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Just In: Patrick Mahomes in Utter Shock for not ranking in the NFL’s Top 12 QBs After the 2024 NFL Draft.



Just In: Patrick Mahomes in Utter Shock for not ranking in the NFL's Top 12 QBs After the 2024 NFL Draft.

Patrick Mahomes is not only a two-time NFL MVP, but he’s now a three-time Super Bowl MVP at the age of 28.

Even if he wasn’t the NFL’s best quarterback during the 2023 regular season, he’s without a doubt the best overall following another successful playoff run despite decreasing support from an offense that has bled talent in recent years.

But little does he knows what is waiting for him.

Caleb Williams and the other five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft haven’t earned the right to be considered upper-echelon NFL signal-callers just yet.

But with the draft complete, this feels like an appropriate time to step back and gauge the elite at the most critical position in American team sports.

Using the old eyeball test along with a wide array of common, rate-based and advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference and Stathead, here’s how we view the NFL’s top 12 quarterbacks as the next phase of the 2024 offseason gets underway.

Aside from a top-five QBR and a low interception rate, Justin Herbert had a relatively disappointing 2023 season. Still, the 26-year-old has plenty of talent and began his NFL career with three straight 4,000-yard campaigns.

If we were to isolate 2023 here, cases could easily be made to slot Baker Mayfield or Jordan Love ahead of Herbert. However, those two don’t have impressive track records before this past season. We’re giving some benefit of the doubt to a tremendous quarterback who also faced injury obstacles last year.

To remain within range of the top 10 on lists like these, he’ll need to get it together under new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Co. in 2024.

Matthew Stafford likely would have peaked on this list when he threw 41 touchdown passes and posted a 102.9 passer rating while leading the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl title in 2021. He hasn’t been consistently healthy or overly effective since, and momentum might not be on his side heading into his age-36 season.

Still, Stafford ranked in the top eight leaguewide in both yards per attempt and QBR in 2023. His third-down passer rating ranked second to only Dak Prescott among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts under such circumstances.

Slowly declining play keeps Stafford out of the top 10 here, but the longtime starter in Detroit and L.A. undoubtedly remains an above-average NFL quarterback.

Since the start of 2022, Tua Tagovailoa is the AFC’s highest-rated passer. That has to count for something, as does the fact he has consistently ranked near the top of the league in rate-based and advanced metrics.

The 2020 No. 5 overall pick also led the league in passing yardage last season. He has produced some stellar moments and numbers within a highly supportive offense.

One major issue? Tua has been the opposite of clutch. The Dolphins were only 1-5 against playoff teams in 2023, and the offense was significantly less productive than usual in those games. Tagovailoa was also startlingly ineffective in a first-round playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Until that trend changes, he can’t be considered a top-five NFL quarterback.

Thanks to calf and wrist injuries, Joe Burrow had somewhat of a lost 2023 season. However, he still did enough in his first three years to secure a spot in the top 10 entering his age-28 campaign in Cincinnati.

The 2020 No. 1 overall pick was unquestionably a star in 2021 and 2022, putting up triple-digit passer ratings in both campaigns. He also took the Bengals to the Super Bowl in 2021 and to the AFC Championship Game in 2022.

In that incredible 2021 campaign, Burrow led the league in yards per attempt and on-target rate and led the AFC in passer rating, completed air yards per pass attempt and touchdown rate. He proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder the following year. If Burrow stays healthy in 2024, he could once again assert himself as a top-five quarterback.

Jared Goff was never consistent enough to be viewed as an elite quarterback during his five-year tenure with the Los Angeles Rams, but his last two seasons with the Detroit Lions have been his best yet.

Now, still on the south side of 30, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick is clearly a top-10 signal-caller.

Since the start of 2022, Goff ranks:

Fourth in passer rating in the fourth quarter or overtime of one-score games, among those with at least 100 passes under those circumstances
Ninth in passer rating on deep attempts, among those with 100 such throws
Eighth in third-down passer rating, with the same attempt threshold Sixth in overall passer rating
Nobody in the NFC has thrown more touchdown passes than Goff’s 59 in that time frame, either.

He’s put it all together for a highly competitive Lions team.

Too soon? Not in this exceptional case.

C.J. Stroud was that good during his historic rookie season in Houston.

The No. 2 overall pick shockingly led the Texans to the playoffs after they went 3-13-1 the year prior to his arrival. He was the league’s sixth-highest-rated qualified passer, but he did it with style points and a lot of that stuff that can’t be quantified. You had to see it to get a full grasp of how dominant he was.

