While it’s entertaining to write about the struggles of teams looking for franchise level quarterbacks, this article will focus on the most successful players at the position. The NFL has a visible elite class of quarterbacks, but the order of that class is often disagreed upon. Here, I will present my top ten quarterbacks entering the 2019 NFL season.
Keep in mind that these rankings will fluctuate throughout the year as events like injuries, breakout seasons, and maybe even surprise retirements shake up the NFL.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Based on what he did last season, Mahomes deserves this top spot. He completed 66% of his passes for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. His was the third 50-touchdown season in history and he was also the 11th player to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season. Even without Kareem Hunt on the ground, Mahomes still has plenty of offensive threats. While he might not replicate his 2018 numbers, the Chiefs quarterback will still be elite in 2019.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees isn’t putting up the total numbers he used to. 2018 was the first season since 2005 that he threw for fewer than 4,000 yards. What makes the drop off acceptable is Brees’ efficiency. He’s set the single-season record for completion percentage in each of the last two seasons, completing 72% in 2017 and 74.4% in 2018. Brees also led the NFL in quarterback rating last season, posting an astonishing 115.7. Even with his total season numbers dropping, Brees is still an elite quarterback.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2018 was a decent season for Brady, but his regular season didn’t stand out for any particular accomplishment. It was kind of just another Brady season, which speaks volumes to #12’s consistency throughout his career. What matters is that Brady was able to win another Super Bowl. He and New England have now gone to the last three Super Bowls and have won two of them. Brady will continue to expand his legacy in 2019.
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The two-time MVP threw 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions last season. He rebounded well from a year in which he only played seven games, but the Packers as a team are still trending in the wrong direction. Fans believe Rodgers could come out on fire in 2019, but the Pro Bowler is also limited by the youth and talent around him. We’ll see if Rodgers can resurrect Green Bay this season.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson isn’t going to post great yardage totals in the Seahawks run-centric offense. However, he’s an efficient passer who does more for the team than people realize. Last season, Wilson set personal bests with 35 passing touchdowns and a 110.9 quarterback rating. He also tied a career-low in interceptions, throwing just seven. Wilson is often overlooked in the debate over elite NFL quarterbacks because his playing style isn’t flashy, but Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league today.
6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Statistically, Ryan’s 2018 season was almost on par with his 2016 MVP campaign. No one noticed because the Falcons went 7-9, but Ryan nearly threw for 5,000 yards. He finished the year with 4,924 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, and a 108.1 quarterback rating. Ryan completed 69.4% of his passes. I don’t understand how the Falcons only won seven games last season, considering how well Ryan was playing.
7. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Before the last few weeks in 2018, Rivers’ name was being tossed around in the MVP conversation, along with Brees and Mahomes. Rivers led the Chargers to their first season with more than ten wins since 2009, and he did so by completing 68.3% of his passes and finishing with a 105.5 quarterback rating. He has been overlooked in recent years because of the Chargers’ woes, but the team appears poised for a strong playoff run this season.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben led the NFL in pass attempts, completions, yards, interceptions, longest pass, and passing yards per game in 2018. He finished with a 96.5 quarterback rating. While Roethlisberger did throw 16 interceptions, there have been many years where the league-leader has thrown over 20. Also, Roethlisberger completed 67% of his passes for career-highs in passing yards (5,129) and passing touchdowns (34). All of the drama in Pittsburgh wiped out what should have been celebrated as a great season.
9. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Despite being sacked a league-leading 62 times, Watson made the Pro Bowl and led Houston to 11 wins in 2018. He completed 68.3% of his throws for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns. Watson’s 103.1 quarterback rating just topped his 103.0 from his rookie season. Watson also ran for 551 yards and five touchdowns in 2018. He’s done a good job keeping his interception numbers down too. I still feel like Watson has a significant amount of room to grow though. Hopefully, he’ll take that next step in 2019.
10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz would have been the league’s MVP in 2017 if not for an injury that occurred late in the season. His 2018 season was a mixed bag. He improved his completion percentage dramatically, completing 69.6% of his passes, but he only threw 21 touchdowns in 11 games. He threw 33 touchdowns in 13 games in 2017. Wentz also threw for more yards per game in 2018, but he ran less and appeared timid at points. Now that he’s had the offseason to rest up, we’ll see if Wentz can regain his electric form in 2019.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
While he puts up good numbers, postseason pressure caused Goff to crumble last season. Even toward the end of the regular season, Goff looked shaky. The young quarterback has quietly posted back to back seasons with a passer rating over 100, but he’s still a step shy of being elite.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
The new kid on the block has a lot of offensive weapons to mess around with this season. While he was impressive as a rookie, Mayfield did make mistakes and threw 14 interceptions to his 27 touchdowns. He’ll make more mistakes in 2019, but I also expect that Mayfield will mature quickly with all of the talent around him.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
It looks like Newton will be available for Week 1, but that could always change. He’s been working his way back from shoulder surgery for several months now. Newton had an underrated 2018 season. It was his best campaign since his MVP season in 2015.