With the first rounds of OTA’s underway here are the top five throwers in the league.
It’s the end of May, which means that Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) have begun. We are about two months to the second week of training camp and the beginning of the 2021 Preseason. Now with that being said, there are plenty of questions to answer until that point. I’m here to answer who are the top five quarterbacks as we move towards training camp.
It’s a difficult question to answer, but here are some criteria I have set for this list:
2020 season statistics – Who stayed on these offenses? Who was added via draft or free agency? Change in position coach or offensive coordinator? Eye test. What do they have to prove?
These seem simple enough to follow, but it’s hard to nail down just five quarterbacks for the 2021 season so here are some honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: DeShaun Watson
Will he play this season?
Honrable Mention: Lamar Jackson
Lamar probably has the most to prove out of any quarterback this upcoming season. He came off of a very mediocre season in Baltimore and should be hungry to get back to being a dominant force in the AFC North. Lamar has his work cut out for him as the Steelers and Browns have come back with the same and/or better rosters this upcoming season. The Ravens traded Orlando Brown to the Chiefs and had health concerns across the offensive line all of last season.
They also kept Greg Roman as offensive coordinator which is a murky decision, he has helped the Ravens develop their running identity but has failed to wow anyone in the passing game. The real silver lining here is the Ravens finally got Lamar some big weapons for the Red Zone. They signed Sammy Watkins and drafted Rashod Batemen, both are very physical wide receivers and should help Lamar become a more consistent passer.
This will be a tough year for the Ravens to come out on top of the AFC North, but if Lamar can be the player we all think he is, they should be back in contention.
Honorable Mention: Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford was finally traded to a contending football team! After spending his entire career in the basement-dwelling Detroit Lions, he finally was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams who are ready to make some noise heading into the 2021 season. He has a lot to prove, can he handle the pressure of being on a contending team who looks at you as the missing piece?
The Rams are stacked on offense, they have a good run game and a really solid wide receiver corps, all Stafford has to do is stay healthy and they should be a playoff team at the minimum. Stafford is a huge upgrade from what Jared Goff could produce for the Rams, he has all of the arm talent, brains, and competitiveness to get involved and hopefully get the Rams back to another Super Bowl.
Honorable Mention: Kyler Murray
It’s hard to not put Kyler Murray on the top five based solely on the amount of good weapons the Cardinals put in front of him. DeAndre Hopkins alone should have me putting him in the top five, but I think there are five better quarterbacks.
Kyler has a lot to prove, he needs to be healthy the entire season for Arizona, he needs to be better with some of his decision-making, and he needs to not take so many big hits. Kliff Kingsbury is another reason I didn’t put him on my list, I don’t know if his offensive play calling is going to actually work when it comes down to it.
They also play in a LOADED division where he has to play two really good defenses in the Rams and 49ers twice. If they do make the playoffs and he has a monster year, he should be in the MVP conversation and will take his spot on this list.
5. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson always is in the conversation for the top five quarterbacks and has proven he has belonged by putting up monster statistics year in and year out. But never receiving a single most valuable player award is a problem for him. It’s what could motivate him to have another great season in an extremely tough division. Since the 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals all are improved and/or healthy, the Seahawks are not favored to win the division. It should be interesting to see what Russell Wilson can do to shatter expectations and get Seattle back to the top of the division.
Their offensive line is a huge question mark which is the offensive line, they had a poor offensive line and they play in a division full of good defensive lines. The Seahawks did keep Chris Carson, re-signed Tyler Lockett, and drafted a wide receiver in the second round. They did lose Greg Olsen to retirement and have a hole at tight end.
The biggest reason Russell Wilson is on the list is because he is a future Hall of Famer and is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the league. He has been carrying the Seahawks for the past three seasons since a majority of the Legion of Boom players have left. It should be entertaining to see Russell Wilson throw deep to DK Metcalf all of the 2021 season.
4. Tom Brady
The GOAT was going to be somewhere in the top five no matter what, he’s the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. He’s coming off of a 7th Super Bowl Championship and the Buccaneers look poised to try to get back on top. Brady has always been consistent, even as he’s aged he hasn’t shown a lot of wear and tear like most older quarterbacks. He was the missing piece to a very talented team to take them back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.
The Buccaneers didn’t lose anyone, they actually were able to keep all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team for the first time in the free agency era. They added Kyle Trask to be the Tom Brady replacement, they drafted Robert Hainsey, a Tackle from Notre Dame, and drafted Jaelon Darden, a wide receiver from North Texas. They kept all of the play callers and offensive staff from 2020 and didn’t do a lot of reshuffling in the front office either.
Tom Brady’s Bucs will be favored to repeat as Champions as usual, but Tom Brady may show some age this upcoming season as they might lean into a more run-heavy scheme with Fournette and Ronald Jones behind Brady. But Brady has proven time and time again that age is just a number for the GOAT.
