9. Brock Purdy
One of the most fun stories in the league last year was the rise of Brock Purdy. The San Francisco 49ers spent a seventh-round pick on Purdy in the 2022 draft and probably never thought he'd turn into a household name, especially not as a rookie and not as Mr. Irrelevant.
After both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo got injured, however, Purdy was thrust into the starting role and played pretty darn well, throwing for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions in nine games. While the 49ers aren't a team that needs elite quarterback play, Purdy stepped up when he needed to make a play and that helped San Francisco make it to the NFC Championship Game.
Unfortunately, Purdy was injured in that game and might not be the starter if he's still recovering from his injury. By the time the Bengals and 49ers play in Week 8, however, Purdy should hopefully be healthy and ready to go. He's recently been cleared to practice for the 49ers.
8. Geno Smith
Another fun story in the 2022 season was the emergence of Geno Smith as a legitimate NFL quarterback. People weren't giving the Seattle Seahawks much praise after they traded Russell Wilson and planned to roll with Smith as their starter and Smith made those people look silly.
The former West Virginia quarterback had an incredible year, throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 picks. Was it a one-hit-wonder kind of year for Smith? That's the biggest question for the Seahawks in 2023, even though they rewarded their quarterback with a three-year deal worth $75 million.
The Bengals and Seahawks play in Week 6 so unless he gets injured, Smith should be the starter.