Quarterback Power Rankings at this point in the 2021 NFL offseason

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·9 min read
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What teams have problems at quarterback? What teams are set?

USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams count on the quarterback for leadership and swift decisions on each and every offensive play. Week after week. Simply put: The quarterback makes everything roll. How do the teams currently shape up at QB1 as they prepare for the 2021 season?

32. Houston Texans

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If -- and it is a massive if -- Deshaun Watson plays for the Texans in 2021, this ranking would roar toward the top. However, with all the tumult in the offseason, Jeff Driskel, Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor do not inspire confidence for a winning campaign.

31. Chicago Bears

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Andy Dalton and Nick Foles are not exactly the 1-2 punch that is going to put fear into the NFC North or any other opponent. And while the selection of Justin Fields in the draft was celebrated, Chicago fans have to pray he gets some time to grow into the NFL.

30. Denver Broncos

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No insult to Teddy Bridgewater. However, a battle with Drew Lock doesn't make anyone believe the Broncos are heading toward a playoff run. (This could all change dramatically in a couple of days if a certain NFC quarterback winds up in the AFC West.)

29. Washington Football Team

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Everyone loves Ryan Fitzpatrick—a charming story and a fun one. However, the fuse is almost out on his time in the NFL. Taylor Heinicke can be Mr. Excitement, but his NFL experience has been limited. Ron Rivera will have to be a magician with the offense to pull off another NFC East crown.

28. New York Jets

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Zach Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick. However, stepping into the fire pit that has been the New York Jets as a rookie guarantees plenty of sacks, mistakes, and tough lessons. Gang Green has to pray it doesn't do to the BYU star what it did to Sam Darnold.

27. Philadelphia Eagles

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The new regime is playing games with committing to Jalen Hurts as its No. 1 quarterback. Nick Sirianni is going to find you can lose friends in Philadelphia before you have a chance to make them. Settle on the former Alabama and Oklahoma star and don't play games with his head—that's a recipe for disaster.

26. Miami Dolphins

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Has a young quarterback been criticized earlier and more frequently than Tua Tagovailoa? (Didn't think so.) Jacoby Brissett had better keep his arm warm in the bullpen for Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins.

25. New York Giants

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Jones is another young quarterback who takes more than his share of criticism. It seems like fans of Big Blue don't appreciate their quarterback. Remember how tough they could be on Eli Manning? This is a big year for Jones, who needs to show he can lead the team over .500, let alone a playoff spot.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

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If Joe Burrow is healthy, this position moves forward. If he isn't able to rebound 100% from the knee injury that ended his rookie season, Zac Taylor and the Bengals are toast.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars

(Photo by Logan Bowles/NFL via Getty Images)

Yes, they won the Trevor Lawrence Lottery. However, this exercise is based on the here and now. There is no guarantee this team will be able to protect its prized rookie or give him a chance not to struggle immensely as a rookie. That's no fault of the former Clemson star; just what happens when you step into a 1-15 organization.

22. Las Vegas Raiders

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr isn't to blame for all the flaws that come with Jon Gruden and the Raiders. However, he has had plenty of years to lead this team to the playoffs and give fans a sniff of a Super Bowl. Nothing has come to fruition. It feels like he would be better off with a fresh start elsewhere, much like Matthew Stafford's situation.

21. Minnesota Vikings

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins is the master of monster contracts. Now, if he could only find a way to lead the Vikings on a deep playoff run. Until that happens, he's below the mediocre line among NFL QBs.

20. New Orleans Saints

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Taysom Hill? Jameis Winston? The Saints' quarterbacks land here more because of the talent around them than what we expect from them. Sean Payton will figure a way to win a lot of games. However, the fall-off from a legend like Drew Brees could be substantial.

19. Carolina Panthers

(Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

Well, at least Sam Darnold can say he has some experience at the position. The former Jets No. 3 overall pick needs to put the nightmare experience out of his mind. and show what he can with the Panthers.

18. New England Patriots

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A former Carolina Panthers starter remains in charge in New England, Cam Newton. He needs a renaissance. Otherwise, Bill Belichick will have no choice but to rush Mac Jones into work. But the Patriots' coach is the best and retooled from 2020, so one should expect more out of Newton in 2021.

