It’s the offseason in the NFL and that means it’s time to debate. We can debate anything and everything from what the Bears should do with the No. 1 pick to which team will win the NFC South next season, but as always in the NFL one debate and one position reigns supreme: Quarterback.
The quarterback debate really heated up this year around Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow as the aging QBs like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers began to fade away. The Burrow crowd started to build steam, but the No. 1 spot was settled when the Chiefs beat Burrow’s Bengals in the AFC Championship game and Mahomes finished the year with the league and Super Bowl MVP trophies in his possession.
Beyond No. 1 is where the argument really gets fun. These are my quarterback rankings with the 2022 season in the rearview mirror, but they might help us make some money in 2023. The MVP has become a quarterback award, so we could find some value in these rankings. Odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. Let’s go!
1. Patrick Mahomes – (+650)
If you even try to make a case for any other player to be the best quarterback in the NFL I won’t even listen. In a loaded AFC, Mahomes is the top dog and even as the odds on favorite I think he’s still a good bet to repeat as MVP, so long as the voters don’t get bored of his brilliance.
2. Joe Burrow – (+700)
Mahomes is the monster in the AFC and Joe Burrow is the only one who’s been able to slay that dragon. He isn’t as physically gifted as some of the guys behind him, but he’s unmatched in the league as a processor, especially post snap. He had a slow start to the season because he missed time in the offseason with a ruptured appendix, but once he found his rhythm he ascended right back to the top of the league. If he gets off to a hot start in 2023, then the personal awards could start to follow all the winning the Bengals have been doing.
3. Jalen Hurts – (+1100)
If it wasn’t for a late season injury it might have been Hurts, not Mahomes, who took home the MVP award this year. He threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns, ran for 760 yards and 13 more TDs. Because of his legs and his physicality Philly hacked short yardage situations and converted every time. His legs are such an asset, that he ran for the third most first downs in the NFL behind only Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb and ahead of Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley.
His running ability makes him special, but he’s developed into an elite passer. His 92.9 passing grade in the Super Bowl was PFF’s highest ever recorded in a Super Bowl. He stood in the middle of the ring and traded haymakers with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid and was the best player on the field in that game. There shouldn’t be any more questions about him as a drop-back passer after that performance. Hurts will win an MVP before his career is over.
4. Justin Herbert – (+1000)
I absolutely love Justin Herbert and I’m so glad that Joe Lombardi is no longer in LA to call plays. I expect Herbert will have an incredible year with Kellen Moore as his OC and be in the MVP conversation until the very end.
5. Josh Allen – (+750)
Allen was the MVP favorite going into last year, but a nagging elbow injury derailed his season. He only threw 14 interceptions, but his 29 turnover-worthy plays according to PFF were a few too many for my liking. His performance in the two playoff games is a bit concerning, but considering everything that Buffalo went through this year, he can get a pass. His arm still might be the best in the NFL and he’s Cam Newton as a runner. I just wanted to see him play cleaner next year to jump back up into the top 3.
6. Trevor Lawrence (+1600)
Lawrence grew so much in his first year with a real NFL head coach after the Urban Meyer experience ushered in his career, and his first playoff game was emblematic of the two years of his career so far. Disaster and then somehow he rose from the ashes. He has the right head coach and might have the best chance of anybody in the NFL to enter the Mahomes/Burrow debate.
7. Aaron Rodgers – (+1600)
The talk around Rodgers is all about his darkness retreat and where he’s going to play next year, but he’s still only a year removed from back-to-back MVP awards and played much of the season with an injured thumb on his throwing hand. He needed to trust his young receivers earlier in the year instead of leaning Randall Cobb who had his best years when I was in middle school, but he was in a tough spot without Davante Adams and no receiver he could lean on. He’s getting old, but for great quarterbacks I’m not sure how much that matters anymore.
If he takes the New York Jets to the playoffs or wins that division then he could win another MVP, but I don’t know how much value there is.
