"The Top 100 Players of 2023" -- voted on by the players themselves -- is underway on NFL+! The series concludes with a two-hour live show -- "The Top 100 Players of 2023: The Top 10" -- at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 7, on NFL+.
Four quarterbacks are among the players ranked between Nos. 10-1. With that in mind, NFL Network analyst and former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew provides his own ranking of the top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2023 NFL season.
Setting aside his league-high interception total (15) in 2022, Dak Prescott has been an above-average quarterback in his career. He gets a lot of flak for falling short when it matters most -- with the Cowboys making early playoff exits the last two seasons. But I think we'll see a more confident and rejuvenated Dak in 2023, with Mike McCarthy taking over play-calling duties following Kellen Moore's departure. Prescott knows there is an urgency to get it done, and he's meshing well with his playmakers early in camp.
It feels weird having Aaron Rodgers this far down on here, but he's coming off a down year and transitioning to a new team and city -- after seriously contemplating retirement -- so I just don't know how this one's going to play out. The soon-to-be 40-year-old is back with Nathaniel Hackett as his offensive coordinator; however, Hackett didn't call plays with Rodgers while serving in that role in Green Bay, and it was a straight disaster when Hackett took on that role as head coach in Denver last season. If Rodgers clicks quickly with Gang Green, the four-time MVP will be back near the top of this list.
After a disastrous 2021 season, the Jaguars have been committed to putting the right pieces around Trevor Lawrence. We got a glimpse of what Lawrence is capable of in Doug Pederson's first season at the helm. With the addition of Calvin Ridley to an under-the-radar pass-catching crew, Lawrence is in a great position to build off his 2022 campaign, when he finished in the top 10 in the league in TD-to-INT ratio (25:8) and passer rating (95.2). Lawrence proved he can compete with the best in the NFL, winning the division and a playoff game last season, and he should do well with this year's roster.
Deshaun Watson was just trying to get his legs underneath him following his return from suspension last season, and it wasn't pretty -- to say the least. We saw flashes of on-field brilliance, though. With Watson having a full offseason to build more chemistry with his wide receivers in Kevin Stefanski's system, the Browns' offense should be much improved this fall. This group has sneaky promise, due to sheer talent and Watson's ability to make plays outside of the pocket. I expect we'll see a much different Watson in 2023 than the one we saw a year ago.
Justin Herbert has all the talent in the world, possessing a huge arm and (though the Chargers don't turn to it much) running ability. The knock on the highest-paid player in the league is this: He doesn't win. In his career, he's won 25 games and lost 25 games, including the outcome of his only playoff appearance to date, the Bolts' stunning collapse on Super Wild Card Weekend -- which was the last time we saw him in serious game action. He has to win to earn the recognition a player of his caliber deserves, and to be mentioned among the very top players at the position.
Fresh off signing a new contract, Lamar Jackson looks poised for a major bounce-back season; a lot of offseason moves have played in his favor. With Todd Monken (who was the wide receivers coach in Jacksonville from 2007 to 2010, when I was on the team) as Baltimore's new offensive coordinator and the pass-catching talent having been boosted around Jackson, the sky's the limit for the 2019 NFL MVP -- if he can stay healthy. Jackson missed 10 regular-season games over the past two seasons, plus last season's wild-card loss to the Bengals. When he's on, he's nearly untouchable, but Jackson's recent injury track record and underwhelming postseason resume (1-3 so far) put him at No. 5 here.
Jalen Hurts is special. He has an uncanny ability to almost always make the right play, and his significant improvement put the league on notice: He went 9-1 vs. teams above .500 (including the playoffs), and he led the team to the Super Bowl. The most promising area of growth was his production in the pass game, as he led the NFL in completion percentage (72.6), pass TD-to-INT ratio (20:4) and passer rating (111.8) from inside the pocket, per Next Gen Stats. He's become the full package, the kind of QB you want leading your team. If his phone's lock screen is any indication of his focus heading into 2023, the rest of the NFC and league might not stand a chance.
Allen has all the intangibles, leadership skills and competitiveness to lead the Buffalo Bills to their first Super Bowl title. He has the ability to take over games with his arm or legs; he's put up 130 offensive touchdowns since 2020, the most in the NFL in that span. Sometimes, though, he can try to do too much, and that's when he can get into turnover trouble. To win in January -- especially against the two guys ahead of him in this list -- he must limit the mistakes and get more help from the run game.
Joe Burrow has almost singlehandedly turned the Bengals franchise around over the past three seasons. Despite participating in just two postseasons so far (he missed the second half of his rookie season with a torn ACL), Burrow has compiled five career playoff wins, the fourth-most among active quarterbacks -- and the same number the entire franchise managed prior to his arrival. He's the only active QB to beat Patrick Mahomes in the postseason, too. Burrow's confidence and ability to stay calm in big moments and games make Cincinnati one of the most-feared teams in the loaded AFC. He's right about the team's Super Bowl window being open as long as he's around. This year should be no different -- even with him missing time in the preseason again, this time with a calf strain.
In what world is Patrick Mahomes not the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL right now? There's no discussion to be had. I could be here all day listing Mahomes' on-field production and accomplishments, but I'll just leave you with this: Mahomes is the only player in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls, Super Bowl MVPs and regular-season MVPs before turning 28 years old (which he will do this September).