Welcome to the second edition of these offseason quarterback power rankings. The first edition of the quarterback power rankings features Nos. 32-19.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The Middle 10
No.18 | Matt Ryan | Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan is a generally competent system quarterback. He doesn’t malfunction often, but he does not overachieve often either. He had great years in 2016 and 2018 but part of that is the system and part of that is Julio Jones. With a good system and good weapons, Ryan can be higher but a deeper look proves he is rarely the engine of the team.
No.17 | Kyler Murray | Arizona Cardinals
Say what you will about Kyler Murray, but he needs to show more. Yes, he had the most spectacular play of the season throwing a bomb to DeAndre Hopkins in the final minutes against the Buffalo Bills. Yes, he lit up the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Yes, he was injured in Week 17, and that can be used as an excuse. This is not saying Murray is a bad quarterback, he just needs to play more consistently moving forward to rise the list of the quarterback power rankings.
No.16 | Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals
But wait, what has Joe Burrow done that Murray hasn’t? Valid question. Burrow plays the game like he’s a 10-year vet. He may not have the arm talent of the higher-ranked rookie in the quarterback power rankings, but Burrow reduces mistakes unlike few in this tier. He had the identifiable ones, but these are one-offs.
He’s not consistently putting the ball in harm’s way. He is accurate, precise, and he will be a top-10 quarterback by October. An important note, when Burrow got injured, he was number six in the quarterback power rankings.
No.15 | Matthew Stafford | Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles is a much better situation for Matthew Stafford. With the Detroit Lions, Stafford was a one-man crew for much of the 2020 season, playing with Kenny Golladay. He made great throws, lit up the stat sheet, but he was missing that “oh yeah, he was the #1 pick” flair that he has from time to time. This spot will not age well, but this is based on what it is now.
No.14 | Drew Brees | New Orleans Saints
No.13 | Tom Brady | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The accuracy problems are not as severe as Pro-Football-Reference says, but he’s likely not the most accurate QB like Pro Football Focus says. Brady just has a knack for putting the ball in the most catchable location (PFF calls this accurate + frame, it leads to better yards after catch opportunities and fewer receiver adjustments). Brady can still sling it, and he should be back to stuffing the scoreboard in 2021.
No.12 | Ryan Tannehill | Tennessee Titans
Are some of Ryan Tannehill‘s success tied to the running game? Absolutely. However, Tannehill still has to make the throws, be accurate, and be mobile when needed. He has game-changing abilities in his own right, but many people just say “oh, Derrick Henry.” Tannehill is a great athlete at quarterback, and he has the arm talent to make most of the throws you could ask a quarterback to make. Sure, a lot of the throws he makes in the Tennessee Titans system are schemed, or to a superstar like A.J. Brown, but Tannehill is metronomic in his abilities to hit those throws.
No.11 | Justin Herbert | Los Angeles Chargers
Don’t be alarmed, Justin Herbert is a top-10 quarterback, but the next two quarterbacks had tremendous seasons and deserve more respect than they are given. Herbert has a rocket launcher attached to his right shoulder, and he will be a star moving forward. There are a few kinks to iron out, but he is a stud and a half. Draft him in your fantasy leagues!
No.10 | Derek Carr | Las Vegas Raiders
If the Las Vegas Raiders did not have a joke of a defense, Derek Carr would probably be showing off in the playoffs. Carr is mobile, accurate, and consistent. His deep shots, while calculated and schemed, are deadly. Occasionally, Carr breaks out of the system quarterback mold that he’s been pigeonholed into, and when he does that, Carr is as good as any quarterback not in the elite tier of the quarterback power rankings. Say what you will about Carr, but weekly, there are few better.
No.9 | Kirk Cousins | Minnesota Vikings
Yes, he has Adam Thielen. Yes, he has Justin Jefferson. Yes, he has Dalvin Cook. Yes, he plays in a quarterback-friendly offense. Why are these knocks? Every team tries to help the quarterback out in some way. Almost every quarterback in the NFL has played with a former or current Pro Bowl pass-catcher or with a “quarterback whisperer” as the head coach or offensive coordinator. Kirk Cousins is no different, but he produces every game and every year.
Cousins’ hiccups happen to come in big moments so people call him overrated or trash, but watch the non-Prime-Time games. Cousins may be horrendous on Monday Night Football, but that comes once a year. If we only judge quarterbacks on their worst game, then sure, Cousins should be lower. However, that is an illogical process.
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