8. Lamar Jackson – (+1500)
He hasn’t had the right weapons or offensive coordinator to actualize his abilities as a passer, but once that comes with his legs he could get his second MVP. However, this is two straight years where he can’t stay healthy and I’d like to see a little bit more than just one playoff win that came over Ryan Tannehill.
9. Deshaun Watson – (+3000)
I’m not sure we will ever see Houston Deshaun Watson ever again, but he carried some pretty bad rosters to the playoffs and was one of the best QBs in the league. After nearly two full years off the field he was flat out bad to finish 2022, but full seasons from Watson better than anything Dak Prescott has ever done.
10. Dak Prescott – (+1800)
Dak Prescott was as good as he’s ever been in the playoffs against Tampa Bay, but I believe it’s important to remember that was an 8-9 Bucs team that was outside the top 10 in passing defense. Once Rodgers leaves for likely either Vegas or New York, he’ll be the second best quarterback in the NFC, but I don’t see him as a Super Bowl winning quarterback. His arm is average and he isn’t mobile anymore, so he relies heavily on processing which he’s great at. Maybe Mike McCarthy will give him more autonomy in this offense this year, but I think he’s reached his peak as a player.
11. Matthew Stafford – (+5000)
Stafford is a tough playmaker who isn’t scared of the moment, but can throw an untimely interception. He’s also a Super Bowl winning quarterback, but he’s firmly on the back nine of his career and one more big hit, he might just have to wrap things up and head to the 19th hole.
12. Geno Smith – (+3500)
Geno just got a new contract and it was well deserved. He’s an accurate passer and should continue to start in Seattle, so the Seahawks can be patient at the position, but if somebody they love falls into their lap in the draft I’d pull the trigger.
13. Daniel Jones – (+5000)
Yes, he needed Brian Daboll to come to town to unlock anything, but he’s become a dynamic runner and limited his turnovers. I think he’ll continue to improve if he stays in New York and the Giants get him somebody other than Isaiah Hodgins as his No. 1 receiver.
14. Justin Fields (+2500)
Fields is the most dynamic runner in the NFL, he’s just behind Hurts in terms of first downs rushing in 2022. That’s so valuable because a lot of it comes as a scrambler where he’s turning a negative play into a positive. He needs to improve as a passer to be considered in the MVP conversation, but we just saw Jalen Hurts do it.
Plays like this are much more valuable than anything the upcoming slew of boring system quarterbacks has ever done and Fields does this regularly. If he takes a leap as a passer then he could absolutely win MVP with gaudy rushing stats.
15. Kenny Pickett (+4500)
The slew of system QBs will have to wait because with Matt Canada as his OC Pickett doesn’t have anything that resembles a system at all. Most OC’s elevate their quarterbacks and Canada actively makes things harder for Pickett, never giving him the layups in play-action or the screen game that so many other quarterbacks make their living on. Instead Pickett is forced to make legit NFL throws regularly and by the end of the season he was delivering.
His numbers are ugly, but they don’t tell the story. His final drive in Baltimore on Sunday Night Football does.
Kenny’s a playmaker and I’ll take that over a lot of guys any day of the week. I just don’t see that translating to an MVP award.
16. Kyler Murray – (+6500)
Murray doesn’t have much of a system in Arizona either. It was mostly to get a halftime deficit and then go play backyard football. However, it doesn’t feel like that’s all on the staff. Murray prefers to play that way and while he excels in the scramble drill this season he really struggled in the pocket. He was the MVP in 2021 until he got hurt, but Murray getting hurt is a recurring theme.
Oh and he tore his ACL in Week 14, so he’ll miss a large portion of 2023.
17. Derek Carr – (+5000)
Now, to the newest quarterback in New Orleans. Derek Carr is a good quarterback and maybe calling him a system guy is a stretch, but if he’s down in the fourth quarter I don’t trust him to win me the game. It feels like he’s good at everything but not great at any one thing. I don’t think you can win a Super Bowl or an MVP award in the modern NFL that way.
