Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Nothing moves the needle in the NFL quite like quarterbacks. Why? They're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe! Is it impossible to win a championship without an "elite" signal-caller? No. But history tells us that it's much easier otherwise. So we're keeping tabs on all 32 starters throughout the 2024 season.

Which ones are the best of the best, as we stand here today, approaching the new year? And which ones could be in for trouble? All quarterbacks are partly a product of their situations, but this is how we'd sort today's signal-callers right now. These power rankings are obviously subject to drastic change once games actually get underway, as they're built to be based more on current standing than the bigger picture, in an effort to tell the story of each quarterback's respective rise and fall.

Now, without further ado, here's our first pecking order of the 2024 season:

2024 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
No reason to get cute here. Like that other figurehead of a recent dynasty, Mahomes has adapted according to circumstance, going from big-play striker to methodical sharpshooter in a Tom Brady-esque domination of the game. He is the current and indefinite standard at the position.
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
Let's give the kid the respect he deserves. Two seasons, two NFC title games, one valiant Super Bowl effort. Does he have a sterling setup in San Francisco? Yep. Does he operate like a 10-year vet, managing the pocket as both an efficient and mobile gunslinger? Also yep.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Allen was already a one-man roller-coaster ride, and things could get rockier in Buffalo with basically the whole receiving corps replaced. But he's a perennial MVP type due to the Superman skill set. If anyone can will a team to contend with a rocket arm and bruising legs, it's him.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
Injuries all but wiped out his 2023 season, so there's some projection of recovery here. But he's always thrived as a pocket surgeon, and he's still got top-tier weaponry to go with a bolstered front. Don't be shocked if his timely touch has Cincinnati right back in the title conversation.
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
The feel-good story of the 2023 quarterback class, Stroud was lights out as both a level-headed leader and downfield attacker in his pro debut. Now he's got Stefon Diggs added to a growing skill group, and a feistier defense on his side. Preseason MVP hype incoming.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
His return to elite form in 2023 ended with a relative whimper, but that doesn't change the fact he remains one of the league's toughest players to defend on a down-to-down basis. Dual-threat home runs are effortless to him. Derrick Henry should aid on the ground, too.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
In a tumultuous 2023 Eagles season, not even the notoriously even-keeled Hurts was immune to mercurial spurts. But his setup remains elite, as does his penchant for clutch toughness, and a fresh play-caller in Kellen Moore could rekindle aspirations of another title bid.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
The Cowboys are "all in" on pressuring him to perform, allowing the veteran to enter a contract year after another one-and-done playoff bid. But he's solid enough in every facet, with a still-solid supporting cast featuring CeeDee Lamb and a new left tackle, to find a spendy taker come 2025.
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
He's gotten flak recently for an inability to translate early career numbers into big-time wins. And now his supporting cast has been swapped out. But the arm is there, and new coach Jim Harbaugh should settle things down by prioritizing a tougher ground game.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
One of the most dazzling watches of late 2023, Love must prove he can rein in his inner Brett Favre as a gifted thrower, but one year into his gig as Green Bay's full-timer, he sure looks to have the moxie of a long-term playmaker. His young weapons are still growing, too.
Aaron Rodgers New York Jets QB
If he's upright, he may well remain a top-five player at the position, capable of maximizing the Jets ' playoff-caliber lineup. But there is a lot of mystery here; Rodgers isn't just 40 and coming off a season lost to a serious injury, but he arguably also hasn't posted elite marks in three years.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
On script and well protected, he's a video-game-like distributor for a high-octane offense. But what's the ceiling here, considering the Mike McDaniel regime is still searching for its first playoff victory? That remains a burning question entering Year 5 of his career.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Perhaps no signal-caller has done more to restore respect in recent years, rewriting his reputation as a gutsy figurehead for the Lions ' return to relevance. Now comes another chance to prove himself, fresh off a bid for a Super Bowl appearance that painfully fell short.
Kirk Cousins Atlanta Falcons QB
