There are less than 22 days until the 2019 Hall Of Fame Games and the unofficial start of the 2019 season. Today I look at quarterback phenoms in the NFL 22 years and younger. Eight quarterbacks in NFL history by the age of 22 met all five of the following conditions in a season
- Started 5+ games,
- had a passer rating of 70+,
- averaged 175+ yards total offense per game started,
- averaged 7+ yards per pass attempt, and
- averaged 1.6 total touchdowns per game started.
Three are retired and all of those three are in the NFL Hall of Fame. They are Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton and Y.A. Tittle. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is the only quarterback to meet the criteria for two seasons at 22 years or younger.
|Player||Year||Age||Tm||GS||Pass Yds||Pass TD||Rate||Pass Y/A||Pass Y/G||Rush Yds||Rush TD||Rush Y/G||TotOff||TotOff / Game||Tot Tds / Game|
Provided by NFCBeast.com
The quarterbacks eligible to make this list in 2019 based on age are as follows.
Lamar Jackson (BAL) just missed the list in his rookie 2018 season due only to averaging 1.57 touchdowns per game started. He only had six passing touchdowns in seven games started and 16 games played. You can add in his five rushing touchdowns but it was still not enough. The average touchdown per game started by players on the list was 2.13. The Ravens picked up some weapons to help bring up his touchdowns in the draft with first round pick receiver Marquise Brown and third round pick Miles Boykin. Brown was 21st in the nation in receiving touchdowns last year with ten. Boykin was a red zone threat last year making touchdowns on five of his nine red zone receptions. Boykin had eight for the year. His streak of six consecutive games with a touchdown is the longest by a Notre Dame wide receiver since Will Fuller in 2014.
Sam Darnold (NYJ) missed on yards per attempt with a 6.92 and in touchdowns per games with only a 1.38. Darnold’s 6.92 yards per attempt was 25th among 32 quarterbacks that started 8+ games. According to Pro Football Focus Darnold’s 42.3 passer rating on deep throws ranked 32nd. His 17 passing touchdowns was 24th in the league and he had only one rushing touchdown. On a positive note receiver Robby Anderson’s 15 yards per reception was good for 22nd among 89 receivers with 6+ game starts. During the last four weeks of the season Anderson caught 23 passes for 366 yards and an 8.62 yards per target. That yards per target would have been 32nd out of 89 receivers for the year.
Josh Rosen had a bad year in Arizona. The only target he made on this list was starting 5+ games. Unfortunately he is walking into what may be just as bad or worse a situation in Miami. Pro Football Focus ranked the Dolphin’s offensive line as 32nd heading into the 2019 season. To go with that Bleacher Report ranked the Dolphin’s receiving corp as 30th going into 2019.
|Player||Year||Age||Tm||GS||Pass Yds||Pass TD||Rate||Y/A||Pass Y/G||Rush Yds||Rush TD||Rush Y/G||TotOff||Tot Off / Game||Total TD / Game|
Provided by NFCBeast.com
In 2018 at college Dwayne Haskins led the nation in passing touchdowns with fifty. He averaged 3.6 touchdowns per game which was tops in the nation. However Haskin’s red zone touchdown conversion rate of 32.5% was not as good as a number of other quarterbacks. He was beat out in the red zone conversion by Trace McSorley, Justice Hansen, Kyler Murray, Will Grier and Tyree Jackson. Haskins was also first in passing yards and in 10+ yard passing plays.
An area of concern is that Haskins has only one year as a starter in college. In the rankings of support for Haskins, PFF ranked the Washington offensive line as 14th and Bleacher Report ranked the Washington receiving corp as 32nd. There is also competition from Case Keenum and Colt McCoy to win the starting quarterback role. In 2017 Keenum had the eighth best passer rating (98.3), the second best completion percentage (67.6%) and the sixth best TD to Interception ratio (3.14). After an award winning college career McCoy was drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Browns. He has been on the Redskins the last five seasons and head coach Jay Gruden likes his competitive spirit, knowledge of their system and ability to make all the throws.
Kyler Murray excelled at all the criteria for this list. Murray was first in the nation in passing yards per attempt at 11.6. He had the second best passer rating (199.2) and best among draft prospects. Murray was first in the nation in total offense per game at 383 yards. He was tie with Haskins for first in touchdowns responsible for with 54.
For the supporting cast the Cardinals were abysmal in 2018. Looking at 2019 PFF rated the Cardinals Offensive line as 30th. To help the added free agent guard J.R. Sweezy, traded for right tackle Marcus Gilbert and drafted sixth round center Lamont Gaillard. Gilbert was rated above average by PFF for 2018. Galliard is a three year starter with 42 career starts. He won the Georgia “Own the Trenches” award following spring drills in 2017. This on what is regarded as one of the best offensive lines in college football. “Tougher than old brisket and nasty as a finisher” – draft profile nfl.com
Bleacher Report ranked the Cardinals 2019 receiver corp as 26th. I think they look better than that. They did add four offensive weapons from the draft in wide receivers Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, Keesean Johnson and tight end Caleb Wilson. From a 2018 receiving yards team market share perspective they got the two best in Isabella (47%) and Butler (42%). Butler was third in the nation in average receiving yards (22 yards). Isabella was second in the nation in 10+ receiving yards plays. In 20+ receiving yards plays they got the top three receivers – 1st KeeSean Johnson (26) and tied for second Hakeem Butler (25) and Andy Isabella (25). A whopping 75% of Butler’s receptions made 1st down. That was second best among 32 wide receiver draft prospects with a 30% receiving yards team market share. Then you add the fact that the Cardinals have 11 time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald and you should have a decent receiving corp.
Daniel Jones was a walk-on at Duke University. Jones did not put up numbers to imply that he could make this list. However he did not have a strong supporting cast around him at Duke. Not a single Duke player other than Jones has been drafted over the past three years. As reported by Pro Football Focus Jones had the most dropbacks under pressure than any of the other top quarterbacks in the class. This blurb from clutchpoints.com
Jones was the only player from the 2018 Duke team to be drafted. His receivers dropped 9.2% of his passes, the second-highest rate among quarterbacks in the class. His offensive line was one of the worst graded units in college football, per Pro Football Focus, and finished 83rd in the nation in pressure rate allowed.
Jones is much like a more mobile version of Eli Manning. He is a pocket passer with a quick release, good arm, good accuracy, fearless, tough, strong work ethic and good teammate. The mobile part showed with the eighth highest rushing yards (319) among draft quarterbacks with 2000+ passing yards and the ninth highest yards per carry at 3.1 yards.
So we have a quarterback make this list once every two decades, followed by three decades of none and then the 2010s see a quarterback make the list five out of the nine years. The last one being in 2017. In 2019 there are six eligible viable quarterbacks. The trend is that at least one of these six will make the list.