NFC South QB rankings: Where does Baker Mayfield stand after NFL Draft?

Did the draft change what we already knew?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Last season, Baker Mayfield assured the rest of the league that he was far from finished, as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a playoff berth and set career highs in passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage.

Tampa Bay rewarded him with a new contract this offseason and also brought back his top target, Mike Evans, who was set to enter free agency.

With the NFL draft over a week in the past, now, how does Mayfield compare to the rest of his peers within the NFC South? Tampa Bay saw one new face arrive in the division, as Kirk Cousins came over from Minnesota. But, is Cousins good enough to take our top spot right away?

Where do NFC South quarterbacks sit in comparison to one another after the 2024 NFL Draft?

4. Bryce Young, CAR

There aren't any surprises to start, as Bryce Young enters Year 2 with quite a bit more help around him than he had as a rookie. First-round wide receiver Xavier Legette, second-round running back Jonathon Brooks and fourth-round tight end JaTavion Sanders should all help him tremendously. But, Young still has to take a step forward within his development. Can he do that?

3. Derek Carr, NO

Last year was a weird year for Derek Carr. We know he's a good quarterback, but was he victim of inconsistencies around him? Whether it was offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, who has since been fired, question marks on the offensive line or a lack of playmakers in the passing game, Carr didn't necessarily have a comfortable and stable surrounding in 2023. Taliese Fuaga should help in that area, but Carr still doesn't have the weapons fans would have liked to see the Saints end up with after the offseason.

2. Baker Mayfield, TB

Bucs fans will not be happy to see Baker Mayfield take the no. 2 spot, but it's difficult to put him ahead of Cousins purely based on one season of major success. Now, if we fast forward halfway through the 2024 campaign, there's no doubt Baker could find himself sitting atop these rankings. He has plenty to work with at his disposal.

Obviously, bringing back Mike Evans was crucial. But, the Bucs also spent draft capital on offensive lineman Graham Barton, wide receiver Jalen McMillan and running back Bucky Irving. Baker should be even more set up for success this coming season and, if all goes according to plan, he'll set new career highs for the second-straight year.

1. Kirk Cousins, ATL

Finally, it's hard to argue with placing Kirk Cousins number one on this list. Even though Mayfield had a career year in 2023, Cousins is far more established and, prior to his season-ending injury last year, he was pacing for another 4,000-plus passing yards and close to 40 passing touchdowns.

Now in Atlanta versus Minnesota, Cousins still has plenty of weaponry to work with in Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore and Bijan Robinson.

The real question, in Atlanta, is whether the arrival of first-round pick Michael Penix Jr. will influence the play of Cousins. If Kirk struggles, there will undoubtedly be a controversy -- and, in no time.