What’s there left to say about Tom Brady? A six-time Super Bowl champion, three-time league MVP, and 14-time Pro Bowler goes to show that he’s the greatest quarterback to play the game. It will be a long time before someone matches what Brady has done in the NFL.
But one of the highest marks to his credit is that he’s considered the greatest of all time. Many can argue with him having that title, but the accolades speak for themselves.
It’s going to be hard seeing another quarterback stepping in as the face of the NFL. But with Brady about to enter the 2019 regular season at age 42, somebody will need to take the reigns as the best in the league and face of the quarterbacks for an entire generation to come.
Take it as a comparison to someone new filling in the role taking the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones. Someone will soon need to play the game and break the wheel of Brady supremacy. Unless, of course, someone is a lot more like Drogon and destroys the physical metaphor of something like that and wants to create a new society after much destruction in the wake of a post-Tom Brady world.
But we’re not here to talk about that show. It’s just going to be strictly on the quarterbacks and who will likely take over as the best quarterback in the league.
No quarterbacks that are of the age of 30 or older. So no Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, or Philip Rivers. It’s going to be a list consisting of guys that still have plenty of years left in them.
Also, no rookies. It’s hard to gauge the projection of a quarterback’s success without them playing a single game in the league. Even with some of the talent that came out of the 2019 Draft like first-rounders in Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins or late-rounders like Will Grier.
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota: Putting these two together because they’re the respective first and second overall players from the 2015 Draft. Both of these players have found their successes in spurts throughout their careers. However, both are still not living up to their selection potential. Only Winston has a Pro Bowl credit to his name, and Mariota is the only one with a playoff appearance (one). Both have underwhelmed and regressed since their rookie years.
Lamar Jackson: An incredible physical talent at the quarterback position and possibly the closest we’ll ever get to another Michael Vick. With 695 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in his rookie year, he is a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. However, he still has a ways to go before being polished as a passer.
Josh Rosen: He still needs to get rid of the bust label that’s going to follow him as he looks to revitalize his career in Miami. But the UCLA product has the natural passing talent to improve with a better offensive line in front of him.
Josh Allen: Someone else with a lot of raw talent that needs to continue to improve, the gunslinger from Wyoming should see a significant improvement in Buffalo in year two. However, he still finds himself in an offense that leaves much to be desired.
10. Jimmy Garoppolo
The verdict is still out on Garoppolo as he looks to have his first full season as a starting quarterback. Many will continue to speculate that he’s all hype and with him coming back from a torn ACL, he won’t meet up to expectations.
But he has plenty of reason to be considered for this list. He has Brady to always go back to for advice and to help him with whatever he needs to get better. Plus, Brady is also a quarterback that came off of a massive season with a lot of praise to tearing his ACL early in the season. He still came back strong and continued his rise as the best in the league.
Fans in San Francisco can continue to look back at the surprising trade that gave them their face of the franchise. And when he came in to take a 1-10 team to five straight wins in 2017, many were confident that he would light the league on fire.
He still has a chance to do this in his redemption season with improved talent across the board. With the additions of receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd coming in from the draft and George Kittle coming off of one of the best seasons for a tight end, expect Garoppolo to have a big year ahead of him.
Garoppolo will always be connected with Tom Brady considering he was meant to be the heir apparent for the Patriots starting QB. But with his future in Northern California looking to be a bright one with a young core around him, he has a chance to be the new Brady for the next generation.
9. Sam Darnold
The first out of the two from the 2018 Draft class that are on this list. And Darnold deserves to be on here just as much as anyone else.
A quarterback prodigy from college and being talked about for many years during his time at USC, the Jets starter is someone that can handle the New York media.
The Jets organization continues to be in a state of cluelessness after having fired their general manager and making some unwise decisions. However, the talent that they’ve picked up will help the Southern California product out moving forward.
Last season, the Jets had only one player that caught 50 passes (Robby Anderson). They picked up receiver Jamison Crowder through free agency and drafted tight end Trevon Wesco to help boost the passing game. To assist with the run game, they signed star running back Le’Veon Bell to help with the seventh-worst rushing attack.
It’s important to build around your centerpieces, and that’s what Darnold is to New York. And something else that makes his place on this list even more valid is that he will benefit the most when Brady calls it a career. For years, the Patriots have dominated the AFC East division and held the rest of the division to the cellar.
