Last season, we saw Josh Allen make a massive jump in performance for the Buffalo Bills. This year, many quarterbacks are poised to make a similar jump. Here are the top five most likely quarterbacks to make a Josh Allen-type jump.
1. Kyler Murray – Cardinals
Murray has shown flashes of greatness throughout his first two years in the NFL but has yet to consistently play at an elite level. Like Allen, Murray wasn’t the most refined prospect coming out of college and it wasn’t until his third year that the Bills QB found his footing in the league. Often times it takes QBs 2-3 years to really establish themselves as superstar signal-callers. With Murray heading into his 3rd year in the NFL, expectations are as high as they’ve ever been. This offseason GM Steven Keim added onto a supporting cast that already includes star Deandre Hopkins by bringing in wide receivers AJ Green and the electric rookie Rondale Moore. In addition, Murray now has a new center in Rodney Hudson who has appeared in 3 pro bowls and has become a top-tier offensive lineman over the last decade. With an improved offense, Murray is expected to make the jump to stardom in year 3.
2. Joe Burrow – Bengals
The 2020 1st overall pick definitely showed promise last year and at times he looked like a superstar already. During a week 2 matchup @ Cleveland, Burrow showed his elite talents posting 316 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. For Burrow, the question doesn’t seem to be if he will break out, but when. With Cincinnati adding the ultra dangerous receiver Ja’marr Chase in the draft this year, Burrow now has one more deadly target to utilize. Not only is Chase a weapon in every sense of the word but he and Burrow already have a strong connection as they played together on the historic 2019 LSU offense.
3. Sam Darnold – Panthers
I may be more optimistic about Darnold than most people but I believe he very well could become a high-quality player with Carolina. A poor supporting cast can make some of the best QBs look bad, and the Jets have had probably the worst offense in the NFL during Darnold’s time in New York. There is no question that the former 3rd overall pick has shown flashes of star potential with New York. But there was only so much he could do with an incredibly underwhelming supporting cast. It couldn’t be more different with the Panthers though. Robby Anderson and DJ Moore are both coming off 1,000-yard seasons. In addition to that dynamic duo, they have Christian McCaffrey who is the definition of a dual-threat. Not only is he versatile but he is lethal in both the passing and the running game. There is no denying that the Panthers have great surrounding weapons and with them, I expect to see a big jump in Darnold’s performance.
4. Tua Tagovailoa – Dolphins
The NFL community was so down on Tua last year. His season was definitely not spectacular but he was not an actively bad player. In 10 games played last year, the Alabama alum only threw 5 interceptions, a 2:1 game to interception ratio is really good for any normal veteran quarterback. This year though he has a much improved supporting cast as well as a more experienced offensive line. The Dolphins added speed demons Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller to the wide receiver room this offseason. Tagovailoa and Waddle played together at Alabama during their collegiate careers so they already have an established on-field relationship. During his rookie year, the young signal-caller had 3 rookies protecting him on the offensive line. As Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley, and Robert Hunt continue to develop, Tua’s protection will improve as well. With a boost in supporting cast this year in addition to natural development, the Miami QB has a very good chance to break out.
5. Baker Mayfield – Browns
I know we wouldn’t normally consider a QB at age 26 someone who is still in the developmental stage. But constantly changing schemes tend to slow down player development. Mayfield has had to learn 3 new systems in 4 years, but finally, the Browns have stability with the 2020 NFL coach of the year Kevin Stefanski. In his 2nd year with Stefanski, Mayfield is sure to become more comfortable in this system. Also, Mayfield’s top offensive target in Odell Beckham Jr is back and healthy after missing 9 games in 2020. In those 7 matchups with Beckham Jr in the lineup, the former 1st overall pick recorded a very good total of 15 touchdowns.
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