Nearly 18 months ago I wrote that we are seeing the rise of the second-year quarterback. In that article, I predicted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota would break out this past year.
And they did.
Some are predicting a “breakout” from Winston and Mariota but they’ve both already had their “breakout season” this past year when they passed for a combined 54 TDs and more than 7,500 yards. Both have composite rankings within the Top 10 QBs. Breakout? We are way past that point.
To qualify for an upcoming breakout season, let’s agree that you need to have an ADP at least beyond 100. Winston and Mariota are not even close. Let’s also agree that guys like Eli Manning and Alex Smith might have strong or even a career best year, but they are not going to suddenly “break out.”
However, once again I predict we will see a rise of the second-year quarterback. With those thoughts in mind, let’s look at one break out whose ADP is the 100 to 150 range and another beyond 200. And if you read to the end I’ll even mention a couple other second-year quarterbacks that probably won’t even get drafted in your league but could have a Dak Prescott-like breakout.
2017 Breakout Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP 138)
No surprise that Carson Wentz will be the flag-bearer for the rise of the second year quarterback this year. But many may not realize just how good he was, or how bad.
If you look at Wentz’s stats from last season, the most onerous number that jumps out is his 14 fumbles. That’s a lot of leather meeting terra firma. How much? In the past five seasons, only one quarterback had more than 14 fumbles in a season (Philip Rivers with 15 in 2012). The following year, however, he had three. Maybe Wentz is a fumbler, it’s too soon to tell. But the takeaway is that the Philly fumbler’s past season is likely an outlier. Don’t be surprised if he cuts that number in half.
His interceptions were also a little high, but most rookies throw many INTs. The aforementioned Winston had 15 during his rookie year. Therefore, the 14 INTs that Wentz threw are not so bad in context. Now add in his nearly 3,800 passing yards that included four games of 300-plus passing yards and things start to look even rosier. I expect Wentz to easily break through the 4,000 threshold this year.
Why? For one, let’s just say the Eagles wide receivers could have helped Wentz out a little more:
Nelson Scissorhands Agholor will be bumped down the depth chart by Alshon Jefferey and Torrey Smith. In addition to having better hands than Nelson Agholor, both have a double-digit TD year on their resume. The addition of Jefferey and Smith will also allow Jordan Matthews to return to the slot, where he can use his large frame in space to create an advantage. That gives Wentz three legitimate receiving threats this year plus the continually improving Zach Ertz.
And now that I’ve got you salivating, allow me to give you another option that might make your stomach churn. Yes, someone less obvious who will forever be linked to Wentz, and that is Jared Goff…
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (262 ADP)
Before you think I’m just a couple pistachios short of the nuthouse, hear me out.
First off, do you understand how cheap you can get Goff? Even in a 14-team league, you can get him late double-digit rounds and there may be good reasons for it. One thing going for Goff is that he does not have to look over his shoulder, unlike at least half dozen other quarterbacks. Do you really think the Rams are suddenly going to turn the reins over to Sean Mannion? Me neither.
And yes, Goff was horrible in his first year, but even Peyton Manning had 28 picks his rookie year. Goff played only half the number of games, but half of 28 is still a lot more than Goff’s nine interceptions.
Of course, that Colts offensive line was horrible, but so was Goff’s. How bad? Well, that’s a bit subjective. ABC News ranked them 25th in adjusted sack rate in December, Pro Football Focus ranked them 27th in January and Football Outsiders ranked them 29th. Yet no matter the source, the Rams OL was not good. The Rams knew it and immediately upgraded their OL this offseason, signing All-Pro left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Of course, like the Eagles WR corps, the Rams wide receivers last year were not exactly Jerry Rice. And if you go back and watch the “highlights,” at least a third of those INTs were not Goff’s fault. Again, the Rams addressed some of their issues this offseason by drafting Division I career leader in receptions, yards, and touchdowns (Cooper Kupp) along with possibly my favorite fourth round pick and incredible red zone threat, Josh Reynolds.
It’s not like Goff himself is devoid of talent. He can be sharp…
All of the reasons above are good reasons to expect a breakout. But the real reason I like Goff this year? The change from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay is like moving to a Rolls Royce from a pair of sneakers. Fisher was a model of incompetence (he was 31-45 with the Rams) while McVay took the Redskins from 25th in total offense to the third best passing offense in the NFL.
Let’s just say Goff might not be such a surprise breakout candidate.
ADP 250 and beyond…
- Cody Kessler might also get his chance to join in with the rise of the second-year quarterback, but he faces some tough competition to be the starter.
- With a far more talented WR corps in Denver, Paxton Lynch could also break out, but he’s not exactly being handed the reins either.
- Cardale Jones could also be an interesting option in Buffalo should Tyrod Taylor get injured.
- I know that someone in a super deep league out there is looking at the Jets and thinking that Christian Hackenberg could break out. That someone isn’t me. Don’t do it. The rise of the second-year quarterback will not include Hackenberg; look elsewhere for your breakout.
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