There have been 10 NFL quarterbacks drafted in the past two years expected to start at some point in 2021. With this article, we look at which NFL QBs are in the best position for immediate success.
10. Zach Wilson, New York Jets
It’s a whole new world in New York. Fans in the Big Apple are already excited about swapping out Adam Gase for Robert Saleh, but moving on from Sam Darnold to BYU star Zach Wilson is the real reason for excitement.
Can Wilson be more successful than Darnold was under the lights? Probably, but the Jets don’t have a strong receiving corps or a proven running game. It could be a long year for Gang Green.
9. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Expected to start right away, who knows what kind of stats Trevor Lawrence can put up? Unlike his fellow rookie NFL quarterbacks, Lawrence has a strong supporting cast to throw to along with an established running game. And no, it’s not because of Tim Tebow.
Legendary head coach Urban Meyer has had a great college coaching career but has never tried his hand in the NFL. If Lawrence is the phenom he’s described to be, the Jaguars could quickly become a force to be reckoned with.
8. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
The New England Patriots desperately need a quarterback who can help them win games again (who doesn’t?). Mac Jones was selected in the NFL draft to do just that.
The only issue is, Cam Newton is still ahead of him on the Patriots’ depth chart. Despite being drafted in the first round, it wouldn’t be a shock if Bill Belichick opted for a QB with more NFL experience right away. Once Jones does hit the field, can the Patriots’ skill position players help him succeed? Outside of the tight ends, it’s a questionable group.
7. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
Like a couple of other QBs on this list, depending on a certain trade rumor, Jordan Love may not even see the field in 2021. But, if he does, we don’t really know what to expect after zero preseason playing opportunities as a rookie. A year of holding Aaron Rodgers’ clipboard could lead to better-than-expected results.
Quarterback whisperer Chris Simms of PFT had Love ranked as his third-best QB prospect in the 2020 draft class, even comparing some of his off-schedule throws to AR12 and Patrick Mahomes. If Davante Adams is there, Love could surprise us all by achieving immediate success.
6. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
After a very strange rookie season where he was benched, Hurts now has the keys to the offense in Philly. Last year, injuries and ineffective QB play held the Eagles back. In 2021, they hope to get more production out of their young QB and wide receivers. If their wideouts can’t find some level of consistency, Hurts will struggle again.
5. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
I’d hate to pressure the Chicago Bears into playing their No. 11 pick from the 2021 draft, but that’s exactly what they should do. Despite being QB1 on the Bears depth chart, Andy Dalton isn’t taking anyone to the playoffs in this decade.
Going with Justin Fields should still put the Bears in a competitive place as long as he takes care of the football. Relying on Allen Robinson III and David Montgomery will serve Fields well as a rook. When the play breaks down, Fields is equipped with dangerous feet that can also help move the chains. Sticking with Dalton could lead to a terrible offense, the potential with Fields is much, much higher.
4. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Out of all teams without a defined starter, the San Francisco 49ers have the best NFL quarterback situation in football. Jimmy Garoppolo has already proven he can take his existing team to the Super Bowl, but that was two years ago. Not being able to stay healthy will ultimately cost him his job.
Once Trey Lance hits the field, Jimmy G will officially be Wally Pipped. Lance’s strong arm and impressive athleticism give him one of the highest ceilings in the league among young QBs. Kyle Shanahan’s offense landing such an athlete is downright unfair to the rest of the league.
3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Out of all the NFL QBs listed here, Justin Herbert is the most proven, so far. Herbert’s rookie year made anyone who ever doubted him look foolish, but the Chargers didn’t win many games.
A new system built by Joe Lombardi who found success with Drew Brees on the Saints could lead to another year of growth from Herbert. Keenan Allen is one of the better route-runners in the game. A better line up front should help, but do the Chargers have a strong enough running game? I’m skeptical.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
The Tua Tagovailoa stats may not have been eye-popping as a rookie, however, the former Alabama star led the Miami Dolphins to a 6-3 record in games he started. But he didn’t always finish them. With Ryan Fitzpatrick now in Washington, it’s Tua Time in Miami.
The Dolphins front office did a good job this offseason supplying their young QB with more weapons in the form of Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle (a college teammate of Tua’s). But the Dolphins running backs are unproven, if Tua can’t start winning games with his arm, there’s going to be a lot more pressure on that top-ranked defense.
1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Despite his injury, Joe Burrow had a phenomenal rookie season. It didn’t lead to many wins, but Burrow gained a lot of respect around the league.
Before being drafted, people tried telling Burrow he shouldn’t go to a team that hasn’t had much recent success. Burrow didn’t care about that garbage and proceeded to put up a strong campaign for Rookie of the Year before getting hurt. The skill position players in Cincy ooze big-play talent. Once Burrow gets back on the field, he’s going to be licking his chops surveying the field.