Gridiron Thursdays with Keith Egan: What to Expect from Young NFL QB'sDate: July 6, 2017
By: Keith Egan
Being an NFL quarterback is no easy task. Finding a franchise quarterback is an even harder task. Some teams believe they have found theirs in the last couple drafts. Let's take a look:
Years: 1 Yards: 3,782 TD's: 16 QBR: 79.3 CMP%: 62.4
Wentz started his rookie season on fire, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 4-0 record to begin the year, which had many people jumping on the "Wentz Wagon." That wagon slowed down a bit throughout the year as the Eagles slipped to finishing with a 7-9 overall record.
In his sophomore season, more pressure will be on Wentz, now having a much better receiving core and overall skill set on the offensive side, after picking up Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Legarrette Blount. The Eagles will now be able to see Wentz's real ability.
Wentz's pocket presence is what impresses me the most about him. While most rookie quarterbacks have a hard time adjusting to new defenses and rush their progressions, Wentz was extremely comfortable, and made the right moves to get out and reset when he needed too. His footwork is beyond his years, and when he is making the right reads, he can throw through any defense. However, his decision-making will need to be much improved. Throws that he got away with early in the year did not do the same for defenses with more tape on him, but his intangibles are there.
I see Wentz having struggles throughout the year in a tough division with a tough schedule, but still maintaining himself as being the franchise quarterback in Philadelphia.
Years: 1 Yards: 3,667 TD's: 23 QBR: 104.9 CMP%: 67.8
No rookie, or player for that matter, took the league by storm quite like Prescott. After being expected to learn from Tony Romo and maybe stick around the franchise long enough to compete for the starting job, Prescott took advantage of Romo's preseason injury, and had a season giving him MVP consideration.
With great power comes great responsibility, and with great expectations comes a season of a lot of pressure for Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Not much has changed in Dallas. They still have one of the best offensive lines in the league, a great young running back in Ezekiel Elliot, and a receiving core led by Dez Bryant. With all of this at his fingertips, Prescott will once again have the chance to lead a team deep in the playoffs.
When it comes to Prescott's skill set, it is important to realize that Prescott is not Tom Brady. He is not Cam Newton and not Aaron Rodgers. What he is, is a quarterback who found himself in a system that works around him, where he can make the right decisions and complete passes while his run game takes care of the rest. I don't mean that in a way to take away from what he has done, but he does not have the arm strength and ability that the greats have. However, when Prescott is running the offense to its best ability, there is no stopping it.
Prescott is going to go through more speed bumps then his rookie season, but I think another playoff berth is in his future that will test his post-season ability.
Years: 1 (5 games) Yards: 1,809 TD's: 5 QBR: 63.6 CMP%: 54.6
Goff was put into a mess in his rookie season by being drafted by the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams. While head coach Jeff Fisher questionably refused to start him over Case Keenum most of the year, he did not get to showcase himself until the last five games.
This year is a huge one for Goff. After being given the benefit of the doubt that his first year was not a true representation, he will now be leading the offense with the chance to prove himself.
It is tough to judge Goff with such a small sample size; however, his decision-making will have to improve. None of his numbers match up to the young quarterbacks who were given legitimate playing time, and a 5:7 touchdown to interception ratio is not going to cut it in Los Angeles.
I see the Rams having another forgettable season, but Goff improving slowly as Rams fans grow impatient with the lack of success.
Years: 2 Yards: 8,132 TD's: 50 QBR: 85.2 CMP%: 59.6
Winston came out of college with high expectations, along with some question marks. Since, Winston has shown he has the talent to play at the NFL level, and has a big year ahead of him.
The Buccaneers added free agent Desean Jackson in addition to drafting TE OJ Howard, WR Chris Godwin and RB Jeremy McNichols. All of these add to the offensive firepower led by WR Mike Evans. Winston will without a doubt have more to work with on the offensive end as Tampa Bay looks to finally have their breakout season they have been waiting for.
Winston has done a phenomenal job proving people wrong who doubted his character since being drafted. He has emerged as a leader and a key part to every aspect of the Buccaneers hopes for the future. His arm strength is without a doubt a huge weapon while his decision making and accuracy has very much improved. Winston's athleticism sets him apart from his competition and is a chore for any defensive linemen to take down.
Being in a tough division really hurts Winston who won't be fully credited as a franchise quarterback until he takes Tampa Bay to the post season. I don't know if this is the year the Buccaneers grab the decision or wild card, but Winston will continue on the track he is on.
Years: 2 Yards: 6,244 TD's: 45 QBR: 93.8 CMP%: 61.6
Mariota and Winston will forever be compared to each other after being drafted back to back to start the 2015 draft. Their paths so far have been very similar. Titans have not made a push for the playoffs in some time now, however a 9-7 finish last season marked some hope for the franchise.
Mariota was key to the Titans having their first winning season in five years, and were on the hunt for a playoff spot before Mariota was injured and out for the remainder of the season. Now with more weapons, including Eric Decker and two more young receivers from the draft, Mariota has a key season up ahead for him that will show just where he ranks among the best in the league.
Mariota's athleticism is a huge part to how he ran the University of Oregon offense so well, and he has brought that into the NFL. His arm strength is not the best as he sometimes throws some questionable lobs up in the air, but he puts the ball in the right spot for the receiver a lot of the time. If he can maintain a better presence in the backfield, while also receiving help from his offensive line, it will make a tremendous difference in the upcoming season.
I see the Titans on the edge on playoff territory when it is all said and done, in an AFC south that will be up for grabs. If Mariota improves the way the franchise hopes, it could be the difference in a playoff berth or watching from home.
Keith Egan can be contacted at email@example.com.
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