If Tom Brady retires anytime soon, the Jets will reap the benefits with the pieces they have in place. And it begins with their franchise quarterback.
8. Carson Wentz
He would be much higher on this list had he not been dealing with injuries in his previous two seasons. Adding insult onto the injuries is the fact that both of those times were when the team was in the playoffs. Instead of having Wentz, Nick Foles stepped in and produced some of the best postseason performances and gave Philadelphia their Super Bowl that they’ve wanted for so long.
Fortunately enough for Wentz, he’s back in the picture and is looking to provide the Eagles with the same success that he’s produced in the regular season. He’s no stranger to production during that time as his statistics over the last two seasons show.
During his last two seasons, he’s posted a record of 16-8 to go along with completing 544 of his 841 attempts (64.7 percent) for 6,370 passing yards and 54 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. His passer rating is suitable for an impressive 102.
What really propelled the Eagles during their Super Bowl season in 2017, was his MVP season he put together before his ACL tear. He wasn’t able to make his playoff debut that season nor the season after in 2018. However, he gets a chance in 2019 to showcase what he can do in the playoffs much like what Wentz did back at North Dakota State where he won a national championship all four years.
7. Derek Carr
Oakland’s starting quarterback has had a roller coaster 2018 season after solidifying himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. With three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, Carr found himself in a landslide that brought him back down to earth.
However, even with a 4-12 Raiders team that lost some critical pieces, including his number one receiver in Amari Cooper, he put up some of his best numbers. He set career-highs in completions (381), completion percentage (68.9 percent), passing yards (4,049), and yards per attempt (7.3).
He will get a second chance with Jon Gruden after having his name featured in trade talks for much of last season. And with the talent around him, Carr should find himself in a much better position to excel in 2019. He gets one of the best wideouts in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams to complement as a deep threat. Throw in some new pieces to the offensive line and a new running back in rookie Josh Jacobs, and it will likely be Carr’s best year yet.
The Fresno State product’s biggest challenge will be to gain the confidence to start from his head coach who even rumored to be flirting with drafting a quarterback in the last draft. Something that made Tom Brady so successful for so long is having a great relationship with his coach. It’s true with every great quarterback-coach dynamic; Joe Montana and Bill Walsh, Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy, Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi, etc.
Carr has a lot to do to catch up with some of the greats. But he’s on the right path.
6. Dak Prescott
After one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in league history, Prescott has lived up to pressures of being the Cowboys starting quarterback. Since taking the reigns of the starting job from an injured Tony Romo, he took a talented squad to three straight winning seasons.
Prescott taking over for an injured veteran and getting success isn’t the only Tom Brady parallel he has going for him either. He also plays for one of the most polarizing teams in the league in the Dallas Cowboys and is someone that continues to find critiques to his success.
Some Brady detractors will say that New England’s quarterback is just a system guy. But with Prescott, it comes from the fact that he has one of the best running backs in the league in Ezekiel Elliott. There is some truth to this notion.
In 2017, when Elliott was serving a six-game suspension, the team went 3-3 in his absence and missed the playoffs. During those six games, Prescott completed 107 of his 167 passes (64.1 percent) for 1,164 passing yards and five touchdowns to seven interceptions. His passer rating during that period was a mediocre 77.
It wasn’t easy for him for much of his time when his best target for much of that time was Cole Beasley. But now that he has a real number one guy in Amari Cooper and a few other offensive pieces that will help the Cowboys contend, Prescott should have a big season ahead of himself.
The one thing that’s holding him back from matching Brady is the fact that he has yet to meet the same playoff success. If he can match that, then he will mirror Brady even further.
5. Jared Goff
Another guy on the list that people can draw comparisons to Tom Brady. Born in the Bay Area and rooted for the San Francisco 49ers. A part of a team with a lot of success with a brilliant offensive mind. There are going to be a lot of these if you haven’t picked it up by now.
A quarterback that continues to improve with each season he’s played, the University of California product is only getting started. He has back-to-back seasons with passer ratings of 100 or more and took the Rams to the Super Bowl.
It’s going to be hard to see how much he will improve after throwing for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns. But with Sean McVay as his head coach and the talent around him, the sky is the limit.
