As we approach the halfway point of the 2021 NFL season, we've decided to refresh our countdown of the best quarterbacks in the league -- or at least the top 10.
Before we get to our countdown, here are a few notes of what went into creating this list:
- While this list took into account what's happened to this point in the season, 2021's first six weeks were hardly the only thing considered here. The idea is to take what we've seen so far in 2021 and prior to that to make an accurate assessment of what's to come.
- As Deshaun Watson's legal situation continues to play out, the 26-year-old was not considered for this list, just as he wasn't before the year. Just in terms of his talent, he's certainly deserving of being in the top 10. But we don't know when Watson will play next, or who it will be for.
- Russell Wilson -- ranked at No. 4 on our preseason countdown -- is currently out indefinitely after having surgery on his right middle finger. It will be interesting to see if the seven-time Pro Bowler is still playing for the Seattle Seahawks the next time we update this list.
With all that acknowledged, here are the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL right now:
10. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Preseason Ranking: 15
Carr had built an excellent rapport with Jon Gruden before his resignation, but was equally impressive in his first game with Greg Olson calling plays this past Sunday. For virtually all of Gruden's tenure, it felt like a matter of when they moved on from Carr, not if. As it turned out, Carr outlived Gruden in the Raiders organization, and there's no reason to believe that the 30-year-old couldn't be the organization's quarterback for the better part of the next decade.
9. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Preseason Ranking: 10
At the time of publication, Brady -- in his age-44 season -- leads the NFL in completions, pass attempts, passing yards and yards per game. His arm strength has shown no signs of declining, as it did with other legends like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning much earlier. At this point, we're not going to bet against him still being on this list in five years.
8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Preseason Ranking: 9
The way Prescott has started the season, you'd hardly know that the 28-year-old is just over a year removed from a devastating ankle injury. In an offense loaded with skill-position talent, Prescott has 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions through his first six games of 2021. He's going to coast to the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award, and could very well factor into the MVP race.
7. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Preseason Ranking: 6
For as impressive as Joe Burrow has been, if you could go back and re-do the 2020 NFL Draft, not only would Herbert be taken above Tua Tagovailoa, but he may very well be the top overall pick. There's not a throw on the field that Herbert can't make, and he's seemingly helped the Chargers to move past a years-long culture of consistently losing games later in the fourth quarter.