Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Quarterbacks. We love them. We debate them. And we do it all because, at the end of the day, they're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe. It's possible to win it all without an elite signal-caller, but history shows it's much easier otherwise. So with that in mind, we're keeping tabs on all 32 starters throughout the 2023 season.

Which ones are the best of the best? And which ones could be nearing a demotion? All QBs are at least partly a product of their respective situations, which means the gap between most mid-tier starters can be razor thin. But this is how we'd sort today's passers from best to worst, factoring in both past production, present status and future outlook for the 2023 campaign:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Not much to say here other than Mahomes is essentially preparing to pad a Hall of Fame resume going on just 28 years old. In four of his five seasons as a starter, he's cleared 4,000 yards, 35 TDs and a 105.0 QB rating. He's a magician.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
Durability is an underrated X-factor as he once again returns from injury behind a shuffling O-line, but if he's on the field, you're not gonna find a better total package in the pocket, the way he delivers touch throws to an elite receiving duo.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
His never-say-die physicality may need to be reined in to ensure he stays on the field. But Hurts has grown as a passer every year (he's still underrated as a downfield attacker), and there may not be a more trustworthy leader at the position.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
He has 80 turnovers in 77 career games, which speaks to his risk-taking. Fortunately, his supersized arm and frame allow him to cash in more often than not, making him the best big-play artist at the position this side of Patrick Mahomes.
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
Gaudy numbers have translated to only middling results for Herbert's teams through three seasons, but that's more an indictment of his staff. Possessing all the tools, he could finally be ready to air it out under new coordinator Kellen Moore.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
We're talking about a Justin Herbert-level arm here, with Lawrence showcasing No. 1-pick juice on tight-window targets during his emergence under Doug Pederson. Entering Year 3, he's a clear breakout candidate after a gutsy playoff debut.
Aaron Rodgers New York Jets QB
Like Tom Brady in 2020, the aging future Hall of Famer should benefit from fresh scenery on a team built to meet his every desire. MVP or not, he's still got a wealth of experience as a standard-setting precision passer. Just pray for his O-line.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Four years after winning MVP, Jackson still feels like something of a projection due to injury-riddled absences and inconsistent growth as a passer. But his crunch-time electricity is unmatched, and his new offense could lessen the burden.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Dallas' surprise trade for Trey Lance quietly sets the stage for a pivotal chapter in Prescott's journey. While a steady hand who does everything well, he's missed extended time twice in recent years. He's also still seeking a defining late-year run.
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
Mr. Consistent, he's the biggest reason the Vikings straddle the playoff line, for better and worse. While lacking signature big-game wins, he's never bottomed out, prompting a total reset. If it's on-script production you want, look no further.
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
His sample size is small (only eight starts, if you remove the abbreviated NFC title game), and he plays in a QB-friendly system. But he was undeniably poised even as a downfield play-extender as a rookie. Everyone raves about his intangibles.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
As a timing-based gunslinger in Mike McDaniel's offense, Tua flashed top-10 stuff early in 2022. But his own sample size as an above-average starter is small, and the concerning medical track record can't be overstated. He's a true wild card.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Funny how quickly he went from "salary dump" in the Matthew Stafford trade to legit Stafford successor. Goff remains more dependent on circumstances than most, but that's most of the QBs outside the top 10. He still zips a pretty ball.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
His long run as a backup suggests we should be wary of crowning his 2022 breakout as the new norm, but he was both decisive and explosive in his passing (30 TDs doesn't often happen by accident), and he's got even more weapons now.
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
Athletically, Fields has everything he needs to join the top 10, flashing Lamar Jackson-level scrambling prowess in 2022. His setup is also improved. But is it improved enough, along with his decision-making? Those are still to be answered.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Jones rewrote the trajectory of his career in a single, turnover-averse season under Brian Daboll, emitting top-tier poise and mobility down the stretch. But he's still looking for a sustainable leap as a downfield passer alongside new outlets.
Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns QB
Once destined to spar with the Mahomes and Allens of the world, the ex-Texans star hasn't been a productive starter in three years, since before his off-field drama clouded his image. Can he rediscover the calm aura that fueled his initial rise?
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
Throw him back into an all-star lineup, as he enjoyed during his title-winning Rams debut, and he'd probably fare OK. But Stafford leans so much on his big arm that things are much rockier when the supporting pieces are in shambles.
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
It wouldn't be a stretch to call him a more rugged version of Kirk Cousins. He's always internally well-liked, outwardly gutsy and capable of efficient stretches. But the late-year hiccups are what resonate. Leaving the Raiders could be a spark.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
If there's one unproven youngster we expect to vault up the ranks, it might be Love, who's showcased both touch and firepower in the few times he's seen the field. With a young supporting cast post-Aaron Rodgers, he may need patience.
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
If anyone can revive the Russ of old, recapturing the longtime Seahawks QB's comfort as a play-action star, it might be new Broncos coach Sean Payton. Until then, it's hard to overlook Wilson's descent as an elusive and confident signal-caller.
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
The Panthers' preseason was a red flag, highlighting the makeshift nature of their O-line and WR corps. But Young has the requisite football IQ -- an innate feel for the game -- to grow from adversity as their new face of the franchise.
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
If the close of his rookie season is any indication, the 2022 first-rounder is due for a sizable leap with an underrated (and physical) supporting cast. What he lacks in eye-popping physical tools, he seems to make up for with crunch-time fight.
Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders QB
We know from his 49ers days he's more than capable of captaining a playoff-caliber roster. But Garoppolo has played a full season just once in nearly a decade of NFL service. Rookie reserve Aidan O'Connell is a name to watch in Vegas.
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
After this many years, Tannehill knows where to go with the ball, and how to get it there. But at 35, on a team halfway committed to a rebuild, he registers more like a placeholder than a difference-maker. Derrick Henry remains their offense.
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
As is the case with fellow first-rounder Bryce Young, you wonder if Stroud has enough support to stay upright, let alone productive, in his debut as QB1. But the rookie's got veteran-level arm talent inside the pocket, which isn't nothing.
Anthony Richardson Indianapolis Colts QB
The preseason all but reiterated the scouting reports on Richardson: the Florida product is unpolished through the air, but his traits are truly dynamic. Even if his mechanics require growth, his supersized athleticism should keep Indy interesting.
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
He's got a single Week 18 start under his belt, and historically, fifth-round QBs do not last as first-teamers. But Howell's gutsy nature could be a fit under new coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and his downfield targets are equally intriguing.
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
Believe it or not, this is only Year 6 for Mayfield, who's now on his fourth team since the start of the 2022 offseason. You always love his moxie, and Tampa Bay's veteran WRs should help. But forced throws have plagued him for a while.
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
The Patriots are going light at backup QB despite Jones' second-year regression in 2022. Perhaps new coordinator Bill O'Brien will help. But even in an old-school, ground-and-pound offense, he's been streaky rather than steady.
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
Arthur Smith may run the ball so often that Ridder barely needs to use his arm to keep Atlanta in the NFC South mix. But the 2022 third-rounder didn't overtake Marcus Mariota until late in his rookie year, and after four starts, he's still an unknown.
Joshua Dobbs Arizona Cardinals QB
Rookie Clayton Tune could also start for Arizona while Kyler Murray recovers from his 2022 ACL tear. Either way, the Cards seem to have an eye on the 2024 draft. Dobbs is a fine No. 2, but he's gone 0-2 as a fill-in over six NFL seasons.