Ranking 2020 NFL Starting Quarterback's #26-21 By Andrew Gardner

A few days ago I released part 1 of my NFL starting quarterback rankings, starting with 32 and working my way down to 27. Today I’m releasing the next part of the list, going from 26 to 21. 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. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Here’s one of the first players on the list that I feel could start some controversy. Mayfield, who was the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft and started 13 games for the Browns in his rookie year, going 6-7. Mayfield was very impressive in his rookie year showing Browns fans what a good young quarterback is supposed to do, however he struggled mightily in his sophomore season. This would be understandable except for the fact that the Browns offense was vastly improved with new additions such as Odell Becham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, and not to mention they already had players such as Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb. Mayfield threw only 22 touchdowns in his 16 starts this season and almost matched that total with 21 interceptions as well. The Browns finished with a 6-10 record last year, but I think that Baker could make big strides this year, unfortunately he has yet to convince me that he is a legitimate franchise quarterback thus far.

 

 

 

  1. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

The new Giants quarterback finds himself sitting in the 25th spot on this list, barely edging out Baker Mayfield. Jones offensive ability was definitely seen at many different points during his rookie season, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. The big sore point for me was his record, only going 3-9 during his 12 starts. My argument for him being this high on the list consists of a few reasons. First off he was dealing with the pressure of taking over for arguably one of the franchises most successful players, in Eli Manning, while he was still on the roster. Secondly, the receiving core for the Giants this year was less than average and I think Jones did a good job working with what he had under the circumstances. Jones ended up finishing the season with 24 passing touchdowns, but did throw 12 interceptions and lose 15 fumbles. If Jones can improve his ball security it will go a long way to making the Giants a successful team, especially for the fact the NFC East is a primarily wide open division this year. (Picture Credit: New York Post)

 

 

 

  1. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders moved on from Oakland this off-season and will now call the city of Las Vegas their new home. With that being said one thing that hasn’t changed is their quarterback situation, as Derek Carr enters this season primed to be the Raiders starter for the 7th straight year. I’ve felt that Carr’s job has been on the hot seat the last few seasons and he does enter training camp with some competition, as former Heisman winner Marcus Mariota will serve as the team's backup. Derek Carr has shown glimpses of being a really good quarterback, but his lack of consistency is what puts him so far down on this list. Carr was excellent in 2016, leading the Raiders to a 12-3 record before he was hurt in Week 16, resulting in a first round exit for the team in the playoffs. Carr hasn’t had a winning season besides 2016, and has a career record of 39-55, certainly not what you’re looking for over a 6 year span. Carr has been selected to 3 Pro Bowls, but he’s only thrown for more than 30 touchdowns once (2015) and has never appeared in a playoff game. This is a big year for Carr’s career if he wants to be known as the face of the Raiders franchise in Las Vegas.

 

 

 

  1. Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Ah yes Mr. Mono himself, Sam Darnold, quarterback of the other New York team, had a very average 2019 season in the 13 games that he started. Darnold finished the season with 3,024 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, and 2 rushing touchdowns. In the games that Darnold started, the team had a winning record finishing 7-6 and winning 6 of his last 8 starts. I think Darnold is a dependable quarterback who has an upward projection, but his offensive production hasn’t been as high as I would’ve wanted to see. I like the strides he made this year and think that he can put the Jets in a position to compete for the 2020 AFC East crown, if he can step up his leadership and game presence a little bit more.

 

 

 

  1. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

A year ago Trubisky would have found himself a lot higher on this list compared to where I have him right now. Trubisky had a very shaky 2019 season, despite finishing it with an 8-7 record, in the 15 games he started. Trubisky only threw for 17 touchdowns the whole year and often looked like he lacked a lot of the confidence that the Bears needed. The Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth year option this off-season, showing their withering trust in the quarterback even after only 3 seasons. Trubisky did have a successful 2018 season, winning 11 games for the team and making the playoffs. If Trubisky has a good year the Bears can still sign him to an extension but I find that unlikely at this point, unless he lights the world on fire. I think that Trubisky can be a dependable quarterback, but he needs to prove himself again this year with a Bears team that is looking to compete once again. 

 

 

 

21 Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars rookie quarterback took over the starting position for the team in Week 1 after newly acquired play caller Nick Foles had to leave the game with an injury. Minshew ended the season appearing in 14 games, starting 12 of them with a 6-6 record. Minshew excelled at using what he had in Jacksonville, and despite having a weak receiving core, recorded 21 passing touchdowns and only threw 6 interceptions. Minshew finished the season with a better quarterback rating than Trubisky and Darnold, and was really good in the spots where he played. The Jaguars ended up dumping Foles, showing their commitment to Minshew this season, a season in which I expect Minshew to succeed and continue to improve. (Picture Credit: News4Jax)

 

Part 3 will be up Monday 5/18

 

Andrew Gardner

UNH '23 

 

1 comment

  • Andrew, you have obviously done your homeowrk and write some very good analyses very well! I think your rationale for your rankings is excellent — keep it up! ‘Great Uncle’ Kevin… Oh, that ‘Great’ part hurts!

    Kevin Thiesen

Leave a comment