Aside from the immortal and everlasting Tom Brady, the 2019 NFL season's primary concentration and attention grabber is the young quarterback revolution taking place right in front of our hopeful eyes.
The rest of the league finally has something to look forward to if they don't have a Brady, Rodgers, Brees, or Wilson as their signal-caller. As the Ben Roethlisbergers and Eli Mannings of the world descend into injury limbo and deserved backup roles, the modern generation of young gunners are taking advantage of their first time in the brightest of spotlights.
The qualifications of making this list are: you have to be a quarterback, you have to have started in the most recent week's game for your team, and you have to be either under or exactly at 27 years old. Some of the players on this list will turn 28 years old during one point in the season, and once they do they'll officially have aged past the threshold of my precious quarterback rankings.
Each of the categories is necessary because all of them tell you something about how their recent performances in football games would be received if they were to suddenly walk into a bar amongst everyday people (football watchers, specifically).
Below is my ranking of the league's best young quarterbacks which will be updated semi-regularly throughout the rest of the NFL season.
The 27 Club
These are the guys who walk into the bar, and are almost shunned for their lack of achievement. Nobody likes these guys. And nobody wants to be these guys. That's why it's on these guys to get better at what they do, so that way they don't have to be these guys anymore. I'm looking at you, Baker Mayfield.
20. Devlin Hodges (23 years old)
2019 Season Stats (2 GP/1 GS): 200 YDS, 1 TD/1 INT, 91.2 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
If Devlin Hodges were to become an NFL success story, then it would be perhaps the least likely one to ever occur. He's an undrafted rookie from Samford, and was the third quarterback on the Pittsburgh depth chart at the beginning of the season.
The sample size with Hodges is just too minuscule at this point to tell whether or not he has the potential to be a contributing starting quarterback in the NFL. So that's why he's ranked last on my list as of right now, but will have more opportunities in the coming weeks to prove himself in Rudolph's absence.
There is a part of me that wants to see this guy succeed, so that way 1.) Mason Rudolph isn't rushed back after that brtual concussion he suffered, and 2.) I can see him scramble around an NFL field like he does in those Samford highlights from above. I mean, seriously, the guy went to fucking Samford! Can somebody please tell me which state Samford is located in? I'm genuinely curious.
19. Baker Mayfield (24 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,496 YDS, 5 TD/11 INT, 66.0 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -9
Baker Mayfield has been a very bad football player this year. It's really that simple. He leads the league in interceptions, and that would only be acceptable if he also led the league in passing touchdowns, but he doesn't. In fact, he only has FIVE touchdowns through six games, and eleven interceptions thus far. In case you aren't very adapt at quick math, that comes out as a 1:2 TD/INT ratio which is, you guessed it, the worst in the league among starting quarterbacks.
Mayfield doesn't have any excuses for his performance this season. He has all of the talent in the world around him (OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and soon to be Kareem Hunt), and he's been the face of more advertisements than reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes.
It's about time that the former Heisman gets his shit together, cause the city of Cleveland is on his shoulders.
18. Jared Goff (25 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,727 YDS, 7 TD/7 INT, 80.8 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
I'm going to attempt to put this as clearly as possible: I don't like watching Jared Goff play football. (I don't even feel the need to attach a highlight video here. Doesn't that say something? I feel like all good quarterbacks produce a natural instinct of making me want to watch their highlights.)
Goff looks like a toddler who was playing receiver at the start of the game and was asked to sub in at quarterback once the starter twisted his ankle on a QB sneak. He just looks lost out there, and that's so fascinating to me considering he literally led this Rams team to a Super Bowl eight months ago. I don't know if it's Goff's fault, Sean McVay's fault, the offensive line's fault, or all of the above, but I do know that it's about goddamn time for some reasonable panic in Los Angeles. If there are any fans there to panic in the first place.
These are the guys who you just expect more out of when you approach them at a bar. They're not going to blow you away by any means whatsoever, and you might even leave your conversation with them with a blandly sour taste in your mouth. Like chewing on a watermelon rind without ever tasting the actual watermelon itself.
17. Mitchell Trubisky (25 years old)
2019 Season Stats (4 GP/4 GS): 588 YDS, 3 TD/2 INT, 81.0 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +3
The only reason Mitchell Trubisky has moved up on my list in his absence is because the people that were once above him have played so horrendously that they forced my hand to put Trubisky in front of them.