17. San Francisco 49ers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo wins plenty when he is on the field. However, he has a rough injury history, and if that happens in 2021, the Niners will have to bank on No. 3 overall picks, Trey Lance—who is supposed to be the future, not the present.

16. Detroit Lions

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It is easy to bash Jared Goff. However, he played in a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, and Matthew Stafford left the bar low for achieving wins and losses in Detroit. He will forever pay for being a No. 1 overall pick, regardless if that wasn't his fault.

15. Los Angeles Rams

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry, not ready to buy into the "Matthew Stafford is the savior in Los Angeles" hype. He's probably not the best quarterback who will call SoFi Stadium home in 2021 (Justin Herbert). New face, new place, and so many think this is the move that will get the Rams back to the Super Bowl. Doubtful.

14. Indianapolis Colts

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Another quarterback who has moved and has people believing he will regain the winning touch. Reuniting with Frank Reich isn't the most significant thing Carson Wentz has going for him. He has a great offense to work with, and when he is on the sidelines, the Indy defense is stellar. That combination tends to make quarterbacks better ... in a hurry.

13. Atlanta Falcons

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons landing at No. 13 on this list isn't a knock on Matt Ryan. He will put up decent numbers. However, the team around him—with or without Julio Jones—is nowhere near good enough to help boost the longtime QB's ability into the top quarter of the NFL.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ben Roethlisberger continues in Pittsburgh. Is he going to stay healthy? How about the fact he could be the worst starting QB in his division if Joe Burrow is healthy? Never thought about it that way, did you? Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Burrow .... would you want Big Ben rather than any of the trio?

11. Tennessee Titans

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This could be the start of a tumble for Ryan Tannehill. Hard to believe the Titans will continue to be more than the second-best team in the AFC South. They will probably flirt with Indy for the division title, come up short and go home early in the playoffs.

10. Dallas Cowboys

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Dak Prescott sneaks into the top 10. Here's hoping he has a strong season in his return from a horrific injury. He has all sorts of talent around him on offense, which should bode well for the Cowboys—if the group plays up to its expected level.

9. Arizona Cardinals

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray is exciting and has firepower around him in the Arizona huddle. But there are still questions about the young talent and coach Kliff Kingsbury—who is on the clock and probably doesn't realize it. At some point, the Cardinals have to prove they are for real in the NFC West and just not a lot of big names that end up with a mediocre mark. Offensively, that objective falls on Murray.

8. Los Angeles Chargers

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The hype around Justin Herbert is real. The Chargers look like they have a future superstar in their 2020 first-round pick out of Oregon. And they can't be any more snakebit than they were under Anthony Lynn, finding different ways to self-destruct in close games week after week.

7. Baltimore Ravens

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

This isn't a make-or-break year for Lamar Jackson. However, the pressure to lead the Ravens deep in the playoffs is on both Jackson and John Harbaugh. All the double-digit win seasons and AFC North titles aren't going to be satisfactory if they keep finishing with poor postseasons.

6. Cleveland Browns

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It seems virtually impossible -- virtually -- for the Cleveland Browns to go in reverse, from contender to the accustomed pretender of old. Baker Mayfield has grown into his role and led the team to a great season and playoff success. Do not be surprised if this team makes it to the AFC Championship Game. Once you are there, anything can happen.

5. Seattle Seahawks

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson is elite and delivers in every way. It will be intriguing to see if he winds up with multiple Super Bowl rings in his career. He should have more than one, but, of course, there was this pass play called at the goal line by Pete Carroll a few years ago...

4. Green Bay Packers

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This situation is fluid. If Aaron Rodgers stays in Green Bay, the Packers remain at No. 4. If he goes anywhere else, they drop to No. 32.

3. Buffalo Bills

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Josh Allen and the Bills are growing. Will the former Wyoming star and his team find a way to get to the Super Bowl? That could mean having to hurdle Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. Quite the gauntlet just to get to the championship.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The GOAT Tom Brady may be the only NFL athlete to outrun Father Time. He easily could have been No. 1—has the superior resume—but that guy in Kansas City (youth and all) has the edge.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

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Patrick Mahomes has had an incredible start to his NFL journey, which includes back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl. His youth and play make him the top dog heading into 2021.

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