The 2021 NFL Draft is drawing closer, and that means a more NFL franchises are about to bring in a quarterback with a first-round pick.
A total of 60 quarterbacks have been selected in the first round since 2000, and the results have varied. A team might wind up with a bust like JaMarcus Russell (No. 1 pick) or a two-time MVP like Aaron Rodgers (No. 24 overall). Four quarterbacks joined the list last year.
Now, quarterbacks such as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance could join that list.
With the NFL Combine in the spotlight, we rank those 60 quarterbacks as a reminder of what might happen with the next class:
Drafted: Green Bay (No. 26)
Stats: 0 yards, O TDs, 0 INTs
Why he’s here: Love has not taken a snap in the NFL, so he should not be ranked at this point. Yet that pick created a fire-storm in Green Bay last offseason, so the pressure will be on whenever he does make that first start. It’s a long way to the other Packers quarterback on this list.
Drafted: Denver (No. 26)
Stats: 792 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INT
Why he’s here: Lynch never took hold of the starting job in Denver and was released after three seasons. He was a backup for Seattle entering last season. He was waived during final cuts by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020 and remains a free agent.
Drafted: Oakland (No. 1)
Stats: 4,083 yards, 18 TDs, 23 INTs
Why he’s here:Russell, a 6-foot-6, 265-pounder, looked like the next sure thing. He turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history. It’s also one of the biggest misses considering Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas were the next two picks. Russell lasted through half of his ridiculous six-year, $68 million deal. Russell had only one full season under center in 2008.
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 3,043 yards, 12 TDs, 17 INTs
Why he’s here: Cleveland rescued Quinn from the Green Room but never really gave him a chance over three seasons. Quinn never took hold of the starting job, and he bounced around as a backup for four other teams before retiring in 2013. He is now a college football analyst for FOX Sports.
Drafted: Miami (No. 5)
Stats: 1,814 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs
Why he’s here: Tagovailoa recovered from hip surgery and came on as the starter for Miami in the second half of last season. He had the traditional rookie ups and downs, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone, now. This is Tagovailoa’s chance to take hold of that franchise QB label.
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 8)
Stats: 4,967 yards, 27 TDs, 22 INTs
Why he’s here: Locker played four seasons, but injuries derailed his career every time it got started. He made 11 starts in his second season in 2012 but struggled with interceptions. He showed a knack for scrambling with an average of 6.8 yards per carry, but he unexpectedly decided to retire before the 2014 season.
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 1,675 yards, 7 TDs, 7 INTs
Why he’s here: Manziel’s off-field issues trumped everything he did on the field, and the Browns let him go after two seasons. The former Heisman Trophy winner tried both Spring League,CFL, AAF and now the indoor league known as Fan Controlled Football. Manziel continues to play at 28 years old, but another NFL shot seems unlikely at this point.
Drafted: Arizona (No. 10)
Stats: 2,845 yards, 12 TDs, 19 INTs
Why he’s here: Rosen was traded to the Dolphins after his rookie season, and it’s been an up-hill struggled for the former five-star prospect. He lost all three starts with Miami last season. He was waived last season before signing with Tampa Bay’s practice squad. Rosen was signed by San Francisco later that season.
Drafted: Washington (No. 15)
Stats: 2,804 yards, 12 TDs, 14INTs
Why he’s here: Haskins was a record-setting quarterback at Ohio State who had seven starts as a rookie, but his short-lived career in Washington was a disaster. He was benched twice and fined after breaking COVID-19 protocols as part of a season where he had five TDs and seven interceptions in six starts. Haskins was signed by Pittsburgh last season, where he will try to revive his career.
Drafted: Denver (No. 25)
Stats: 2,422 yards, 17 TDs, 9 INTs
Why he’s here: Tebow was voted as the No. 1 quarterback in college football history as part of SN’s 150 celebration, but he had to wait until his second NFL season to get a start. He took the Broncos on a wild, memorable playoff run capped with a walk-off win against the Steelers in the 2012 AFC wild-card game, but he became more of a gimmick player with the Jets before brief stints with New England and most-recently Philadelphia. Tebow tried baseball next, but he retired from the New York Mets organization in 2021.
