With the 2021 NFL season set to get underway, the league is filled with terrific quarterbacks. Several surefire Hall of Famers are playing as well as ever, and signal callers who were drafted just a few years ago are among the top MVP candidates.

There’s so much depth at the position that plenty of good players will be left off any top-10 list. Veterans Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford could justifiably make the cut. Baker Mayfield and Justin Herbert might be primed to become Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks this year. 

If Deshaun Watson wasn’t expected to miss much (or all) of the upcoming season, he’d have to be near the top of any quarterback list. The league lost a top quarterback in the offseason when Drew Brees retired.

Here’s a ranking of the top 10 quarterbacks for the 2021 season.  

1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

For three straight years, Mahomes has been the NFL’s best player. His 108.7 passer rating ranks first all time. The 31-9 loss against Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV might’ve been the first true “bad” game of Mahomes’ career.

2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The reigning NFL MVP was as good as ever in 2020. Rodgers led the NFL in passer rating, completion percentage, touchdowns and yards per attempt. No quarterback makes fewer mistakes than Rodgers, who has the lowest career interception percentage in history.

3) Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There’s no point in waiting for Father Time to catch up to Brady. Just when it looked like Brady might be heading into the twilight of his career, he won his fifth Super Bowl MVP award. Now that he’s spent a full year in Tampa Bay’s system, the greatest quarterback of all time could put up even better numbers in 2021.

4) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson is as consistent as it gets. Wilson has played every game and finished above .500 in all nine of his NFL seasons. The only quarterback with more than 30 touchdown passes in each of the last four years, Wilson is a perennial MVP candidate.

5) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

No one made a bigger leap in 2020 than Allen. The 25-year-old went from being one of the league’s most inaccurate quarterbacks to completing 69.2% of his passes for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. Even if Allen’s passing numbers regress, his yearly average of 520 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground will put him among the league’s most dangerous signal callers.

6) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson might never again reach the heights of his 2019 MVP campaign, but he’s still more productive than most quarterbacks. Jackson has rushed for over 1,000 yards in two straight seasons with better than a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The next step is for Jackson to translate his regular-season success into the playoffs, where he’s struggled mightily.

7) Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

In 26 starts for the Titans, Tannehill has easily been a top-10 quarterback. Tannehill has an 18-8 record with 55 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 110.6 passer rating on 8.6 yards per attempt.  It will be interesting to see how the loss of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith affects his production.

8) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

The negative perception of Cousins simply doesn’t match how he’s performed since signing with Minnesota in 2018. Playing behind a mostly shaky offensive line, the veteran has a 103.6 passer rating, 91 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions as a Viking. Defense was Minnesota’s biggest issue in 2020 as the team ranked fourth in total offense.

9) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Prescott threw for 4,902 yards in his last full season and led the NFL’s top-ranked offense. He was on pace to shatter the passing record last year before a Week 5 ankle injury ended his season. If Dallas’ offensive line returns to its old form, Prescott and the Cowboys will be difficult to stop. 

10) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

Murray showed noticeable improvement in 2020, and he could’ve had an even better season if he wasn’t slowed down by a shoulder injury. While he didn’t make the MVP-type leap that some expected, Murray still totaled 4,790 yards from scrimmage and 37 touchdowns. Two years after being drafted first overall, Murray has the talent to become a top-10 quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers Patrick Mahomes Packers Chiefs Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers greets quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs at midfield after the Packers defeated the Chiefs 31-24 to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images