Under pressure to make good on his big free-agent deal after the Falcons ' surprise first-round pick of Michael Penix Jr. , Cousins adds much-needed reliability to an ascending Atlanta squad. Going on 36 and coming off an Achilles tear, he still projects as a steady play-action rifle.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
It's tough to find a more hot-and-cold starter of the last few seasons. Lawrence exhibits all the zeal and physical tools of a former No. 1 pick, but he's looking to cut down on forced throws and communication miscues with a remade receiving corps, now starring the speedster Gabe Davis .
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
We saw a good deal of the Super Bowl-style Stafford late in 2023, with the aging gunslinger rediscovering his trademark passing gusto. But we have to remember he's 36 with an injury history. The Rams are still in a weird middle ground of contending and restocking for the long haul.
Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns QB
Another year, another inevitable gamble from Cleveland, hoping that this time, finally, Watson will be healthy enough -- on and off the field -- to justify the team's investment. He flashed as a play-extending passer in 2023, but only in between abrupt and nagging injuries.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
His efficiency took a predictable dip after his Comeback Player of the Year breakout, and Sam Howell's arrival as the new No. 2 adds an interesting wrinkle under a new coaching staff. But Smith still has a lively arm and a well-rounded skill group, and his defense should be improved, too.
Russell Wilson Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Settling for a one-year, prove-it deal as one part of the Steelers ' quarterback makeover, Wilson's experience makes him a safe bet to open as QB1 over Justin Fields . He's also wired for an old-school, play-action-style offense like the one Arthur Smith is set to deploy.
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
The journeyman did a lot to boost his stock in 2023, which was not often pretty, but still made Tampa Bay a tough, scrappy out. Is he due for regression on a team with largely the same lineup? Perhaps. But he might still be enough to keep this club hanging in the wild-card race.
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
Marvin Harrison Jr . finally gives him a No. 1 target on the outside, and his late-2023 strides suggested he was settling in following injury rehab. But for all his athletic gifts, Murray's still looking to pin down consistency through the air, and Arizona remains in rebuild mode.
Will Levis Tennessee Titans QB
Here's your sleeper for a major breakout. Levis is rough and tumble, like an even more reckless version of Josh Allen . But the Titans prioritized immediate help for him up front and out wide, so he has a chance to stay healthier and put that ultra-toned arm to work in an open division.
Caleb Williams Chicago Bears QB
Any and every rookie is a projection, even the No. 1 overall pick. But Williams actually has a quality supporting cast out of the gate, unlike Justin Fields before him. Savvy vets like D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen should help take some of the load off as he debuts his heralded arm.
Anthony Richardson Indianapolis Colts QB
When healthy, he was a supersized fireworks show as a rookie, showcasing steady mobility and a huge arm. But he was banged up multiple times in just four games, rendering him a big unknown.
J.J. McCarthy Minnesota Vikings QB
Unlike Caleb Williams , McCarthy isn't even guaranteed to start in Week 1, with Sam Darnold also in tow. But he's got arguably the best situation of any rookie signal-caller, plopped into a Kevin O'Connell offense with Pro Bowl-level talent at every spot. He's got a path to immediate success.
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
Entering Year 11, Carr has proven he knows his way around a short-area offense. He also took a beating in his Saints debut. It's tough to forecast anything other than another wild-card flirtation.
Jacoby Brissett New England Patriots QB
It's possible Drake Maye , this year's No. 3 overall pick, could get the Week 1 nod. But Brissett knows the system, and what he lacks in eye-popping tools, he sometimes offsets with steadiness.
Jayden Daniels Washington Commanders QB
His pairing of electric mobility and a solid, veteran-littered supporting cast may well mean an easier transition to the NFL than fellow rookies. But his wiry frame has also yet to endure an NFL snap.
Gardner Minshew Las Vegas Raiders QB
Aidan O'Connell will also get a legit crack to retain QB1 duties after a decent interim stint in 2023. Minshew has been serviceable more than special, but he's got proven spunk and mobility.
Bo Nix Denver Broncos QB
Sean Payton and Co. are talking up Nix's NFL-readiness after a conservative, but effective run at Oregon. He's actually got a decent setup in Denver, all things considered. But only time will tell.
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
It'll be hard for Young, last year's No. 1 pick, not to take a step forward after an often-hapless debut. New coach Dave Canales should help, along with a refreshed receiving corps.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
The Giants reportedly dabbled with replacing their rehabbing investment, whose ball-security issues returned behind a porous line in 2023. Perhaps Malik Nabers can restore his fortunes.