Drafted: Cincinnati (No. 1)
Stats: 2,688 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs
Why he’s here: Burrow showed flashes of that swagger that led to a Heisman Trophy and national championship at LSU, but his season was cut short by a devastating leg injury against Washington. Burrow is doing well on the comeback trail, however, and better days are coming in Cincinnati.
Drafted: L.A. Chargers (No. 6)
Stats: 4,336 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs
Why he’s here: Herbert set rookie records with 33 TDs for the Chargers last season, and he should continue improving under new coach Brandon Staley. Herbert was drafted behind Tagovailoa and Burrow, so he will have to maintain this high level to hold those two off.
Drafted: Buffalo (No. 16)
Stats: 3,767 yards, 20 TDs, 16 INTs
Why he’s here: Manuel started in one game last season, and he was signed by Oakland in 2017. He started in one game for the Raiders in 2018. He was on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster in 2019 before retiring that season.
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 22)
Stats: 6,462yards, 31 TDs, 30 INTs
Why he’s here: Like Brady Quinn and later Johnny Manziel, the Browns drafted Weeden with the No. 22 pick in the first round. Much like Quinn and Manziel, it didn’t work. Weeden started his rookie year before losing the job in Year 2. He’s served as a backup at Dallas and Houston since leaving Cleveland.
Drafted: Arizona (No. 10)
Stats: 4,065 yards, 15 TDs, 21 INTs
Why he’s here: Leinart had a 37-2 record as a starter at USC, but that didn’t carry over in the NFL. He spent four seasons operating in Kurt Warner’s shadow in Arizona before stints as a backup in Houston and Oakland. He is now a college football analyst on FOX Sports.
Drafted: Minnesota (No. 12)
Stats: 6,658 yards, 38 TDs, 36 INTs
Why he’s here: Ponder led Minnesota to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2012, but an injury prevented him from starting the wild-card game against Green Bay. Ponder was signed by San Francisco in 2016 but has not played since.
Drafted: Buffalo (No. 22)
Stats: 6,271 yards, 33 TDs, 34 INTs
Why he’s here: Losman was a late riser in the 2004 NFL Draft, and he sat behind Drew Bledsoe as a rookie before splitting starts with Kelly Holcomb in his second year. Losman started 16 games in 2006, and the Bills finished 7-9. He never pinned down a full-time starting job.
Drafted: N.Y. Giants (No. 6)
Stats: 5,970 yards, 35 TDs, 22INTs
Why he’s here: Jones was a surprise first-round pick for the Giants, and he took over the starting job for Eli Manning in 2019. There have been ups-and-downs, and Jones took 45 sacks in Joe Judge’s first season in 2020. Expect Jones to move up this list with experience, but there are questions whether he can be the franchise quarterback for New York. It’s a big third year.
Drafted: Washington (No. 32)
Stats: 5,930 yards, 35 TDs, 30 INTs
Why he’s here: It’s almost the same story as J.P. Losman. Ramsey was a late-riser out of Tulane, but he didn’t fit into Steve Spurrier’s offense or Joe Gibbs’ system over four seasons with the Redskins. He stuck as a backup with the Jets and Broncos over the next three seasons.
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 10)
Stats: 9,206 yards, 50 TDs, 47 INTs
Why he’s here: Gabbert went 5-19 in his first two seasons in Jacksonville before being relegated to backup duties and later traded to San Francisco, where he started eight games in 2015 and five games in 2016. Gabbert played with Arizona in 2017 and he started in three games with Tennessee in 2018. Gabbert won a Super Bowl ring as Tom Brady’s backup with Tampa Bay in 2020.
Drafted: Baltimore (No. 19)
Stats: 8,931 yards, 48 TDs, 54 INTs
Why he’s here: Boller spent his first three seasons battling Anthony Wright for the starting job, and in his lone 16-game season in 2004 compiled a 9-7 record. When the Ravens brought in Steve McNair in 2006, Boller spent the rest of his career as a backup with later stints in St. Louis and Oakland.
