Over the next two weeks, NESN.com will break down the NFL’s positional groupings on both sides of the football, ranking teams in order of worst to first.
Today, we rank the best quarterback rooms in the NFL.
Of note, this is not an exact representation of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL. While the starting quarterback obviously is most important, teams were graded on the overall position, which includes back-ups. Names are in order of depth charts listed on ESPN or each individual organization’s website.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, Jake Luton, Joshua Dobbs)
Minshew had a respectable 2019 season for the Jags, tallying a 6-6 record in 12 starts. But Minshew himself is an average quarterback while Glennon hasn’t started a game in two years and is 6-16 as a starter.
31. Washington Redskins (Dwayne Haskins, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Steven Montez)
Following a rough rookie season in which he went 2-5 in seven starts, Haskins will be learning a new offense during a time when the offseason is limited. That ultimately could mean Allen steps in as the Week 1 starter, having already played for Redskins first-year coach Ron Rivera in Carolina. Either way, it’s not a great quarterback situation in Washington.
30. Denver Broncos (Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien, Riley Neal)
Entering his second season, Lock will benefit from the Broncos adding some weapons both in the draft and in free agency. And while he’s still young, the fact he won four starts last season shows it could be a coming-out party for Lock. Driskel, 27, is 1-7 as a starter, though.
29. Los Angeles Chargers (Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert, Easton Stick)
Herbert is another 2020 first-round pick who could quickly take over the reins from Taylor. Taylor, however, has had some NFL success (including a 23-21 record as a starter), the majority of which came from 2015 to 2017 with the Buffalo Bills. On the other hand, while Herbert could prove a good player in the long run, it likely won’t be a quick process.
28. New England Patriots (Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke, J’Mar Smith)
The first year in two decades without Tom Brady under center certainly will be interesting for the Patriots. Stidham is expected to be the Week 1 starter, but with uncertainty this preseason, New England could go with the veteran. Hoyer is a good backup, especially in the Patriots system he knows so well.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow, Ryan Finley, Jake Dolegala)
Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, certainly will have some high expectations with a Bengals team that is dying for success. He’s another young quarterbacks that offers hope, however the 25-year-old Finley is without much NFL experience himself.
26. New York Giants (Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush, Alex Tanney)
Eli Manning is officially retired and Jones will enter his second NFL season with high expectations. It’ll be interesting to see how Jones works with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, and first-year head coach Joe Judge, formerly of the New England Patriots. While McCoy has been around the block, his 7-21 record as a starter shouldn’t carry a whole lot of optimism.
25. New York Jets (Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, David Fales, James Morgan)
It’ll be interesting to see if Darnold begins the 2020 season “seeing ghosts” of if he’ll be able to put together a breakout year during his third NFL campaign. Meanwhile, Flacco, a longtime NFL starter serving as Darnold’s backup, might be exactly what the former No. 3 overall pick needs.
24. Buffalo Bills (Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Jake Fromm, Davis Webb)
While some are putting money down on Allen to win NFL MVP, we’re not going to go that far. The physically gifted Allen, however, could prove to be the best among a so-so batch of AFC East quarterbacks. The 29-year-old Barkley, meanwhile, has just seven career starts.
23. Chicago Bears (Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Tyler Bray)
Trubisky could be unseated for the starting spot with the Bears’ acquisition of Foles. Foles not only is a capable starter. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl just a few years ago. It’ll be interesting to see who earns the starting job, but that also might mean there’s not a major drop-off between one and the other.
22. Carolina Panthers (Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Will Grier)
Bridgewater was among the best backup QBs in the NFL last season. He helped the Saints go 4-0 with starter Drew Brees out. But now, he’s the No. 1 for the first time since his Pro Bowl season in 2015. The Panthers also will be with a new head coach, Matt Rhule, and without Cam Newton for the first time in nearly a decade. P.J. Walker, an XFL standout last season, backing up Bridgewater will be a storyline to watch.
21. Tennesse Titans (Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside, Cole McDonald)
Tannehill had an incredibly productive second half of the 2019 season after filling in for Marcus Mariota. But will he continue that success? It’s certainly a possibility, and his massive contract extension with Tennessee shows the organization’s faith in him. The 25-year-old Woodside isn’t exactly a backup who will invoke confidence, however.
20. Los Angeles Rams (Jared Goff, John Wolford, Josh Love, Bryce Perkins)
Goff still will benefit from having Sean McVay in his earpiece, but he had just a so-so 2019, with fewer touchdowns and passing yards and a worse completion percentage than the year prior. There might not be a whole lot of depth behind Goff, either, as the 24-year-old Wolford is entering his first NFL season.
19. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniel, David Blough)
Stafford, who had his 2019 cut short due to a spinal fracture, is another QB in the second half of his career, but he still might have some decent years ahead. Daniel has plenty of NFL experience but just a 2-3 overall record as a starter upon joining his fifth team in 11 years.
18. Minnesota Vikings (Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Jake Browning, Nate Stanley)
Cousins is an above-average starter, even looking like a quarterback worthy of top-10 consideration during the Vikings’ 2019 season. Mannion, on the other hand, had one start last season in which he went 12-for-21 with 126 yards and two INTs.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch)
Big Ben is returning from elbow surgery, meaning his 2020 production is far from certain. But the Steelers actually made a run at a playoff spot last season with backups Rudolph (5-3 as a starter) and Hodges (3-3 as a starter) behind center. While a small sample size, all three clearly are capable of winning NFL games.
