Ranking the Top 32 Quarterbacks in the NFL

By Matt Shucart
February 25, 2013 7:21 am
4,324 Views 17 Comments

In this "Age of the Quarterback" the gunslingers who run the offense in the National Football League are now bigger, faster and stronger than in years past.  They have turned into multi-faceted athletes that can run as well as pass.  The new era has turned out quite a few rising stars over the past couple years.  Here's my list of the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL going into the 2013 season:

32.  Mark Sanchez - Do I really have to explain this. One of only four starters with more INTs than TDs, second in the league in sacks and started almost the whole season because his backup was Tim Tebow.  At least Rex Ryan believes in him enough to get his portrait on his arm.

31. Matt Cassel - In eight games, Cassel came away with just one victory throwing a mere six TDs and 12 INTs. Thank God for Andy Reid and this seasons No. 1 Draft Pick! 

30.  Blaine Gabbert - As a University of Missouri alum, it's hard for me to do this, but Gabbert was just flat out bad this year posting a 1-9 record as a starter with only 9 TDs and 6 INTs and getting dropped behind the line 22 times.

29. Jake Locker - The third quarterback with more picks than scores (11/10), Locker completed 56% of his passes and had a starting record of 4-7.

28. Brandon Weeden - With a mediocre supporting cast, Weeden's 3300/14 5-10 season was capped by his 17 INTs and a 72.6 Quarterback Rating.

27.  Nick Foles - Going a mere 1-5 filling in for the injured Michael Vick, Foles put up an impressive 1699/6 followed up with five INTs and 20 sacks...in just six games.

26. Michael Vick - His athleticism seems to decline more and more every year. I think age is finally catching up to him as he has yet to have a healthy season since his dog days of gambling.  In 10 games he went 3-7 with 12 TDs and 332 yards on the ground.  However, he was sacked 28 times and couldn't get anything going in Philly.

25. Ryan Tannehill - In his rookie season, he put up mediocre numbers, not horrible.  Over 3200 yards, 12 TDs and a 58% completion rate.  Another one that just couldn't get anything going in an equally mediocre offense in Miami. 

24. Jay Cutler - A dismal season for Cutler and the Bears, and they went 10-5.  Cutler barely hit 3000 yards, had 19 TDs and 14 INTs and averaged just 7 yards per pass. 

23. Christian Ponder - Having Adrian Peterson on anyone's team will make the QB better.  In this case, it may have been his only saving grace.  He did almost hit the 3000 yard mark and had 18 TDs, but after being sacked 32 times and throwing 12 picks, he shows alot to be desired for next season.

22. Sam Bradford - The stagnant Rams saw glimpses of hope throughout the season with Bradford at the helm.  3700 yards, 21 TDs and a QB Rating of 82.6.  He was also tied for second in the league with four 4th quarter comebacks.

21. Ryan Fitzpatrick - With an average receiving corp, the Harvard grad led his Bills to a 6-10 record throwing for 3400 yards and 24 TDs and an 83.3 QB Rating completing only 60% of his passes.

20. Alex Smith - Smith probably should be higher on this list, however, his lack of game time late in the season put a damper on his numbers.  In his 9 games, he led the 49ers to a 6-2-1 record with 1737 yards and 13 TDs with only five INTs.  Not bad for a second stringer.

19. Josh Freeman - Though the Bucs only went 7-9 this year, Freeman still threw for over 4000 yards and 27 scores with an overall QB Rating of 81.6.  Not bad for a guy with an average supporting cast.

18. Carson Palmer - With an injury plagued offense that only put up 4 wins, Palmer still completed over 60% of his passes, threw for over 4000 yards, had 22 TDs and had a total QB rating of 85.3

17. Colin Kaepernick - I want to rank him higher, but it is hard after only starting seven games.  He did lead the 49ers to a 5-2 record in that time span as well as taking them to the Super Bowl.  He had a 98.3 QB Rating, with over 1800 yards, 10 TDs and 415 yards for five TDs on the ground.  An improvement from the aforementioned Alex Smith, but not enough to field time to rank him higher. Check back midseason, 2013.


