Here is the final regular-season edition of the quarterback power rankings.
These quarterback power rankings will be unique as they will be accompanied by many different tiers of quarterbacks.
Not Included: Trevor Lawrence, (likely) Jacksonville Jaguars
Lawrence could be a top-10 quarterback immediately, but he has yet to play an NFL snap. It is unfair to him to include him in the quarterback power rankings this early.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Should Not Be NFL Starters” Tier
No. 31: Sam Darnold, New York Jets
The Jets could enter 2021 with a different quarterback, but Darnold is the current starter. He is likely not the answer to the question mark that the Jets have at quarterback, but here he is. He has three seasons of uninspiring quarterback play.
No. 30: Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Lock had a couple “okay, he could be a mediocre QB” games that elevate him over Darnold.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Need More Data Points” Tier
No. 29: Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team
Heinicke had the second-best QB game of the playoffs, just behind Patrick Mahomes‘ AFC Championship Game. If you account for the defense he played against, Heinicke had one of the performances of the year. The only issue is that that’s the only game. You could go both ways here: Heinicke could be a future stud, or it could be the best game he ever plays.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Not Good” Tier
No. 28: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
He has more solid games than Darnold or Lock, but Chicago often capitalizes on remotely competent quarterback play. Take the Jaguars game; Trubisky wasn’t very good, but Chicago won in a blowout Trubisky had a nice stat line, but he played poorly.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Weird 2020” Tier
No. 27: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Hurts can be a good starter in the NFL. He had good halves and solid performances, but he didn’t improve much on Wentz being a walking turnover. Hurts has some things to fix IF he’s the starter in 2021. If he’s not the starter, he won’t be in this list moving forward.
No. 26: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
He was injured. His offense was injured. It was a mess. Ranking Garoppolo here is not an indictment against him; he’s a good quarterback.
No. 25: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
He had a thumb injury late in the season. Goff is wildly inconsistent. Sometimes he plays like he was the #1 pick. Sometimes he plays like he learned football from a “football for dummies” textbook. The talent is there, but Goff lacks confidence in his game.
No. 24: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Tagovailoa had some moments that said, “Hey, he’s gonna be a good NFL quarterback.” He absolutely had his bad moments (Buffalo) and he got away with some throws (besides the Buffalo game). If Miami wasn’t as good of a team, Tagovailoa gets to learn in those Ryan Fitzpatrick moments rather than being yanked.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Misunderstood” Tier
No. 23: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Jones made massive strides in Year 2, but people ignore it because his counting stats are bad. 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a league-leading number of fumbles is bad, but watch the throws. The Giants had more rushing touchdowns than passing touchdowns. With a league-average split, Jones would have a few extra passing touchdowns, and no one would complain.
No. 22: Cam Newton, New England Patriots
Newton could have been lumped in the 2020 tier, but the same rules from the Jones blurb apply here. Eight passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions sounds awful, but it ignores that the Patriots were one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL, in large part thanks to Newton. Newton had 12 rushing touchdowns. If you pretend those were all passing touchdowns, you probably don’t have a problem with 20 passing touchdowns.
On film, it looked like he was laboring to throw the football, but a midseason COVID diagnosis did not help matters. If Newton gets a full offseason in New England, he can be a good quarterback. The world saw good Newton, even great Newton, early in the season, but it deteriorated by the end.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Big Questions” Tier
No. 21: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
After Pittsburgh’s 10-0 start, Roethlisberger played 12 halves of football. He was competent for one of them (the second half against the Colts). Outside of that quite phenomenal half, Roethlisberger sucked. He had a 74.4 passer rating in games 11-14 as he flooded the boxscore with turnovers.
Yes, part of the problem was Pittsburgh’s historically awful rushing attack, but Roethlisberger consistently undermined what the passing offense could do. It was pitiful. With a better rushing attack, Roethlisberger should be better, but Roethlisberger fails the “what have you done for me lately” test harder than any quarterback in the NFL.
No. 20: Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
Wentz was horrific in 2020. One can blame the receivers, drafting Hurts, offensive line injuries, but he was a train wreck. He turned into Jameis Winston. His mechanics went out the window, and it remains to be seen if he can recover from the yips. If there is a place that he can, it is Indianapolis. Frank Reich is known as a quarterback guru (particularly with Wentz), so give Wentz a year before he plummets in the quarterback power rankings.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The “Boring” Tier
No. 19: Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
Bridgewater played better than the quarterbacks behind him, but he wasn’t much better. He’s the quarterback you don’t want to have on your team, not because he is bad, but because he’s so irritatingly average. Bridgewater’s home is likely in the mid-20s of the quarterback power rankings, but this is how the cookie crumbles in 2021.
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