2020 NFL Quarterback Rankings Part: 3, 20-16

Alright, here we go with part 3 of my 6 part QB ranking list. Today I’ll be looking at the 20-16 spots on the list. As a reminder here’s the criteria I looked at when ranking these players. 

  1. How they performed last season. There are many quarterbacks who have had great careers, but their recent sample size hasn't been great. Recent success is one of the biggest indicators for me and is something I greatly take into consideration.
  2. Team Success: Take Jameis Winston for example. He led the league in passing yards in 2019, but now finds himself as a backup quarterback because of his inconsistency and lack of team success. Winning is very important to me when it comes to a quarterback.
  3. Age doesn't matter. This isn't a ranking for quarterbacks who I would build my team around for the next five years, those rankings would be a whole lot different. This is a list for who I would want behind my center for 2020. Whether you're 45 or 20, if you're effective you'll place high on this list.
  4. Rookies at the bottom. Sure, many high quarterback draft picks have gone on to be stars in their first year of play. There are currently two rookies who will most likely be starters this year, but they find themselves at the bottom of this list because they've never played an NFL game. Give them a few games to prove themselves and this whole list will shift.

  1. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

Murray, who was the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL had a successful rookie season with the Cardinals, finishing the season with 20 passing touchdowns, 4 rushing touchdowns, and 3,722 passing yards. Murray started all 16 games for the team, finishing the season with a record of 5-10-1. Murray looked like he really could control the Cardinals offense, which was very impressive as he was only a rookie. His fantasy value will be very high for this next season, as he excels at both running and throwing the ball, however I want to see him win a few more games for the team next year. The NFC West is arguably the most challenging division in football, however if he’s able to win a few more games and lead the Cardinals to the playoffs, he can be a top half quarterback in the league. (Picture Credit: NBC Sports) 

  1. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

The Titans may have finally found the man for the job last season in Tannehill, who was a perfect match for head coach Matt Vrabel’s system. Tannehill took over the starting job from Marcus Mariota midseason and never looked back, finishing the season 7-3 in the 10 games he started and leading the team to the AFC Championship game. Tannehill looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league at many times, completing the season with 22 passing touchdowns, 4 rushing touchdowns, and 2,742 passing yards. Tannehill has a career record right at .500 in 98 starts, which is one of the reasons he ranks a little lower on this list for me. It’s really intriguing to me to see if he was just a one year fluke with the Titans, or if he can keep it up because the Titans have put all their chips on him to be their future quarterback after he signed a 4-year $118 million contract with the team in the offseason. Tannehill has been a fairly average quarterback his whole career and I’ll be interested to see if he can continue his high level of play from last season. 

  1. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills 

My personal pick for the best quarterback in the AFC East pulls into the list at the 18 spot. Allen was the 7th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and has already shown that he was one of the best quarterbacks in that draft class. In 2 seasons with the Bills, Allen has started 27 games throwing 30 touchdowns, 5,163 passing yards and most impressively rushing for 17 touchdowns and 1,141 yards. He may be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league, but still has a lot to prove he wants to be a top tier quarterback in the league. The Bills did end up making the playoffs last season with a 10-6 record, behind Josh Allen and a very strong defense. The Bills didn’t have a ton of great offensive weapons this past season and I thought that Allen did a good job working with what he had, but he needs one more good season to move himself up higher on this list. 

  1. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions  

The longtime starter for the Lions struggled with injuries in 2019, but has generally been a good starter for his career. Heading into his 12th NFL season, Stafford has made 149 starts for the Lions and has a career record of 69-79-1. Stafford is one of the best offensive producers in the league, but his ability to push the Lions over the top has yet to be seen during his entire career. I understand that the NFC North is a tough division and the Lions have sometimes had a very weak roster, but Stafford has not managed one playoff win in his 11 years as a starter. I recognize that he has had some very successful seasons, including one where he threw over 40 touchdowns and 5,000 passing yards, but even with one of the best receivers by his side for the majority of his career (Calvin Johnson) he has not had any postseason success. This is a big factor for me when it comes to ranking these players and is one of the reasons why Stafford ranks a little bit lower on this lst. He’s always one of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a quarterback who I would want to lead my team. 

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers 

The top half of the list kicks off with the new Panthers quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has spent the last 2 seasons as the Saints backup quarterback but has been impressive in the games that he has had the opportunity to start. In 2019 he started 5 games for the Saints, winning all 5 of them along with throwing 9 touchdowns and 1,384 yards. Bridgewater may be a little high on this list, especially because he hasn’t been a starting quarterback since 2015, when he made the Pro Bowl as the Vikings play caller. A gruesome leg in 2016 may have slightly altered his career but I have a lot of faith in Bridgewater from what I’ve seen in his limited play. The Panthers may have taken a gamble on signing Bridgewater, but I think it’s a gamble that is going to pay off as he’s very hard working and resilient. 

-Andrew Gardner, UNH '23 

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