Ranking the Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks for the 2023 Season

Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes

Getty Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles (L) and quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs (R).

The 2023 NFL season will be here before you know it. Along with the quest for the Lombardi Trophy kicking off in earnest, debates over the best players in the NFL will begin anew.

As training camps open and the Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs on opening night getting closer by the day, Heavy is taking a deep dive into every position in an ongoing series ranking the top five NFL players by position, starting with quarterbacks.

1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is quickly playing his way into becoming not just the most clutch performer of his generation, but he is also consistently among the game’s most prolific passers across the board.

Mahomes hoisted his second Lombardi Trophy last season, in three trips to the Super Bowl, while collecting the second MVP award of his career. In addition to averaging 4,040 passing yards per season through the first five years of his career, Mahomes has failed to surpass 30 passing touchdowns just once, while rushing for 12 career touchdowns.

So long as Andy Reid is the Chiefs’ head coach, and Mahomes the quarterback, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC is paved through Kansas City. That’s no different for 2023.

2) Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

The combination of Burrow‘s clutch performances in big games, his ability to make plays off schedule, and one of the more dynamic supporting casts at wide receiver of any quarterback in the NFL, the 26-year-old may have the best shot to unseat Mahomes’ era of dominance over this league.

Through the first three seasons of his career, Burrow’s 68.2 completion percentage is higher than Mahomes’. Likewise, Burrow’s lone loss to Kansas City came when Cincinnati’s offensive line folded like a cheap tent in the waning moments of January’s AFC Championship Game that would have sent the Bengals back to a second consecutive Super Bowl.

Given significant additions along the offensive line, including the arrivals of Orland Brown and Cody Ford at offensive tackle, and another season with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd on the receiving end of his passes, Burrow could be in for a career-year in 2023.

3) Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Make no mistake, Jalen Hurts is the NFL’s next great superstar.

Hurts’ ability to quickly process information both pre-snap and during the play hearkens back to Peyton Manning’s level of dominance above the shoulders, with the work ethic and strong performances in the clutch that Tom Brady built a future Hall of Fame career on.

Beyond Hurts’ prolific consistency last season, passing for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, losing only two games that he started, the Eagles have built a dynamic supporting cast around the 24-year-old after dropping him behind the game’s most dominant offensive line.

Throughout his career, from Alabama to Oklahoma, the Senior Bowl to the NFL Combine to improving each of his first three seasons in the NFL, Hurts has continually improved as his career has progressed. There’s no reason to believe that will slow down, let alone change, now.

4) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen might be the most risk-reward quarterback in the NFL, and he’s taken the Buffalo Bills to some lofty heights in recent years, even if the franchise has made it out of the AFC Divisional Round only once to date.

Allen is the ultimate gunslinger, with arguably the strongest arm in the league, and has surpassed 35 passing touchdowns each of the past three seasons. But, Allen at times trusts that big arm a bit too much, tossing 39 interceptions over that span. Meanwhile, Allen is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback, who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and fight for tough yards, but that fearlessness has added significant wear and tear to his 6-foot-5 and 238-pound frame.

The Bills will be in every game that Allen starts, as illustrated by Buffalo posting a top-three highest-scoring offense each of the past three seasons. For Allen to climb these rankings for 2024, he’ll need to finally lead the Bills to a Super Bowl.

5) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

It’s a new year for Justin Hebert, and a kind of new situation, too.

Herbert is one of the brightest young stars at the position, and with Kellen Moore’s arrival as offensive coordinator, perhaps a new system and new voice is exactly what the 25-year-old needs for results to start matching his elite skill set.

Last season, only Mahomes passed for more yards than Herbert’s 4,739, but his 25 touchdowns were good for only eighth-best in the NFL. This could be a make-or-break season for Herbert he’s capable of leading the Chargers on a lengthy postseason run, thus cementing his place among the game’s truly elite quarterbacks.