Drafted: Houston (No. 1)
Stats: 14,452 yards, 65 TDs, 71 INTs
Why he’s here: Carr was given the impossible task of leading a new franchise, and he took an NFL-record 76 sacks as a rookie in 2002. Carr never had a winning record in five seasons as the Texans’starter, and he spent the second half of his career as a backup.
Drafted: Detroit (No. 3)
Stats: 14,693 yards, 79 TDs, 85 INTs
Why he’s here: Harrington took over a 2-14 franchise and didn’t have much around him, and he simply threw too many interceptions. He had 48 TDs and 50 interceptions through three seasons, and Detroit moved on after the fourth season. He played two seasons as a backup in Miami and Atlanta, respectively, before retiring.
Drafted: Tampa Bay (No. 17)
Stats: 13,873 yards, 81 TDs, 68 INTs
Why he’shere: Freeman looked promising in his second season when he passed for 25 TDs and six interceptions in leading the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record. That unraveled over the next two seasons, however, and he was released in 2013 after being benched. Heplayed as a backup for the Vikings, Giants and Colts. Freeman played on the Montreal Alouettes practice squad in 2018 before retiring from football.
Drafted: Washington (No. 25)
Stats: 16,771 yards, 87 TDs, 60 INTs
Why he’s here: Campbell played four seasons in Washington as a starter, but his best showing was an 8-8 season in 2008. He did the backup tour in Oakland, Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati over the next five seasons.
Drafted: Washington (No. 2)
Stats: 9,271 yards, 43 TDs, 30INTs
Why he’s here: Griffin led the Redskins to the playoffs as a rookie, a season in which he passed for 3,200 yards and rushed for 815. RGIII, however, hasn’t been the same since a knee injury suffered in the wild-card loss to Seattle. He bickered with coach Jay Gruden and lost the starting job to Kirk Cousins. RG3 dealt with a shouler injury in Week 1 that limited him throughout his first season with the Browns. Griffin signed with Baltimore in 2018 and remains a backup.
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 3)
Stats: 17,646 yards, 103 TDs, 75 INTs
Why he’s here: Fact: Bortles led the Jaguars to the AFC championship game in 2017. The first-round QB failed to build on that momentum in 2018, however, and the Jaguars released him this offseason. He was signed by the Rams as a backup for Jared Goff.
Drafted: Chicago (No. 2)
Stats: 10,659yards, 64 TDs, 37 INTs
Why he’s here:The Trubisky era in Chicago is over a four-season stretch in which the quarterback had a winning record (29-21) but failed to show consistency over a full season. Trubisky re-took the starting job from Nick Foles last season, but the Bears could not win in the postseason. Trubisky averages 208.0 passing yards per game for his career and will be the backup in Buffalo to start 2021.
Drafted: Jacksonville (No. 7)
Stats: 10,532 yards, 58 TDs, 42 INTs
Why he’s here: Leftwich struggled with injuries throughout his career with Jacksonville, but he compiled a 16-9 record as a starter from 2004-05 and helped the Jaguars reach the playoffs. Leftwich was more of a career backup, where had stints with Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay through 2012. He is now the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneeers.
Drafted: Chicago (No. 22)
Stats: 10,232 yards, 56 TDs, 60 INTs
Why he’s here: Snicker all you want, but Grossman did help the Bears reach the Super Bowl with a 13-3 record in 2006. That was Grossman’s only full season as a starter, however. He played as a backup in Houston and Washington after leaving Chicago in 2008.
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 2)
Stats: 13,433 yards, 77TDs, 45INTs
Why he’s here: Mariota has battled injuries throughout his career, but he led a playoff run in 2017-18. The problem is the former No. 2 pick failed to build on that in 2019 and lost the starting job to Ryan Tannehill, also a former first-round pick. Mariota remains the backup for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into 2021.
Drafted: Tennessee (No. 3)
Stats: 8,964 yards, 46 TDs, 51 INTs
Why he’s here: Young’srecord isn’t bad, but he struggled with injuries and a rocky relationship with Titans coach Jeff Fisher throughout five seasons. Young started in one playoff game and lost. He played a year as a backup in Philadelphia but simply never reached the potential he showed as a superstar quarterback at Texas.