16. Las Vegas Raiders (Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman)
Could there be a legit competition for the No. 1 spot in Las Vegas? If Carr remains the starter, the Raiders acquiring Mariota this offseason gives them a quality backup who was starting games as recently as last year. Mariota is 29-32 as a starter while Carr is 39-55.
15. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Rosen, Jake Rudock)
How long will it take until Tagovailoa, the 2020 No. 5 overall pick, is starting for Miami? A strange preseason might lead to Fitzpatrick being the Week 1 starter, but Tagovailoa likely won’t be too far behind. One way or another, the 1-2 tandem of Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa — never mind former first-rounder Rosen — is something the Dolphins should be able to work with.
14. San Francisco 49ers (Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard, Broc Rutter)
Jimmy G put together a strong 2019 campaign (13-3) before a troubling Super Bowl performance. He should have no problem bouncing back for another strong season, especially with Kyle Shanahan holding the clipboard. The 25-year-old Mullens also has eight career starts despite just three years in the league.
13. Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum, Garrett Gilbert, Kevin Davidson)
Mayfield took a step back during the 2019 season despite the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., but we expect things to change in 2020. Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick, has both the talent and weapons on offense. Keenum is capable of NFL snaps, too, having 62 starts in 67 career games (27-35 overall).
12. Arizona Cardinals (Kyler Murray, Brett Hundley, Drew Anderson, Chris Streveler)
Admittedly, Murray’s potential quickly could make our ranking look far too low. The 2019 No. 1 pick put together an impressive rookie campaign despite the team’s overall record. Now, he has All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to throw to, as well. The backup, Hundley, had nine starts for the Green Bay Packers in 2017.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts, Kyle Lauletta)
The Eagles made a splash in the NFL draft by grabbing Hurts in the second round. Ultimately, the Oklahoma product could push Sudfeld for the backup spot, all while Wentz is a top-15 starter when healthy. The 26-year-old Sudfeld never has started an NFL game.
10. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Kurt Beckert, Danny Etling)
Ryan only has missed three regular-season starts in his entire career. And while the Falcons largely have been ripped for their underachieving years with Ryan leading the charge, it’s still an offense that can produce. Schaub, of course, is among the most experienced backups in the NFL, with 93 career starts and a .500-plus win percentage.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin, Reid Sinnett)
The Bucs made the biggest splash this offseason with the signing of Brady, ending the 42-year-old’s 20-year run with the Patriots. Brady will benefit from a better group of skill-position players despite learning a new offense for the first time in two decades. Gabbert, who has 48 career starts (13-35 as a starter), would be able to manage one or two games if needed, too.
8. Houston Texans (Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron, Alex McGough, Nick Tiano)
Watson is arguably a more complete quarterback than Lamar Jackson, and perhaps only behind Patrick Mahomes with regards to young QBs. The 24-year-old is 24-13 as a starter in his first three years for Houston. AJ McCarron, on the other hand, isn’t exactly an experienced backup, recording just four career starts (2-2) in six NFL seasons.
7. Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Anthony Gordon)
Wilson is arguably the most complete quarterback in the NFL and could be a legit MVP candidate if he stays healthy. Smith (12-19 as a starter) certainly is capable of filling the void for a short stretch, too.
6. Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Tim Boyle, Jalen Morton)
You have a chance to win every game with the incredibly talented Rodgers behind center. The Packers are hoping Love, their 2020 first-round pick, won’t have to play many snaps this year, but their optimism about him speaks volumes.
5. Indianapolis Colts (Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Jacob Eason, Chad Kelly)
Could Rivers lead the Colts in Frank Reich’s offense? Weapons haven’t been the issue for Rivers, as the Chargers were stacked in that department, but a change of scenery could help the 38-year-old. It also doesn’t hurt that Brissett has quality experience (12-20 as a starter).
4. Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley)
During a breakout season, Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, showed his mobility was lethal as teams had trouble keeping him contained for the high-powered Ravens offense. RGIII is far removed from his days as a starter, but is he capable of winning a few games with the talent the Ravens have on both sides of the football? Sure.
3. Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, Clayton Thorson)
The Cowboys have arguably both a top-10 quarterback in Prescott and an elite backup in Dalton. The free agent acquisition of Dalton, who’s owed a base salary of $3 million, gives the Cowboys insurance and someone you’d feel comfortable with having to fill a four- or six-game stretch.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Jordan Ta’amu, Shea Patterson)
It’s hard to place any quarterback room above the one led by Mahomes, and only the New Orleans Saints were deserving. Mahomes is arguably the best young talent in the league. He’s already proven he can win, and win at a high level — like, say, the Super Bowl. Henne (53 career starts), while not the best backup talent-wise, is capable of stepping in for a smaller stretch with his experience.
1. New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Tommy Stevens)
New Orleans has three legitimate quarterbacks who are capable of winning NFL games. With Brees the obvious starter, the free agent signing of Winston and the return of Hill make for an incredibly deep QB room. Winston is among the NFL’s best No. 2 options, while Hill is far and away the best No. 3 in the league. The Saints don’t have to look far back to see how much depth matters, as they went 4-0 with a backup in 2019.