AFC Quarterback Padawans

This is Part 2 of a previous post on the NFC quarterbacks. Here we continue to look at the new AFC quarterbacks that were acquired in 2017 or 2018 from the draft or as undrafted free agents.  The team rosters are pretty much set concerning quarterbacks following the OTAs and minicamp. When preseason training camps open at the end of July, I will post updates on how these new quarterbacks are fairing or add any ones brought in from the 2017 or 2018 draft classes.

It is interesting to see how the college quarterbacks transition to the NFL. The recent release by the Raiders of Christian Hackenberg was addressed by comments from coach Jon Gruden.  Gruden bemoaned the limited off-season practice time allotted to coaches to develop new quarterbacks. He went on to say “It really depresses me how we can’t spend more time with these young quarterbacks, and it is really going to be an impactful situation on the NFL in the future.” He had referred to the collective bargaining agreement that placed restrictions on offseason practices. But I diverge, so here are the new AFC quarterbacks.

 

AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Starter: AJ McCarron (Age 27)
Veterans: None
Rookies/Second Year:

Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) – 2017 Round 5 draft pick. Nathan’s first three years in college he was redshirted and then a backup at Tennessee. After three years he transferred as a graduate transfer to Pittsburgh. At Pittsburgh he got to start after two games. In his two years as starter at Pitt he finished 8th in career passing yards (5,142), 9th in single season passing yards (2,855), 6th in career passing touchdowns (47), 5th in career completion % for over 180 attempts (61.1%) and 2nd in pass efficiency rating (151.1). Nathan led the highest-scoring offense in Pitt history in 2016 (532 points) and finished that year the ACC leader in Pass Efficiency (163.4). In 2017 Nathan became the backup for Tyrod Taylor. In week 10 Nathan made his debut against the Saints with 5 minutes left in a losing game. Trailing 47-3, Peterman completed 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown in the loss. In week 11, Nathan was named the starter as Taylor had been struggling. In this his first career start Nathan threw five interceptions in the first half and was relieved by Taylor. In week 14, Nathan again started against the Colts due to an injury to Taylor. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He suffered a concussion and had to leave the game in the 3rd quarter. The Bills went on to win. On January 7, 2018 Peterman was brought into the Bills Wild Card game with 1:43 remaining due to an injury to Taylor. Nathan converted two first downs but then threw a game ending interception. The Bills lost 10-3. In scouting reports Peterman is recognized for strengths in anticipation, quick release and good pocket presence. Some reports noted that a gun-slinging attitude and his anticipation can get him in trouble. According to ESPN’s Mike Rodak, Peterman is a serious contender for the Bills starting quarterback and has been sharing first team reps with McCarron.

Josh Allen (Wyoming) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. Josh Allen will open training camp as the third-string quarterback. He will have to earn his reps behind AJ and Peterman. Allen took reps with the first team in mini-camp and the players liked what they saw. Some compliments thrown around are – strong arm and very intelligent. At the combine Allen threw a pass about 70 yards down field. At the Senior Bowl, one of Allen’s throws was clocked at 66.14 mph. No throw at the NFL Combine has ever been clocked at faster than 60. His combine events showed great athleticism coming in 1st among quarterbacks for broad jump and vertical and 2nd and 3rd for 3-cone and forty respectively. He is also recognized for good mobility, making plays on the run and being tough to catch and bring down. Allen is fast becoming a fan favorite by doing things like stopping to take wedding pictures with a wedding party he saw at New Era Field.

Miami Dolphins
Starter: Ryan Tannehill (Age 29)
Veterans: Brock Osweiler, Bryce Petty, David Fales
Rookies/Second Year: None

New England Patriots
Starter: Tom Brady (Age 40)
Veterans: Brian Hoyer
Rookies/Second Year:

Danny Etling (LSU) – 2018 7th round draft pick. Danny’s first two years at Purdue he went 2-10 as a starter. The last game of his freshman year he threw for 485 yards and 4 touchdowns in a loss. After his sophomore year he transferred to LSU and had to sit out a year due to NCAA rules. In his junior and senior seasons at LSU, Danny started the final 23 games of his LSU career posting a 16-7 record. For his LSU career, Danny ranked among the Top 10 in LSU history for passing yards per game (No. 3 at 191.1 yards per game), completion percentage (No. 6 at 59.7 percent), passing yards (No. 8 at 4,586), and completions (No. 9 at 325). Danny does not turn the ball over. His LSU 1:77 interceptions to attempts ratio ranks second in the history of the SEC for quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts. In his senior year Danny had 2 interceptions. Danny graduated with a 3.9 grade point average in mass communications. He also achieved Eagle Scout status as part of the Boy Scouts. Besides protecting the ball, Danny is also known for throwing a good deep ball and a quick release.

