NFL third-year QBs outlook for 2022: Will Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts take the next step?

The 2020 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks is an alluring group. There’s Joe Burrow, then the polarizing Tua Tagovailoa who took place to be selected one choice ahead of blossoming super star Justin Herbert. Can’t forget Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia either.

Let’s review the 2021 seasons of all 3 of these quarterbacks and offer outlooks for their 2022 projects.

How he’s enhanced

Ok, ahhh, so, this is uncomfortable. Burrow went scorched earth on the SEC in 2019 — to me, the finest quarterbacking season we have actually ever seen at the FBS level — then was travelling along in his novice season prior to tearing his ACL. In Year 2, Burrow was, well, primarily LSU Burrow, linking on long balls like they were check-downs and growing in the face of threat. 

Counting Burrow’s go to the Super Bowl, he completed with football’s greatest passer ranking (92.7) while under pressure last season. He likewise tossed the most goals (14) on passes with 20 or more air backyards. 

How has Burrow enhanced? He hasn’t. This is a previous extremely promoted hire who simply required the mouth watering taste of Louisiana gumbo to end up being a guy, and he’s been that identify precise passer teeming with self-confidence and drip since. 

Supporting cast 

Burrow has the very best receiver trio in football, right? There’s a genuine argument for it. Ja’Marr Chase was an immediate super star last season. Tee Higgins is most likely the league’s finest young No. 2 wideout — silently reviewed 1,000 backyards throughout the routine season in 2015 — and all Tyler Boyd does is choose 75-plus catches and around 800 or 900 backyards every season as an ultra-reliable slot. 

Gone is tight end CJ Uzomah, however, more notably, the offending line has actually been rebuilded. Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and La’El Collins were all checked in totally free company to enhance an offending front that was typical at finest and sometimes a precise liability for the majority of the season.

Improving his weak points

When a quarterback is truly great, the cumulative tends to completely fault his offending line for any pressure or sack-related concerns that impede him and his offense. When a quarterback is bad, it’s thought to be primarily on the quarterback for not eliminating the ball. In truth, quarterbacks — despite quality — are more to blame for sacks than traditional knowledge would recommend, and Burrow is still taking method a lot of of them. 

He was sacked on 8.9% of his dropbacks in 2021 — a worrying, high figure — and his 51 sacks were one of the most in the league. Digging much deeper, 26.9% of the time Burrow was pressed last season, the play ended in a sack. That pressure-to-sack rate was the second-highest in football behind only Baker Mayfield. 

For point of view, Josh Allen had a league-low 10.6% pressure-to-sack rate, Patrick Mahomes’ was 13.4% and Justin Herbert’s was 15.6%. Burrow’s not likely to see pressure as frequently, however the sacks need to boil down this season. And much of that will be on him. 

Strengthening his strengths

Burrow’s downfield precision is downright silly. Unfair. And his tendency to let it rip downfield makes him among the most hazardous, flip-the-field-in-an-instant quarterbacks in the NFL. The go ball is a crucial part of the Bengals’ passing attack now. No reversing. 

But the long-ball proficiency and under-pressure sparkle weren’t part of Burrow’s launching expert project — simply in 2021. However, he began highly at the intermediate level as a novice and was elite because location in Year 2. 

In short, the fast video game is common in today’s NFL. The Bengals will spray in some RPOs and screens. But they require to accept the design of their quarterback and enable Burrow to be among the video game’s most aggressive throwers. That’s when he flourishes. 

Season outlook 

Burrow is Burrow. After 30 video games, it seems like we understand what the Bengals will be getting with him for the next years plus. Is his a freaky professional athlete? No. He’s most likely going to constantly take more sacks and Allen, Mahomes, and Herbert. Burrow’s blessed with simply adequate athleticism to manage as an improviser, and his throw-on-the-run capability is great. 

Do I believe he’ll lead the league in under-pressure passer ranking once again or balance a league-high 8.6 backyards per effort? Probably not. Regression to the mean is effective. 

But he’s an assassin on the field, checks out protections remarkably well and can position the football any place he desires down the field. With an enhanced offending line and still a superior group of skill-position skill around him in addition to a quality defense, Burrow is going to be a stud, once again, in Year 2. The Bengals have their man. An assertive, fearless quarterback who can support his swagger with astounding play in the most vital circumstances. 

