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Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers; the NFL's top 10 quarterbacks going into 2022

With a little help from NBC Pro Football Talk's Chris Simms, a former NFL quarterback, we run you through the top 10 QBs in the league according to his latest rankings; watch the 2022 season opener - Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams - live on Sky Sports NFL, 1.20am, Friday

Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers

Who are the best quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the 2022 season?

With a little bit of help from NBC Pro Football Talk's Chris Simms, a former NFL quarterback, we run you through the top 10 QBs in the league according to his latest rankings.

Disclaimer: While Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl rings and is the undisputed GOAT of the sport, these rankings are a reflection of the top NFL talent at the position specifically looking towards the 2022 season.

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10) Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens

2021 stats: 64.4 completion percentage, 2,882 passing yards, 16 pass TDs, 13 interceptions

Jackson's contract issue has dominated the latter part of the offseason, with the 25-year-old dual-threat quarterback still yet to agree a new deal with the Ravens entering into his fifth NFL season.

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Watch the top plays by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson from the 2021 NFL season.

Jackson represents himself, and whether he is angling for a deal like Deshaun Watson's five-year, $230m fully guaranteed deal with the Cleveland Browns, or perhaps Russell Watson's own five-year, $245m extension signed with the Denver Browns is unclear, with Jackson continuously playing down the talks, saying his focus is on football.

On the field, the 2019 league MVP is still one of the best in the game, although his play has dropped off a touch since that sensational season of his three years ago, with injuries playing their part as Baltimore missed out on the playoffs in 2022.

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Simms: "Last year wasn't his best, there's no doubt about it. But this is still the most electrifying quarterback in the NFL.

"I don't know there is a guy who, game-by-game, produces more highlight-reel plays - up with those at the top of this list.

"His physical ability is off the charts. And I'm not just talking about his ability with his legs. He has an incredible arm too - and that's where people don't give him his respect.

"He just got a little greedy in games last year, and that's why you saw more mistakes from him. He was trying to make big plays too much."

9) Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys

2021 stats: 68.8 completion percentage, 4,449 passing yards, 37 pass TDs, 10 interceptions

Prescott had a truly terrific 2021, especially when you factor in the horrific compound fracture injury to his right ankle suffered in Week Five of the previous season.

Could he come back and play at the same level he had previously? Not only did he argue in the affirmative on that front, he was arguably better, setting career highs in completion percentage (68.8) and touchdown passes (37), to go with 4,449 yards passing.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks before throwing a pass in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Franciso 49ers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Image: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks before throwing a pass in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Franciso 49ers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

His efforts won the Cowboys the NFC East, though their Wild Card defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs was a bitter pill to swallow.

Simms: "First of all, when I think about Dak Prescott, I think about his size and his mental and physical toughness. That's where he is really special.

"He is a great leader and a good athlete. And he should be even better this year, with another year of health under his belt following that ankle injury.

"He has a very good arm. Is it elite? No, but he is a great down-the-field thrower. And he is aggressive in doing that. He makes so many more great throws than people give him credit for."

8) Tom Brady - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 stats: 67.5 completion percentage, 5,316 passing yards, 43 pass TDs, 12 interceptions

If this list was based solely on Super Bowl wins, it would be no contest courtesy of Brady's small matter of seven to his name - more than any other team has one in NFL history, let alone a single player.

Not only that, but the now 45-year-old - yes, 45! - led the league in passing last year with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. Astonishing.

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Watch the top 10 plays by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady from the 2021 NFL season.

He subsequently retired. And then swiftly changed his mind and is now back for a 23rd season at quarterback.

Simms: "He's 45 and is still a top-10 quarterback in football! His consistent greatness, it's special.

"He is the GOAT. I can't deny that. His effect on the team is real, maybe as big as anyone in football. He gives his team confidence by just being Tom Brady - if they're up against a good defense, it's like 'Brady will figure it out'.

"But the most amazing thing about Brady right now is that he is more aggressive as a playmaker at the quarterback position now than maybe he has been the previous five or six years. He goes out swinging now. He has become an even more confident, gunslinger type of player.

"And his end-of-the-game, clutch ability is still probably the best out of anybody in the sport."

7) Russell Wilson - Denver Broncos

2021 stats: 64.8 completion percentage, 3,113 passing yards, 25 pass TDs, 6 interceptions

Seeing Wilson in a Broncos uniform in 2022 and beyond going to take some getting used to.

