AFC North Ranked: Top QBs in AFC North

AFC North Ranked: Top QBs in AFC North

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read
Top QBs in AFC North

The four teams that make up the AFC North all have their quarterbacks they feel good about. Half of them are former number one overall picks, one of them has won a league MVP award, and another is a veteran on his way to Canton once his career is done.

That being said, regardless of past accolades, here is a look at how all four quarterbacks stack up heading into the 2021 season.

4. Ben Roethlisberger - Steelers

After an injury-plagued 2019, Big Ben helped guide Pittsburgh to an 11-0 start in 2020. However, his play deteriorated late in the year, as did the success of the team, resulting in an early playoff exit to the Browns.

Now 39 years old, Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his Hall of Famer career. His most recent numbers on the surface are still solid, such as 33 touchdowns and over 3,800 yards in 2020. However, he can really only work out of the shotgun now thanks to limited mobility, and his 6.3 yards per attempt is well below his career average.

Held up against three young quarterbacks who are on the rise, the Steeler great and two-time champ is the worst of the division’s quarterbacks.

3. Joe Burrow - Bengals

Even with a season-ending injury that limited him to 10 starts, Burrow showed enough in his rookie year to convince the Bengals he’s the right man for the job. Now in year two, he has a chance to finish the year as one of the top two QBs within the AFC North.

Burrow finished last season with close to 2,700 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also being among the league’s best quarterbacks on medium-range throws. However, he struggled on deep balls, something that Cincy hopes new draft pick Ja’Marr Chase can help Burrow with this season.

The youngster gets the edge over Big Ben due to athleticism, down-the-field throwing, and overall potential, but still has some things to improve on before entering the conversation for the top spot on this list.

2. Baker Mayfield - Browns

After two up-and-down seasons, the 2018 first overall pick Mayfield broke out in a big way in 2020. His performance helped play a big role in Cleveland going 11-5 and nearly making it to the AFC Championship game.

Playing behind an elite offensive line and being surrounded by high-level talent helped Mayfield progress. While his 3,500+ passing yards was the lowest of his career, Baker threw for 26 touchdowns with a career-low eight interceptions. His play really took off just before the halfway point, as he was the second-highest-graded QB in the entire league from Week 7 onward according to Pro Football Focus.

Now 26 years old and playing with heightened expectations, Mayfield can continue to get better and truly become one of the game’s top passers. However, a former MVP is preventing him from being the top QB in the division.

1. Lamar Jackson - Ravens

Even if the numbers weren’t quite as strong as his MVP season from 2019, Jackson once again showed that his abilities as a playmaker make him the most dangerous QB in the AFC North. With Jackson under center, Baltimore went 11-5 and advanced to the Divisional Round before falling to the Bills.

Last season, Jackson finished with 26 passing touchdowns and a little under 2,800 yards, however, that goes along with his seven rushing touchdowns and another 1,000 yards, the second-straight year he was a thousand-yard rusher. One of his bigger knocks was interceptions though, as when he did have to pass a lot he threw nine picks, a career-high.

The modern quarterback has changed, as now you need to be able to have mobility in order to succeed. And even after a year that saw some regression, no one in the NFL is more of a dual-threat than Jackson, making him the top QB in the division heading into the new season.

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