Although I'm a Bears fan, and perhaps because I'm a Bears fan, I grow awfully frustrated with Mitch during most of his performances. But as a semi-optimist, I have hope for him because there have been moments in his young career where he has looked like the face of Chicago for the next decade. And ultimately, what he did in his first four games of the season were at least somewhat better and less devastating than what Goff and Mayfield have produced.
16. Daniel Jones (22 years old)
2019 Season Stats (5 GP/4 GS): 921 YDS, 5 TD/6 INT, 74.1 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -8
Okay, look, I fell victim to the Daniel Jones hype just as much as the next guy after he lit up the Tampa Bay defense in his professional debut as a starter, but the dude just hasn't produced like that since then. And I'm here to inform you that that's not entirely his fault, but is the fault of fate instead.
Jones's last two games have been against the Minnesota Vikings, a stout defense loaded with veteran talent, and the New England Patriots who are widely regarded as one of the two best defenses in the league, and perhaps of this decade as well. Danny Dimes's stock should start to rise upwards once again when he faces off against the Cardinals, Lions, and Cowboys in his next three starts.
15. Josh Allen (23 years old)
2019 Season Stats (5 GP/5 GS): 1,122 YDS, 5 TD/7 INT, 75.2 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
Josh Allen reminds me of a quicker, dumber Ben Roethlisberger. He doesn't quite have the instincts or ability to make big plays like a younger Big Ben did, but his size and arm strength suggest that those are attributes he can attain over the course of his career.
The big thing with Allen is that his Buffalo Bills are 4-1 so far this season, and will likely graduate to 5-1 after their matchup with the winless Dolphins this weekend. If you need a quarterback for your fantasy team, then this is the guy to go with for the time being. His versatility behind the line of scrimmage allows him to have moments where he can advance past it, and gain some serious yardage as a scrambler.
14. Marcus Mariota (26 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,179 YDS, 7 TD/2 INT, 91.7 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
I'd like to preface this by saying: What the fuck is Mike Vrabel doing? I get that he was an excellent outside linebacker for the Patriots for many years, and that he's a former Super Bowl winner who comes from the New England coaching tree, but who in their right mind would ever give Ryan Tannehill another chance? All it's going to do is be detrimental to Mariota's confidence in himself. I get that Mariota could hardly advance the ball past the 50-yard line in last week's loss to the Broncos, but c'mon, seriously? Ryan. Fucking. Tannehill?
Mariota turned the ball over for the first time all season this past weekend when he threw two interceptions in Denver, so now there is no longer any bolded quote-on-quote "perfect" starting quarterback in the league anymore. But that doesn't mean he should be benched by a guy who literally was playing wide receiver, and NOT quarterback, at Texas A&M before he made the switch from eh-to-mediocre. I know that once players are drafted we are supposed to look at them in a sort of detached way from their overall draft pick (aside from guys who go first overall, they'll forever remain attached to that selective club), but with that being said, Mariota is only several years removed from being the second overall draft pick.
13. Jameis Winston (25 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,771 YDS, 12 TD/10 INT, 84.9 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -2
Jameis has been doin' those classic Jameis things. He blows up one week, then blows up his team the next. He throws for several touchdowns and looks like Dante Culpepper reincarnated, and throws four interceptions the next. He's up and down all over the place, but he's down on my list because how couldn't he be after throwing FOUR (no wait, that's not right), FIVE interceptions against Carolina in London this past weekend?
The Not Bad, But Not Good Guy At The Bar
This guy is pretty self-explanatory. He's relatively interesting compared to some of the other losers at the bar, but you're not quite sure you want to make any sort of commitment to dealing with him for the night.
12. Teddy Bridgewater (27 years old)
2019 Season Stats (5 GP/4 GS): 1,089 YDS, 7 TD/2 INT, 98.4 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +1
Teddy Bridgewater is perhaps the most average quarterback I've ever seen in my entire life. He doesn't do anything extraordinarily right, and he doesn't do anything devastatingly wrong. He's just doing the things that one might expect the Saints to ask out of a guy like Teddy Bridgewater, and you know what? It's propelled him and his team to a 4-0 record since Drew Brees became absent.
So you keep doing you, Teddy, and maybe (I said maybe) there will be a legitimate quarterback battle in New Orelans at year's end.