New York Jets
Starter: Josh McCown (Age 38)
Veterans: Teddy Bridgewater
Rookies/Second Year:

Sam Darnold (USC) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. Darnold’s college record as a starter is 20-4. As a two year starter Sam made USC record lists as 7th in career passing yards (7,229), 1st in season passing yards (4,143) and 4th in single game passing yards (453). He was 6th in career passing touchdowns (57), 8th in single season touchdowns (31) and appeared three times on the top ten single game touchdowns scoring 5 touchdowns in three different games. Sam was 2nd in career completion percentage (64.9), 3rd in career yards/attempt (8.5) and 4th in career pass efficiency rating (153.7). His redshirt freshman season he was 9th in the FBS for completion percentage (67.2) and Passing Efficiency Rating (161.1). His 4,143 passing yards in 2017 was 5th best in the FBS. Word from Jet’s camp is that they have thrown the whole playbook at him and he has been able to handle it. Sam will start training camp third on the depth chart but one team source says Sam has a real chance to open the season. Sam turned 21 years old on June 5th. If he opens the season he would be the second youngest NFL quarterback to start going back to 1960.


AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Starter: Joe Flacco (Age 33)
Veterans: Robert Griffin III, Josh Woodrum
Rookies/Second Year:

Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – 2018 Round 1 draft pick. It will be exciting to see Jackson play. His statistics from college are insane. As a quarterback at Louisville he not only holds the school career rushing yards record (4,132) but he also holds the career rushing average for over 100 attempts (6.3 yards). Add in the career rushing touchdowns school record (50), twice on the top ten single season rushing touchdowns and two games with four rushing touchdowns each. He is obviously a rushing dual threat quarterback. However he also holds a place on Louisville record books for passing. He is 7th in completion percentage with over 250 attempts (57), 4th in career passing yards (9,043), 4th in career passing yards/attempt for over 250 attempts (8.3 yards), 5th in career passing touchdowns (69) and 4th in career passing efficiency rating for over 50 attempts (142.9). He is twice on the top ten list of single season passing touchdowns and twice on the top ten list for single game passing touchdowns with games of 6 and 5 passing touchdowns. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, AP Player of the Year (2016) and was a Unanimous All-American (2016) just to name a few. Ravens linebacker CJ Mosley says “Once he gets out of the pocket, it’s like watching a young Michael Vick…”. The Ravens are looking at getting Lamar involved this year maybe even using a two quarterback formation.

Cincinnati Bengals
Starter: Andy Dalton (Age 30)
Veterans: Matt Barkley, Jeff Driskel
Rookies/Second Year:

Logan Woodside (Toledo) – 2018 Round 7 draft pick. Logan grew up a fan of the Bengals and is quite happy to have been drafted by them. He had a prolific career at Toledo. Logan holds the school record for career passing yards (10,514), career yards/attempt (9.0), career passing touchdowns (93), career passing efficiency rating (162.9), single season passing yards (4,129), single game passing yards (505), single season passing touchdowns (45), and single game passing touchdowns (6). In 2016 he was 4th in FBS for completion percentage (69.1) and first in passing touchdowns (45). In 2016 Woodside threw at least three TD passes in every regular season game, and threw four or more in six consecutive games. His career passing efficiency (162.9) was second in the FBS in 2017 and twelfth all time. His career completion percentage (65.1) was third in the FBS in 2017. Woodside was named the 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year. In his three years starting at Toledo Logan went 29-9 and led the team to three bowl appearances. Logan is recognized for being an accurate passer, having a quick release and pocket mobility. At the combine he ranked in the 78th percentile in the 3-cone drill and 83rd percentile in the 20-yard shuttle. He has always played with a chip on his shoulder having been overlooked in college offers, discounted for his size (6’2″) and level of competition. Logan was one of two quarterback candidates for the 2017 Senior Class Award honoring senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.

Cleveland Browns
Starter: Tyrod Taylor (Age 28)
Veterans: Drew Stanton
Rookies/Second Year:

Brogan Roback (Eastern Michigan) – 2018 UDFA. Brogan has good arm strength and distributes the ball around well. His accuracy needs work as well as limiting turnovers. In his five years at EMU he started 35 games with a 10-25 record. In EMU records Brogan is third in career completion percentage (58%), second in passing yards (8,624), second in adjusted yards/attempt (6.3), first in passing touchdowns (57) and fourth in passing efficiency rating (123.2).

Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – 2018 1st Round draft pick. Baker Mayfield made FBS career record lists (since 1956) for 4th in Passing Touchdowns (131), 3rd in Passing Yards/Attempt (9.8), 2nd in Pass Efficiency Rating (175.4), 11th in Pass Completion Percentage (68.5) and 7th in Passing Yards (14,607). He broke Oklahoma passing records in Completion %, Yards per Attempt and Passing efficiency Rating. In Passing Yards and Passing TDs he was second only beat by Landry Jones. He is recognized for being tough, competitive, a leader, accurate, mobile to extend plays and elite in the red zone to name a few. Tyrod Taylor is the Browns starting quarterback. The Browns have indicated that they want Taylor to start as long as possible, and Mayfield to get some time to develop. “I wasn’t brought here to just start,” Mayfield said. “I was brought here to help turn things around. Whatever my role is, that’s what I’ll do. ”

Pittsburgh Steelers
Starter: Ben Roethlisberger (Age 36)
Veterans: Landry Jones
Rookies/Second Year:

Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee) – 2017 4th Round draft pick. Dobbs is a very athletic quarterback. At the combine Dobbs ranked in the 93rd and 94th percentile for the 3-cone and the broad jump respectively. He also was 85th percentile on the forty and 70 percentile on the vertical. Those percentiles are for all quarterbacks since 1999. Dobbs finished his Tennessee career with a 23-12 record (including 3-0 in bowls) as starting quarterback, tying for the fifth-most wins by starting quarterback. Joshua had 85 career total touchdowns which was second in school history behind only Peyton Manning. For the school single season total TDs Joshua tied Manning at 39 TDs for first place. For career total offense Joshua has third place (9,298 yards), second and sixth place for single season total offense and has four games on the record list of the top ten single games total offense (all over 400 yards). Dobbs has third place in school career rushing TDs (32). He is fifth in Tennessee history for both career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Dobbs is fifth in school history for career completion percentage for over 150 attempts (61.5%). Dobbs is a dual threat quarterback, has a passion and fever for football and is driven to perfect his game. He has a quick release , good pocket poise and works through his progressions. Tennessee University presented Dobbs with the 2017 Torchbearer Award, the highest honor for an undergraduate student, which recognizes accomplishments in the community and academics. Dobbs graduated with an aerospace engineering degree and a business minor. In high school Dobbs was an exceptional high school scholar athlete with a 4.0 GPA and graduated with 13 years of perfect attendance.

Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) – 2018 3rd Round draft pick. The winningest quarterback in Oklahoma State history. Led the Cowboys to a 32-9 record as a starter. Finished his career holding no fewer than 54 school records, including single-season and career marks for passing yards, passing touchdowns and pass efficiency … His 13,618 career passing yards ranks fourth in Big 12 history … His career mark of 324.2 passing yards per game is third in Big 12 history … Among FBS quarterbacks active in 2017, he ranked in the top three in passing yards per completion, passing yards per attempt, total passing yards, passing yards per game, total offense and total offense yards per play … OSU’s most active player in community service activities.1 Offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, said “Mason’s been everything we’ve asked, for sure,Throws, obviously, a nice ball. The physical things are all there. ” Ben Roethlisberger comments about Rudolph – “He’s got a big arm, He overthrew [Antonio Brown] even though AB’s not going to admit it. He seems to understand the offense, seems to not have any issues in the huddle, so I thought he did really well.”


AFC South
Houston Texans
Starter: Deshaun Watson (Age 22)
Veterans: Brandon Weeden, Joe Webb, Stephen Morris
Rookies/Second Year:

Deshaun Watson (Clemson) – 2017 Round 1 draft pick. On November 2, 2017 Deshaun Watson tore his ACL ending his rookie season. He had played in 7 games and started in 6. His rookie season Watson was second among quarterbacks (over 50 attempts) in average yards per attempt (8.3 yards), second in 1st down % (41%) and third in passing efficiency rating (103). He broke many records including tied most passing TDs in a single game by a rookie (5), most passing TDs in a calendar month by a rookie, tied most passing passing TDs by a rookie in one half (4), first player in NFL history to pass 400+ yards, 4+ TD passes, and 50+ rush yards in a single game, tied most TD passes through a quarterback’s first six career NFL games (15) and longest streak of games with 3 or more passing TDs by a rookie (4). He made PFWA 2017 All-Rookie Team. This rookie season followed an impressive college career in which he won MVP of the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, was a two-time recipient of the Davey O’Brien Award -one of only four quarterbacks who can make that claim, and was a two-time winner of the Manning Award. At Clemson he compiled a 32-3 record as a starter, best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. Watson is praised for his work ethic, leadership, big-game poise – having ‘it’ factor. Watson participated in the Texans OTAs and minicamp this year and practiced without a knee brace.