Synonymous with the Seattle Seahawks since being drafted by the team in 2012 and winning a Super Bowl only a year later - stuffing the Broncos, in fact, 43-8 - Wilson now finds himself starting over with a new team following his blockbuster trade to Denver in March of this offseason.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson takes part in drills during a voluntary veteran minicamp football
Image: Long-time Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has jumped ship to the Denver Broncos for 2022 and beyond

The Seahawks traded Wilson away and a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for two first-rounders, two second-round selections, a fifth-round pick, as well as quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and tight end Noah Fant. And, only, just this past week, Wilson signalled his commitment to his new team long-term by signing a five-year, $245m extension.

Simms: "He is still one of the best big-play QBs in the NFL. And he of course has play-making ability to scramble and run with the ball. Has that dropped off a little? Yes, it has, but it's still really good.

"He is a great leader. Every team thinks they can win when they've got Russell Wilson at quarterback.

"His decision-making is still pretty good, but it's not perfect. He can, at times, be too conservative, especially when it come to throwing the football over the middle. That's something I need to see from Wilson for him to be higher than seven on the list."

6) Matthew Stafford - Los Angeles Rams

2021 stats: 67.2 completion percentage, 4,886 passing yards, 41 pass TDs, 17 interceptions

Your defending Super Bowl champion.

After 12 painful seasons with the Detroit Lions in which Stafford himself shone but the team made the postseason only three times and failed to win a playoff game, Stafford showed last season he just needed a bit more help around him to fulfil his potential.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl LVI
Image: Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl last season in his very first year with the Los Angeles Rams

Having been traded to the Rams in the 2021 offseason, Stafford tasted immediate success in Los Angeles, leading his team all the way to the Super Bowl where they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 - their quarterback completing 26 of 40 passes for 283 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Simms: "Stafford is one of my favourite rankings of the whole process - because I have been telling everybody about this guy's talent for the last six years. I thought about making him top five.

"The guy has always been a Super Bowl calibre quarterback, and he finally got a team that matched up with his ability - and guess what he did in year one? He wins the Super Bowl.

"Did he go through a rough patch at one point in the season? Certainly. But he is tough as hell. His ability to handle mental and physical pressure is top-notch.

"And he still has one of the greatest arms in the game. He can throw it at crazy angles, up there with Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, who are the best in the sport at that stuff."

5) Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers

2021 stats: 68.9 completion percentage, 4,115 passing yards, 37 pass TDs, 4 interceptions

Rodgers, along with the now retired Peyton Manning, is the biggest threat to Brady's GOAT status among that generation of quarterbacks. But where they fall short is on the number of rings they have collected over the years.

The stats are all there, the highlight-reel plays are arguably in greater supply, but Rodgers has only one Super Bowl win - back in 2011 - to show for his stellar body of work.

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Watch the top 10 plays by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the 2021 NFL season.

Desperate to change that, Rodgers has led the Packers to the best regular-season record in the league in both of the last two seasons, clinching back-to-back league MVP crowns in the process, but they have fallen agonisingly short in the playoffs on each occasion.

Simms: "I didn't go into this thinking Aaron Rodgers would be number five. He is my favourite quarterback - all time. But, at his age, to even be in the top five is pretty amazing.

"He still has one of the best arms in the game. He still throws lasers all over the field and is an incredible decision-maker - he manages the game probably better than anybody in football.

"He is great at executing the offense. But can you really make it to the Super Bowl by just out-executing teams and not making mistakes? That's why he is at five.

"The other four guys in front of him wouldn't go down like that. If they were up by two touchdowns, they would look to make a play and try to be up by three touchdowns. He's too good to not take advantage of that."

4) Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals

2021 stats: 70.4 completion percentage, 4,611 passing yards, 34 pass TDs, 14 interceptions

Burrow, undeniably talented though he is - the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft - succeeded all expectations last season in leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl in only his second year in the league. And that's after a devastating ACL and MCL tear in his left knee ended his rookie campaign.

Many worried whether he would ever be the same player as he made his return from injury? He was even better.

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A look at some of the best plays from Joe Burrow from the 2021 NFL season.

Burrow carried the Bengals through the playoffs in some style, firstly edging out the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19, somehow surviving an onslaught from the Tennessee Titans defense in a nervy 19-16 win and then bettering Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in overtime at Arrowhead, having at one time trailed 21-3 in the first half.

The Super Bowl and the Rams was one mountain too many, but Burrow still played brilliantly in defeat, completing 22 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown.

Simms: "The guy can just play. When he was coming out of the 2020 Draft, I think I called him 'the natural'. It's just one accurate, perfect throw after another.

"I don't think there's one area of his game I look at and go 'he's the best in the NFL', but in every area he is towards the top. He is in the top five of basically every important category in football.