3. Josh Allen
Josh Allen finally broke out of the “potential is there” mold in 2020, he was second in MVP voting right behind Aaron Rodgers and the Bills look primed to be an upper-tier contender in the AFC. Josh Allen made the leap last year with his new running mate in Stefon Diggs, taking the Bills all the way to the AFC Championship game. Josh Allen and the Bills will have a tougher division this year with the emergence of the Dolphins, revamped Patriots, and the Jets with their new coach and quarterback.
It won’t be a cakewalk but Josh Allen should lead the Bills to get back to another deep playoff run. Also, Allen may be on a mission to prove the Bills are to be feared in the AFC by trying to get them back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season.
The Bills didn’t stay complacent in the offseason, they went out and got Emmanuel Sanders and Matt Breida to help their quarterback become more complete. They needed to become more balanced on offense so defenses could respect Josh Allen’s passing ability. Even though Allen can run with the best of the quarterbacks (outside of Lamar Jackson) they needed to make sure they fixed the run game so he could be more dangerous. Emmanuel Sanders adds another slippery target next to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasly, which should make the Bills a bigger threat.
Josh Allen has some things to prove this upcoming season, can he still be elite with a lot of pressure, and can he deliver on championship aspirations? Allen has a lot to prove and should be in the top 3 of MVP voting again unless he sees a steep drop-off in production. The Bills should be in the top 2 in the AFC yet again and that could be something that could get him some votes for MVP and it could help him become an elite quarterback.
2. Aaron Rodgers
This is kind of like DeShaun.
Will he play in 2021?
If he does, one of the most talented quarterbacks in the history of the NFL will be playing for the winningest franchise in the history of the NFL. Aaron Rodgers has won the MVP for the third time in the 2020 season and should have been going against Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV except their great young coach chose to kick the field goal to bring the Packers within five points.
They did not make it to the Super Bowl by that choice and it seems like the choice was a straw that broke the camel’s back. He has openly trash-talked the Packers management and has not committed to returning to Green Bay.
But this article is about why he is a top-five quarterback and why he might not play. Aaron Rodgers just is the best or second-best quarterback in the NFL. If you don’t think so, he’ll happily drop 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns on your favorite team. Aaron Rodgers is a bad man and he knows it.
The depth of weapons at wideout is not what you would call ideal but they were extremely consistent with Aaron Rodgers. Davonte Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in the game and has loved to play with Rodgers. The Packers really only lost running back Jamaal Williams, who went to division rival Detriot. The Packers also added Amari Rodgers, a slick possession receiver from Clemson, to the receiving corps.
Rodgers may have a lot to prove if he’s traded, he will want to prove the Packers wrong. But it doesn’t seem like it will happen and he’ll be motivated to try for another crack at a championship with the current nucleus. But we will not know if Rodgers will play this season or ever again, there’s a chance he just retires and hosts Jeopardy. I’m going to keep him on this list until he either is traded to a much worse situation or retires from the NFL.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Were you expecting anyone else?
I don’t see a way Patrick Mahomes II is not considered the best quarterback in the league, even though many would say Aaron Rodgers. Mahomes is the golden child of the NFL, he is young, has a ring, and is breaking every NFL Statistic per start in NFL history. He’s a phenom in the most literal sense, he can make every throw, dissect a stout defense, and even use his legs to get yards. Patrick Mahomes is just the best quarterback in the league.
Mahomes is coming off of his second straight Super Bowl appearance, where he scrambled for about 500 yards to try to make plays against a very good Buccaneers defense. The Chiefs’ front office saw the problem and immediately started to get to work on fixing the offensive line.
They signed Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe to shore up the interior of the offensive line. They then traded to get Orlando Brown Jr from the Baltimore Ravens to move right in at the left tackle. They also drafted center Creed Humphrey and guard Trey Smith. The Chiefs made sure to make the franchise quarterback comfortable in the pocket.
The Chiefs did lose Sammy Watkins in free agency to the Baltimore Ravens and they do have a hole at the number two receiver role. But the Chiefs plan to have a very competitive training camp to decide who the number two will be in the offense with Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, and rookie Cornell Powell all looking to fit right next to Tyreek Hill in the offense.
They still have the best one-two punch of weapons in the league with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and they have a great back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire running the ball behind a new shiny offensive line.
Patrick Mahomes has had a synergy with Eric Bieniemy and will continue another season in Kansas City. I still don’t fully understand why Eric Bieniemy doesn’t have a head coaching job (with him coaching the best offense of the past four years) and it doesn’t make much sense that the league would want an angry Bieniemy and Patrick Mahomes in the league. Mahomes is going on a revenge tour this upcoming season, he’s going to tear up the league because he wants to.
Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback because he wants to destroy every team on the schedule and should be trying to go back to a third straight Super Bowl appearance and possibly another Super Bowl victory.