Currently in the NFL, we’re observing a massive shift to a new generation of young quarterbacks who will be some of the top names in the league for years to come. Longtime standbys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Eli Manning are now beginning to get long in the tooth, and will be nearing the end of their rope as NFL starters. With this, we can now look at the youth to take the reigns, and establish themselves as the marquee players in the league, combined with the quarterbacks who are now in their prime with five-to-seven years.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every quarterback is guaranteed the same level of success. Some are playing under favorable circumstances, yet others have to deal with undeniably bad coaching and teammates. It can hinder their own progress and success, and put a cap on how much they’ll be able to achieve while in the NFL. Let’s take a look at which quarterbacks in the league right now could potentially hoist the Lombardi Trophy one day, and which ones have no shot.
Ranked below are 8 current NFL quarterbacks who will win a Super Bowl, and 7 who won’t.
15. Jared Goff (Will)
Much to everyone’s surprise, Goff has been able to find his footing in his second year in the league. A revamped coaching staff has allowed him to elevate his game to that of a 1st-overall pick, and the Rams should be good shape for the long-term with him under center. They are a contender in the NFC right now, and will be viable for years to come. Goff has given them a necessary presence to elevate the entire roster.
It’s not going to happen this year, but Goff definitely has the kind of talent that will give the Rams a shot to make a playoff run, more years than not. A lot of the concerns about him last year (lack of size, lack of arm strength, inability to read defenses), have been proven to be rookie missteps and little else.
14. Philip Rivers (Won’t)
Unfortunately, the ship has pretty much sailed for Rivers. Though he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last decade, the Chargers have never been able to construct a truly great roster around him. As he’s getting older, there’s little recourse for Rivers to succeed on a playoff-level at this point. The Chargers aren’t good, and he is decidedly past his prime.
Though it would have been well-deserved, Rivers just isn’t going to have an opportunity to win it all. He’ll still play for the next few seasons, but ultimately, it’s difficult to see the Chargers improving to the point where they could overtake the rest of the AFC. Rivers is a borderline Hall-Of-Famer, but he won’t have a title to his credit upon retirement.
13. Marcus Mariota (Will)
Mariota has had his share of ups and downs over his three years in the league so far, but when he’s on, you can see a quarterback with a unique skill set that is capable of taking the Titans on a deep playoff run. The questions on the Tennessee offense rest moreso on head coach Mike Mularkey and the skill players surrounding Mariota right now, rather than the quarterback himself.
It may not happen for a while, but the Titans definitely have a quarterback capable of winning multiple playoff games. Some structural changes may have to occur for that to come to fruition, but Mariota has proven to be able to excel in a less-than-ideal circumstance so far. If he can shake the injury concerns, there’s reason to believe that he could win big in the future.
12. Matt Stafford (Won’t)
There’s no reason for the Lions to move on from him as their franchise quarterback, but at the same time it’s clear that Stafford’s ceiling is limited. While he’s capable of making some truly incredible throws, and commanding the offense, it’s also become clear that he’s going to make his share of mistakes that kill drives.
Stafford is a good player, but chances he does anything “great” are slim to none at this point. His statistics will always be good, ensured by his rocket arm and playing in a pass-heavy offense. However, Stafford has yet to show the ability that he can elevate Detroit in a playoff environment. Unless he improved in this area, you can expect him to continue to falter when it matters most.
11. Mitch Trubisky (Will)
It’s clear that the Bears are trying to protect Trubisky in his rookie season, and not opening up the full extent of the playbook. While a lot of work needs to be done to turn Chicago into a contender, they can at least rest easy knowing that Trubisky has flashed in his first NFL season, and shown why they were willing to trade up to acquire him in the draft.
It’s too early to really conclude anything regarding Trubisky’s long-term outlook, but the smart money says that he’ll at least get the Bears back into competitive standing. When John Fox is dropped as head coach, the right replacement could combine with Trubisky to turn Chicago into a title-contending team once again. Expect to see Trubisky continue to improve. He has the skill set necessary to one day be one of the best in the game.
10. Matt Ryan (Won’t)
Ryan and the Falcons had the Super Bowl gifted to them on a silver platter last season, and still couldn’t take advantage of it. In the now-infamous Super Bowl collapse, they squandered the perfect opportunity to bury the Patriots, and instead allowed New England to overcome an unprecedented deficit.
Ryan is a good quarterback, but he isn’t a great one. He played well-above his base skill level in the 2016 season, and if there was a time that Atlanta was going to win it all with him under center, that would have been the year. While the Falcons will continue to have competitive teams, it’s unlikely that they’ll be on top of the NFC ever again. Ryan certainly isn’t young, having been in the league for quite a while now, and he’s already hit the prime of his career.
9. Dak Prescott (Will)
Even though Dallas has struggled this season for a myriad of reasons, it’s clear that Prescott was worth the investment to be their franchise quarterback of the future. The Cowboys employ a run-heavy scheme, but Prescott is good enough to provide a worthwhile contrast in the passing game, and has good command of the system as a whole. For a 4th-round pick, this is a phenomenal return.
To seamlessly transition from Tony Romo in this way makes their chances of winning a Super Bowl in the near future that much greater. The NFC East is a crapshoot of a division every single season, so while Dallas is having an off year, they’ll have an opportunity for a deep playoff run soon, as long as they can keep Prescott on the field (and Ezekiel Elliott as well).