Indianapolis Colts
Starter: Andrew Luck (Age 28)
Veterans: Jacoby Brissett
Rookies/Second Year:

Brad Kaaya (Miami) – 2017 6th Round draft pick. A three year starter at Miami, Brad stated all games as a true freshman and went 6-7. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year by both ASCMA and Coaches. Brad’s final record at Miami was 22-16. Brad’s standing in the Miami record book2 is third in Completion % (60.6), first in passing yards (9,968), second in yards/attempt (8.4), third in passing TDs (69) and third in passing efficiency rating (146.2). Brad is recognized for a quick release, a high football IQ and throws a good ball in a clean pocket. Scouting reports questioned his accuracy under pressure and he did not demonstrate a threat as a running quarterback in college.

Phillip Walker (Temple) – 2017 UDFA. Phillip Walker was born in Elizabeth NJ and went to Elizabeth High School. At Temple Walker is the Owls all-time leader in wins by a starting quarterback (28), passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, attempts, total yards and total touchdowns. Phillip lead the Owls to their first conference title in 49 years (2016) and their first ever back-to-back bowl appearances in school history (2015 and 2016). Walker went 28-19 as a starter with each year improving with two Bowl games and the final year winning the conference championship. Walker was awarded a single digit jersey his senior year which are awarded to the team’s toughest players as voted on by the players. Throughout his Temple career, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Walker has played through several injuries – a separated shoulder, an ankle that blew up like a balloon, and there were many other bumps and bruises that he accumulated as a four-year starter. Yet he started 47 consecutive games since earning the starting job midway through his freshman year. In the final game of his Temple career sometime in the 1st quarter Walker injured the right ring finger of his throwing hand. The finger had gone all the way up into his hand. It appeared to be broken. He pulled it back into place and continued playing. Walker kept competing and fighting as his team, once behind by 24 points, got to within five with under four minutes left. They wound up losing 26-34. Two months after being signed as an UDFA by the Colts in May 2017 this is what head coach Chuck Pagano had to say about Walker – “He’s an undersized guy, and you want a 6-2, 6-3 guy, but he can spin the ball,” Pagano said. “He’s a smart guy. He picked things up really well. Like I said, we sent Brian up there to work him out really late in the process. I think a Tuesday or a Wednesday before this draft started on Thursday and he came back and just fell in love with the guy. Identified him on tape, our scouts had him on tape but fell in love with him. He had great command out there of the huddle. He took charge. He picked things up really quick and made some nice throws out there.”

Jacksonville Jaguars
Starter: Blake Bortles (Age 26)
Veterans: Cody Kessler
Rookies/Second Year:

Tanner Lee (Nebraska) – 2018 Round 6 draft pick. In his college career Lee was 10-23 as a starting quarterback over three years. His first two years were at Tulane where he went 5-14. He then transferred to Nebraska and after sitting out 2016 due to NCAA rules he went 4-8 in his 2017 season. In the two years at Tulane, Tanner made 9th on Tulane record career passing yards (3,601) and 10th on career passing TDs (23). In his one season playing at Nebraska, Tanner made 3rd on single season passing yards (3,143) and appeared twice on the schools single game passing yards top ten with games of 431 and 399 yards. However Tanner had a career attempts to Interception ratio of 28.1 and a TD to Interception ratio of 1.2. Both poor ratios concerning turnovers. Even though Tanner had a poor win-loss record and issues with turnovers scouts are impressed with his strong arm.

Tennessee Titans
Starter: Marcus Mariota (Age 24)
Veterans: Blaine Gabbert
Rookies/Second Year:

Luke Falk (Washington State) – 2018 Round 6 draft pick. Luke had a record breaking career at Washington State. He is known for being an accurate passer. His completion percentage has been in the top five in the FBS each of his last three seasons. His career completion percentage is ranked 13th in the FBS since 1956. His career passing efficiency rating of 142.8 sets a Washington State record and was 12th in the PAC-12 since 1956. In addition to excellent accuracy Falk excels in intangibles such as work ethic, toughness and leadership. Luke is deadly in the red zone. He is tenth among FBS career leaders since 1956 for passing touchdowns (119), twice made the top ten in the FBS for season passing touchdowns, and set the Washington State record for passing touchdowns. Of his 119 passing touchdowns 80 came from within the red zone. Over his last three years at Washington State Falk had a completion percentage of 60.3% and a passing efficiency rating of 169.1 in the red zone.


