Much like the goalie in NHL hockey or the pitcher in MLB baseball, the NFL quarterback is the game’s key player. He is celebrated for his team’s wins and blamed for their losses. The quarterback is therefore one of the most high-pressure positions in all of professional sports. Which NFL quarterbacks wilt under the strain, and which can deliver the goods under fire? Check out our list of all thirty-two NFL quarterbacks ranked from worst to first and find out.
Not counting the kicking plays, the quarterback touches the ball on each and every play in a National Football League game. His daunting task is to lead his team up the field toward the opposing team’s end zone. Whether it is by a touchdown, field goal, or one or two-point conversion, it is the quarterback’s job to move his team into the optimum position to score as many points as they can.
While the rest of his teammates set up to either block the opposing players or get into position for a pass, the quarterback receives the ball from the center to start the play. He may then hand-off the football to a player who will run for as many yards as possible, run himself, or attempt a pass completion. In the latter instance the quarterback will secure either a short or long gain. On rare occasions, he will try the infamous “hail Mary” pass all the way to the end zone. In the worst-case scenario he is “sacked” to end the play, with no yards gained or a loss of yards.
About the Stats
The following ranking of thirty-two NFL quarterbacks is based on statistics from the 2017-2018 NFL season. Passing percentage, passing yards, rushing yards, carries, touchdowns and interceptions were taken into consideration when compiling this comprehensive ranking of all NFL quarterbacks, from the worst of pack to the best of the bunch.
NFL Quarterbacks Ranked from Worst to Best
31. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
After trading away quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs have put their faith in the hands of Mahomes on the basis of his going 22 for 35 (62.9%) with 284 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception in 2017.
30. Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears
29. Josh McCown – New York Jets
Perhaps not their long-time NFL quarterback savior, McCown still threw for 67.3% with 18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
28. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
Not a great spot for a former Super Bowl champ, but the numbers dictate the ranking, with a 64.1% passing percentage, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
27. Eli Manning – New York Giants
The legendary NFL quarterback had a tough 2017, throwing only 61.6% with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
26. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
With a season shortened by injury Tannehill passed at 67.1% with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
25. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles took the Jags to within a hair of the Super Bowl, but threw just 60.2% in the regular season, completing 21 touchdowns and tossing up 13 pick-offs.
24. Sam Bradford – Arizona Cardinals
Representing the Cardinals’ future, Bradford passed for 74.4%, with 382 yards with 3 touchdowns in 2017.
23. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
With an oh-fer post-season performance record dogging him, Dalton threw for over 3000 yards, 2017, completing 17 touchdowns and posting a not-so-hot 12 interceptions.
22. Case Keenum – Denver Broncos
Perhaps finding his stride as an NFL quarterback, Keenum threw for 67.6%, accumulating 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
21. Tyrod Taylor – Cleveland Browns
The man who brought Buffalo back to the postseason will try to do the same in Cleveland. He threw for 63.6%, tossing 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
20. James Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After throwing over 4000 yards in his rookie year, Winston returned with 3,504 in 2017, completing 19 touchdowns and tossing 11 pick-offs.
19. Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
Breaking the top twenty is the expert ball protector, Mariota, throwing for 62% 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions combined with 60 carries and 312 rushing yards, including 5 rushing touchdowns.
18. Jared Golf – Los Angeles Rams
A new year and new head coach helped Jared to a 62.1 passing percentage and nearly 4000 passing yards.
17. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
The number twelve draft pick comes through with a 61.8 passing percentage and nearly 2000 passing yards. If that wasn’t enough, the rookie picked up 36 carries of his own and 269 rushing yards.
16. Alex Smith – Washington Redskins
A new contract rewards Alex’s over 4000 passing yards, 355 rushing yards, and 26 touchdowns.
15. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers
Picking up a 1-10 team is never easy, but Jimmy G. did it when his 1,560 passing yards and 7 touchdowns led to 5 straight victories to finish the year.
14. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
In a bit of a let-down from his rookie campaign the year before, Dak still proves he’s an elite NFL quarterback with 3,324 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 357 rushing yards.
13. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
Over 4000 yards and 27 touchdowns gave Kirk a massive payday, signing to an $84 million deal with the Vikings.
12. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Cam went from the Super Bowl final in 2015 to a disaster season in 2016, so his latest numbers are a bit of a bounce back, but still not the level we once saw from him. His 3,302 passing yards went along with 22 touchdowns, 754 rushing yards and 16 pick-offs.
11. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
An average season for the Raiders saw Derek throw at 62.7% with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
10. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers
His passes may not be Picassos, but they look pretty good on the stats sheet. Phil passed for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns.
9. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
Only his legacy allows him to stay so high on the list, as Andrew sat out the season with an injury. Jacoby Brissett didn’t destroy the franchise in relief, nor did he secure himself a number one spot, so the Colts remain Mr. Luck’s NFL quarterback employer.
8. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
How did Matt follow up an MVP season wherein he passed for nearly 5000 yards and 38 touchdowns? By reverting to his old self, posting a 64.7% passing percentage and 20 touchdowns to go along with 12 interceptions.
7. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
After signing a contract in the off season that made him the highest paid NFL quarterback, Matt come through with a sparkling season wherein he threw for 4,446 passing yards and tagged 29 touchdowns.
6. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
The future hall of fame just keeps putting up great stats. In 2017 Big Ben threw ay 64.2% for 4,251 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
5. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
The man who was only the 75th pick in his draft year continues to prove why that was a steal by the Seahawks, as he added almost 4000 passing yards and 34 touchdowns to his incredible ability to avoid being sacked.
4. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Foles may have led the team to their first Super Bowl win, but Carson is looking more and more like one of the best young NFL quarterbacks out there. He added 33 touchdowns to 3,296 passing yards.
3. Drew Bree’s – New Orleans Saints
Drew’s 39 years don’t seem to be getting in his way. One of the ironmen of the NFL quarterback club, he threw 4,334 passing yards and 23 touchdowns in 2017.
2. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
With an injury keeping Aaron out for most of the year, he managed only 1,675 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. He still passed at 64.7% and he’s still one of the best in the biz.
1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
If we weren’t so busy discussing his record number of Super Bowl Wins and appearances, we would mention that at 40 years of age he threw for 4,577 passing yards, nailing 32 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Tom is simply the best of all NFL quarterbacks, ever.
While the top three places in our NFL quarterbacks ranking should surprise no one, there are also many young upstarts in this list that will ensure a ranking filled with top level talent for years to come.