Ranking the AFC North quarterbacks in 2024: How does Russell Wilson stack up?

Where does Russell Wilson rank among starting quarterbacks in the AFC North ahead of the 2024 season?
Russell Wilson is the newest addition to a stacked 2024 AFC North quarterback room.
Russell Wilson is the newest addition to a stacked 2024 AFC North quarterback room. / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

For the third season in a row, the Steelers will be starting a new quarterback in Week 1. It was Mitch Trubisky two years ago, and Kenny Pickett last year with all signs pointing towards it being Russell Wilson this year (even though Justin Fields may have something to say about that).

The AFC North is one of the deepest divisions in the entire league and the quarterbacks are no different. There's a lot of pedigree and production from the 2024 AFC North quarterbacks, so where does Wilson find himself in this ranking?

4. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

I've said it before and I'll say it again here: Deshaun Watson is one of the most overrated players in the entire league. Putting aside the fact that he probably shouldn't be playing in the NFL ever again because of severe off-the-field allegations against him, Watson's on-field play the last few years has been bad.

Since arriving in Cleveland 2 years ago, Watson has only played in 12 games, compiling 2,217 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions while completing 59.8% of his passes.

For comparison, Kenny Pickett started 12 games last year for the Steelers and put up 2,070 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions while completing 62% of his passes. When your numbers are comparable to Pickett's numbers, it doesn't bode well.

Watson is in an offense with a lot of talent and has still struggled to put up good numbers. He's being paid a lot of money and Cleveland could be facing a difficult decision next offseason if Watson struggles again in the 2024 season.

3. Russell Wilson, Pittsburgh Steelers

I know I'll get some flack for ranking Wilson ahead of Watson, but he was a better quarterback last season in a much worse offense.

Wilson's time in Denver didn't go the way anyone hoped for as bad coaching decisions, poor roster construction, and some underperformance from Wilson led to more losing than winning. The 2023 season wasn't a bad one all things considered for Wilson.

He completed 66.4% of his passes for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in 15 games. The knock on Wilson was his unwillingness to take deep shots and while that is a fair knock, the Steelers will definitely take those numbers Wilson put up last season over any of the quarterback play they've gotten the past 2 seasons.

Wilson is a Super Bowl champion and a veteran who knows what it takes to win. If he can be a good teammate off the field, he's got the talent on the field to do some damage in Pittsburgh. I think he's better than Watson right now and that's why he's number 3 on this list.

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Don't make any mistake, Joe Burrow is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His not being number one on this list is a combination of his injury history and how great the number one quarterback was last season.

Burrow only played in 10 games last season due to a wrist injury, but still completed 66.8% of his passes for 2,309 yards with a 15/6 touchdown to interception ratio. During his first four years with the Bengals, Burrow has played the entire season twice and played in 10 games twice (he missed time in his rookie season as well).

When on the field, Burrow is one of the best in the game. He's gone toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes multiple times and come out on top and he even led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance.

Burrow has the talent to be number one on this list, but a concerning injury history leaves me to have to put him at number 2. He could easily jump to number 1 with a great 2024 season.

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson is an interesting case.

On one hand, he's a two-time league MVP after taking home the award last season. Jackson compiled a 67.2% completion percentage for 3,678 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions while also adding a ridiculous 821 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.

Jackson can do things on a football field that very few if any, other players can. His mobility and rushing ability make him a threat every time he receives the snap. The question with Jackson has been his ability to consistently beat defense with his arm and while his passing numbers were good during the regular season, it was another postseason disappointment for Jackson.

Losing to the Chiefs in the AFC championship game wasn't the problem. Only putting up 10 points is. Jackson wasn't bad in that game, going 20-37 for 272 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception while adding 54 rushing yards. But once again, he wasn't good enough to get the Ravens over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

There's no denying the talent of Lamar Jackson, but he's going to have to start performing in the playoffs to take the next step into stardom.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.