NFL Backup QB Rankings: How All 32 No. 2 Quarterbacks Stack Up Entering 2024

Who are the NFL's best QB2s? Here's how all 32 No. 2 quarterbacks stack up in PFN's NFL backup QB rankings.

Quarterback is the most important position in professional sports — which means backup QBs are critical, too. While some teams are reticent to devote resources to a player they hope never sees the field, others realize the value of rostering a competent signal-caller in reserve.

How do the NFL‘s QB2s stack up this season? Here’s how we rank the league’s 32 backup quarterbacks entering the 2024 campaign.

Ranking All 32 NFL Backup QBs in 2024

1) Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots

The Patriots used the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to select UNC QB Drake Maye, meaning Jacoby Brissett will have to compete to win New England’s starting job. Even if he earns the gig, Brissett will be on borrowed time.

Brissett — who finished eighth in QBR in 2022 while making 11 starts for the Cleveland Browns — will likely be demoted to a backup role at some point during the season. The perfect offensive caretaker, Brissett’s on-field production and off-field demeanor make him the ultimate No. 2 quarterback.

2) Justin Fields, Pittsburgh Steelers

Having traded former first-round pick Kenny Pickett (who will show up later on this list) in March, the Steelers will enter the 2024 campaign with Russell Wilson and Justin Fields atop their depth chart.

Pittsburgh has already named Wilson the starter, but Fields is a decade younger and offers far more upside. He should get a shot under center, barring a complete Wilson turnaround.

3) Jimmy Garoppolo, Los Angeles Rams

Jimmy Garoppolo must serve a two-game PED suspension before officially becoming the Rams’ backup QB, but he’ll give Los Angeles valuable depth behind Matthew Stafford.

Garoppolo has dealt with his fair share of injuries, but he’s already familiar with Sean McVay’s offense and should be ready to back up Stafford once his ban concludes.

4) Jameis Winston, Cleveland Browns

Yes, Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions the last time he was a full-time NFL quarterback (2019). But he also posted a 55.7 QBR that year at the age of 25.

Winston ranked top 10 in QBR through seven games in 2021 before suffering a torn ACL. He’s never gotten another shot, and that’s a shame.

5) Jake Browning, Cincinnati Bengals

Although he’d never taken an NFL snap before 2023, Jake Browning thrived after relieving Joe Burrow in November. From Week 11 on, Browning ranked seventh in EPA + CPOE composite, guiding the Bengals to four wins and the precipice of the AFC playoff picture.

Cincinnati has Browning under contractual control for two more seasons.

6) Joe Flacco, Indianapolis Colts

Joe Flacco probably thought his NFL career was over when the Browns called last November. After coming off the couch, Flacco went 4-1 as Cleveland’s starter, tossing 13 touchdowns in five starts before a disastrous Wild Card performance against the Houston Texans.

He’s 39 years old, but Flacco should be able to keep the Colts afloat if Anthony Richardson suffers another injury.

7) Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta Falcons

Michael Penix Jr. is the most unique quarterback on our list. The Falcons shockingly made the Washington product the eighth pick in the draft despite signing fellow QB Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal in March.

Penix won’t see the field barring another injury to Cousins, but he’s unquestionably Atlanta’s long-term answer.

MORE: 2024 NFL Quarterback Rankings

8) Sam Darnold, Minnesota Vikings

Signed to a fully guaranteed $10 million deal in March, Sam Darnold has a good shot to open the season as the Vikings’ starting QB. While Minnesota drafted J.J. McCarthy 10th overall, head coach Kevin O’Connell may feel more comfortable with a veteran in the lineup to begin the year.

9) Sam Howell, Seattle Seahawks

Sam Howell looked like a potential long-term starter early in the 2023 season, but he threw four touchdowns against 12 interceptions over the final seven games of the campaign.

Although the former fifth-round pick’s upside keeps him in the top 10 of our rankings, there are concerns here. Howell was the only QB to rank bottom six in interception and sack rate last season.

