NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Quarterbacks get all the attention in the NFL, so it's fitting the league made history in 2022 by trotting out a record number of signal-callers. Not a single non-strike season, in fact, featured more starting QBs, with more than 20 different teams using multiple starting QBs throughout the year. But how did each and every of them fare?

We're so glad you asked. To put a bow on the 2022 campaign, we ranked every single QB to throw at least one pass during the season, including playoffs. Those 82 QBs are separated into seven different tiers below: 

'Franchise' elite

Patrick Mahomes USATSI
  1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
  2. Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
  3. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
  4. Josh Allen (Bills)
  5. Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
  6. Justin Herbert (Chargers)

These guys are the real deal, through and through, and they all proved it in 2022. It's not a coincidence that two of them are among the highest-paid in the game, and three more are eligible for lucrative deals this offseason. Mahomes sets the near-unachievable standard for contemporary quarterbacking, and his seamless crunch-time production as the MVP and Super Bowl MVP confirmed he reigns supreme. Hurts truly looks fit to rival the other young stars for the foreseeable future, however, after his breakout as a confident dual threat. Burrow matches Hurts' poise as a prototypical pocket artist, and both Lawrence and Herbert teased the same power in their first playoff appearances. Allen is the biggest wild card, possessing Mahomes-like athleticism but failing to secure a top-three spot -- or deep playoff run -- thanks in part to a reckless style.


Geno Smith Getty Images

7. Geno Smith (Seahawks)
8. Jared Goff (Lions)
9. Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
10. Daniel Jones (Giants)
11. Brock Purdy (49ers)

Each of these five delivered in unique ways, even if their future as "franchise" material is up for debate. Smith was decisive as an explosive pocket passer in Seattle, but forced throws plagued him down the stretch. Goff was sharp and steady for Detroit but remains limited off-script. Cousins' numbers were less efficient than normal, but he was actually more resilient for a Vikings team in a ton of close games. Jones excelled as a runner in Brian Daboll's restored Giants offense, even if he lacked the setup to prove himself as a long-term thrower. And Purdy, in just eight starts, smoothly looked the part as Kyle Shanahan's point guard before going down in the NFC title game.

Scattershot playmakers

Dak Prescott USATSI

12. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
13. Justin Fields (Bears)
14. Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
15. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)

They're not quite overachievers; in fact, most of them could probably be labeled straight-up "franchise" talent. But they had both incredible highs and lows in 2022. Typically a steady if unspectacular hand, Prescott was boom or bust coming off injury. Fields was absolutely electrifying on the ground but went wayward as a passer in crunch time. Tagovailoa started hot, feeding his new receiving duo, but crumbled under pressure in some tough spots while missing time due to injury for the third straight year. Jackson, meanwhile, remained the NFL's most explosive rushing QB but also lost key playing time due to medical issues.

War-torn vets

Aaron Rodgers Getty Images

16. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
17. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
18. Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)
19. Derek Carr (Raiders)
20. Jacoby Brissett (Browns)
21. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
22. Andy Dalton (Saints)
23. Russell Wilson (Broncos)
24. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
25. Taylor Heinicke (Commanders)
26. Matthew Stafford (Rams)

You might call them the stars of yesteryear. Rodgers and Brady endured similar trials, following up their latest MVP runs with off-rhythm, autopilot seasons for poorly constructed and/or coached contenders, even as their clutch genes flared up on occasion. Garoppolo was on track for career numbers before yet another injury in San Francisco. Carr was gutsy but unusually flat under Josh McDaniels, leading to his release. And half the others may well be playing for new teams in 2023. Tannehill, Wilson and Stafford all experienced significant statistical and physical decline amid unsuitable circumstances.

On and off the bench

Kenny Pickett USATSI

27. Kenny Pickett (Steelers)
28. Mac Jones (Patriots)
29. Marcus Mariota (Falcons)
30. Sam Darnold (Panthers)
31. Davis Mills (Texans)
32. Carson Wentz (Commanders)
33. Matt Ryan (Colts)
34. Baker Mayfield (Rams)

So many different situations are represented among these guys, but here's the common thread: if they were taking significant snaps, their teams probably weren't faring the best. Pickett may have the most promise thanks to the late-year fight he showed for the always-resilient Pittsburgh. But Jones took a step back from a solid rookie campaign, Mariota delivered only as a scrambler in Atlanta, Darnold got just six starts to rejuvenate himself, and Mills remained amid a makeshift supporting cast in Houston. Wentz, Ryan and Mayfield are all bound for free agency after struggling to stick on second/third opportunities.

Short-lived notables

Deshaun Watson USATSI

35. Deshaun Watson (Browns)
36. Tyler Huntley (Ravens)
37. Jarrett Stidham (Raiders)
38. Jordan Love (Packers)
39. Cooper Rush (Cowboys)
40. Bailey Zappe (Patriots)
41. Gardner Minshew (Eagles)
42. P.J. Walker (Panthers)
43. Jameis Winston (Saints)
44. Teddy Bridgewater (Dolphins)
45. Colt McCoy (Cardinals)
46. Desmond Ridder (Falcons)
47. Mitchell Trubisky (Steelers)
48. Mike White (Jets)
49. Joe Flacco (Jets)
50. Chad Henne (Chiefs)
51. Joshua Dobbs (Titans)
52. Sam Ehlinger (Colts)
53. Zach Wilson (Jets)

Watson was hardly the polished pocket play-maker the Browns were hoping for, but a year removed from his suspension, he's theoretically a candidate for a big leap in 2023. Love didn't make a single start for Green Bay but flashed enough arm talent in relief of Rodgers, particularly against the Eagles, to warrant serious consideration as the QB1 of the present and future. Winston is likely bound for new pastures after Dennis Allen refused to give him another shot post-injury. And not a single regular starter was more deflating than Wilson, who elicited cheers for accomplishing the bare minimum on a playoff-caliber Jets roster.

The leftovers

Skylar Thompson USATSI

54. Skylar Thompson (Dolphins)
55. Sam Howell (Commanders)
56. David Blough (Cardinals)
57. Brett Rypien (Broncos)
58. Kyle Allen (Texans)
59. Davis Webb (Giants)
60. Nick Mullens (Vikings)
61. Trey Lance (49ers)
62. Malik Willis (Titans)
63. John Wolford (Rams)
64. Bryce Perkins (Rams)
65. Jeff Driskel (Texans)
66. Trace McSorley (Cardinals)
67. Trevor Siemian (Bears)
68. Nathan Peterman (Bears)
69. Anthony Brown (Ravens)
70. Chris Streveler (Jets)
71. Tyrod Taylor (Giants)
72. Chase Daniel (Chargers)
73. C.J. Beathard (Jaguars)
74. Brandon Allen (Bengals)
75. Nick Foles (Colts)  
76. Josh Johnson (49ers)
77. Brian Hoyer (Patriots)
78. Case Keenum (Bills)
79. Jacob Eason (Panthers)
80. Blaine Gabbert (Buccaneers)
81. Tim Boyle (Bears)
82. Kyle Trask (Buccaneers)

Backups galore here, most of these guys are best suited right where they started: on the bench. That's not to say a few of them didn't make the most of their limited opportunities. Howell was impressive airing it out for the Commanders at the close of the season, setting him up for a potential 2023 starting gig. Blough showed surprising confidence as a fill-in for Arizona. Both Lance and Willis. meanwhile, are relative unknowns with elite athletic traits, entering the offseason with hardly any evidence of long-term passing acumen but enough upside to justify additional looks under center.