"This is where he's special… he went to last year's Super Bowl with the worst offensive line to reach that game in the history of the sport. They got there for one reason: Burrow's smarts.

"He has brains, brawn, power, accuracy and touch. It's all natural, and he's clutch. He has an aura around him."

3) Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers

2021 stats: 65.9 completion percentage, 5,014 passing yards, 38 pass TDs, 15 interceptions

Just edging out Burrow in these rankings is Herbert, a man who was taken five picks later than him in the 2022 draft and who doesn't yet have a playoff appearance to his name. But his talent is undeniable.

Herbert joined an elite club of only nine, nine players in the history of the NFL who have thrown for more than 5,000 yards in a season when he tallied 5,014 in 2021 - to go along with a massive 38 touchdown passes, including that throw against the New York Giants in which he found Jalen Guyton in the endzone with a pass that travelled a massive 65 yards through the air!

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Watch the top 10 plays by Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert from the 2021 NFL season.

He may not have been able to fire the Chargers into the playoffs just yet, but that could all change this year. This team look ready to challenge in 2022.

Simms: "Herbert is probably the best pure thrower of the football in the NFL. I don't know if there's anybody better than hitting the bullseye with any kind of throw.

"He has an incredible arm. And that's where he separates himself. Also, the decision-making and ability to throw the ball into tight windows is off the charts.

"We know he is a great athlete. But that is one of the things I would say is a little bit of a negative; he needs to use his athleticism more.

"But he is a phenomenal football player and only going on an upward trajectory. He's a superstar who will be around for a long time."

2) Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs

2021 stats: 66.3 completion percentage, 4,839 passing yards, 37 pass TDs, 13 interceptions

Has anyone ever put together a more impressive résumé in their first fours seasons as a starter in the NFL than Mahomes? The answer is no.

He was league MVP in the first of those, in 2019, when throwing for 5,097 yards and a truly astonishing 50 touchdowns. He followed that up with a Super Bowl win in his second season and reached the big game again in his third, only to be bested by Brady and the Bucs, before Burrow and the Bengals got the better of his Chiefs in the AFC Championship game last year.

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Watch the top 10 plays by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes from the 2021 NFL season.

2021 arguably wasn't Mahomes' best campaign of that bunch, struggling at times in his recovery from a toe injury that impacted his elusiveness. But he still managed to throw for 4,839 yards and 37 TDs in a supposed 'down' year. He is just that good.

Simms: "Already a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and, to me, one of the greats of the game - he's already there.

"He is the coolest quarterback in the NFL, and probably the most fun to watch. His creativity and the way he plays is unlike anybody else in the sport. You can watch 10 throws in a row of his and he won't throw any the same way - side-arm flick, across his body, left-handed, his legs all over the place. But it doesn't matter.

"And when you have Mahomes, you could be down by a touchdown with only 4.2 seconds left on the clock and yet you'd still feel like you have a chance. It's Mahomes."

1) Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills

2021 stats: 63.3 completion percentage, 4,407 passing yards, 36 pass TDs, 15 interceptions

The Bills are many people's favourites for the Super Bowl this year, in large part due to their superstar at quarterback.

Many might think Mahomes deserves a permanent residence atop these rankings considering his stellar body of work over his first four years as a starter and due to his Chiefs dashing Buffalo's dreams in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. But Allen showed in their classic contest from last year, his play has gone up a notch.

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Watch the top 10 plays by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen from the 2021 NFL season.

In the 38-24 AFC Championship defeat from two years back, Allen threw for 287 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. In last season's divisional round epic, those numbers bumped to 329 yards and four touchdowns, no picks.

He matched Mahomes stride for stride, answering every touchdown pass with one of his own - most notably in a crazy final two minutes in which an incredible 25 points were scored by the two teams. It went to overtime, with Kansas City ultimately winning out 42-36 courtesy of winning the coin toss and scoring first - a rule which has since been changed.

Can Allen finally take the Bills to the Super Bowl this year and deliver this hopelessly devoted fanbase in Buffalo a first ever title?

Simms said: "We've got a new king. Josh Allen is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. There is no doubt.

"He is the guy I would take over everyone. No-one has had to carry their team more on a weekly basis than Allen.

"Of the top four quarterbacks on this list, he is surrounded by the least talent. It is not even close. Stefon Diggs is the man, we know that, and Gabriel Davis is good. But there is no-one else.

"And where he separates a little from Mahomes right now is, he can play within the offense a little bit more consistently than Mahomes, who is just a little bit too greedy at times - looking for the big, splash play."

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