | QBR: 24.5 | Passing TDs: 10 | Passing Yards: 2,163
Comment: Do you know how hard it is to join a team, learn a new playbook a few hours later, and then lead a team to a comeback win against the Raiders on Thursday Night Football? I’ll tell you … it’s hard. Baker Mayfield did that. He also proved what he needed to prove in 2022 – that he can be an NFL QB. Given the Rams’ cap situation, it’ll just likely happen with a different team in 2023.
29. Davis Mills, Texans
QB Record: 3-10-1 | QBR: 33.1 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 3,118
Comment: It’s hard to quantify what Davis Mills can accomplish as a quarterback. Can he be a starter? I need to see more reps before I make that claim. Mills might not get that chance with the Houston Texans this season because they’re likely to use the second-overall pick on a new quarterback.
>> READ: The 33rd Team’s Latest Mock Draft
30. Sam Darnold, Panthers
QB Record: 4-2 | QBR: 48.3 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 1,143
Comment: The jury is still out on this one-time top prospect. However, 2023 may be the year we reach a verdict on whether Sam Darnold is a starter. Will it be in Carolina? That remains to be seen. The Panthers seem poised to select a quarterback in the first round, but Darnold could stick around as a bridge option.
>> READ: 2023 Draft QBs with Best Arm Strength
31. Mike White, Jets
QB Record: 1-3 | QBR: 37 | Passing TDs: 3 | Passing Yards: 1,192
Comment: At one point in the season, Jets fans were rocking “White Knight” T-shirts. Players seem to love playing with Mike White, but he needs to show some more consistent results to move up these rankings.
32. Desmond Ridder, Falcons
QB Record: 2-2 | QBR: 49.8 | Passing TDs: 2 | Passing Yards: 708
Comment: The jury is still out, but Desmond Ridder gets the nod as my 32nd-best quarterback over guys like Trey Lance and Jordan Love because, of the three, he at least started the final three games of the season. All three walk into 2023 with huge question marks surrounding their games and futures.
Matt Cassel is a former NFL quarterback who played with seven teams in his NFL career, most notably the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, and Dallas Cowboys. Follow him on Twitter at @M_Cassel16.