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Previous Comments (17)

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2 years ago
I'd like to see your rankings of the back up quarterbacks...I would put Chase Daniel in the top 10...he seems to have come out of the same mold as Drew Brees. When he has the opportunity, he should fit right in to that offense.
2 years ago

I agree. I've actually read a couple places that he is one of the top choices of a backup qbs to move into a starting role with another organization. He's had a good teacher, its time for him to move out of the shadows...maybe another Aaron Rodgers situation once Brett Favre moved out of Green Bay.
2 years ago
You put Kaepernick at 17?? I don't know what games you were watching but the QB's you ranked above him (10-16) is an insult to this QB and what he accomplished... projected over the course of a full season and he definitely hits the top 5...
2 years ago

I don't disagree at all. I think given the course of a full season he would be right there in the conversation. But as I stated, it was hard for me to move him up due to the fact that he didn't play a full season. I think Alex Smith would have been higher on the list also if he would have played a full season. Like I said...check back mid-point next season for a recap.
2 years ago

Kaepernick is where he deserves at this point.
2 years ago
Rankings look pretty good except RG 3 did make the playoffs
2 years ago

Good eye...that was supposed to say just making the playoffs!!! Thanks
2 years ago
Phillip Rivers didn't play last year I guess.
2 years ago

he did. and after reading your comment, i realized that is the reason why my countdown was off when i got down to the final 4. i went to cut and paste him to another spot and forgot to paste him back in. thats why i had to add cassel back in. i apologize. i had rivers in right around the 20-25 range.
2 years ago

I noticed you had 2 49ers qb's on the list and no chargers qb. I'd rank Rivers around the 20 spot.
2 years ago

i actually dont have an arizona qb on the list either. cassel should be subtracted and rivers added...i agree right around the 20 spot.
2 years ago
Pretty good list the only glaring thing is Andy Dalton is not better than Cam Newton, Christian Ponder is not better than Jay Cutler and RG3 is not better than Luck nor is he a top 10 QB. I know this is somewhat subjective and many people point to RG3's efficiency stats as to why he is so good, only throwing 5 ints all season. My argument is that he can't stay healthy. Missing a game and leaving two early in one season indicates that. Your ability as a player to remain on the field is priority to number one in my mind and you can't be a top 10 QB if you can't do that. Also go look at RG3's passer rating and efficiency on passes of more than 10 or 20 yards, not that good. His low ints could also be explained by the fact he consistently threw the ball around 22 or 23 times a game. He fumbled 9 times this season he is lucky only three of those were lost. Im not a hater of RG3 I live near the DC area and liked him at Baylor. I Just can't fathom why he is consistently rated so high as in in the top 6-10 QBs. Keep up the good work!
2 years ago

the fact that RG3 didn't have to throw the ball long (and had no one to throw the deep ball to) as well as his 800+ yards on the ground is what makes him a better, more complete QB than others on the list. one game off and two left early wouldn't make up enough INTs to raise his TD/INT%. his speed, knowledge of the game and incredible pocket presence as a rookie was astonishing this season. i would call him a more COMPLETE QB than luck. he had a better QB rating and and a way higher completion rate. the same goes for dalton and newton. dalton had a much better completion rate, more TDs, and a higher QB rating as well
2 years ago

Good points, RG3 did lack a deep option behind Garcon who missed significant time. However; I'd argue that if you give Cam Newton AJ Green and that offensive line he would put up higher efficiency stats than Dalton. If you want to argue that Dalton has a better resume' than Newton then your right but using your RG3 to Luck comparison Newton has amassed a significant amount of Rushing TDs and yards in conjunction with his passing TDs while playing on a team with a 5'9'' WR who will be 34 soon and a porous o-line.
2 years ago

Fair enough. I agree with your logic. Superman's speed does make him much more of a threat than Dalton, and putting up those passing numbers with really only Steve Smith, who didn't even have that good of a year, is pretty impressive.
2 years ago
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game and it isn't close.
2 years ago
Coupla` small miscues, but right on overall....and yes the sheriff is back in town...Mr Rodgers is a very close 2nd, but you can't argue with the facts..

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