The NFL's 2021 All-Pro teams were released on Friday and, once again, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were recognized as the top league's quarterbacks. Much like Brady and Peyton Manning did for years, both Rodgers and Brady have been at the top of their game for so long, it has left little room for anyone new to be recognized. But that could change in a few years.
In a few years, Brady and Rodgers are both likely to have retired. At that point, new blood will litter lists of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. With that in mind, here's our projection of the top seven quarterbacks in the league in 2025.
7. Bryce Young
Sure this is a big-time projection but it's hard not to be impressed with what Young did during his first season as Alabama's starting quarterback. Not only did the former five-star recruit put up ridiculous numbers and lead the Crimson Tide to the national title game, he also won the damn Heisman Trophy. Young finished the year completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 4,872 yards, averaged 8.9 yards per attempt and posted 47 touchdowns against seven interceptions. His QBR of 87.6 was second in college football.
Young will only get better and has the inside track to be the top pick in what should be a loaded 2023 NFL Draft. While he's a little undersized at 6-feet and 194 pounds, he can move in the pocket to avoid pressure, is incredibly accurate and has the arm to make every throw. His instincts are impeccable and he could be the next Russell Wilson-type to enter the league.
I expect big things from him as he matures and fully believe he'll have a smooth transition to the NFL. He'll be 24 in 2025 and likely in his third NFL season.
6. Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence's rookie season was straight awful, but much of that was out of his control. Urban Meyer's very public meltdown cast a shadow over everyone associated with the Jacksonville Jaguars and dragged the team down. The No. 1 pick from the 2021 draft ended the season on a high note, completing 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns as the Jags booted the Indianapolis Colts from the playoffs with a 26-11 win. It was a ray of sunshine on an otherwise awful season.
Lawrence has every tool in his bag, he just needs more around him. The Jaguars have the No. 1 pick again this year, plus a ton of cap space to find him help. If they nail their head coaching hire, Lawrence's career could ascend quickly. He's too talented not to wind up being a successful NFL quarterback.
The Clemson product will turn 26 in 2025, so he should be at the start of his prime.
5. Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott's return from a devastating ankle injury has gone as smoothly as possible. The Dallas Cowboys have the NFL's best offense and a 12-5 record this season and that's largely due to the team's franchise quarterback. Prescott has proven that the massive contract extension he received before the season was absolutely worth it.
Prescott completed 68.8 percent of his passes this season for 4,449 yards, with 37 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. His passer rating of 104.2 ranked third in the league, while his QBR of 54.9 ranked ninth.
Dak will be 32 in 2025, so he'll still be right in the middle of his prime. The Cowboys are almost certain to keep Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb around him, which should make his path staying elite much easier.
4. Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray has already become one of the NFL's most dynamic players. The top pick from the 2019 NFL Draft has lived up to that selection despite being undersized. He put up some great numbers this season but there's clearly more for him to unlock. In 14 games, he threw for 3,787 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He notched career-bests in completion percentage (69.2), yards per attempt (7.9) and passer rating (100.6), while ranking seventh in QBR (56.8). He also ran for an additional 423 yards and five touchdowns.
Despite only being 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, Murray fits Kliff Kingsbury's system perfectly. He is incredibly accurate and has an absolute cannon when he needs to uncork one. He's only 24 and already on the verge of perennial MVP contention.
Murray will be 28 and in the middle of his prime in 2025. He's already a two-time Pro Bowler and constantly improving. He'll be among the NFL's best by that time.
3. Justin Herbert
There's not much you can say about Justin Herbert that hasn't already been said. The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback is immensely talented and puts that on display almost every week. He has a huge arm and can make throws few people on the planet can match. He has the ability to keep plays alive with his legs and is willing to fit balls into windows most quarterbacks wouldn't even consider.
This season Herbert finished second in passing yards (5,014), third in touchdowns (38) and third in QBR (66.1). He did throw too many interceptions (15) and his accuracy escaped him at times (he finished below 61 percent in six games), but he's only going to get better.
The only thing that can hold Herbert back is the franchise around him. The Chargers have to continue to surround him with playmakers and protection. He'll be 27 in 2025 and should have an enormous contract as he enters the middle of his prime.
2. Joe Burrow
The Joe Burrow/Justin Herbert debate will rage for years as both draft classmates look like elite quarterbacks. I've given the nod to Burrow here after he took his team to a division title in his second season after playing fewer games than Herbert. Burrow was brilliant in 2021, leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.4), and yards per attempt (8.9), finished second in passer rating (108.3), and sixth in passing yards (4,611), while throwing for 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He put those numbers up despite sitting out the season finale.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a good one. If they can find a way to protect him by finally addressing their offensive line woes, the sky is the limit. Burrow was sacked a league-high 51 times. That can't continue. If Burrow stays upright he might be the next Tom Brady.
Burrow will be 29 in 2025, smack in the middle of his prime. I expect him to be a consistent MVP candidate at that point.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Come on, like anyone else was going to occupy this spot. In what was a shaky season at times, Patrick Mahomes was absolutely elite and barely out of the MVP conversation. Oh, and led his team to a 12-5 record and a division title.
In a "down" year, Mahomes finished fourth in passing yards (4,839), fourth in touchdown passes (37) and fifth in QBR (62.6). He needs to cut down on interceptions (13), his yards per attempt were too low (7.4) and he was 17th in completion percentage (66.3). But he hit a groove in his final five games, completing 70.6 percent of his passes for 1,455 yards, with 11 touchdowns and one interception. Every NFL team would swap their quarterback for Mahomes right now.
At 26, Mahomes is still on track to be one of the five greatest quarterbacks of all-time and that won't change any time soon. The Chiefs need to continue surrounding him with playmaking talent despite drafting at the back end of the first round, but few players in the NFL make the guys around them better than Mahomes does.
Given his size, otherworldly arm strength and playmaking ability, Mahomes' prime will last a long time. In 2025, he'll be 30, and still in top form.