AFC West

NFL: An Updated Ranking of AFC West Quarterbacks

Well, what seemed to be a quiet Tuesday in the NFL world turned out to not be so quiet after all. One of the biggest trades in recent memory came about, resulting in the Denver Broncos obtaining a potential Hall of Fame quarterback, Russell Wilson.

With a new, talented face in the division, let’s take another look at how these quarterbacks stack up. To say that the NFL landscape has changed would be putting it mildly.

So how do these NFL signal-callers rank within the AFC West?

No. 1 Patrick Mahomes

No matter who enters the division, at this point, Patrick Mahomes is going to be the best quarterback in it for a long time. Mahomes had another great year in 2021, adding to his already incredible resume.

Mahomes filled the stat sheet once again last year, with 4,839 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His rating was the lowest of his career at 98.5, which was still 10th in the league. Compared to his previous seasons, it could be considered a down year. With that in mind, if Mahomes’ down year was still this great, there is no chance of a better quarterback being in the division for years to come.

No. 2 Russell Wilson

For the past two seasons, it’s seemed that the race for the second-best quarterback in the division was neck-and-neck between Carr and Herbert. With Wilson in the fold, that conversation is over.

Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl champ and a nine-time Pro Bowler. Last year, Wilson missed a game for the first time in his career. It was also just the second time in 10 seasons that he missed the playoffs. Still, Russell put up impressive numbers. He threw for 25 touchdowns, which compares well to just six interceptions. He also threw for 3,113 yards, good enough for 222 yards per game.

While those numbers may be a step back from his previous years, it’s important to note that Wilson did finish the season playing through injury. Regardless, Wilson is a generational talent, and by acquiring him, the Broncos immediately become contenders.

No. 3 Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert may be one of the best quarterbacks in the league already, which makes it even crazier that he’s the third best in his division. Herbert finished his 2021 campaign second in passing yards across the league, with 5,014. He also threw for 38 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and finished the year with a 97.7 rating.

In a couple years, Herbert may very well be better than Wilson, and possibly even Mahomes. Still, he lacks the accolades to be ranked higher than Russell. This may be unfair to Herbert, but through his first two years he hasn’t accomplished much besides his sensational stat lines. Justin hasn’t made the playoffs yet, and he doesn’t have anything to show for his accomplishments yet.

That isn’t meant to look down on Herbert, however. He is clearly a generational talent, and he should be one of the best in the league for years to come.

And what about the most polarizing quarterback in the NFL?

No. 4 Derek Carr

Jon Bois puts it in the best way possible. Derek Carr had a career year in 2021, and he led the Raiders to their second playoff appearance in two decades. He statistically finished the year as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Yet he is still the worst quarterback in his division.

Carr’s career year wasn’t something to be taken lightly. Derek finished with 4,804 yards, good enough for fifth in the league. His 94.7 rating and 282 yards per game were also very impressive. It should be noted that Carr had to deal with a tremendous amount of change and difficulty regarding the Raiders’ situation last year. With that in mind, it just makes his numbers that much more impressive. Unfortunately for Carr, as Bois said, he is the best quarterback to ever be the worst in his division.

*Top Photo: Courtesy of

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Carr might be the “worst” right now. But he also plays for what has been one of the most inept franchises in the NFL, with incompetence permeating from the top down. If the new coach and GM can keep the owner out of football decisions, and maybe start running the team with some sort of discipline and insight, that might change. It might be interesting to see whether these rankings are different in 5 years.

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