Best QB in the AFC North?

Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter of an AFC Divisional Round game at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With another season in the book, the torch appears to have officially been passed. Big Ben’s reign as one of the best QB’s in the league, and the best in the AFC North seems to be on the verge of collapse.

Each team has their franchise QB and, for the foreseeable future, other than Steelers. Who could very well select Ben’s successor come time April 29th.

Until then, let’s see if we can find out who the best QB in the AFC North was in 2020 and who could be for the next five to ten years.

Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

  • 3803 yards on 65.6 completion percentage
  • 33 passing touchdowns
  • 10 INT and 13 sacks
  • 12-3 overall record with 4 game-winning drives
  • 94.1 QB rating with a 69.0 overall grade

Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

  • 2688 yards with a 65.3 completion percentage
  • 13 passing and 3 rushing touchdowns
  • 5 INT and 32 sacks
  • 2-7-1 overall record with 0 GWD
  • 89.8 QB rating with a 75.1 overall grade

Baker Mayfield- Cleveland Browns

  • 3563 yards on a completion percentage of 62.8
  • 26 passing and 1 rushing touchdown
  • 8 INT and 26 sacks
  • 11-5 overall record with 2 GWD
  • 95.9 QB rating with a 81.6 overall grade

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens

  • 2757 yards, 64.4 completion percentage, and 1005 rushing yards
  • 26 passing and 7 rushing touchdowns
  • 9 INT and 29 sacks
  • 11-4 overall record, 1 GWD
  • 99.9 QB rating with a 81.5 overall grade

Best in 2020?

While Big Ben may have passed for the most yards and touchdowns, this is heavily inflated since the Steelers led the league in total passing attempts. The lack of balance in the run game, ranked 32 out of 32 in rushing attempts, also led to the vast amount of passing attempts. After grading as the 25th best QB, it appears Big Ben’s reign appears to be over.

Instead, this honor is split between former MVP, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield. Both had tremendous overall grades and excelled in a run-first offense. Overall, Lamar Jackson would probably get the nod here, simply due to his running ability. Rushing for 1000 yards is considered an outstanding season for an RB, let alone for a quarterback to do it.

Predicting the Best in 2021

This title belongs to Baker Mayfield. Coming off a bounce-back season, Baker is poised to take the next step in 2021. While the competition is tough with Jackson and Burrow, Baker might be able to cross into elite territory this upcoming season.

Give him an entire offseason with Stefanski combined with the return of OBJ; Baker could very well explode in 2020. The Browns could also add a dynamic playmaker in the upcoming draft, providing Baker with another deep threat.

The King of the North in 5 Years? 10?

This may be the promising trio of QBs in a single division. Former MVP, Lamar Jackson. Former first-overall pick Joe Burrow and former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield.

All three of them have careers on the upward trend. For Lamar Jackson, his growth as a passer hinges on the Ravens finding him a bona fide WR1. If they are able to, Lamar could very well develop into a top 3 passer in the league. In terms of his overall production, it rests on his ability to stay healthy. With his rushing ability, limiting the hits and staying on the field will be the key to his success.

As for Joe Burrow, there is no doubt he is one of the best pure passers in the division. His growth will also rest in the Bengals front office’s hands, assuming Burrow is fully recovered from his gruesome knee injury. Protecting Burrow and surrounding him with playmakers should be priority number one. The only limitation for Burrow is his offensive scheme he is a part of, as it has yet to be seen if Zac Taylor is indeed the next young minded offensive genius.

Overall, Lamar Jackson may be the best overall QB out of this bunch in five years (if he can stay healthy). Joe Burrow is a close second, and I still believe he could be the best pure passer out of the group. Baker should enjoy a long career as the Browns franchise QB. However, it seems unlikely he will win an MVP as Jackson has.

Extend it out to 10 years, and we may be looking at Burrow to be the cream of the crop. If the Bengals play their cards right and do everything they can to support Burrow, he could develop into a top QB in the league. The former Heisman Trophy winner has shown his ability to produce at a high level, during his final year at LSU. Whether that continues, will be up to the Bengals front office.