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa

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How he’s enhanced

How about this for a stat — Tagovailoa led certifying quarterbacks with a 55.2% changed conclusion portion on tosses made 20-plus backyards in 2021. Not joking. 

Now, he just tried that long of a hand down 7.5% of his tosses, the second-lowest rate in the league, however a motivating stat however for the polarizing young quarterback. 

Supporting cast

If you ask me, no group did more to assist their quarterback and enhance his support-cast environment this offseason than the Dolphins. Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Cedrick Wilson, Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in the backfield, and Mike McDaniel, a Kyle Shanahan protege, as the brand-new head coach. 

Tagovailoa has actually been directly positioned in a no-excuse circumstance, and the Dolphins are all of a sudden explosive and decently deep offensively, plus the offending line will be much better. 

Improving his weak points

From a tidy pocket last season, Tagovailoa’s yards-per-attempt average of 6.9% ranked 28th amongst qualifiers. His big-time toss rate in those circumstances was a tiny 1.3%, the fifth-lowest in football, just ahead of Jacoby Brissett, Tyler Huntley, Mike Glennon, and Andy Dalton. Woof. 

More so than anything else, the previous Crimson Tide star requires to be dramatically more efficient from a tidy pocket. That’s where the elite quarterbacks different themselves from the great and excellent ones. 

Strengthening his strengths

Not understood for his arm skill, even as a possibility, Tagovailoa’s deep-ball precision can’t be neglected. In college, he dropped numerous beautiful includes the container to the similarity Jerry Jeudy and Co. and showed a season ago the ball-placement he showcased in college hasn’t disappeared. 

With Hill and Waddle at his disposal, the Dolphins require to not just stretch defenses horizontally however vertically, a lot more regularly than they have in Tagovailoa’s initially 2 seasons in the NFL. 

Season outlook 

Tagovailoa is such a complex case research study. He was surgical at Alabama however barely got touched in the pocket and tossed to 4 future first-round choices at receiver and handed the ball to a set of future first-round running backs. Was it him or the environment that got him prepared No. 5 general? 

Since signing up with the Dolphins, he’s had primarily the opposite environment and has actually been a frustration, no concern about it. Plus, he’s not from another location near being the physical specimen of the majority of the other budding young star quarterbacks in the league. 

His scenario has actually been greatly enhanced, which will unquestionably increase his performance. But in today’s NFL, a coach — even an allegedly fantastic one like McDaniel — can just plan receivers open a lot. Tagovailoa staying the starter or losing the gig after this season will hinge upon his capability to make difficult tosses. I have not seen him do that with much consistency to date, and his minimal arm and movement show to me he’s never ever going to be that kind of quarterback in the NFL. 

Chargers QB Justin Herbert

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How he’s enhanced

Frankly, Herbert’s novice and 2nd years in the NFL were nearly similar. Big-time tosses galore. Completion portion above 65%, outstanding have fun with pressure in his face…the works. If anything, his clean-pocket play took a visible advance in 2021. 

When the Chargers offending line in fact obstructed for him last season, Herbert balanced 8.0 backyards per effort with 31 goals to 13 interceptions compared to 7.1 backyards per with 18 goals to 8 interceptions in Year 1. 

Supporting cast 

The Chargers have enough offending weapons to take on any group in football. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler. Josh Palmer flashed downfield as a novice. Rookie Isaiah Spiller is the perfect, between-the-tackles enhance to Ekeler. And for the second-straight year, a high-floor blocker has actually fallen under their laps in the preliminary of the draft. 

First it was Rashawn Slater. This previous April, Zion Johnson. The ideal side of the Los Angeles line will not be as matador-like as it remained in 2021. Is it an elite group? Probably not. But with Slater, center Corey Linsley and Johnson, it should not be an obstacle to the Chargers offending ceiling like it was a season earlier. 

Improving his weak points

Randomly, Herbert’s changed conclusion portion at the intermediate level was simply 60.4%, the 20th-best amongst 34 qualifiers in 2015. It does not seem like that location is a precise weak point for him, however with around 20% of his tosses being made at that level, it’s a location of his video game that requires to be honed in Year 3.  

Strengthening his strengths 

Herbert’s mix of arm skill and athleticism remains in the very same classification — though not rather as remarkable — as Allen and Mahomes. He’s efficient in genuinely making any toss on the field and has actually played totally in a different way aggression-wise than his consisted of, question-raising senior season at Oregon. 

