2023 Top 10 NFL quarterbacks: Ranking the best QBs after Patrick Mahomes (2024)

National Football League

Updated Dec. 6, 2023 1:36 p.m. ET

2023 Top 10 NFL quarterbacks: Ranking the best QBs after Patrick Mahomes (1)

FOX Sports NFL Staff

No position in any sport affects winning to the degree quarterbacks do. There's a reason they can account for 20% of a team's salary cap — meant to be spread between 53 players — and a reason why NFL franchises mortgage their futures when any potential top-10 passer comes available. Sometimes they get Matthew Stafford's 2021 season and a Super Bowl. Sometimes they get Russell Wilson's 2022 and an uncertain future. That's the inherent risk.

FOX Sports' NFL writing staff joined forces to rank the league's best quarterbacks. Our writers listed their best 10 based on their confidence in each QB were he healthy and set to take the field for a game next week. A first-place vote merited 10 points in our methodology and descended from there, down to a single point for 10th place. We then combined the scores to determine our rankings.

Aaron Rodgers was considered for this exercise but did not make our list. It's hard to say what kind of passer he would be even after his recovery considering he just turned 40 and we haven't seen him since he tore an Achilles tendon in the Jets' season-opener.

2023 Top NFL Quarterbacks


1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Preseason ranking: No. 1

Greg Auman: He has set the bar so impossibly high that Mahomes at his worst can still make a good case to be the best quarterback in the NFL.

He has the lowest touchdown percentage (5.0 percent) in his career and the highest interception percentage (2.3 percent), and yet there he is, on course for 4,429 passing yards despite the Chiefs letting his top receivers leave once again.

Mahomes’ legendary connection to Travis Kelce has even dropped off, with the two only connecting for five touchdowns so far, but the tight end is still on course to reach 1,000 yards for an eighth straight season.

The Chiefs’ defense has outperformed their offense this season, largely due to a lack of top-tier receiving options. But the conference is Mahomes’ to lose, and the playoffs, until a team proves otherwise, still go through Arrowhead Stadium.

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Preseason ranking: No. 2

David Helman: Joe Burrow was back on track for another top-tier season before he got hurt on Nov. 16. The newly signed $275 million man only threw seven touchdowns in the first six weeks of the season, prompting plenty of conversation about just how well he was dealing with that calf injury from training camp.

After taking the bye week to recover, Burrow put all that concern to rest. He threw eight touchdown passes in just three and a half games after the bye week, leading the Bengals to wins against San Francisco and Buffalo. Interceptions doomed him in the loss to Houston, and he exited the loss to Baltimore with the wrist injury that ended his season. But when that injury occurred, he was on pace to throw for 30 touchdowns in a third consecutive season, and he had an outside shot at another 4,000-yard year.

Moving forward, some might question Burrow's durability. The summer calf injury affected the first month of his season, and this wrist injury ended it just as he was starting to get hot. That goes along with the major knee injury that cut short his impressive rookie campaign.

That's not a worry in this space, as Burrow's future looks plenty bright from here. He's turning 27 this week, which is still plenty young for a franchise quarterback, and he's expected to be fully healthy in time for the 2024 season. When it rolls around, he should be one of the NFL's very best quarterbacks once again.

What does Joe Burrow's season-ending injury mean for Bengals?

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Preseason ranking: No. 7

Ben Arthur: A month ago, Jackson was the MVP frontrunner. He's slowed down since, but it's impossible to ignore the uptick in some of his raw passing numbers under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken this season.

He's completed 68.3% of his passes for 2,618 yards through 12 games, pacing for career highs in both categories. Jackson is also tied for fifth in the NFL in interception rate (1.5%) and yards per attempt (7.8), and seventh in passer rating (98.4). He's shown more from the pocket than in any other season of his career. And he's still dynamic with his legs. He has 112 carries for 574 yards (5.1 yards per rush) and five touchdowns on the year.

His scoring is not where you'd want it to be — just 18 total touchdowns, including 13 through the air — and tight end Mark Andrews' absence hurts him (there's an outside chance he could return if Baltimore makes a deep postseason run). But the 2019 NFL MVP is leading a Ravens team that might be the most complete squad in the AFC.

4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Preseason ranking: No. 5

Ralph Vacchiano: Something hasn't been right about Jalen Hurts all season. He's battled an injured knee that has clearly limited his mobility. He's already thrown a career-worst 10 interceptions and he seems to struggle at times with a new offensive scheme.

And yet his team is 10-2, his overall numbers are outstanding and he's rightfully in the conversation about the NFL's MVP. Like his team, it doesn't always look pretty, but Hurts is a winner. And he always finds a way.

Even in an off year – at least compared to 2022 – he has shown a knack for making the right play at the right time. There may be no quarterback in the NFL who is more calm outside the pocket, making something out of a broken play. He almost always makes the right call about whether to run or pass. He rarely seems to make a mistake in his reads at the line of scrimmage.

Hurts gets a lot of unfair criticism for his play, but his answer is loud and clear. He's thrown for 2,995 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 12 touchdowns too, putting him on pace to set career highs in all three categories. And his team is still one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

So maybe it's true that something isn't quite right with Hurts this season. But it's also pretty clear nothing is wrong.

5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Preseason ranking: No. 3

Auman: If Josh Allen wants to show he still belongs in any conversation about the NFL’s best quarterbacks, he’ll have ample opportunity to prove it in the 2023 season’s final stretch. Buffalo is 6-6 going into Week 14, battling for a wild-card spot, and Allen will need to win games against some of the best quarterbacks in the league.

This hasn’t been Allen’s best season — two more interceptions will give him a career-high 15 – but he’s still on pace for 34 touchdowns, and he’s rushed for nine scores through 12 games. His passer rating of 95.8 is higher than Mahomes, and he has the league’s third-best QBR, behind only Brock Purdy and Prescott.

