The hardest position to play in all of sports? Quarterback. Without a question.
And some of the NFL’s best week in and week out continue to make the difficulty of playing the position look so easy. Whether it’s Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes making sidearm throws on the run, or Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers throwing incredible no-look passes, or Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson juking his way 60 yards down the field and into the endzone.
They all make the impossible, possible.
Heading into the NFL season, the position may be deeper than it’s ever been.
There are many quarterbacks capable of leading their respective franchises to a Super Bowl crown. Here are the top 10 quarterbacks to look out for in 2021.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes smiles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
2020 statistics: 66.3 CMP%, 4,740 YDS, 38 TDS, 108.2 RTG
Outlook: The sky is the limit for Mahomes in 2021. After leading the Kansas City Chiefs to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, Mahomes and the Chiefs are once again favorites to come out of the AFC.
2. Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws the ball in warmups prior to the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Ben Liebenberg via AP) (Ben Liebenberg via AP)
2020 statistics: 65.7 CMP%, 4,633 YDS, 40 TDS, 102.2 RTG
Outlook: New team, same result for Brady last season. The future Hall of Fame quarterback won his seventh Super Bowl title, and he will look to lead the Buccaneers to back-to-back titles, which hasn’t been done since the 2003 and 2004 Patriots – who were also led by Brady.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing the game-winning touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 8, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
2020 statistics: 70.7 CMP%, 4,299 YDS, 48 TDS, 121.5 RTG
Outlook: It may very well be the last dance for Rodgers in Green Bay. The reigning NFL MVP voiced his concerns about the franchise during the offseason, and there’s a good chance the long-time quarterback and team will split up next year. Rodgers led the Packers to consecutive NFC Championships the last two seasons, but will he finally get over the hump in 2021 and get back to the Super Bowl?
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson drops to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
2020 statistics: 68.8 CMP%, 4,212 YDS, 40 TDS, 105.1 RTG
Outlook: The Seahawks will only go as far as Wilson takes them. In a loaded division with top teams, Wilson will have his work cut out for him this year when he leads Seattle against the Cardinals, 49ers and Rams. Wilson’s ability to use his legs to extend plays is easily his greatest asset, and he will need to continue to do that this upcoming season.
5. Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen scrambles for a gain during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex) (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
2020 statistics: 69.2 CMP%, 4,544 YDS, 37 TDS, 107.2 RTG
Outlook: Did any quarterback make as big of a leap as Allen did last season? Some may credit the Bills for acquiring wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley during the offseason, but Allen clearly progressed as an NFL quarterback and is a favorite to win NFL MVP this year.
In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a pass during the first half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson, File) (AP Photo/John Munson, File)
2020 statistics: 64.4 CMP%, 2,757 YDS, 26 TDS, 99.3 RTG
Outlook: Jackson led the Ravens to their first postseason victory last year with him at quarterback. However, the question that looms is will the dual-threat signal-caller guide the Ravens to new heights and take them to a Super Bowl? Jackson certainly has the pieces in place to do it, but only time will tell.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) runs against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
2020 statistics: 66.6 CMP%, 4,336 YDS, 31 TDS, 98.3 RTG
Outlook: Herbert, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, proved that he should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. His 31 touchdowns was a rookie record and he could easily build on that this upcoming year with weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Josh Palmer at his disposal.
8. Kyler Murray
In this Dec. 26, 2020, file photo, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs ahead of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) during the second half of an NFL football game Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
2020 statistics: 67.2 CMP%, 3,971 YDS, 26 TDS, 94.3 RTG
Outlook: Murray, who is also in the midst of his rookie contract, has all the tools in place to have an MVP-worthy season of his own. All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins, wide receivers Christian Kirk and rookie Rondale Moore, and running back Chase Edmonds will provide all the firepower Murray needs to succeed.
9. Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
2020 statistics: 68.0 CMP%, 1,856 YDS, 9 TDS, 99.6 RTG
Outlook: Prescott only played in five games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, but if he bounces back healthy, the Cowboys quarterback has the potential to lead America’s Team to a playoff berth this year. The Cowboys have CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup at wide receiver and Ezekiel Elliott at running back to shoulder the load. If Prescott doesn’t flourish with these weapons, he never will.
10. Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford throws during NFL football camp Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
2020 statistics: 64.2 CMP%, 4,084 YDS, 26 TDS, 96.3 RTG
Outlook: Stafford and Rams head coach Sean McVay is the ultimate match made in heaven. The Georgia product certainly got a pass while playing for the Lions, but now there are no excuses. If Stafford can’t succeed in Los Angeles with McVay calling plays and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods at his disposal, NFL analysts may need to start pointing the finger at the quarterback.