These signal-callers can knock over defenders, chuck 60-yard passes, absorb big hits, and dish out plenty of punishment.
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The Carolina Panthers signal caller has the rare combination of power, speed, strength, and agility that simply doesn’t exist at the quarterback position. Simply put, the dude looks like he was built in a lab. At 6’5” and 245 lbs, Newton is more like a linebacker than a QB, meaning he has no problems barrelling into (and through) defenders on the gridiron. Newton’s dynamic ability helped him win the 2015 NFL MVP Award and helped lead the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.
The Auburn Tigers product broke the single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback as a rookie and has rushed for at least 500 yards in each of his first five years in the NFL—basically rewriting what it means to be a mobile quarterback in the league. Sure, Newton is athletically gifted enough to compete in the Olympics—or any other sport he wants, for that matter—but for now it looks like it’ll be just football. And that's probably good enough.
The Seattle Seahawks star is small by quarterback standards—at 5'11” and 206 lbs, he spurred some doubts among NFL scouts who wondered if he could be a starter in the NFL—but what he lacks in size he makes up for in toughness, grit, and determination. Wilson set a record by winning 46 games over his first four seasons in the league and during that time he showed off how tough he is by not missing a single game for the Seahawks. The multi-sport athlete—Wilson was drafted twice by MLB teams—led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, including a win in Super Bowl XLVIII.
At 6’4”, 240 lbs., the Indianapolis Colts quarterback is way more agile than he has any business being. Luck told Men's Fitness how he keeps himself in such good shape, which is why every team in the league is looking for a QB like him. With his cannon arm, Luck has basically been a one-man show for the Colts, even though they've only offered him sub-par protection on the offensive line for years.
The Stanford product came into the NFL as one of the most hyped quarterback prospects in years, adding some lofty expectations to his already sterling accomplishments (and as if replacing Peyton Manning wasn't hard enough). Luck was pegged as a “can't-miss” player by pro scouts, and by all measurements, he's flourished: He led the Colts to the playoffs in his first three seasons, set a number of rookie QB records, and—oh yeah—signed a contract with the most guaranteed money in NFL history.
Playing in frigid temperatures on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field has never been an obstacle for Rodgers—in fact, he’s flourished in those moments. The Green Bay Packers signal caller is as tough as any player in the NFL and he's proven that by playing through injuries multiple times in his career. The 6’2”, 225-pound California Golden Bears product can sling the ball as far—and accurately—as anyone in the NFL, particularly on a miracle 61-yard Hail Mary throw to Richard Rodgers that defeated the Detroit Lions on the final play of regulation during the 2015 season.
The New York Giants quarterback is no longer just “Peyton Manning’s little brother.” Manning has earned a reputation for being one of the toughest players in the league, mainly because he never misses a game—Manning ranks first among active players in consecutive NFL starts—and because he can absorb hits and keep on playing. Plus, if the “clutch gene” does exist in quarterbacks, Manning has it: The former Ole Miss star led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins, including a victory over the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
The “Red Rifle” has re-written the Cincinnati Bengals record books to start his career, becoming the only quarterback to lead the team to the playoffs in four straight seasons. While pairing up with wide receiver A.J. Green, Dalton has become the franchise leader in passing yards and touchdowns in a season. The Texas Christian University product is as tough as they come—Dalton only missed three games over the first five years of his career.
After sinking to a lowly sixth round draft pick in 2000—his combine review was hardly spectacular— Brady defied expectations by becoming one of the best quarterbacks of all time. When the University of Michigan product took over for New England Patriots starter Drew Bledsoe in 2001, he never looked back. Apart from the 2008 season, when he injured his knee, Brady has started every game for the Patriots under Bill Belichick from 2001 to 2015. The 6'4”, 225-pound star has won four Super Bowl titles and two NFL MVP awards while establishing himself as a future Hall of Fame player.
After being the number one overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Smith struggled to develop into a consistent starter, but all that changed once Jim Harbaugh took over in the Bay Area. A star at the University of Utah, Smith led the 49ers to their first winning season, division title, and playoff berth in nearly a decade. It wasn't just Harbaugh's coaching, either—when Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs by 2013, the 6'4”, 217-pound quarterback established himself as one of the most athletic running quarterbacks in the league, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs in 2015 and posting the best statistical numbers of his career.
The 6'8”, 240-pound titan has a giant physical presence at the quarterback position—he's the tallest player to take a snap in NFL history. Osweiler signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans in 2016 after spending years as the backup to Peyton Manning and helping the Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50. Although Osweiler didn't play in the playoffs—Manning returned from an injury and took over—he led the team to a 4-2 record as a starter and kept the team afloat while Manning was out.
At 6'5” and 245 pounds, Bortles is one of the strongest quarterbacks in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The University of Central Florida product enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, throwing for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns, and tripling his totals from the previous season. Bortles finished second in the league in TD passes in 2015, tied with names like Eli Manning, Cam Newton, and Carson Palmer.
The 2014 first-round pick out of the University of Louisville doesn’t light up the stat sheet—he only threw 28 touchdowns over his first two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings—but what Bridgewater lacks in stats, he makes up for in sheer physical ability. Bridgewater has missed just three games over the first two years of his career and he helped the Vikings win their first division title since 2009 after defeating the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 of the 2015 season.