8. Cam Newton (Won’t)
Much like Matt Ryan, Newton had a clear-cut chance at winning a Super Bowl, and ultimately came up just short. The Panthers were an absolute juggernaut in 2015, and looked to be on the verge of becoming a legitimate dynasty. A Super Bowl loss to the Broncos signaled a downturn for them, and they’re just beginning to come out of the doldrums right now.
But Newton doesn’t have the consistency necessary to bring Carolina back to the Super Bowl. He’s a streaky player, and a lot of the Panthers’ defense that helped them get to the 2015 Super Bowl are either gone, or are nearing the end of their career. Newton is an entertaining quarterback, but he won’t see a title-victory during his career, at this point.
7. DeShaun Watson (Will)
Watson’s season was unfortunately cut short by an ACL injury, but we can assume that the Clemson product is going to return in full next season. Given how he played during his limited rookie campaign, it’s also safe to assume that he’s going to be leading Houston to a playoff appearance in no time.
Watson showed why he was a 1st-round selection by the Texans this year, and proved that he is indeed a blue chip talent who has the potential to be one of the marquee names in the game today. With elite running and passing ability, he’s a dual-threat in every sense of the term. He’s truly an MVP-caliber talent, and when it’s all said and done, it would be surprising if he wasn’t able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at least one time in his career. In all likelihood, he’ll get more than one opportunity to do so.
6. Ryan Tannehill (Won’t)
Another quarterback who’s season was cut short by injury, Tannehill doesn’t possess the upside that some of the game’s younger players do. He may have gotten Miami to a playoff appearance in 2016, but it’s clear that his ceiling is going to be limited, and any postseason success will be dependent on other players around him.
Tannehill is another quarterback who falls into the middle ground of being too good to get rid of, but not good enough to elevate his team on his own merits. There’s nothing wrong with that, but teams constructed like this generally need help in other areas to overcome it. Tannehill’s slightly-above-average ability won’t be able to excel on its own. Because of this, it’s a longshot that he ever wins a title.
5. Derek Carr (Will)
Despite the Raiders’ struggles this year, Carr’s ability says that he’s still going to end up being an elite quarterback. While Oakland may have structural issues they need to resolve, as well as get acclimated to their new home in Las Vegas in a few years, Carr will be the presence that gives them stability, and ultimately will foster a winning environment.
They likely would already have a playoff win under Carr, had he not gotten injured at the end of last season, subsequently missing the playoffs. As one of the AFC’s top young quarterbacks, he’ll be waiting to take over the conference when Tom Brady and Ben Rothelisberger retire in a couple of years. Carr is primed for a big playoff run as soon as next season.
4. Kirk Cousins (Won’t)
The sweepstakes to land Cousins just took a major turn when the 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo at the trade deadline, but you can bet that somebody is going to be interested in the current Redskins quarterback. The only problem? Cousins is a good quarterback, but hasn’t shown that he can be relied on in primetime games, and has a limited ceiling given all the evidence so far.
But quarterback is such a valued position in today’s game, that he’ll still command a massive price tag. Whether he stays in Washington or not however, he’ll need to prove that he can elevate his game to take a roster to the next level. That hasn’t happened yet, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely, as the Redskins toil in mediocrity this year. Not a good long-term outlook for Cousins and his Super Bowl chances.
3. Andrew Luck (Will)
Dealing with extensive injuries for the past few seasons, Luck has unfortunately also been hindered by an utterly incompetent front office and coaching staff in Indianapolis. He’s an all-world talent, and has shown that he can take mediocre rosters to the playoffs, and even win a few postseason games on top of that. Luck is the real deal. It’s just a matter of getting him healthy, and getting him on a roster that doesn’t hold him back.
One would have to assume that he’ll be trying to strong-arm his way out of the Colts’ grasp. If that can happen, and he can fully recover from injury, there’s no reason to assume that Luck couldn’t pick up where he left off. With all of the new quarterbacks emerging in the past few years, it can be easy to forget his presence in the league, but he’s still an elite talent with a lot of career left ahead of him.
2. Jameis Winston (Won’t)
After a year or so of looking like he was on the upswing, Winston has come crashing back down to Earth in the 2017 season. He’s simply looked horrible this year, even with a plethora of good skill players around him, and it’s fair to wonder how much longer the Buccaneers are going to keep him as the franchise quarterback. With some off-field and temperamental questions arising around him, it may not be very long.
Winston clearly has some degree of ability, but it doesn’t seem to be at the level where it could legitimately carry a team. He seems like he channels it on and off depending on the game, and that can’t happen for a team looking to win a Super Bowl. All in all, Winston seems to be on a downward trajectory, and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see him on the biggest stage.
1. Carson Wentz (Will)
Easily the quarterback who’s taken the biggest step in the 2017 season, Wentz has simply been phenomenal so far this season. With him under center, the Eagles have transformed into a playoff threat, and could very well make a run at the Super Bowl this season. Possessing a full-formed skill set, along with a quarterback acumen that is almost unrivaled, even among the league’s veteran players, Wentz has shown that he’s the real deal, and will be a star for years to come.
So, it’s only natural that we’d expect him to win at least one Lombardi Trophy. Philadelphia hasn’t had a franchise quarterback since Donovan McNabb, but Wentz not only fits the bill, but is the better player as well. By all indications, we should see Wentz be a mainstay in the NFC playoff hunt for the rest of his career, and make the Eagles into a viable contender over the long-term.
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