Still, Stroud threw interceptions on a league-low 1.0 percent of his 499 pass attempts while completing a conference-best 4.7 air yards per completed pass attempt. He had a triple-digit passer rating in the fourth quarter or overtime of one-score games, and he had an AFC-best 123.4 passer rating on deep passes as Houston won the AFC South.

Not bad for a 22-year-old. You’re allowed to have your doubts about C.J. Stroud or Brock Purdy because they’re so young, but both have made overwhelming cases that they belong this high.

Purdy’s is statistical, but devastatingly so.

The final pick of the 2022 NFL draft is the highest-rated passer in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts, and it isn’t even close. Aaron Rodgers (103.6) trails Purdy (111.4) by a gap of nearly eight points.

The 24-year-old led the league in practically every rate-based category in 2023, which makes it hard to chalk up his success to a tremendous supporting cast and a great offensive-minded head coach.

Is he locked in as a top-six quarterback moving forward? Of course not. Purdy struggled a bit during the playoffs last year, and a fall from grace in 2024 would likely result in a considerable tumble in exercises like this one.

But a guy with his minimal experience and glaring success deserves the benefit of the doubt after proving that his standout rookie campaign wasn’t a fluke last season with the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

Jalen Hurts was rarely at his best in 2023, but he earned a lot of points during a breakout 2022 season in which he led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl.

If the NFL handed out conference MVP awards, Hurts surely would have earned that honor in the NFC that year. He ranked in the top five in most key passing categories while also rushing for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Hurts has now rushed for 38 scores in his three seasons as a full-time NFL starter. Only three quarterbacks in the modern era have scored more rushing touchdown in their entire careers. That has to count for something.

Hurts is a scoring machine with unmistakable game-changing ability, even if a knee injury and a crumbling team morale conspired against him in 2023.

Don’t be surprised if he puts it all back together in 2024.

Dak Prescott’s playoff failures are worth taking into account here, especially because he hasn’t lacked support in Dallas. He’s now thrown two interceptions in consecutive postseason losses.

There’s a reason why his future with the Cowboys is very much up in the air beyond 2024. Still, he’d have a shot at the top three in these rankings if not for his postseason meltdowns.

The 30-year-old is the reigning MVP runner-up following a regular season in which he threw a league-high 36 touchdown passes to only nine interceptions and posted a passer rating and QBR that ranked second to only Brock Purdy.

His 111.7 passer rating in the fourth quarter or overtime of one-score games ranked No. 1 among qualified passers, as did his 125.6 rating on deep balls, his 113.0 third-down rating, his 82.6 on-target rate and his 11.7 bad-throw percentage.

That’s unreal, and it shouldn’t be forgotten just because Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson managed to make a bigger impact or because Prescott and the Cowboys again fell short in January.

The Bills have been extremely competitive over the past four seasons primarily thanks to Josh Allen. The 27-year-old hasn’t put Buffalo over the top yet, but he’s thrown at least 29 touchdown passes while also ranking in the top six in QBR in each of those campaigns.

Allen has yet to win an MVP, but he’s been a prime candidate at various points in at least three of the past four seasons. The Approximate Value metric at Pro Football Reference registers him as the most valuable player in the NFL since the start of 2021.

Allen’s rushing prowess is a big factor there. He scored a career-high 15 touchdowns on the ground in 2023, and he already has more than 3,600 career rushing yards under his belt.

Turnovers are the one thing holding Allen down a tad here. The 2018 first-round pick has thrown 47 interceptions across the last three seasons.

The only suspense left here is who goes first and who goes second. Some might want to put Lamar Jackson at No. 1 since he’s fresh off his second MVP campaign.

The Baltimore Ravens’ two-time first-team All-Pro lit up the league on a near-weekly basis this past season. He also rushed for more than 750 yards for a fifth consecutive year while guiding the Ravens to the NFL’s best record.

With that said, the 27-year-old suffered season-ending injuries in both 2021 and 2022, and he wasn’t consistently crisp between the end of his 2019 MVP campaign and this recent one.

Plus, when it mattered most in 2023, Jackson committed a pair of turnovers as the Ravens scored 10 points in a playoff loss to the team quarterbacked by the only player ranked higher than him here.

Patrick Mahomes is not only a two-time NFL MVP, but he’s now a three-time Super Bowl MVP at the age of 28.

Even if he wasn’t the NFL’s best quarterback during the 2023 regular season, he’s without a doubt the best overall following another successful playoff run despite decreasing support from an offense that has bled talent in recent years.

Combine his stats—Mahomes is ranked near the top all time in most rate-based metrics—his accolades and the magic we see from him every year, and it’s hard to make a case for Mahomes to land anywhere but the top of this list.

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