Best QBs of the 2023 NFL Preseason
The 2023 NFL preseason is officially complete, concluding three weeks of exhibition football. With a number of high-profile quarterbacks selected early in this year’s NFL Draft, the preseason provided these young players with a valuable opportunity to showcase their talents on the gridiron. There are also a number of big-name quarterbacks playing for new teams this year and getting reps in the preseason allows them to build familiarity with their new teammates.
The NFL preseason has benefits for those who enjoy betting on NFL football, as well. These exhibition matches can serve as a sneak peek for what to expect during the course of the regular season. With that in mind, this article will take a look at the top performing quarterbacks from this year’s preseason. We’ll examine their preseason stats and examine how their performance positions them for the start of the NFL season. From rookies fighting for their place to veterans cementing their legacies, the 2023 NFL preseason had it all!
Jordan Love – Green Bay Packers
After spending the last two years on the bench waiting for his opportunity, Jordan Love is now the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. The former first-round pick has big shoes to fill but managed to alleviate any concerns among Cheeseheads with a stellar preseason performance. Love started all 3 exhibition games for the Packers, going for a combined 21 of 33 for 293 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Finally entrenched as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, Love’s preseason success may just translate into regular season success for the Packers.
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Bryce Young – Carolina Panthers
As the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, all eyes have been on Bryce Young this preseason. The latest franchise quarterback of the Carolina Panthers is eager to make his mark on the league and prove the doubters wrong. While his preseason stats aren’t all that impressive (14 of 24 for 129 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs), Young still managed to accomplish his goal – secure the starting quarterback job in Carolina. Having beaten out NFL veteran Andy Dalton, Young is now poised to lead this young team forward into the future and could have a shot at winning this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Sam Darnold – San Francisco 49ers
Following a disappointing two-year stint with the Panthers, Darnold signed a 1-year, $4.5 million deal with the 49ers this offseason. Although it appears Brock Purdy remains locked in as San Francisco’s starting quarterback this year, Darnold looked more than capable throughout this NFL preseason schedule and managed a 100.8 QB Rating over 3 exhibition appearances. The 49ers seemed to have taken notice, as they decided to ship QB Trey Lance off to Dallas in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, leaving Darnold as the clear backup for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
Aidan O’Connell – Las Vegas Raiders
One of the best parts about the NFL preseason is getting to see relatively unknown players shine. That was certainly the case with Aidan O’Connell, who’s listed as the third-string quarterback on the Las Vegas Raiders’ depth chart. O’Connell was a 4th-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and will likely remain behind Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer this year, but that didn’t stop him from showing out during the preseason. The young QB went 43 of 62 for 482 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs, putting up the league’s best QB Rating at 108.4.
Aaron Rodgers – New York Jets
Ever since emerging from a dark cave this off-season and announcing his intentions to join the New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers has been in the spotlight. From newspaper headlines to HBO’s Hard Knocks, it seemed like nearly everyone was dying for a glimpse of Rodgers in a Jets uniform. The four-time NFL MVP hadn’t taken a single snap of preseason football since 2015, but he indulged his new head coach by starting New York’s third and final exhibition match. While he only played the game’s first two drives, he appeared to be in complete control of the offense and connected with WR Garrett Wilson for a touchdown. Let the New York Jets hype train continue!
Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh Steelers
If you’re looking for a young passer to take a big step forward this season, look no further than Pittsburgh’s Kenny Picket. Coming off a relatively modest rookie campaign, Pickett has an abundance of offensive weapons to work with and is poised for a break out year as the Steelers’ starting quarterback. The NFL sophomore has more than lived up to those expectations during the preseason, going an impressive 13 of 15 for 199 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Playing alongside talented receivers like George Pickers and Diontae Johnson, this hot start may be a sign of things to come.
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Sam Howell – Washington Commanders
The Commanders’ quarterback competition was seemingly over before it even started, with Washington head coach Ron Rivera announcing that Sam Howell had won the starting job halfway through the NFL preseason. Howell appeared in just two exhibition games but looked to be in complete control of the offense, going 28 of 37 for 265 yards and 3 TDs with 0 INTs and beating out NFL veteran Jacoby Brissett along the way. If he can replicate that type of performance during the regular season, he should have no trouble helping the Commanders exceed their Over/Under Win Total for the year.
Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars
He may not be a rookie and he’s certainly not fighting for a starting job, but this year’s NFL preseason was definitely important for Trevor Lawrence. For starters, the Jaguars quarterback is hoping to build off their Wild Card victory during last season’s NFL Playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, Lawrence used the pre-season to build chemistry with his newest playmaker, WR Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for all of last season. The end result was an efficient 13 of 16 for 128 yards and a touchdown in two brief appearances by Lawrence, while looking particularly explosive with Jacksonville’s latest receiving threat.