Welcome to the third edition of these offseason quarterback power rankings. The first edition of the quarterback power rankings features Nos. 32-19. The second edition of the quarterback power rankings features Nos. 18-9. Now, with the third installment of my quarterback power rankings, we take a look at the top eight quarterbacks in the league.
2021 Quarterback Power Rankings: The Best of the Best
No.8 | Dak Prescott | Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott was a slam dunk top-five QB when he got injured. He was balling, but the Dallas Cowboys weren’t winning much. Some of the stats are from garbage time, and it was unlikely that Prescott would shatter the passing yards record, but he was slinging it. The issue arises when you consider that he hasn’t played since October. The rest of the quarterbacks in this tier played like superstars down the stretch. Prescott is great, but he needs to get back on the field before he returns to his place in the top five.
No.7 | Baker Mayfield | Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield makes the moment afraid of him. He was pin-point when he needed to be. He played well against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, and outside of having minimal wide receiver talent against the New York Jets, Mayfield played with his head on fire after a stretch of bad weather games.
He lit up a talented Baltimore defense. He played well enough to beat Pittsburgh (one full-strength, one half-strength) twice in two weeks. Mayfield is a gamer, and he will have some weeks in 2021 that he is an unquestioned top-five quarterback.
No.6 | Lamar Jackson | Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson‘s down season had 33 total touchdowns and a 99 passer rating. His down season saw him rank in the top 10 in terms of big-time throw percentage and positive-play percentage. Jackson has plenty of flaws, but when the Baltimore Ravens needed him, he showed up in a big way. After the worst month in franchise history, “MVP Lamar” returned and pushed the Ravens to a dominant five-game, five-win stretch to close the season. Baltimore powered to 186 points in their last five games of the regular season, only bettered by three teams in NFL history. Jackson was the primary catalyst for this dominance.
No.5 | Josh Allen | Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen had a dominant season. The Buffalo Bills produced the second-most points in NFL history over their last five regular-season games. Allen added 20 points to his passer rating and over 30 points to his QBR. He tallied 46 total touchdowns, helping the Bills to 13 wins and their first AFC East crown since 1995. There was the occasional hiccup, but he was electric when he needed to be. He is not quite elite, but he is very close.
No.4 | Russell Wilson | Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson‘s 2020 season was bizarre. After being on a record-setting pace for two months, he tailed off. He had 40 passing touchdowns and an incredible 105 passer rating, but the first half (117.1) to second-half (91.3) chasm is glaring. He may be angling away from the Seattle Seahawks, but he should be one of the best quarterbacks in football regardless of the team he suits up for in 2021.
No.3 | Deshaun Watson | Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson played 16 games in 2020, and he was good in every single one. He may not have been great against Kansas City or Cleveland Browns, but he was competent. With an average team around him, Watson and the Texans probably win 11 games. Watson and Wilson are similar in many ways, but this year showed that Watson can put it all together when it needs to be.
No.1 | Patrick Mahomes |Kansas City Chiefs and Aaron Rodgers | Green Bay Packers
Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers get grouped together here in the quarterback power rankings. For many, Mahomes is the most talented quarterback in NFL history. On a similar idea, Rodgers might be the best quarterback ever (not greatest, there is a subtle difference). Mahomes and Rodgers are on a tier that we’ve never really had in the NFL.
There’s generally one “peak of his powers” quarterback in a season. It was Peyton Manning for a long time. Tom Brady has been in this tier a few seasons, and Rodgers was up there in 2011. Other examples include Dan Marino in 1984, Steve Young in the early 1990s, and Brett Favre in the late 1990s. Mahomes and Rodgers are very close in what they do. Not only do they have these incredibly potent stretches, but they also avoid the bad games like the plague. Rodgers is the most turnover-averse quarterback ever, and Mahomes is not too far off.
Rodgers is essentially a flawless quarterback. His flaws are so microscopic that they don’t matter at the end of the day. Mahomes has one flaw that isn’t so small. Mahomes has fewer total flaws, but he has a propensity for high-risk, high-reward plays. Rodgers plays quarterback without much genuine risk-taking, and he is still devastating.
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