In 2020, a record 10 Black quarterbacks started for NFL teams at the season’s open. That record will be bested this year, as a 11 Black pigskin passers are set to take the field as starters. This is a big deal. Not too long ago, Black QBs were few and far between, with coaches and front office folks believing some racist fallacy about them being too dumb to lead a team’s offense on the field.
So let’s take a moment to rejoice the fact that we’ve moved beyond the tokenized days of McNabb, Cunningham, and Vick (but not “past kneeling”—stay woke!). [Brief pause] Now that that’s out of the way, let’s size these quarterbacks up! Not by speed, arms, smarts, or anything athletic. The following scouting reports are strictly about swagger.
11. Jacoby Brissett (Cleveland Browns)
Look, Brissett seems like a really nice guy. But if you peep his IG, you can see he’s constantly rocking highwaters. I don’t think it’s on purpose, à la Tyler, the Creator. Can’t have your starting QB stepping out looking like a Pokémon trainer and giving teammates baked goods before games.
10. Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers)
He’s on TikTok—and not just lurking. You lose a lot of points for posting on TikTok.
9. Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)
If you squint and tilt your head, he kind of looks like Isaiah Rashad. So, that’s something.
8. Justin Fields (Chicago Bears)
A paid partnership with Walmart Fashion? Buddy looks like a character from 13 Reasons Why, here. Whatever. Go get your money, youngblood!
7. Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos)
The alleged way this man won Ciara over—by saying his beat-up wallet shows he’s consistent—is one the dumbest lines you could use. If you don’t have a Super Bowl ring, it’s not gonna work for you. Mr. Let’s Riiiide is a big ol’ cornball, but he seems like he’s having fun. And that shit is endearing, which is probably how he actually won Ciara over.
6. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Mahomes’ backyard style of play can only come from a man with swagger deep in his bones. He might be the most talented quarterback alive, but when he opens his mouth, he sounds like if Kermit the Frog were really into hunting.
5. Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints)
Most of these QBs are robotic in the public eye. They’re interchangeable and undistinguishable personalities. Jameis, however, is one of one. He’s a true character who is quotable to no end. This dude is like a sketch comedy version of what a quarterback from Alabama should be like. It’s not a mark of swagger to shove your hand inside your mouth to motivate your team—it’s actually very bizarre—but the uniqueness is.
4. Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
Full disclosure: I’m a Cowboys fan (i.e., a masochist), so in my eyes, Dakery has the swagger of 1,000 suns. Don’t like it? Make your own damn list. And work on that wobbly-ass football spiral while you’re at it.
3. Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles)
I gotta be fair: Jalen Hurts rocks a big chain and a hoop earring. I love the confidence and panache. Still hope them Eagles go 0-17, though.
2. Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)
Kyler Murray might pull off a fit better than anybody in the league—and he’s got the charisma of a quiet Cowboy. He’s electric when he’s playing but scampers like a toddler in trouble. If he didn’t run like that, he might just be sitting at the top of this list.
1. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
This guy is arguably one of the top five players in the league across all positions. Mans can become virtually unstoppable on the field, and he has an insurmountable amount of confidence off the field, rocking Gucci head to toe. He’s brash and honest, acts, looks, and plays like a superstar. Pretty damn good for a wide receiver!