11. Kyler Murray (22 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,664 YDS, 7 TD/4 INT, 87.6 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +1
When you type in "Jared Goff antonyms" on Google, "Kyler Murray highlights" are the first search result that appears. The dude is just fun to watch play behind center, because he rarely remains behind center. His feet are like low to the ground water sprinklers; you can kind of tell which direction they're going to spray in (cause they're cyclical, or whatever), but it's still fun to be around them because how often do you get to fuck around in some water sprinklers once you're past the age of 11.
If the Offensive Rookie of the Year race were to end today, then Kyler would surely have a strangle-hold on the award even though the Cardinals are in last place in their division. These things take time. He's a rookie QB with a rookie head coach, and they're building a strong foundation down there in Arizona with an offensive play style that is far more electrifying and unpredictable than the boring ass Goff-led Rams. (I bet you didn't think you'd read a statement like that at the beginning of the year, did you, delusional McVay fanatics?)
The Difference Makers
10. Gardner Minshew (23 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/5 GS): 1,442 YDS, 9 TD/2 INT, 97.5 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -3
I don't know why, but whenever I think of Gardner Minshew, I immediately have this weird existential crisis. And I like Gardner Minshew. I do. I'm just curious if this whole thing with him is really going to last. Is it a facade? Is it the truth? Is his mustache even real? Does he actually wear jean shorts or is that a fabricated detail of the persona he's trying to achieve?
9. Jimmy Garoppolo (27 years old)
2019 Season Stats (5 GP/5 GS): 1,163 YDS, 7 TD/5 INT, 95.2 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
Yeah, we get it, the 49ers are undefeated thus far this season. Good for them. But is that a result of how well Jimmy G is playing? I refuse to believe so. His numbers don't jump off the page and neither do his performances when I'm conducting an eye-test. I just happen to think that the Niners are so gifted almost everywhere else on the field (aside from the wide receiver position) that they're capable of winning games, and potentially even the division and conference, with Jimmy G playing at a level that is surely below the standards we set for him as Brady's backup all those years ago.
8. Sam Darnold (22 years old)
2019 Season Stats (2 GP/2 GS): 513 YDS, 3 TD/1 INT, 97.6 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +11
If the MVP award were actually awarded to the most "valuable" player, then it really looks like Sam Darnold would be in the race. I don't think his statistics would be up to par with the likes of Russell Wilson (my frontrunner), Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson, but his legitimate value within his franchise is at least near equivalent to each of those players.
After starting out the season as one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Jets are hoping to achieve some sort of continuity and consistency with their offense in order to burst themselves into playoff contention. It's no secret that Darnold and Le'Veon Bell will be at the forefront of their attack every week, but will be interesting to see is how the rest of their season unfolds with a quarterback who seems to have made some serious strides since his rookie year.
7. Kyle Allen (23 years old)
2019 Season Stats (4 GP/4 GS): 901 YDS, 7 TD/0 INT, 106.6 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +8
Kyle Allen is perhaps the most low-key, yet underwhelming according to the eye test baller in the NFL right now. All of the attention towards the Panthers is headed in Christian McCaffery's direction (and rightfully so), but the real engine behind this offense has been Kyle Allen's shockingly well put together performances.
Allen is 4-0 as the starter for Carolina, and has yet to throw an interception against some rather tragic defenses. The real taste tester will come this weekend when Carolina faces off with the dominant defense from San Francisco.
6. Dak Prescott (26 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,883 YDS, 11 TD/6 INT, 102.9 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -3
What did you expect? That I was going to keep Dak in my top three or top five after three abysmal losses in a row? You can't lose to a defeated Jets team and anticipate to be in my top five still, that's just now how this works, Dak (whom I'm positively sure is reading this lengthy article).
I anticipate Dak to continue struggling as the season moves forward considering the injuries to two of his most contributive teammates: Tyrone Smith and Amari Cooper. Is it too early to say that Dak's reached his peak this season? And was it ever really a peak if he did it against the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins?
Here are Dak's per game averages in the first three games of the season, and his most recent three games in comparison to one another:
Weeks 1-3: 306.7 YPG, 3 TD/0.7 INT, 128.0 QBR, 74.7% Completion
Weeks 4-6: 321 YPG, 0.7 TD/1.3 INT, 82.7 QBR, 65.8% Completion
It's safe to say that Dak has hit a pretty rough wall since he's had to face the Saints, Packers, and Jets defenses, but I believe the real issue has been the recent absence of the two players sidelined due to injury more so than the level of competition that Dallas has faced thus far.