Drafted: Minnesota (No. 32)
Stats: 11,385 yards, 53TDs, 36INTs
Why he’s here: The former Vikings first-round pick missed most of the last two seasons because of a gruesome leg injury, but he returned in a backup role before signing with the Jets. He improved his stock in a backup role with the Saints in 2019 and started 15 games for the Panthers last season. Carolina, however, traded for Sam Darnold heading into 2021. Bridegwater could be on the move again.
Drafted: Tampa Bay (No. 1)
Stats: 19,812 yards, 121 TDs, 88 INTs
Why he’s here: Winston has been a starter for five years, but the former No. 1 pick has not been able to recapture the magic that made him a winner at Florida State. In 2020, he led the league in yards per game (319.3) but also had a league-worst 30 INTs. He served as New Orleans’ backup quarterback in 2020 and will compete with Taysom Hill for the starting job in 2021.
Drafted: N.Y. Jets (No. 3)
Stats: 8,097 yards, 45 TDs, 39INTs
Why he’s here: Darnold escaped from New York via trade after three seasons, and he will given another chance in Carolina. Darnold took 98 sacks in his first three seasons, and that lack of protection led to a decrease in QBR with each year. Darnold still has a chance to prove it, but he must take advantage of the second shot.
Drafted: Arizona (No. 1)
Stats: 7,693 yards, 46 TDs, 24 INTs
Why he’s here: Murray had ups-and-downs in his first year with Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, but he played well enough to eliminate some concerns about his 5-10 frame. Murray rushed for 1,363 yards and 15TDs in this first two seasons and pushed the Cardinals to the fringe of the NFC playoff conversation. He’s moving up, and there’s room for improvement in his third season.
Drafted: St. Louis (No. 1)
Stats: 19,449 yards, 103 TDs, 61 INTs
Why he’s here: Injuries have held Bradford back. He has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee twice, and that cost him the better part of two seasons. He missed most of 2017 with another injury and played for Arizona in 2018. Bradford has not played in the NFL since 2018.
Drafted: NY Jets (No. 5)
Stats: 15,537 yards, 86 TDs, 89 INTs
Why he’s here: The Jets moved on from a year of Brett Favre with Sanchez, who took the starting job right away. Sanchez helped New York reach back-to-back AFC championship games in his first two seasons, but he threw too many interceptions. He played in Philadelphia through 2015, and has been a backup for Denver, Dallas and Chicago. He played in two games with Washington in 2018.
Drafted: Miami (No. 8)
Stats: 26,995 yards, 178TDs, 88INTs
Why he’s here: Tannehill led the Titans on an improbable run to the AFC championship game with a 7-3 record, 22 TDs and six interceptions in 2019. He followed that up with an 11-5 record and wild card appearance in 2020. Tannehill has pieced together a decent career since injuries in Miami, but now he will be expected to take the next step in Tennessee.
Drafted: Cleveland (No. 1)
Stats: 11,115 yards, 75TDs, 43INTs
Why he’s here: We finally saw the best of Mayfield, who linked up with the right coach in Kevin Stefanski. Mayfield thrived with mistake-free football in the second half of 2020, and his completion percentage ticked back up to his record-setting rookie-year levels. Mayfield has a strong supporting cast, and the Browns are legit Super Bowl contenders (for real, this time). Mayfield has room to move up.
Drafted: Buffalo (No. 7)
Stats: 9,707yards, 67 TDs, 31 INTs
Why he’s here: Allen appears to be the answer at quarterback for the Bills, which has been a long-term question since Jim Kelly retired. Allen led Buffalo to a 10 wins in 2019 and 13 wins in 2020. He’s rushed for 1,562 yards and 25TDs the last threeyears. Allen even worked into the NFL MVP conversation while leading Buffalo to the AFC championship game in 2020.
