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2022 NFL preview: Ranking the NFC North quarterbacks

In the first part of our NFC North position preview, we take a look at the quarterbacks.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Love it or hate it, but the NFC North is a hill the Detroit Lions must conquer if they want to become a championship-caliber team. Detroit has failed to capture the division title since 1993. The division has instead been dominated by the Green Bay Packers with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears sprinkling in a few division crowns.

Six divisional games per season is a sizeable portion of a team’s schedule, so it is only fair to examine the opponents Detroit will face in 2022. There is no better place to start than quarterback. Arguably the most important position in football, the NFC North has a balance of experience, skill, potential, and risk.

In this series, we will rank the NFL North teams by talent at each positional group. The rankings will take into account the talent of the starter(s) and backup(s). Depth is obviously important, as are special teams, but more weight will be placed on starting ability. Given that depth charts are still up in the air, the players will be listed alphabetically. However, the obvious or likely starters will be noted, as well as any position battles to watch for.

With the prelude out of the way, let’s get started.

1. Green Bay Packers

Danny Etling, Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers

Despite their postseason collapse, the Packers are still a force to be reckoned with thanks to the presence of Aaron Rodgers. Winner of back-to-back MVP awards, Rodgers has aged like fine wine on the field. Barring Father Time coming out of nowhere, Rodgers looks primed for another solid season—albeit without his favorite target. Jordan Love has looked like a wasted pick so far, and with Rodgers still playing at a high level, it’s unknown when, where, or if Love will step into a starting role.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond

Kirk Cousins may forever teeter on the edge of good quarterback and overpaid quarterback. I’m inclined to give him the positive spin, as he has put together some quality campaigns in recent years—his 2021 PFF grade of 88.2 was his highest to date. There will be debates about his “clutch” factor, and while I think he’s not a top-10 quarterback, you could do far worse than him. As for backups, Kellen Mond has the highest ceiling, but he’s still a project. In 2021, it was Sean Mannion that started in relief for Cousins, but he lacks the tools to be more than a fringe backup.

3. Detroit Lions

David Blough, Tim Boyle, Jared Goff

It was a tale of two halves for the 2021 Detroit Lions. To start the season, the offense led by Jared Goff was abysmal. However, once Dan Campbell took over playcalling duties, the offense drastically improved. They were still below-average, but that was a drastic improvement from their inept early week performances. Goff is far removed from his Super Bowl-caliber season, but there were shades of it against the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers and the final game-winning drive against the Minnesota Vikings. The backup position remains a major issue, however, with neither Blough nor Boyle looking like capable replacements.

4. Chicago Bears

Justin Fields, Nathan Peterman, Trevor Siemian

If we were going purely on potential, Justin Fields would be among the top at his position. Sadly—or not sadly for Lions fans—Fields has not yet proven to be a capable NFL quarterback. The flashes with his arm and legs were there at times, but the decision making that was his major flaw in college haunted him through his rookie season. While this is a ranking of just the quarterbacks, it must be noted that the Bears offense is depleted of talent that Fields desperately needs. Not all rookies hit the ground running like Justin Herbert, but Fields really needs to shake the bad habits he developed in his rookie season. On the bright side, Trevor Siemian is a decent backup, though I’m not sure why Nathan Peterman is still on an NFL roster.


Where do the Lions rank in the division at QB?

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