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Colin Cowherd's top-12 NFL QBs, and what Jordan Love must do to crack the list

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The NFL offseason means it’s time for some teams to face big decisions regarding their respective quarterbacks. The Miami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa will reportedly discuss a contract extension heading into the final year of his rookie contract, while the Green Bay Packers face a similar dilemma after a breakout first season as a starting quarterback from Jordan Love

But neither quarterback cracks Colin Cowherd’s list of the top-12 signal-callers in the NFL currently — not even Love, despite his stellar performance in the second half of 2023 en route to a playoff upset of the Dallas Cowboys in January. Cowherd says he wants to see more from Love after defenses adjust to having a full season of film on the young Packers quarterback.

“There was about a nine to 10 week stretch where I thought Jordan love really popped,” Cowherd said. “I think a lot of it was [Packers head coach] Matt LaFleur. Let’s be honest, not a lot of great defenses in the NFC. The best defenses were in Kansas City and Baltimore and Buffalo. A lot of the best teams in the NFC, even the Niners defense, wasn’t as good. They played in the [NFC North where] the Lions defense stunk, Bears defense was better at the end but not great, Vikings defense was mediocre. Let’s look at the Packers schedule, let’s see who they play, let’s see the defenses. Everybody’s got film [on him now].”

Here’s Cowherd’s list of the current top quarterbacks in the NFL:

12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Cowherd’s thoughts: “[In the playoff loss to the Packers], Dak, the eight-year veteran, looked rattled and anxious and nervous and inaccurate. His ball placement was mostly awful. CeeDee Lamb could feel it. And he had the better O-line. He was at home. He had been in this situation before. He had a No. 1 receiver. If Jerry Jones wants to pay Dak like [Patrick] Mahomes, and he does, how good of a job is this? Dak’s cap hit next year is $59.5 million.”

11. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I think C.J. Stroud may pull back a little and I like him a lot. … Is it possible now that everybody has film, he becomes kind of a guy everybody targets?”

10. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets

Cowherd’s thoughts: “He’s got a bad O-line and coming off an Achilles surgery.”

9. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Cowherd’s thoughts: “You know I’m a huge fan of Kyler Murray.”

[Related: How Cardinals can make big leap: Pair Kyler Murray with Marvin Harrison Jr.]

8. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Cowherd’s thoughts: “He’s the most underrated player in the league.”

7. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I am a Trevor Lawrence fan. He was hurt last year, that’s why he regressed.”

6. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Cowherd’s thoughts: “Everyone I talk to in the league loves Herbert.”

5. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Cowherd’s thoughts: “He can be a tad reckless, but still great.”

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Cowherd’s thoughts: “He’s remarkable, but he hasn’t had the playoff success yet.”

3. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Cowherd’s thoughts: “His injuries concern me.”

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I think they’re both great, but Patrick’s better. Best players in the league.”

‘I still believe Joe Burrow is better than Patrick Mahomes.’

Honorable mention: Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers and Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Cowherd’s thoughts: “There’s two guys in the league that I think I see a remarkably high ceiling. But I don’t know Jalen Hurts and Jordan Love. Three years of Hurts [as a starter] — eh, great, eh. Is he great or was it [former Eagles offensive coordinator and now Colts head coach] Shane Steichen? I don’t know. … I think he’s good, but we may have just seen great coach, perfect fit for Jalen Hurts. I think Hurts and Love will get in the top 12, especially with the NFC not having great defenses.”

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