The NFL is in the best position ever in terms of the quarterback position, which makes ranking the top NFL quarterbacks in 2022 very challenging. There are more than a dozen QBs with star potential in any given season. And most play different styles and in different offensive systems. The weapons they have on offense play a huge part as well.
The 2021 draft class was highly coveted but struggled mightily as rookies. There are no 2022 rookies on the list because they haven’t played a snap yet. Trey Lance hasn’t taken enough snaps to make the list, either. And just because someone is low in the QB rankings doesn’t mean they can’t drastically raise their stock in 2022.
Top NFL quarterbacks in 2022
The best quarterbacks in the league today are some of the most gifted passers of all time. The rankings also still feature the greatest quarterback of all time, who is still playing at an incredibly high level at 44 years old.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
For a season that saw “What is wrong with Patrick Mahomes?” as the title to more than one article before November, he sure didn’t have a bad season in totality. He ranked third in the EPA/CPOE composite. He was also fourth in DVOA and fifth in QBR. Statistically, only a slight bump in his interception rate was a blip on the radar.
Then, we get to the physical talent that is Mahomes. The term “sneaky athletic” is a trope often associated with quarterbacks possessing less melanin, but Mahomes’ photograph should be beside the phrase in Webster’s dictionary. He’s a difficult target to nail down once on the move. He’s slippery on his way to the edge, and he’s faster than his 4.8 40-yard dash indicates.
His arm talent speaks for itself. He can make any throw from any platform in any situation. What truly sets Mahomes apart from the rest is his vision as a passer. While he probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves for playing within the scope of the scheme, his real party piece is seeing the field while on the hoof. The way he processes through layers of coverage and finds angles to attack downfield is an otherworldly trait.
That’s why the Chiefs have ranked in the top three in explosive pass plays every season since 2018. Tyreek Hill’s unique talent certainly helped, and his loss creates a void. It will be interesting to see what happens to the narrative surrounding Mahomes if his production dips without his superstar receiver.
2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is the middle schooler who hit puberty before the rest of his peers and just absolutely dominated the culdesac football game. Standing just under 6-foot-5 and weighing close to 240 pounds, the slang term “thicc” is perfect for the Bills passer.
He used that frame and his impressive athletic ability to take over the back half of the NFL season for his team. The Bills couldn’t consistently find success rushing, so they used him as a Buffalo. He averaged 6.25 yards per carry on 122 rushes, which trailed Rashaad Penny for the league lead.
The scariest part about Allen is that he’s not done progressing as a passer yet. He still has days where things aren’t always clicking. That means he hasn’t yet hit his ceiling, which as Michael Jordan would poetically say, “is the roof.” Could Allen overtake Mahomes on this list of top NFL quarterbacks by the end of 2022?
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
When the back-to-back NFL MVP is sitting as the third-best at his position, one could be upset that he’s not at the top. However, he’s a 38-year-old quarterback who just lost arguably the best receiver in the game, with less to fall back on than Mahomes.
While he can still freestyle, he doesn’t possess the athleticism of Mahomes anymore, which limits his ability from outside of the pocket. While he’s on the downturn of his career, Mahomes and Allen should theoretically continue to improve as they remain in their athletic prime while seeing the field better by the rep.
Rodgers still might be the most naturally accurate passer in the game. His ability to teeter on the fence between conservative and aggressive is unmatched in the league’s history. The two top guys in these QB rankings simply have more physical upside than the grizzled vet.
4. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is hogwash. While Tom Brady may not actually need to learn any new tricks, the old dog is still outperforming many of the youngins’ in the league. In fact, nobody has been more productive over the past two seasons when looking at more traditional “counting” numbers like yards and touchdowns.
He hasn’t lost any of the velocity in his arm, even as he approaches collecting social security. In fact, he may have as much juice as ever. And with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage as his top three options, it’s unlikely he slows down much in what will probably be his final push for a championship.
5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert is arguably in the same tier athletically as Josh Allen. Their Relative Athletic Scores are incredibly similar. While Herbert isn’t the runner Allen is, he’s a more natural passer, at least comparing how they both left their college teams to the join the professional level.
