A lot could — and probably will — change in the NFL between now and the second week of September, when Week 1 on the schedule kicks off.

But right now, there are some large and small favorites to win starting quarterback jobs on all 32 NFL rosters. Here’s how we rank them.


1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: The reigning MVP should only get better with more support as he enters his prime.

2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: The man was lights-out down the stretch in 2015 and finished with the league’s highest qualified passer rating. He should pick up where he left off with a huge fifth NFL season.

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Even at 38, Brady is the game’s best pocket passer. He’s coming off a ridiculous season in which he threw 37 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions.

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Rodgers caught some tough breaks in 2015, but when the 2014 MVP is healthy and well supported, he’s as good as any of the three guys ahead of him on this list.

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: The 37-year-old might have lost a fraction of a step, but he put up All-Pro-caliber numbers during the final month of the 2015 campaign. In the right environment, he could make another offensive player of the year run before he’s done.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

6. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: He put up career numbers as a 36-year-old in 2015. In fact, he was an MVP contender for much of the year. Palmer should have a little more gas left in the tank than Brady or Brees, so I’d expect big things if he can stay healthy in 2016.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Injuries to both Roethlisberger and his teammates sort of spoiled his 2015 campaign, but he still completed 68 percent of his passes and led the NFL with 17 40-yard completions (despite missing a quarter of the season).

8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Easy to forget that only a year ago, Romo was the league’s highest-rated passer. His 2015 season was spoiled by another collarbone injury, but when the man is healthy he is consistently one of the most productive quarterbacks in the game. And it’s been that way for nearly a decade.

9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: I know we all like to rag on Dalton, but the man was the league’s second highest-rated passer in 2015. He had 25 touchdowns and only seven picks, and he’s only now entering his prime.

10. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: His 2015 numbers basically have to be disregarded. Luck was a mess, as were the Colts, and injuries played a huge role. Talent alone keeps him in the top 10, but he’ll have to return to 2014 form on paper in order to stay here.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys

11. Eli Manning, New York Giants: His numbers have never been good, but the 35-year-old has two Super Bowl MVPs and is coming off the best season of his career.

12. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: If you had told me in 2012 that three players from that year’s draft would rank in the top 12 on this list, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But I’d have assumed that we’d be looking at Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Robert Griffin III, rather than Luck, Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins. That’s football, man. This guy was unbelievable down the stretch last season and should only get better.

13. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: No matter what San Diego is doing, Rivers is consistently ranked among the top passers in football when it comes to most of the key rate-based stats. He’ll always make some silly mistakes, but the guy has been in the “elite” range for over a decade now.

14. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills: The former Baltimore backup earned a Pro Bowl node with a 99.4 passer rating and only six picks in 14 starts for the Bills, outplaying his former mentor, Joe Flacco.

15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: He’s got the arm and the clutch gene, and at the age of 28 he’s coming off what might have been the best season of his career. Still, he’s yet to lead this team anywhere.


16. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: He’s basically an older, slightly more mistake-prone version of Stafford.

17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Smith is the anti-Stafford/Cutler, which can be nice if you’re looking for consistency. But his lack of big-play ability will always make it hard for the Chiefs to go deep into the playoffs. The 32-year-old might have hit his ceiling.

18. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: The 2014 No. 3 overall pick threw 35 touchdown passes while seeing his rate-based numbers grow significantly in his second season. Oh, and he also had more 20-yard completions than anyone else in football. In that blooming offense, the 24-year-old could become a top-10 quarterback in 2016.

19. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: The extremely accurate and reliable Bridgewater has yet to become a big-play guy, but his numbers keep growing and his third year will be big.

20. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans: The No. 2 overall pick started only 12 games as a rookie, but before going down for the season he was an offensive rookie of the year candidate with 19 touchdowns, 12 picks and a 91.5 passer rating, which was seven points higher than Winston’s.


21. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The top pick generated 28 passing and rushing touchdowns as a rookie, and he did put together some superb performances. But his rate-based stats (58.3 percent completions, 84.2 rating) weren’t good enough.

22. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: For four years running, the 2012 first-round pick has been the definition of average.

23. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles: The inconsistent, injury-prone former top pick is probably only a stopgap while Carson Wentz is groomed. A $17.5 million stopgap.

24. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Why do people still think Ryan is good? He’s posted a sub-94 passer rating in three straight seasons and has thrown 14-plus picks in each of the last four years. Rarely do you see 30-year-old quarterbacks with so much job security despite making so many baffling decisions.

25. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: I feel a little bad putting him this low, because I do have high hopes for the third-year Fresno State product. That said, it was disappointing to see his pick and sack totals rise in 2015, and guys like Bortles, Bridgewater, Winston and Mariota simply have more upside.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 3:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 3: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

26. Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans: I think the deeply flawed Osweiler is tremendously overrated (and overpaid). We’re talking about a fifth-year former second-round pick with seven career starts and a 86.0 passer rating.

27. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: Ever since he won a Super Bowl in 2012, Flacco has been the most overrated quarterback in football. Look at his abysmal numbers since 2013. Prime years, and yet an 82.0 passer rating. I don’t care that he has a strong arm, because he makes too many bad decisions and is stupidly inconsistent. Flacco will eventually retire a one-hit wonder.

28. Geno Smith, New York Jets: He hasn’t started since 2014 and was far from consistent in 2013 and 2014. Wouldn’t be surprised if veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick or rookie Christian Hackenberg stole this job.

29. Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns: He hasn’t started since 2014 and was far from consistent in 2013 and 2014. Wouldn’t be surprised if veteran Josh McCown or rookie Cody Kessler stole his job.

30. Mark Sanchez, Denver Broncos: Yes, the defending Super Bowl champions have the third-worst starting quarterback in the league. And the worst starter in the AFC. Sanchez obviously has some talent and can shine in small bursts, but he can’t realistically be relied on for more than a few games at a time.

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers

31. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: This is assuming that Kaepernick — whose numbers have plummeted in three straight seasons — beats out Blaine Gabbert. But that’s a lose-lose for poor San Francisco.

32. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: He’s the only rookie listed, and thus he has work to do. That said, with Todd Gurley and plenty of support on defense, the top pick could be in for a solid first season.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.