However, there are plenty of things that can get in the way of this, though. The team’s best offensive weapon in Todd Gurley is dealing with injury concerns that could cut his time with the team short. Plus it will be hard to keep all of the stellar receivers in guys like Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods.
Plus with the Rams’ win-now mindset and going after big-name players, it will cut into how well they can keep some of their best pieces. But the only way to make sure that they can keep guys and get more big names is by winning. Most importantly, winning championships. And with a quarterback like Goff, the Rams can expect to do that for years to come.
4. Deshaun Watson
The most physically gifted out of this entire list, Watson is someone that the Texans can be pleased with for the next 15 years. And it shows with how well he’s played since coming into the league.
He’s only been in the league for two years and has posted a passer rating of at least 103 in both of them. If that wasn’t impressive, he’s also averaging 5.9 yards per rush on just 135 carries (820 rushing yards). And he’s only begun to scratch the surface of his potential.
It helps him out that he has arguably the best wide receiver in the game in DeAndre Hopkins. Along with that is a deep complementary threat in Will Fuller and having a productive set of running backs in Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue.
However, the one thing that’s been holding Watson back from even greater play is his offensive line. He was sacked a league-worst 62 times. It’s not the best thing for a quarterback that came off of a torn ACL and is still very mobile.
Luckily enough, Watson is gifted enough as a passer to not worry too much about beating defenses with just his legs. And if the Texans can remedy the offensive line, they can see success for years to come from the Clemson product.
3. Andrew Luck
The oldest out of the entire group as he makes the cutoff point at 29. However, he might have the best chance at winning the AFC away from the Patriots this season.
The weapons surrounding Luck in 2019 are something that is going to make his time Indianapolis arguably his best period yet. He has a plethora of targets returning with TY Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Jack Doyle and newer pieces like Devin Funchess, Spencer Ware, and rookie Parris Campbell. And with the offensive mastermind of Frank Reich at head coach along with him, he should be able to get to that elusive Lombardi trophy.
By the time the season starts on September 8th for the Colts, the former Stanford Cardinal will be four days away from his birthday making him 30. Technically making this his age 30 season. The closest quarterback that he compares to (and will forever be compared) to is Peyton Manning, who won his first Super Bowl at age 30.
It’s unsure if Luck will have a long career like Brady or Manning. But with the much-improved Colts offensive line that allowed the least sacks last season at 18, expect Luck to be able to answer that. All the team needs are stability and to keep Luck upright until Brady goes away.
2. Patrick Mahomes
As much as having Mahomes at two instead of one might draw some ire, take into account the type of player Mahomes is.
The former Texas Tech Raider is one of the most talented quarterbacks the league has seen in a while. In his first full season as starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, he threw for 5,097 passing yards and 50 passing touchdowns. He also had the Chiefs close to getting to the Super Bowl as he almost came away with a comeback upset victory over Brady and Pats. Instead, he came up just short.
He still has a chance at taking over the top spot that Tom Brady has as the king of the AFC. But as far as comparisons go with Brady, there isn’t too much to go off of. He’s more Aaron Rodgers if anything.
The passing talent of Mahomes is something in the same area as Aaron Rodgers. Both are some of the best on skill alone. In fact, even Rodgers has noticed the similarities in both of their games.
It’s uncertain just how Super Bowls Rodgers could have ended up with had he been given better chances during the early part of his prime. But Mahomes can be a good indicator of that with what he has in place for him in Kansas City.
1. Baker Mayfield
The first overall pick of the 2018 Draft managed to do something that no other Cleveland Browns quarterback has done since their resurrection in 1995. He made the Browns an actual playoff contender. And it took him just one year to do it.
There were already detractors ready to add him to the infamous Browns QB graveyard. However, he changed that narrative after putting together one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in history.
Much like Tom Brady, he’s no stranger to overcoming what people think of him with his play. He was a walk-on at Texas Tech and found success early before losing his starting spot due to injuries. He would then transfer to Oklahoma as a walk-on once again and become one of the biggest household names in college football during his time as a Sooner.
He’s proven to be worthy of the first overall selection. And going into his second season, the Browns have only gotten better. With the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt to an offensive attack that already boasts the likes of Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb is something truly special. Mix that in with the fourth-best offensive line in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus and this team is prepared to be dangerous.
Now all the team needs to do is build off of what they have and then what OBJ said about the Browns being the new Patriots will come true.