Quarterbacks run the NFL, and it’s difficult to find a good team without a good passer leading the way. In that vein, QB Power Rankings are, in some ways, a ranking of the potential ceiling of each team.
With the season concluded and a spectacular Super Bowl in the books, we can get a final accounting of how quarterbacks played in 2022 and who has improved or declined as the season has progressed.
Our QB Power Rankings are split into tiers, and we included quarterbacks that have thrown at least 100 passes in 2022 and/or have a reasonable chance of being part of the QB discussion next year.
2023 QB Power Rankings | Tier 1: Elite
1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
There are few quarterbacks that have Patrick Mahomes’ arm strength, accuracy, and escapability, but none have that and his spatial awareness or situational understanding. Mahomes finished the season with the passing-yardage record, and that’s only a blip on his list of accomplishments. His performance in Super Bowl LVII was extraordinary and reinforced who he is as a quarterback.
2) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
After an elbow injury forced a dip in production near the end of November, Josh Allen recovered to play some of his best football. While there are questions about red-zone production and fit with offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Allen’s still one of the best when it counts.
The Bills may need to get some more consistent results in the playoffs for people to keep trusting him, but when isolating just his performance, it’s hard to fault Allen too much.
Tier 2 | Franchise
3) Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow continued to struggle against repeat opponents but otherwise had been a maven in the passing game that can overcome a variety of looks and pressures. Changes in the Cincinnati offense midway through the season were massive and have given Burrow the opportunity to make every throw. And he’s nailed them.
The Bengals run to the AFC Championship Game showcased some of Burrow’s best qualities.
4) Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
A sore shoulder late in the season limited his performance and availability, but Jalen Hurts, nevertheless, played at a high level upon his return, getting better every game until he put in the best performance of his career on the highest stage.
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Hurts opens up the passing game with his ability to run the ball, but he’s deadly from the pocket too. His rushing threat adds a unique dimension to the offense that’s made Philly one of the most efficient and productive teams in the NFL.
5) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert will have to evaluate his own role in the second-half collapse that ended the Chargers’ season, but he’s historically been a clutch, high-leverage quarterback that’s been able to perform in all situations.
Herbert has an incredible arm, good accuracy, and a great sense for the field and situation. A new offensive coordinator can hopefully unlock everything he can be.
6) Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
A series of injuries have marred what could have been a historic season for Tua Tagovailoa, but he’s improved on his biggest weaknesses and even turned some into strengths. Tua still doesn’t have the ball velocity to be consistent against tight windows, but he’s improved his deep ball and is remarkably accurate. Add in slightly better decision-making, and he’ll be a star.
7) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
In the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Dak Prescott had one of the best performances in his career, and that’s a career full of high-level performances. He finished the regular season playing inconsistently, but the offense had been scoring points, and he’s a big part of it. If Prescott can find what’s made him great in the past, he can return to borderline elite status.
8) Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
There was an immediate change with a new coaching staff in Trevor Lawrence’s production, but this level of play was always there. After a historic comeback, it’s easier to see what film aficionados had said about Lawrence this past offseason — he has an elite understanding of the game, a great arm, good athleticism, and a developing sense for how the play is unfolding. It’s been fun to watch.
9) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The “Franchise” tier could be completely upended in order, and it would still make sense. Lamar Jackson ranking ninth feels incorrect, but it’s hard to separate these quarterbacks.
Jackson still has the most efficient season since 2000, and that 2019 version is always alive on the field when he steps out there. His passing and rushing are a deadly combination, and he just needs more consistency to be permanently considered elite.
2023 QB Power Rankings | Tier 3: Above Average
10) Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
After an incredibly hot start to the season, Geno Smith’s limitations came to the fore. But there hasn’t been a collapse, just a slowdown — he’s a good quarterback that has added explosiveness and deep-ball playmaking to his game.
With some consistency, especially underneath, Smith could truly revive his career next year and become a Rich Gannon or Brad Johnson-type story.
11) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The second half of the season for Aaron Rodgers was good — sometimes great — and he might play his way back into elite status next year. For now, his inconsistent 2022 raises real questions about what’s left in his career and what he needs around him, or even if he stays with the Packers and Matt LaFleur.
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If Rodgers needs this much chemistry to play well with his receivers, it speaks to a particularity that isn’t true for some other greats.
12) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins had great moments throughout 2022. But his historical strengths were absent even as he worked to eliminate his career weaknesses. Cousins’ efficiency went down, as did the offense’s scoring. But the Vikings performed big in big moments. Until they didn’t.
Tier 4 | Useful, But Limited
13) Daniel Jones, New York Giants
The gap between Tier 3 and Tier 4 is large, and it certainly seems odd to rank someone like Daniel Jones — who has improved tremendously — right below players like Rodgers and Smith. But he’s played well.
The first half of the season was better than the second, but even then, Jones ranked 10th in QB efficiency, in part because of his running game. Jones showed plenty of capability in the playoffs to prove he deserves consideration to move up a tier.
14) Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
There are things Jimmy Garoppolo can’t do. But the things he can do, like getting the ball out quickly, accurately, and to the right target, are very valuable.
There’s a reason that San Francisco wanted to move on from Garoppolo, but there’s just as much of a reason they wouldn’t trade him without a king’s ransom. He’s a good player that needs some help throwing deep and won’t gash in the run game.
15) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
If Kyler Murray had more spatial awareness and the ability to attack every part of the field, he’d be a franchise-quality quarterback. But for now, his limitations make for concerning — if exciting — play. With good arm strength and dynamic athleticism, there’s plenty of potential to unpack.
16) Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
With Derek Carr out of Las Vegas, giving him the ability to choose his offense. Carr performed well with Jon Gruden as his coach, so there are absolutely offenses that can maximize his potential. We also know that there was a strong market for him.
Carr is a good quarterback with a strong arm and is a quick processor. He needs more aggressiveness and consistency, but he has the fundamentals. At his best, he’s a Pro Bowl-quality thrower.
17) Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
After a resurgent middle of the season, Justin Fields came back down to Earth in the final games of the year. But he can cause some damage and showed the potential worth investing in. He’ll need to mature his passing game, but with Fields’ ability to run, there will always be a floor.
18) Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
It took a while for us to see the Ryan Tannehill that was among the league leaders in QB efficiency not too long ago. It’s clear that his dependency on play-action passing has capped his level of play, but Tannehill can do good things with his athleticism and accuracy that other league-average starters can’t.
19) Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns
If this feels high for Jacoby Brissett, it’s worth comparing the Browns’ level of play with him on the field and him on the sideline. Brissett’s developed into a good player that can win some come-back scenarios and read the field well. He probably won’t have a chance to start full-time, but some teams should consider it.
20) Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Like Brock Purdy and Garoppolo, Jared Goff takes advantage of an excellent supporting cast to help produce on offense. He doesn’t process as quickly as the other two, and his accuracy is not quite up to their standards, but Goff does have a good arm and an understanding of what he needs to do. If he could create off-book as well as Purdy or some of the other quarterbacks on this list, he’d be ranked much higher.
21) Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Purdy had some incredible moments, and his arm looked stronger in 2022 than it was in college. But he still has limitations and doesn’t have the deep ball or outside throw capability of Garoppolo.
The offense is catered to his strengths, though, and it allows the extraordinary after-catch capability of his receivers to make big plays. Sometimes, Purdy creates his own highlights too. The biggest question will be whether or not the best of Purdy will still be there after the surgery on his UCL, which knocks him down a few spots from before.
22) Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
In the second half of the season, Kenny Pickett ranked 10th in EPA per play among quarterbacks with 150 plays. Much of that stems from the final games of the season, and it’s hard to tell how much that will translate to next year. But Pickett’s seemingly grown more accurate. If he can get his in-structure play to match his out-of-structure play, he’ll be one to watch for years to come.
23) Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
It’s tough to tell if the Sam Darnold we saw at the end of this season is the one we’ll get all year next time around, but it’s notable that he — like Pickett — dominated the second-half efficiency rankings.
Darnold ranked seventh overall, and the only reason he doesn’t rank higher on this list is that we have a long history of troubling play that a few games won’t simply erase. But for now, it looks like he’s been able to marry his incredible physical talent with poise and concentration. Whether the other teams he’ll be courting in free agency agree remains to be seen.
24) Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Limited by his offensive coordinator and receiving corps, we’ve begun to see what happens when a quarterback that needs support doesn’t get it. Even so, we’ve seen Mac Jones make quick, correct decisions and spray the football with accuracy to his receivers.
He’s not always as aggressive as he needs to be, but Jones knows generally what works for him. The problem is that the team needs to know that, too. We’ll get to test that with Bill O’Brien calling plays next year.