10) Andy Dalton, Carolina Panthers

While it might feel like a lifetime ago, Andy Dalton started 14 games for the New Orleans Saints in 2022 and finished 10th in adjusted net yards per attempt, ranking ahead of other quarterbacks like Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson.

Dalton made one start for the Panthers last season, attempting more passes (58) than any other quarterback in a single game in 2023.

11) Mac Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars

Everything fell apart for Mac Jones and the Patriots over the last two years. However, let’s not forget that he was an above-average quarterback in his rookie season, when Jones helped New England to 10 victories and a playoff appearance. He may yet have high-end backup/low-end starter capabilities.

12) Tyrod Taylor, New York Jets

The Jets aren’t messing around at QB2 after watching Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian in relief of an injured Aaron Rodgers in 2023.

Tyrod Taylor made five starts for the New York Giants last season, showing off the traits that generally make him one of the league’s most coveted backups: ball security, a willingness to take deep shots, and mobility inside and outside the pocket.

13) Kenny Pickett, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles bought low on Kenny Pickett this offseason, picking up the former first-round pick whose response to the Steelers’ Russell Wilson acquisition ultimately ended his Pittsburgh tenure.

Philadelphia wants to build a “quarterback factory,” an approach that landed them Jalen Hurts in 2020. Pickett won’t become the next Hurts, but landing him for two seventh-rounders and a pick swap represents solid value.

14) Carson Wentz, Kansas City Chiefs

As Patrick Mahomes’ new backup, Carson Wentz will continue his NFL career under Andy Reid. The former No. 2 overall pick started the Rams’ meaningless regular-season finale in 2023, throwing two touchdowns and posting an 89.9 QBR against the San Francisco 49ers’ backup defense.

Mahomes rarely misses time, but Wentz will have an opportunity to resurrect his career if he sees game action.

15) Joshua Dobbs, San Francisco 49ers

Joshua Dobbs’ first game as the Minnesota Vikings’ starter in 2023 was the stuff of legends. Acquired just days prior, Dobbs led the Vikings to a dramatic 31-28 win over the Falcons in Week 9. He later struggled, however, and was eventually benched, but the idea of the brilliant Dobbs working within a Kyle Shanahan offense is fun.

16) Drew Lock, New York Giants

Speaking of memorable victories, Seahawks fans will always cherish Drew Lock’s comeback victory against the Eagles in Week 15.

Rumors have suggested that Lock could compete with Daniel Jones to become the Giants’ 2023 starter. While Lock has prototypical size and arm strength for an NFL quarterback, his accuracy and decision-making are often frustrating.

17) Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears

Tyson Bagent made four starts in 2023, and if you didn’t know his biography, you wouldn’t have known you were watching an undrafted rookie free agent out of Division II Shepherd University.

Bagent looked supremely comfortable in the Bears’ offense, displaying quick processing and a willingness to take off when no throws were available.

18) Cooper Rush, Dallas Cowboys

Cooper Rush went 4-1 after relieving Dak Prescott as the Cowboys’ starter in 2021, putting the ball in the hands of Dallas’ playmakers and letting them get to work. Rush always looks composed when asked to enter a game in place of Prescott and led several comeback victories during his five-game run three years ago.

19) Mason Rudolph, Tennessee Titans

Mason Rudolph went on an absolute heater after taking over as the Steelers’ starter in December, leading Pittsburgh to three straight wins while sealing a Wild Card berth. He played the best football of his career, and his 70.6 QBR would’ve ranked third in the league if he’d had enough attempts to qualify.

Rudolph could get a chance in Tennessee if Will Levis flails in his second pro season.

20) Desmond Ridder, Arizona Cardinals

Installed as the Falcons’ starting quarterback entering Week 1 last season, Desmond Ridder repeatedly committed self-inflicted errors and couldn’t hang onto Atlanta’s QB1 job. His 5.6% turnover-worthy play rate was second-worst in the league, while only two signal-callers fumbled more often than Ridder (12).

Can he resurrect his career in Arizona?

21) Mike White, Miami Dolphins

A true roller-coaster of a backup QB, Mike White seems just as capable of posting a 350-yard, three-touchdown performance as he does of throwing multiple picks and looking overwhelmed as a starter.

