Ranking the 4 starting QBs in the NFC East
Unless you’re the Chicago Bears, most teams have an idea who their starting QB will be on opening day of the 2021 season. The NFC East continues to be a questionable division with no true favorite, but we can take an early look at where the quarterbacks stand heading into next season:
1. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott returns to Dallas fresh off signing his 4-year, $160M contract and 8 months removed from his season-ending ankle injury. According to reports, Dak is a full-go in OTA’s and looks no different than he did before his injury. Just two seasons ago, Prescott threw for 4900 yards (good for 2nd in the NFL), 30 TDs, and 11 INTs while steadily increasing his passer rating since coming into the league.
PFF has Dak Prescott ranked as the 7th-best QB in the NFL, and now that he’s no longer on the franchise tag, he has to prove that he can win games — postseason included. With Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup at their disposal, the Dallas offense averaged 510 yards/game before Dak went down in Week 5.
A prime candidate to win Comeback Player of the Year, Prescott will look to get off to another hot start under second-year head coach Mike McCarthy.
2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
The veteran isn’t flashy, but he’s productive. Fitzpatrick had the highest QBR of his career last season, helping lead the Dolphins to their astounding 10-6 season.
Highest QBR in 2020:
- Aaron Rodgers: 84.4
- Patrick Mahomes: 82.9
- Josh Allen: 81.7
- Ryan Tannehill: 78.3
- Ryan Fitzpatrick: 76.9
Fitzpatrick completed 68.5% of his passes last season for 2091 yards, 13 TDs, and 8 INTs. As the 38-year-old gears up to play for his ninth NFL team, he’ll have Terry McLaurin along with new additions Adam Humphries and Curtis Samuel to utilize on offense. After moving on from Dwayne Haskins, Washington will hope that Fitz has enough magic left to bring them their second straight division title.
Washington also brought back Taylor Heinicke on a two-year deal, who almost defeated the eventual Super Bowl champions in the Wild Card round last season.
3. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
It’s impossible to assess Hurts fairly in the limited sample size we got from him during a catastrophic season. What we do know is that the early intangibles with Hurts are encouraging.
In three full games as a starter last season, Hurts completed 55% of his passes for 847 yards, 5 TDs, and 2 INTs. Whether his low completion percentage resulted from his own shortcomings or a broken offense in general remains to be seen.
Much was made about his ability to throw — or lack thereof — but Hurts had the 6th-most passing yards ever by a rookie in his first three starts:
- Cam Newton: 1,012
- Justin Herbert: 931
- Baker Mayfield: 875
- Vinny Testaverde: 871
- Dennis Shaw: 868
- Jalen Hurts: 847
The dual-threat QB also added 354 yards and 3 TDs on the ground last season. In a new offense under Nick Sirianni, paired with former Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith, Jalen Hurts is poised to solidify himself as the face of the Eagles for the foreseeable future.
Even though he came up short, the poise at the end of the Arizona game is what impressed me most about Hurts.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) February 19, 2021
Big plays on big downs. pic.twitter.com/VmU2l1CdAb
4. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Danny Dimes is out of excuses next season. Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, John Ross, Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Saquon Barkley. If Jones underperforms with that plethora of weapons, that tells you all you need to know about New York’s franchise quarterback.
Jones has turned the ball 51 times since coming into the league — 29 fumbles and 22 INTs — but he was also sacked 83 times over that span. The Giants did play better down the stretch last season, but they’re going to need better decision-making from Jones to be an explosive offense in 2021.