18. Brock Purdy – (+7500)
He’s obviously a beneficiary of the Shanahan system, but Purdy showed a little bit more moxie than say Jimmy Garappolo. He’s clearly a good processor and until he tore his UCL against Philly in the NFC Championship game he hadn’t lost in the NFL. It’s unclear if he’ll even start the season because of his injury and Trey Lance.
19. Jared Goff – (+3500)
The first in a string of limited guys who rely on great playcallers or have relied on them to get their best seasons in the past. Goff went from McVay to Ben Johnson which is like an actor doing their first movie with Martin Scorsese and then falling on hard times and getting cast by a young Quentin Tarantino.
He can be very good, and I’d take him over the rest of this string, but if his back is against the wall and he faces pressure, I don’t trust him to make a play.
20. Russell Wilson – (+3500)
We didn’t know he was a system quarterback at the time, but Pete Caroll did. Now, Wilson has been elite in his career and has been that deep passing playmaker. He still throws a fantastic deep ball, but he needs to be protected by a strong run game and under center play action, but instead he wants to do Drew Brees stuff. He’s got the right coach to try it now, but he’ll never be as accurate a passer as Brees was and that was so key to a lot of what Payton and Brees ran in New Orleans.
21. Tua Tagovailoa – (+1600)
Mike McDaniel deserves not some, but all of the credit for Tua’s season in 2022. Concussions were obviously the story, but he put up huge numbers before missing considerable time. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle made his life easy, but he was still dying to turn the ball over all season long. According to PFF he had 19 turnover-worthy plays and 18 big time throws. He only threw eight interceptions, but I have a theory that cornerbacks aren’t used to catching passes from a lefty.
22. Ryan Tannehill – (+10000)
Tannehill had his best years in Tennessee with Arthur Smith calling plays and Derrick Henry running for 2,000 yards. I elevate him slightly over a few others in this group because at least he can use his legs a bit.
23. Kirk Cousins – (+5000)
I couldn’t justify having Kirk Cousins any lower than this, so here he lands at No. 23. Some will say that’s far too low for a guy who threw for 4,547 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, but I say look at his final play of the season. A checkdown on 4th and 8 with the season on the line. Every year Cousins is your starter is another year where you’re not going to win the Super Bowl and if that’s the case I’d rather just restart with a rookie.
24. Mac Jones – (+6500)
Jones was bad last year, but he also had not one, but two failed head coaches calling plays in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. So he gets a pass… sort of. Unless you have another elite attribute then I’m not interested in a quarterback with zero mobility. Jones would be a system QB if he could get a system.
25. Jacoby Brissett – (N/A)
Brissett doesn’t even have MVP odds because he’ll likely be a backup in 2023, but he’s better than a few of the guys who will be starting.
26. Jimmy Garoppolo – (+6500)
There’s rumors now that Houston is pushing to get Jimmy G and that’s a good move under one condition. They draft a rookie this year. He’s accurate over the middle of the field and throws with good anticipation, so he’s a perfect Kyle Shanahan quarterback, but even Kirk Cousins would have been an upgrade in San Fran the years he was starting.
27. Trey Lance – (+3200)
Lance’s MVP odds are insane. We’ve pretty much never seen him be a starting quarterback and he’s on year three now. He can be a dynamic runner with a big arm in theory, but that’s all his career has been to this point, theoretical.
28. Matt Ryan – (+10000)
He got benched for Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles.
29. Davis Mills – (+10000)
With all the questions about Bryce Young’s height swirling at least that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about with Mills.
30. Andy Dalton – (+20000)
The coaching staff in New Orleans liked him better than Jameis Winston, so I’ll take their word for it I guess, and TCU made the CFP this year so that was fun. So, good year all around for the red rifle I guess.
31. Sam Howell – (+8000)
He looked pretty good against Dallas in Week 18 and Ron Rivera said he’s their Week 1 starter as of now, so maybe that’s something.
32. Kyle Trask – (+7500)
Simply because I refuse to put Carson Wentz or Sam Darnold on this list.
Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE
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