White played through broken ribs in 2022, likely earning respect around the league. Tua Tagovailoa stayed healthy for all 17 games last season, so White attempted just six passes.

22) Easton Stick, Los Angeles Chargers

Easton Stick had played two NFL snaps before stepping in for an injured Herbert last December. The North Dakota State quarterback didn’t win a game, but he played better than expected, eclipsing a 50.0 QBR in two of five starts.

Without Mike Williams and (for the most part) Keenan Allen in the lineup, Stick was forced to develop connections with TE Gerald Everett and RB Austin Ekeler, neither of whom remain on the Chargers’ roster.

23) Marcus Mariota, Washington Commanders

Although Marcus Mariota can do damage on the ground, he’s typically been inconsistent as a passer throughout his pro tenure. The No. 2 overall pick in 2015, Mariota started 13 games for the Falcons in 2022 but attempted just 23 passes behind Hurts for the Eagles last season.

He’ll sit behind another No. 2 selection, Jayden Daniels, with the Commanders in 2024.

24) Josh Johnson, Baltimore Ravens

Josh Johnson isn’t the highest-upside QB2 in the NFL, but he’s a reliable veteran who can operate an offense when needed. While he’ll probably face competition from fellow Ravens quarterback Malik Cunningham this summer, Johnson seems to have more career inertia than any player in the league and may end up as Jackson’s primary backup.

25) Mitchell Trubisky, Buffalo Bills

The Bills must have liked having Mitchell Trubisky in their building in 2021 — because they brought him back this offseason and handed him $2.71 million in guaranteed money.

Trubisky offers something as a mobile threat, but his production with the Steelers in 2023 wasn’t worth anything but a league-minimum salary.

26) Case Keenum, Houston Texans

When C.J. Stroud suffered a concussion near the end of last season, the Texans rolled with veteran QB Case Keenum instead of Davis Mills, who started 26 games in Houston from 2021 to 2022.

Keenum beat the Titans in Week 15 but threw two picks in the following game before being benched in favor of Mills. The Texans will likely stage a QB2 competition this summer.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL General Manager Rankings

27) Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders didn’t select a quarterback in this year’s draft, leaving free agent signing Gardner Minshew and 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell as the club’s incumbent choices under center. Minshew is the favorite to start, leaving O’Connell as the likely backup. O’Connell started 10 games in his rookie year but finished 25th in QBR.

28) Jarrett Stidham, Denver Broncos

The Broncos will likely throw rookie QB Bo Nix into the fire from Day 1, leaving Jarrett Stidham as the team’s backup signal-caller.

Denver also acquired former Jets starter Zach Wilson in an April pick-swap trade. The former No. 2 overall pick never posted success in New York; could he look better with Sean Payton’s guidance?

29) Kyle Trask, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite being selected with the 64th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Kyle Trask has never started an NFL game. He’s only attempted nine career passes, all of which came against the Falcons in a meaningless 2022 Week 17 game after he followed Tom Brady and former Bucs backup Blaine Gabbert into the game.

30) Sean Clifford, Green Bay Packers

Sean Clifford attempted exactly one pass during his first season as Jordan Love’s backup — but he made it count.

Clifford connected on a 37-yard completion to WR Bo Melton to seal Green Bay’s Week 16 win over the Vikings. It’s not much, but it’s more than the quarterbacks ranked below him have done in the NFL.

31) Hendon Hooker, Detroit Lions

Considered a potential first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Hendon Hooker slipped to the third before missing most of his rookie campaign while recovering from the torn ACL he suffered during his final college season. He’ll become Detroit’s QB2 following Teddy Bridgewater’s retirement.

32) Jake Haener, New Orleans Saints

Jake Haener’s NFL career got off to a rocky start, as he was suspended for the first six games of his 2023 rookie season after testing positive for PEDs.

The former Washington and Fresno State QB should succeed Winston as Derek Carr’s caddy in New Orleans. Haener didn’t play a snap last year, while the Saints added South Carolina signal-caller Spencer Rattler in Round 5.

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