25) Andy Dalton, New Orleans Saints
Andy Dalton played at a starter level in 2022, and his experience shines through. He’s a smart quarterback that does a great job of identifying his matchups and doing what needs to be done. But he doesn’t play out of structure all that well, and the rest of his strengths don’t allow him to shine while he only does what the offense is designed to do.
2022 QB Power Rankings | Tier 5: Concerning
26) Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
It was a concerning season for Matthew Stafford, and it looks like his arm strength and accuracy have dipped. His ability to read defenses — one that was always plagued with errors here or there — and creativity are still intact, but he’s attempting to play a style of football that seemingly no longer fits him. That said, Stafford faced a weird set of circumstances in LA in 2022.
27) Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
There are other quarterbacks ranked lower than Russell Wilson that played better than him in 2022, but in the right circumstances, he might still be able to play well. We saw that to finish out the season under interim coach Jerry Rosburg.
If he’s in the right situation, we could see Wilson play at a high level again. Until then, we should be concerned that he can only really shine in one style of offense.
28) Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
It’s difficult to tell how much of Deshaun Watson’s low level of play in 2022 was just rust or if that has become something that is now a part of who he is as a quarterback. He’s been indecisive and inaccurate, and his trademark creativity was largely absent.
Next year, we might see a different quarterback, but it looked like the Browns had a potential stud on the bench in Brissett and a dud starting over him.
Tier 6 | Liabilities
29) Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder is a whip-smart QB that follows his reads and plays a lot like the last franchise quarterback to play in Atlanta, for better or worse. He’s rigid and controlled, but it limits his ability to innovate.
Ridder doesn’t have quite the pre-snap reading talent or accuracy of Matt Ryan. Until he gets there, that style of play won’t win games. That said, we haven’t had much time to evaluate his NFL development so there’s a pretty enormous ceiling to unlock in 2023.
30) Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders
One of the most confident and creative quarterbacks in the NFL, Taylor Heinicke would be in a drastically different circumstance if he had the physical tools and accuracy to back up his confident style of play. But the mistakes can pile up and hold the offense back.
31) Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons
The offensive production Atlanta was able to eke out early in the year was in spite of Mariota rather than because of him, but he still showed flashes of good play. He needs to develop a quicker trigger and showcase more accuracy to be a consistent starter if he ever gets another shot.
32) Kyle Trask, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers may choose to trade up for a rookie QB to start right away or pursue one in free agency, making Kyle Trask a non-issue. But for now, he’s the presumed starter for Tampa Bay.
What he’s shown in the NFL hasn’t been very much but it also hasn’t been impressive. Trask has demonstrated a slow processor and misses protections. While he’s improved his release and always had a fair degree of accuracy, questions about Trask’s decision-making remain.
33) Baker Mayfield, Los Angeles Rams
There were some exciting flashes of play in Los Angeles for Baker Mayfield, but ultimately, he never recaptured what made his 2020 season special. He’s not a good fit to play inside structure, and he doesn’t have the tools to make good on his out-of-structure play.
34) Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
Ryan does an excellent job figuring out what he needs to do with the ball. The problem is that he doesn’t always have the arm strength to get that done. Not only that, but pressure has been getting to him more and more as time goes on.
35) Mike White, New York Jets
Mike White is not without some big mistakes in his play, but he’s a good deal more accurate and consistent than Zach Wilson. That’s a low bar, and those mistakes are costly. His level of play warrants an upgrade.
36) Davis Mills, Houston Texans
The Texans got functional play out of Davis Mills, and he wasn’t the sole reason they have the first pick in the draft. But he is a reason. Mills is a good backup, but Houston needed more than that in 2022.
37) Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders
Carson Wentz has all the tools to be an elite quarterback, but he doesn’t find his reads quickly enough and is prone to making mistakes. He has issues getting on the same page as his receivers and gets fooled by opposing defenses.
38) Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans
Of everybody in the bottom tier of quarterbacks, Malik Willis has the most potential. He has a great arm and is good at finding spaces and creating offense. But he needs to be more consistent in seeing the field within structure, throwing accurate passes, and making good decisions. Those elements of play matter a great deal more than arm strength.
39) Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Zach Wilson is mostly arm talent. He doesn’t combine that with good accuracy, decision-making, creativity or a quick processor. His penchant for out-of-structure plays is something to work with, but until he sees the field better, there’s not much to gain from it.
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