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 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, but this is how we'd sort today's signal-callers right now. These power rankings, unlike offseason QB lists, are focused more on current standing than the bigger picture in an effort to tell the story of QBs' respective rises and falls.

Without further ado, the latest pecking order:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
The QB standard-bearer has endured a particularly uneven start to 2023, lackadaisically tossing a pair of picks vs. the Jets in Week 4. But there is never a doubt he'll come through in the end. Even "off," he's tied for third in TD passes (8).
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Josh Allen outdueled him in their first battle of 2023. But Tua has been steadier since the jump, propelling Miami's electric attack with MVP-level pocket presence and downfield touch. No one's averaging more yards per attempt (9.6) so far.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
His rugged dynamism will cost you some games, but more often than not, it'll win you them, as evidenced by his shellacking of the Dolphins. Despite a bumpy start, he's tied for the most combined TDs (11) among all QBs. He's a big-play machine. (+6)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
Same old: If it weren't for the Chargers' curious coaching and constant close games, Herbert would be drawing MVP buzz. He's been as accurate as ever spreading the ball around even without some top weapons. Only one turnover, too.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
As usual, his supporting cast is all kinds of banged up. But it hasn't fazed Jackson as either a runner or passer. His aerial efficiency is quietly way up, and he remains a near-unstoppable force on the ground in the red zone. (+2)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
This kid deserves more credit. Skeptics pointed to his small sample size as an improbably poised rookie. But he's still slinging it with the same cool confidence for Kyle Shanahan's 4-0 contender. No QB boasts a higher passer rating. (-1)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
It's been a weird year for the 2022 MVP runner-up. He's yet to play a complete game, looking a half-step slow sometimes. But his late-game reliability as both a short-yardage runner and deep-ball thrower is a big reason the Eagles are 4-0. (+4)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
Puka Nacua and Bijan Robinson have been great, but this might be your Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite. Stroud has elevated Houston's rebuilding lineup with tremendous ball placement as one of this year's top pure pocket passers. (+2)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
He's now gone three straight games in which he's had to rebound from his own ugly interception. But Goff's had greater resilience than he did with the Rams, chipping away at opponents with top-10 accuracy (69.5%) and efficiency (7.9 YPA). (-1)
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
Go figure: After leading the NFL in TD passes during the Vikings' 0-3 start, Cousins had his worst performance in Minnesota's first win of the year. All in all, he's been himself: tough, accurate, but susceptible to ill-timed giveaways. (-4)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Of the top QBs, Prescott has arguably been asked to do the least, thanks to Dallas' suffocating defense leading the way. But he's done his job anyway, controlling the ball with quick reads and wisely feeding CeeDee Lamb when it matters. (+1)
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
Things still haven't exploded the way many anticipated after his hot finish to 2022, but some of that can be attributed to his still-developing chemistry with Calvin Ridley. Talent has never been the issue here; it's structure, strategy and execution. (+2)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
Give this man some Comeback Player of the Year consideration. Mayfield was slowed by the Eagles in Week 4, but he didn't hang his head against an equally tough Saints "D," instead outdoing Derek Carr for another gritty, ball-control victory. (+3)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
The Broncos have yet to ease blood pressure in the Denver area, but Wilson has clearly turned a corner since his lifeless 2022. You'd still like more consistency, but his deep ball is back, and his passer rating (106.7) is third best among starters. (+1)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
Four games in, it's getting hard to call his 2022 breakout a fluke. He still looks composed in the pocket and zippy with his throws, guiding a 3-1 start. The one hiccup is he's yet to produce a complete game, even against teams like the Giants. (-2)
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
It's been almost all or nothing with Aaron Rodgers' successor. When he's on, everything looks oh-so-smooth, from the scrambles to the effortless downfield lofts. But his league-worst completion percentage (56.1) speaks to the unpredictability. (-13)
Anthony Richardson Indianapolis Colts QB
The Colts are asking the rookie to throw less than any other QB, which makes sense considering his backyard-style gunslinging. But he's been so good with his legs, scrambling for four scores in three games, that Indy's stayed feisty.
Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns QB
Talk about a roller coaster of a year. In four weeks, he's gone from serviceable to sloppy to good to abruptly injured. Watson still has the tools to own a pocket, but as Year 2 in Cleveland trudges on, the consistency just hasn't been there. (-1)
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
The numbers aren't clean, but behind a line that's surrendered the most sacks of any team, Howell has looked like much more than a 2022 fifth-rounder. Aside from the bad Bills game, he's willed Washington into contention with off-script effort. (+2)
Joshua Dobbs Arizona Cardinals QB
Written off as a placeholder for a tanking operation, Dobbs has instead looked like a legitimate starter, bringing underrated mobility and occasionally pinpoint accuracy to a spoiler of a Cardinals team, even against far superior defenses. (+2)
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
The Rams are hanging around more than expected in an unofficial rebuilding year, and Stafford still has an arm, thriving best when feeding Puka Nacua. But forced throws behind an iffy line remain an issue; he's got five picks in four games. (-2)
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
Everything seemed to click into place for Fields against the Broncos "D," as he finally rediscovered his ability to laser balls downfield. Then the fourth quarter came, and he turned it over twice. Crunch-time miscues keep overshadowing the traits. (+6)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
There's leaning on the defense, and then there's leaning on the defense. Carr is a gutsy fella and likable leader, but even with decent pass outlets, he's tended to play it safe and come up with little to show for it. It's been sluggish in New Orleans.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Jones still has one of the things that propelled his 2022 resurgence: steady scrambling ability. But when he's not risking his body to run, he struggles mightily to move the ball on a Giants team with poor protection and weapons. It's not pretty. (+1)
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
The Titans have stolen victories from the Chargers and Bengals this year, but their QB has been decidedly stale. No longer the athlete he once was, he's struggled to control the ball even in an old-school attack, with four picks in as many games. (+5)
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
The former first-rounder proved resilient in a couple of comeback attempts to open the year, but faced with a ferocious Dallas front in Week 4, it all fell apart. He is what he is: a passable pocket passer, but chiefly when his defense is winning. (-8)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
The No. 1 overall pick hasn't looked nearly as game-changing as his rookie QB counterparts in Houston and Indy. He's having a tough time pushing the ball in a preseason-caliber lineup. But the intangibles are there for long-term hope.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
Four weeks in, it's beyond time for the Bengals to question whether Burrow belongs under center, healthy calf of not. The big-money star has had almost none of his trademark confidence or touch while averaging just 4.8 yards per pass. (+1)
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
His fumble helped the Chiefs seal a tight Week 4 win, but only after he showcased elite zip on some tight-window throws to threaten a comeback. Wilson's never had consecutive "big games," but he's at least taken steps as the fill-in QB1. (+3)
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
He reportedly has a chance to suit up despite suffering a knee injury in Week 4. Mitchell Trubisky's mobility might honestly represent a slight upgrade for Pittsburgh's stagnant offense. Either way, the Steelers are offensively challenged. (-3)
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
We're officially on Taylor Heinicke Watch. The Falcons remain publicly committed to the 2022 third-rounder, but he's gotten progressively worse, even as Atlanta tries to mask him behind a big run game. Teammates are growing impatient. (-5)
Aidan O'Connell Las Vegas Raiders QB
With Jimmy Garoppolo still in concussion protocol, the rookie could be in for a second straight start after getting walloped by the Chargers' pass rush in his debut. He's a promising arm, but with little mobility, he's also tough to count on in Las Vegas.