5. Jacoby Brissett (27 years old)
2019 Season Stats (5 GP/5 GS): 1,062 YDS, 10 TD/3 INT, 94.9 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
Do you think that Bill Belichick (presuming he has the ability to feel human emotions) misses having Jacoby Brissett on his roster? Cause I think that Bill Belichick misses having Jacoby Brissett on his roster.
Think about it: Jacoby was the perfect Patriots quarterback to take over the dynasty after Tom Brady retires (presuming that he will eventually retire). The limelight was concentrated on Jimmy G being Tom's successor, and Brissett was lingering in the background all along without any of us knowing that he was a more talented player than Jimmy.
There are more aspects to it than just the fly-under-the-radar ability that Jacoby had: he throws short throws in an incredibly accurate fashion, he commands the offense like a general on a battlefield by improvising audibles and hot routes at the line, and he's always ready to bounce at the "next man up" opportunity when it comes his way (just ask Andrew Luck and Frank Reich).
The Bonafide Weapons
4. Lamar Jackson (22 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,507 YDS, 11 TD/5 INT, 96.7 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: N/A
I'm going to start doing something here that I said to myself I wouldn't do when I started this series, and that's the inclusion of rushing yards amongst particular quarterbacks. Lamar has forced my hand. He's too talented of a runner not to include his rushing stats, so here are some of his achievements in that area of the game thus far:
He's the only quarterback in the top ten of rushing yards leaders (9th place behind only Run-CMC, Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Chris Carson, 'Zeke, and Marlon Mack)
He's first in the league in rushing yards per attempt at 6.7 (Kyler Murray is 2nd with 6.1 and Matt Breida, running back for the Niners, is 3rd)
He had the best week for a runner in Week 6 with 19 rushes for 152 yards and a touchdown (Chris Carson came in 2nd place with 24 attempts for 122 yards and a touchdown)
That's it. That's all. Lamar Jackson is really good at running (arguably one of the best in the league), and is also well on his way to becoming a phenomenal thrower. He's the epitome of the term "dual threat."
3. Carson Wentz (27 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,458 YDS, 12 TD/3 INT, 94.3 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -1
I imagine that trying to tackle Carson Wentz is not a very fun task. He's big, burley, and has a righteous 6'5" frame that's compacted with a hefty 240 pounds. He's, in a sense, all of the state of South Dakota packed into one man. And he knows how to throw a football better than just about anybody else in the world.
The only issue facing Wentz this season (and throughout his career) is health, but this time around it's not his own health that's prevented him from achieving his maximum potential. It's the health of the fine Philadelphian gentlemen around him that's impacted his performances thus far. Now that Alshon Jeffrey is back in action, we're seeing Wentz slowly return to his true form of dominating with his cannon for an arm.
The Peak Performers
2. Patrick Mahomes (24 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 2,104 YDS, 14 TD/1 INT, 111.9 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: -1
Okay, don't overreact on me here. I had to do it. There's just something about rewarding a quarterback who only threw for 41 yards in the second half of a game that ended up being their second loss in a row that just doesn't sit well with me. Sure, Mahomes is still the most purely talented quarterback I've ever laid my eyes on aside from maybe Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, but I simply can't reward him with the number one spot on this list after he's lost two games in a row to the Colts and Texans.
Maybe the AFC South division just has his number, or maybe his ankle injury is really bothering his throwing motion, but if there's one thing that this league has taught us in its 100 year history: it's that there's no such thing as excuses. Mahomes will remain in the MVP conversation throughout the rest of the year, and will have plenty of chances (10 games, to be exact) to regain his spot as the number one quarterback on my list.
1. Deshaun Watson (24 years old)
2019 Season Stats (6 GP/6 GS): 1,644 YDS, 12 TD/3 INT, 107.9 QBR
Ranking Adjustment: +5
Deshaun Watson prevailed against the Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs in this past Sunday's marquee matchup of the week. He didn't win the game with his arm talent either, he proved that he could go into Arrowhead Stadium and come out victorious with his legs being the key contributing factor. And he did so in a game that came a week after the best performance by a quarterback all season long.
Rewind back to Week 5, and Deshaun Watson absolutely shredded the Atlanta Falcons defense on his way to a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, and five touchdown tosses. Although he wasn't perfect against KC one week later, he still came out victorious, and that's really all that matters in this league at the end of the day.