If anything, offending planner Joe Lombardi requires to nearly completely ditch the developed rollout part of his offensive. Herbert does not require to lose hang back fabricating a handoff to a back, rolling to his right to discard it down to a tight end in the flat. The enormously talented quarterback led the league with 50 tried on developed rollouts to the right last season. Unnecessary. Let Herbert be a big-time toss king.  

Season outlook 

After enjoying all of Herbert’s hangs back last season — in addition to the remainder of the league’s very first and second-year passers — you’d be hard-pressed to discover somebody greater on the Chargers young quarterback than me. He’s efficient in everything, although he’s not an outrageous scrambler. 

The arm is an outright cannon, he’s precise, hardly ever deceived by complicated protections, and the group has actually been appropriately developed around him. Herbert will remain in the MVP discussion in Year 3. 

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

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How he’s enhanced

Hurts has yet to “arrive,” however he’s currently come a long method, even from the breakout 1 year stint at Oklahoma that pressed him into the 2nd round of the 2020 draft. At Alabama, Hurts won a great deal of video games however his coverage-reading abilities weren’t skilled, his arm was dull, and his precision was woeful in many circumstances. He excelled due to his genuine running back-esque abilities bring the football. 

In those 10 video games as a novice, Hurts played like the visibly raw passer with high-end rushing and quality developed run video game capabilities he remained in college. Yes, at Oklahoma, he revealed significant enhancement from inside the pocket which enhancement continued from Year 1 into Year 2, as his conclusion rate leapt from 52% to ideal around 60%. His big-time toss rate likewise experienced a raise, from 2.9% to 5.0%. Incredibly motivating.

Supporting cast 

Devonta Smith and Jalen Reagor, by today’s requirements of playmakers at receiver in the NFL, are not precisely a super-threatening leading duo in Philadelphia. Throw in A.J. Brown? Now the Eagles are cooking. 

Quez Watkins has 4.3 speed to take the cover off secondaries and Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell are a practiced one-two punch in the backfield with differing designs. The offending line did not sustain a Jason Kelce retirement as some anticipated would occur this offseason, and left take on Jordan Mailata is no longer an enjoyable job. He’s a road-grading blocker with major pass-blocking expertise. Dallas Goedert is on the edge of going into the elite tight end tier with Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller. 

Hurts’ supporting cast is among the very best in the NFC. Hands down. 

Improving his weak points

Hurts needs to tighten his ball security. His 3.9% turnover-worthy play rate was the eighth-highest in the NFL, connected with the similarity Mayfield and Zach Wilson. Yikes. Whether it be attempting to squeeze the ball through tight windows his arm strength merely will not enable or fumbling on a scramble, Hurts ruins a lot of drives with careless play. 

While Hurts’ athleticism is a strength, not a weak point, to up his general performance as a quarterback he needs to merely toss the ball more. Passing is generally going to be a more effective method to move the football down the field. Hurts had 51 scrambles on 556 drop-backs last season. That’s method a lot of. For point of view, Allen had 55 scrambles however those began 793 drop-backs. Mahomes led the league in scrambles (61) yet it took 880 hang back to reach that number. 

Strengthening his strengths 

The above subhead is not to recommend Hurts need to comply with a standard in-the-pocket death design. His movement is a true blessing, and it fits part of the modern-day franchise quarterback profile. He’s balanced 5.6 backyards per enter each of his very first 2 seasons, however he was just provided 8 developed runs throughout the routine season. That’s insufficient! 

If you change Hurts’ position to RB on Mockdraftable, Todd Gurley is his fourth-highest similar (!) I indicate, this is a 6-1, 222-pound professional athlete with 4.59 speed and a 35-inch vertical. He can offer the Eagles the always-critical numbers’ benefit in the run video game. 

Season outlook 

Nothing suggests Hurts’ advancement is going to all of a sudden stop. He’s established in every phase of his football-playing profession to date. For as much as head coach Nick Sirianni did a remarkable task computing open tosses for Hurts, and as the season advanced, Hurts settled into his game-manager function rather perfectly. 

He does still feel quite depending on his environment, and — what do you understand! — the Eagles strengthened the skill around Hurts this offseason. Do I believe he’ll get in the elite tier this season? No. I do not think he has the arm skill or ball-placement abilities to do so. But provided his constant enhancement, and the strong Eagles lineup, Hurts will go from a likely-to-be-replaced quarterback to a likely-to-be-extended quarterback after the season. 



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