Drafted: NY Jets (No. 18)
Stats: 17,823 yards, 102 TDs, 64 INTs
Why he’s here: Pennington spent his first two seasons sitting behind Vinny Testaverde. Once the Jets gave him a shot, he did alright. Pennington didn’t put up eye-popping statistics, but he led four playoff runs between his time with the Jets and Dolphins. He finished his career with a 66.0 completion percentage.
Drafted: Denver (No. 11)
Stats: 35,133 yards, 227 TDs, 160 INTs
Why he’s here: The below .500 record kind of says it all. Cutler is a live-armed quarterback who can make the big play (or the big mistake) at any time. He has just one playoff victory in 12 seasons. Cutler has not played since 2017.
Drafted: Cincinnati (No. 1)
Stats: 46,247 yards, 294 TDs, 187 INTs
Why he’s here:Palmer retired after 15 seasons as part of an up-and-down career between the Bengals, Raiders and Cardinals. Palmer revived his career in Arizona, where he picked up his first playoff win and led the Cardinals to the NFC championship game in 2015.
Drafted: San Francisco (No. 1)
Stats: 35,650 yards, 199TDs, 109INTs
Why he’s here: Smith looked like a bust through five seasons, but he re-emerged under Jim Harbaugh and led the 49ers to the NFC championship game in 2011. He helped the Chiefs to four playoff appearances, and he started in Washington in 2018 before suffering a gruesome leg injury that season. Smith returned last season, however, and he finished 5-1 as a starter. Smith is a free agent heading into 2021.
Drafted: L.A. Rams (No. 1)
Stats:18,171 yards, 107 TDs, 55 INTs
Why he’s here:Goff does have a Super Bowl start under his belt, but that was the high point of an up-and-down five-year run with Sean McVay with the Rams. Goff led the NFL in passing attempts in 2019, but he dealt with turnover problems last season. Los Angeles traded Goff to Detroit for Matthew Stafford in one of 2021’s surprising offseason moves.
Drafted: Baltimore (No. 18)
Stats: 40,931 yards, 224 TDs, 144INTs
Why he’s here: Flacco will forever be the most-complicated quarterback to rank on this list. Flacco led Baltimore to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and has a 10-5 record in the postseason, but he never put up big numbers and was always questioned during his time with the Ravens. He played for the Broncos in 2019 and the Jets last season. Flacco is now a backup with the Eagles heading into 2021.
Drafted: Philadelphia (No. 2)
Stats: 16,811 yards, 113 TDs, 50 INTs
Why he’s here: Wentz’s five-year run in Philadelphia is over. Heled the Eagles to the postseason in 2019, and he threw three TDs in the Wild Card loss the Seahawks. The former No. 2 pick has put up the stats in his time with Philadelphia, but injuries got in the way. Wentz got caught up in a QB controversy with Jalen Hurts last season, and now he will look to rekindle his career with Frank Reich in Indianapolis. Don’t be surprised if this comeback story turns out better than expected.
Drafted: Indianapolis (No. 1)
Stats: 23,671 yards, 171 TDs, 83 INTs
Why he’s here: This is the right spot for Luck, a former No. 1 pick who enjoyed a solid career with the Colts.In 2014, he tossed for40 TDs and led the Colts to the AFC championship game. Luck led Indianapolis back to the playoffs in 2018 before he unexpectedly retired before the 2019 season.
Drafted: Houston (No. 12)
Stats: 14,539 yards, 104 TDs, 36INTs
Why he’s here: When healthy, Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s led Houston to back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins in 2018-19, and the Texans beat Buffalo in come-back fashion in the AFC Wild Card. The Texans bottomed out last season, and Watson asked for a trade heading into 2021. He is also at the center of controversy. This offseason, a total of 22civil lawsuits havebeenfiled against Deshaun Watsonaccusing the Texans quarterback of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault.
Drafted: Detroit (No. 1)
Stats: 45,109 yards, 282 TDs, 144 INTs
Why he’s here: Stafford took over a franchise that went 0-16 in 2008. He has fired away to bring Detroit back — he led the NFL in passing attempts in 2011 and 2012 — and that led the Lions to three playoff appearances. Injuries have derailed the last two seasons, but he gets a clean slate with the move to Los Angeles. He’s had an under-appreciated career, but the next nine quarterbacks either have a playoff win or a MVP award (or both).