Allen has lost a little of the luster he held over the last few years due to turnover issues, but remains an elite dual-threat QB and one of the league’s most impactful players.

6. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Preseason ranking: No. 9

Helman: The uncomfortable truth is that Dak Prescott has been a top-10 quarterback for a while now. Yes, it's well-documented that he struggled with interceptions in 2022. But across the last five seasons, his numbers compare favorably with many of the game's best — and that includes ball security. Having thrown just six picks in 12 games this year, his career interception rate of 1.9% is better than every active starter but Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert.

With all of that aside, Prescott has leveled up his game in 2023. We can call it a combination of his own experience and confidence, not to mention the improvement of the receiving group around him. But we should also be sure to shout out head coach Mike McCarthy, who has meshed quite well with his quarterback in his first season as the Cowboys' offensive play-caller.

Regardless of who receives credit, Prescott is a top-five NFL passer in any category you care about. He's fifth in passing yards, second in passer rating, second in QBR, fourth in yards per attempt, third in EPA per play and of course his 26 touchdown passes lead the league. And with his team sitting on a 9-3 record, it's not a surprise or a coincidence he's in the thick of the NFL MVP conversation.

Now comes the fun part: to see if he can author some big-time wins in some big-time moments. Over the next three weeks, Prescott's going to face off against three other quarterbacks on this list: Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. How he fares will tell us quite a bit about the MVP race, as well as Prescott's standing among the league's elite.

Does Dak Prescott deserve the MVP Award?

7. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Preseason ranking: No. 4

Eric D. Williams: While the Los Angeles Chargers scuffled this season and now stand at 5-7, Herbert has not been the reason for the team's shortcomings. The Oregon product is No. 9 in the NFL in passing yards (3,038) and tied for eighth in touchdown passes (20). And he has a career-low six interceptions in 2023.

Herbert has been particularly effective against the blitz. According to Next Gen Stats, Herbert is 100-of-149 (67.1 %) for 1,150 yards, with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions when facing five or more rushers. Herbert is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 1,000 completions (38th career game) and has completed the most passes by any player in their first 50 games in NFL history.

8. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Preseason ranking: honorable mention

Carmen Vitali: Tua is undoubtedly helped by the fact that the Miami Dolphins are cruising right now. They've won four of their last five and sit atop the AFC gauntlet at 9-3. That doesn't happen without a good quarterback under center. Just ask wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who set the record straight this week on who made the mistake on what ended up being a successful play against the Washington Commanders.

Tagovailoa benefits from a superstar like Hill. Jaylen Waddle is great in his own right. And don't forget offensive prodigy Mike McDaniel, whose quirky leadership has brought out the best in Tagovailoa since he arrived in Miami. Getting help shouldn't count entirely against Tagovailoa. He still ranks third in quarterback rating at 106. He has the second-best completion rate in the league at 70.1% and he ranks third in passing yards with 3,457, including a second-best average gain of 8.62 yards. That counts for something and secures his spot within our top 10.

Tyreek Hill speaks on connection with Tua Tagovailoa and Dolphins' success

9. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Preseason ranking: unranked

Arthur: Just a rookie, Stroud has already established himself as one of the league's best quarterbacks, fueling the resurgent Texans. At his current pace, he's poised to be in the same conversation as Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow in the not-too-distant future.

The 2023 No. 2 overall pick is the first rookie since 1939 to lead the league in passing yards through Week 13 (3,540). Twelve games in, Stroud has already set the rookie single-season franchise record with 20 touchdown passes, which ranks eighth in the NFL. He's also tied for second in interception rate (1.2%), third in yards per attempt (8.5) and fifth in passer rating (101.2).

Beyond all the attributes he showed in a decorated career at Ohio State — the fast processing skills, the anticipatory throws, the pinpoint accuracy, the terrific ball placement — Stroud has displayed a moxy that's rare for young quarterbacks (he turned 22 in October).

In Week 3, down four starting offensive linemen and without a run game to lean on, Stroud outdueled Trevor Lawrence en route to a 20-point victory in Jacksonville. He also led back-to-back game-winning drives — throwing for a single-game rookie record 470 yards and five touchdowns in a Week 9 victory over the Bucs, then beating the Joe Burrow-led Bengals in Cincinnati the next week.

10. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Preseason ranking: unranked

Mr. Irrelevant 2022 has proven his rookie year wasn't a fluke, putting up MVP numbers in his second season. Even more impressive, Purdy has accomplished this production coming off major elbow surgery this offseason.

Purdy leads the league in passer rating (116.1), completion percentage (70.2 %) and yards per pass attempt (9.6) . He's No. 4 in the NFL in touchdown passes (23).

Some NFL observers understandably attribute Purdy's success to head coach Kyle Shanahan's quarterback-friendly offense, but it's hard to deny Purdy's production and ability to make plays this season in critical and meaningful moments of a game.

Runners up: Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence, Russell Wilson

Other 2023 NFL Positional Rankings

  • Best NFL RBs
  • Best NFL WRs
  • Best NFL TEs
  • Best NFL OLs
  • Best NFL Offensive Linemen
  • Best NFL CBs
  • Best NFL Defensive Ends
  • Best NFL DTs
  • Best NFL Safeties
  • Best NFL LBs
  • Best NFL Coaches

These rankings were compiled by:

AFC South reporter Ben Arthur (@benyarthur)
NFC South reporter Greg Auman (@gregauman)
Dallas Cowboys reporter David Helman (@davidhelman_)
NFC West reporter Eric D. Williams (@eric_d_williams)
NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano)
NFC North reporter Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV)

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2023 Top 10 NFL quarterbacks: Ranking the best QBs after Patrick Mahomes (2024)
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