Herbert’s arm is a cheat code. Some of the things he accomplished with his arm in 2021 didn’t seem possible. His touchdown throw against the Giants and his honey hole throw against Dallas were throws arguably nobody else in the league can make.
While it was difficult to decide between Herbert and Burrow, Herbert’s analytical profile and athletic upside gave him the advantage in our list of top NFL quarterbacks heading into 2022.
6. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is already beginning to hit mythical levels of reputation. The Cincinnati Bengals playoff run and Burrow’s “style” have put some lofty expectations on his future. The team didn’t seem like a Super Bowl contender. They finished 12th in offensive DVOA and 24th on defense.
The LSU legend came into the league an already polished product. He had more than enough upside to be a fantastic NFL QB, and his floor was high because of his particular skill set.
Burrow produced the highest CPOE in the league last season. He’s an accurate passer who manages the pocket incredibly well. Getting his LSU running mate in Ja’Marr Chase was all the Bengals needed to unlock the offense.
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott’s transformation from what he was in 2018 to now has been incredible to witness. He went from being sacked nearly once every 10 dropbacks (9.6%) in 2018 to 23 times (3.7%) in just one offseason. But he’s also incrementally improved his accuracy by the season.
That said, what makes Prescott unique is his mind, leadership, and drive to improve. Between his pre-snap autonomy and post-snap command of the field, few see have better vision. Despite not having the howitzer arm or overly impressive athleticism, Prescott consistently wins from the pocket, attacking tight windows.
He flourishes over the middle, attacking the seams and intermediate areas on deep crossing patterns. He sees through layers of coverage and doesn’t get fooled by complexity.
8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is unique. There is no talent like him in the NFL, and only Michael Vick had similar abilities during his NFL career. However, Jackson is more accurate than Vick ever was, and his rushing ability is right on the same level. And despite being a four-year NFL vet, he’s younger than Burrow.
He won an MVP in his age 22 season, making him the youngest ever to win the award. His athleticism has made the Ravens’ rushing attack the most efficient in the league in 2019 and 2020, his two most healthy seasons.
Jackson is more accurate than he’s given credit for. He’s had a positive CPOE in every season since 2018, despite consistently lacking high-end receiving help outside of Mark Andrews.
9. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Few in the league have the high-end plays that Matthew Stafford can obtain. His arm teeters on legendary status, and his arm talent helped propel the Rams to a Super Bowl victory in just his first season with the team.
However, with those highs come nearly inconceivable lows for a player with his natural gifts. It isn’t easy to understand the why in his actions at times. He either has so much arrogance in his arm that it leads him to attempt impossible throws, or he simply gets some ADHD from time to time and loses focus. Those mistakes are the only reasons he remains outside of the top five in this list of the top NFL quarterbacks heading into 2022.
Of the “star” quarterbacks, he had the highest turnover-worthy play percentage in 2021, despite leaving a poor situation in Detroit for a Super Bowl roster.
10. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
We haven’t seen Deshaun Watson play since 2020, but he was arguably one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL when he was playing. The Texans’ roster was appalling in 2020, and he put together a Herculean effort to keep the team afloat.
The allegations of sexual misconduct are infinitely more appalling than that Texans’ roster was, but the Browns felt comfortable trading for him and then giving him $230 million guaranteed. They should compete in the AFC North and in a challenging conference with their roster.
What keeps Watson lower on this list of the top NFL quarterbacks in 2022 is the same thing that makes him a special on-field talent. He will consistently hold onto the football to try and make the play, which has led to a high sack total during his career. He’s averaged over 51 sacks in the three seasons he was the primary starter in Houston.
Top NFL QBs in 2022 | 11-32
11. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
12. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
13. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
14. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
15. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
16. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
17. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
18. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
19. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
21. Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers
22. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
23. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
24. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
25. Davis Mills, Houston Texans
26. Zach Wilson, New York Jets
27. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
28. Carson Wentz, Washington Football Team
29. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
30. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
31. Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers
32. Drew Lock, Seattle Seahawks