There is no denying that the NFL is a young man’s game. But, the complete overhaul of young talent, especially at the QB position, in the league has been worth noting. Last week, I ranked 11-20 of quarterbacks 26 or younger, and this list is part two to show the quarterbacks ranked 1-10. This list is based on their careers so far and projections as they move forward into the season.
Top 20 Quarterbacks Aged 26 or Younger: 1-10
10. Mitch Trubisky (Chicago Bears)
The Bears traded up to get Mitch Trubisky with the 2nd overall pick and faced a lot of criticism for it…and still do. Trubisky’s inconsistency with extreme highs and lows have been frustrating for Bears fans. He can put up great performances (for example, 6 touchdowns vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), but finds himself regularly relying on his great defense. Trubisky will show the potential to be a great quarterback at times but can be a roadblock to the Bears as a contender. He is a solid draft pick, but I think Bears fans would have preferred to have Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson as their quarterback from that draft.
Jacoby Brissett was thrown into the starting role after a surprise retirement by Andrew Luck this offseason, and the Colts have confidence in him to lead their team. He has led the Colts to a 3-2 record, playing with great efficiency. Brissett has shown major improvements in his second full year as a starter, which is probably why Andrew Luck and the Colts had so much trust going into the season with him. He looks to prove that the Colts can win in the post-Andrew Luck era with hopes of an AFC South title in a wide-open division.
8. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)
The Bills drafted Josh Allen knowing he was going to be a project quarterback, as he can throw the ball a mile, but in which direction is a key question. In his first year, he became an exciting quarterback to watch displaying great scrambling skills not as well known going into the draft, but his passing was a major issue at times. The Bills decided to get Allen some help this offseason by adding John Brown and Cole Beasley, and his improvements in the offseason have led the Wyoming product to spread the ball around with more accuracy. After completing 52% of his passes his rookie year, he has a 62.6% mark to start the year, leading to the Bills 4-1 start. He has started to make some fans “Billieve” in his future as their starting quarterback.
Jared Goff has had major improvements since his first year in the league, leading the Rams to a 27-9 record since going 0-7 as a rookie. However, his success as a quarterback is being questioned due to the signing of Sean McVay after his rookie year. He has been labeled a “system” quarterback during the Rams recent run of success, namely for McVay’s play-calling abilities to get his receivers wide open in short yardage. To his credit, he is still playing at a pro-bowl level, even reaching the Super Bowl last year, but it feels like this is his prime and does not seem to get much better as his career moves forward.
The 2018 first-overall pick brought life into a Browns team that has struggled to find an answer at quarterback for a long time. Baker Mayfield broke the NFL record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie despite not playing until week 3 last season. Mayfield almost led the Browns to the playoffs after years of being last in the division. With the addition of Odell Beckham in the offseason, expectations were high, to say the least. So far, Mayfield is not showing the same level of pocket presence and accuracy he showed as a rookie, but there is a reason to believe that he and the Browns will turn it around in Freddie Kitchens’ first season as head coach.
A fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, Dak Prescott has solidified himself as the Cowboys starting quarterback. He has a 35-18 record since he became the starter, going to the playoffs 2 out of his 3 full seasons. This year, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL proving some people who doubted his ability to throw deep wrong. He is top 5 in completion percentage while throwing for 1,606 yards and an 11-6 touchdown to interception line. Prescott’s ability as a runner spreads the Cowboys offense, and they look to ride their 3-2 start as one of the best teams in the NFL.
The exact definition of a dual-threat quarterback, Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL. He was criticized for his ability (or inability) to throw the ball last season but spent time in the offseason working on it and has shown to be an effective passer through 4 games. Jackson has the talent to be just the second quarterback to have 1,000 yards rushing, all while being on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards passing. He is leading a Ravens offense that seems to take off this season in hopes of winning a second straight division title. Not bad for a running back.
When Carson Wentz is healthy, he is a perennial MVP candidate. His ability to escape pressure and make difficult throws is beautiful to watch, showing glimpses of Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. He is off to a great start this season, despite the Eagles leading the league in dropped passes. Whether his receivers want to catch his passes or not, Wentz’s ability to extend plays with accuracy sets him apart from some other quarterbacks in the league. He looks to keep the Eagles in the playoff race despite losing an absurd amount of teammates to injury, looking to regain the success the Eagles had two seasons ago.
Deshaun Watson has finally provided the Texans with a franchise quarterback, something they have not had in several years. The former Clemson star has kept the Texans in every game, despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. With that, his ability to escape constant pressure and make plays with his arms and legs has made him an elite quarterback in his 3rd season. His ceiling seems to rise every year, as he just keeps getting better and better. Watson looks to continue his success this season with the playoffs certainly within reach.
Patrick Mahomes is possibly one of the greatest quarterbacks we have ever seen in the NFL. His talent as a quarterback is something the league has not witnessed, as he can throw it just as far as anyone, throw every pass with accuracy, and escape the pocket under pressure just as effectively. He became the second quarterback ever last year to have a 5,000 yard 50 touchdown season, in his first season as a starter; that alone is unheard of. He is on pace this year for over 6,000 yards and does not seem to slow down one bit. Last year’s MVP will look to take home the award for a second straight season and hope to take his Chiefs to the Super Bowl after just missing it last season.
NFL teams are switching to younger quarterbacks to compete with the style of gameplay today. That asks QBs to throw and run a lot during the game to spread the field. With arm strength such as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, any throw on the field can be made, and it is changing the way teams play defensively. The ability to make something out of nothing is a new style that teams look for in drafting a quarterback, with Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson being some of the leagues best at creating plays with their legs. Overall, the NFL is switching to youth over experience and is having the NFL change for the better.
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