Part I of my NFL Top 50 Quarterbacks series was headlined by Trey Lance, Zach Wilson and fresh-faced rookies Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis.
Part II stepped up a level and featured Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Derek Carr and the always-divisive Kirk Cousins.
Now it's time for the big boys. The big guns. The top 10 quarterbacks in this whole damn universe...
10. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore: One of the most polarizing quarterbacks, for sure. Look, he has a helluva winning percentage. Prior to injury at exactly the wrong time this past season, his playoff performances had been improving.
Still holds onto the ball too long, in my opinion. Still misses initial reads on potential quick releases. But considering the modern evolving NFL, do I care the WAY quarterbacks get the job done these days? No. No I do not. Lamar is an all-around package type of QB. He may dominate a game with his legs, pure rushing. He may control a game by avoiding sacks and simply extending plays. He may be "on" and have a pure passing day.
Had he stayed healthy and made the playoffs again this season, I'm sure he would have made my top eight. For now, we just wanna see him come back fully healthy and "himself". Ravens need to get back to reliable relevancy, too.
9. Justin Herbert, Chargers: Man, this kid just looks the part, doesn't he? 6'6", 236 pounds, stands tall in the pocket and has a cannon arm. Like, if you created an "ideal quarterback" with an algorithm or computer programming, you might actually land on a QB that plays the position the way Herbert does.
So we all know what the deal is at this point, right? We just need to see Herbert get into the playoffs, then deliver. Once that happens, there's a high probability we are talking about top five, here.
8. Dak Prescott, Dallas: I'm not gonna lie to ya, here... that playoff loss was concerning to me!
I was so happy for Dak throughout the regular season - particularly for the fact that he came back strong and effective from a potentially career-threatening injury - but he just looked limited in that ugly playoff loss to the feisty 49ers. Only 17 points. Only one passing touchdown, along with one pick. Only 53% on completions, just... yikes.
And yeah, we can talk about regular season stats all day long, but once you get into the top 10 we should really be talking about the quarterback's ability to potentially carry his team to a Super Bowl victory. Again, Dak was off major injury. Again, Dak gave me zero confidence that he can carry this Cowboy team to a Super Bowl title.
7. Russell Wilson, Denver: Not what he once was, but I'm interested to see how he does with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Albert Okwuegbunam and Javonte Williams. The pieces are there to play with.
To be honest with you, though? I didn't love the trade approval by Russ, all things considered. You gotta deal with a perennial powerhouse in Reid/Mahomes/Kelce. Then you have the Raiders trying to become "Rams-AFC". Don't forget about Herbert and those up-and-comers from the Chargers. This is a tough division; tough landing spot. Hopefully Wilson is fully healthy and will rock out in a major way.
6. Matthew Stafford, Rams: What else can we possibly say about this guy? Helluva job going from Lions' hell to Super Bowl glory in a single bound. Aaron Donald is a legend. Cooper Kupp was the best player in the NFL last season. Sean McVay is a superstar...
... but Matt Stafford was the X-factor who turned the talented Rams into immortal Super Bowl champions. A quarterback of his caliber is ultimately the deciding factor.
5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati: Splitting hairs here, with Stafford. Sure, the easy response is gonna be: But Stafford beat Burrow in the Super Bowl!
The difference is this: It only took Burrow two seasons to get to the Super Bowl, whereas it took Stafford 13. And you might say, yeah, but the Lions were terrible!
But... were the Bengals anything to write home about pre-Joe Burrow? Of course not. They were one of the teams we checked off as a "win" when we saw them on our home team's schedule. They were a laughingstock, a good percentage of the time. Burrow has moxie and magic. He learns and adjusts as quickly as anyone in the game right now.
Put simply... the sky is the limit for Joey B.
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: Oooh, ooh, ow ow... this one hurts me. I've always been a staunch Aaron Rodgers supporter. I once had a job interview at the ESPN campus in Connecticut, and I told my interviewer that the Packers could move on from Brett Favre because Rodgers was going to be as good or better. He laughed at me. I honestly think I didn't get the job because of that, haha.
But now? It's like... 12 playoff appearances and only one Super Bowl ring? This is all in relativity, of course, because at some point I had been ranking Rodgers as the second greatest quarterback of all time behind Tom Brady. So like, I'm comparing to that. Now, I look at the full picture - all things considered - and it sort of looks like this:
1. Tom Brady
2. Joe Montana
3. Peyton Manning
Then maybe you can get to Rodgers. Maybe. Or maybe you go Favre or Marino or Brees or Unitas. Or maybe you chase the rings with Bradshaw, Aikman or Elway. Or maybe an all-around sleeper like Ben Roethlisberger?
Anyway, I digress. Talking active quarterbacks, Mahomes already has as many rings as Rodgers... so, safe to assume he ends up with more in the end? Josh Allen just had a spotless postseason and his potential is boundless. And TB12 already has his seven shiny rings.
It just feels like the right time to drop Rodgers outside of my top three.
3. Pat Mahomes, Kansas City
2. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay
1. Josh Allen, Buffalo
Since I just mentioned these three gentlemen, we might as well discuss them collectively. Here are the easy cases for all three guys:
Mahomes: Still only 26 years old, he already has a league MVP, Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP trophy to his name. 105.7 QB rating in the postseason.
Brady: Duh. The GOAT. Seven Super Bowl rings, five Super Bowl MVPs and three regular season MVPs.
Allen: Just had one of the greatest postseasons in the history of the NFL. Nine touchdowns, zero turnovers, 771 yards with only 14 total incomplete passes! That last part is truly astonishing. A lot of smart people have referred to this as a "perfect postseason" - and I can't say I disagree.
And look at who he did that against: The famous Belichick-led Patriots' D was the 4th-best out of 32 teams. They were No. 2 against the pass... and Josh Allen absolutely torched them when it truly mattered the most!
And the veteran Chiefs weren't slouches, either. After acquiring Melvin Ingram in the middle of the season, they went 5-0 and allowed just 9.6 points per game. Once Ingram came in and upgraded their overall defense, they gave up 60 yards less per game. Opening up the playoffs, KC's D ended Big Ben's career, crushing the Steelers 35-7 while the game was at the end of its "competitive" stages.
So, despite the Patriots' defense being great and the Chiefs' D being hot, Josh Allen proceeded to drop 308 yards/84% completion/47 points/5 TDs/0 TOs on New England and 329/73%/36/4/0 on KC. Just otherworldly. Seriously jaw-dropping.
So how do we make this call for the No. 1 spot, in the end?
For me, Allen just keeps getting better, every single year. He looks the part, has all the physical attributes and offers more rushing explosiveness than both Mahomes and Brady. Josh Allen is the total package at the quarterback position right now. I'll take Brady as No. 1 of all time, but Allen is the best right now.
Now... bring on the debate!
John Frascella is a published sports author and Senior NFL Writer for Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things NFL. (Just the list, below.)
JOHN FRASCELLA'S TOP 50 NFL QUARTERBACKS
EDITOR'S NOTE: The full list was started on March 31, 2022
You are currently reading Volume III
Follow John on Twitter - @LegendSports7