AFC West
Denver Broncos
Starter: Case Keenum (Age 30)
Veterans: Paxton Lynch
Rookies/Second Year:

Chad Kelly (Mississippi) – 2017 Round 7 draft pick. Kelly was selected with the final pick of the 2017 draft making him Mr. Irrelevant. Chad’s uncle is Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Chad had a bad end to his college career at Clemson with an argument with coaches, off field fights, and injury. Kelly transferred to Ole Miss where he had two good years before a torn ACL sidelined him for the final 3 games of 2016. Kelly has a quick release, makes quick decisions, has a strong arm and has been referred to a a gunslinger or “baller”. At Ole Miss Kelly has career records of second in completion percentage (64) and third in passer efficiency rating (152.3). He is third all time in passing yards and passing TDs. Kelly’s issues and injuries from college plunged his draft stock but General manager John Elway drafted Kelly based on Jim’s recommendation. Kelly redshirted his entire rookie 2017 year on injury. He was leading the rookies in this year’s rookie minicamp.

Kansas City Chiefs
Starter: Patrick Mahomes II (Age 22)
Veterans: Chad Henne, Matt McGloin
Rookies/Second Year:

Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech) – 2017 Round 1 draft pick. In week 17 of the 2017 season with a playoff spot secured the Chiefs started Mahomes for his debut. He helped lead the Chiefs to a victory over Denver 27-24. Mahomes is recognized for a very strong arm and can make throws with velocity and accuracy. Patrick also has a strong work ethic. In Texas Tech career records Mahomes is third in passing yards (11,252), first in adjusted yards/attempt (8.8), third in passing touchdowns (93) and fourth in passing efficiency rating (over 100 attempts) with 152. He is four times on the Texas Tech passing yards top ten records list with games of 734 (1st), 598 (5th), 586 (6th) and 540 yards (10th). His 734 yard passing game tied the FBS record. Mahomes also threw 5 touchdowns in the game loss (66-59) to Oklahoma. “Someone told me (about tying the passing record) in the locker room,” Mahomes said. “But, like I said, we didn’t win the game, so it really didn’t matter.” At the combine Mahomes scored in high all time percentile for 20 yard shuttle (93%), 3-cone drill (84%) and broad jump (73%).

Chase Litton (Marshall ) – 2018 UDFA. Chase was 20-14 in his starts at Marshall. Litton displays good arm strength, quick release and a good ability to analyze defenses. He throws well on the move and is technically sound in the pocket. Processing speed post-snap and turnovers have been raised as concerns. In Marshall records boo Litton is fourth in passing yards (8,335), passing yards/attempt (7.0), passing touchdowns (72) and passing efficiency rating (133.9).

Los Angeles Chargers
Starter: Philip Rivers (Age 36)
Veterans: Geno Smith, Cardale Jones
Rookies/Second Year:

Nic Shimonek (Texas Tech) – 2018 UDFA. Perseverance, patience, a strong work ethic, confidence, a competitive spirit and a team attitude – coupled with a strong arm and decent accuracy – those are the traits that got this one year college starter onto an NFL roster. A fifth year senior, Shimonek sat behind CJ Beathard Nic’s freshman year at Iowa, transferred to Texas Tech sitting out his 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, and spent two years on the depth chart behind Patrick Mahomes. For his 2016 season Nic was the backup to Mahomes and saw some limited play in four games finishing with 464 yards and six touchdowns through the air on 38-of-58 passing (65.5%) . In 2017, his first year starting, Nic played in all 13 games starting 12 and helped lead his team to the Birmingham Bowl. He finished his senior year in the Texas Tech record book as fourth in Completion Percentage (66.4), thirteenth in yards (4,445), third in adjusted yards per attempt (8.6)3, tenth in passing touchdowns (39) and third in passing efficiency rating (153.2). Shimonek reunited on the Chargers with his Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell. The two even played together in an All Star game in high school.

Oakland Raiders
Starter: Derek Carr (Age 27)
Veterans: Connor Cook, EJ Manuel
Rookies/Second Year: None


¹ Oklahoma State Roster (http://okstate.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3940)
² Miami records of minimum 100 passing attempts.
³Texas Tech passing records minimum 50 attempts
(Note: I apologize to all not into Star Wars. A Padawan is a young Jedi in training usually with a Jedi Knight or Master. Mitch Trubisky is like Luke SkyWalker – a trainee thrust into battle)³

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