Drafted: Atlanta (No. 1)
Stats: 22,464 yards, 133 TDs, 88 INTs
Why he’s here: Vick might be the most exciting quarterback of all time, and the high point came when he led the Falcons to the NFC championship game. After missing two seasons while serving a 21-month federal prison sentence, Vick revived his career by leading the Eagles to the playoffs in 2010. He retired after the 2016 season.
Drafted: San Diego (No. 1)
Stats: 57,023 yards, 366 TDs, 244 INTs
Why he’s here: Yes, the Chargers drafted Manning before one of the biggest draft-day trades in NFL history. Manning has the most passing yards and TDs of any quarterback on this list, and he took out the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. He retired after being benched in his final season, and that career came with a .500 record as a starter. Is it enough to get Manning in Canton? Let the debate begin.
Drafted: Carolina (No. 1)
Stats: 31,698 yards, 190TDs, 118INTs
Why he’s here: Newton won the 2015 NFL MVP award and carried the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance, but it’s been a struggle ever since. He’s 30-31 as a starter the last fiveseasons, and he dealt with the same inconsistency in his first season with the Patriots. Newton is back in New England, but is not the guaranteed starter heading into 2021.
Drafted: Atlanta (No. 3)
Stats: 55,767 yards, 347 TDs, 158 INTs
Why he’s here: The 2016 NFL MVP crossed 50,000 yards and 300 TDs last season, and he’s put together 10 straight seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. Ryan is just 28-35as a starter, however, since the Falcons blew that 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI.The 2021 season will be pivotal for Ryan under first-year coach Arthur Smith.
Drafted: Baltimore (No. 32)
Stats: 7,085 yards, 68 TDs, 18INTs
Why he’s here: Tack on 2,906 yards and 19rushing TDs in two seasons, and you see why Jackson was named the NFL MVP in 2019. He’s a transcendent talent who continues to improve, and he has 7.2 TD percentage for his career. Jackson also picked up his first playoff victory last season. Now, he is expected to get Baltimore back to the Super Bowl.
Drafted: N.Y.Giants (No. 4)
Stats: 63,440yards, 421 TDs, 209INTs
Why he’s here:Rivers retired after a brilliant 17-year career that produced top-five finishes in passing yards and TDs. Rivers had 12 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards but he finished 5-7 in the postseason and never made the Super Bowl. It’s still a Pro Football Hall of Fame worthy career in our book.
Drafted: Pittsburgh (No. 11)
Stats: 60,348yards, 396 TDs, 201 INTs
Why he’s here: Roethlisberger has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s ultimate tough guys, and he has been a perfect fit for the Steelers since Day 1. He led Pittsburgh to three Super Bowl appearances and two championships and is 13-9 in the playoffs. That’s enough to make Canton, but it will be interesting to see how 2021 pans out after the collapse at the end of last season.
Drafted: Kansas City (No. 10)
Stats: 14,152 yards, 114 TDs, 24 INT
Why he’s here: Is this too much, too soon? We don’t think so. Mahomes enjoyed a 50-TD MVP season in 2018, led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years in 2019 and led another AFC championship run last season. He does with with style, and even though the Buccaneers offered a reality check last season, Kansas City remains a force with Mahomes. We’re confident in that assessment, too. There is only one first-round quarterback we still like a little more.
Drafted: Green Bay (No. 24)
Stats: 51,245 yards, 412 TDs, 89INTs
Why he’s here: Rodgers sat for a few years behind Brett Favre, but he has developed into one of the most efficient quarterbacks in NFL history. He has three MVPs and a Super Bowl ring. Rodgers has led the Packers to NFC championship appearances in four of the last seven seasons, but that elusive second Super Bowl appearance still is hanging out there. Can Rodgers push the Packers back to the Super Bowl after back-to-back 13-3 seasons? Or is the another beginning of the end of a remarkable era in Green Bay?