While many quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson get drafted into great situations that allow them to reach their full potential, other quarterbacks have to overcome bad offensive lines, poor weapons, a bad offensive scheme, bad coaching, or major dysfunction that permeates from the top down. Here are three quarterbacks whose situation is holding them back from reaching their potential. All quarterbacks in bad situations will not necessarily be on this list. There must be some evidence that these quarterbacks would be a lot better on another team.
Perhaps no young quarterback that has flashed potential has had to overcome more to start their career than Darnold. Adam Gase has been under fire and it is reported that many players on the team do not respect him. The offensive line has been terrible, being ranked 28th by PFF in 2019. Their equally bad receiving core was also ranked 28th last season. The impact of Sam Darnold was shown last season as the Jets lost all three games Darnold missed, scoring one total touchdown during that span, which came in garbage time late against the Eagles. The Jets went 7-6 with Darnold as the starter, who clearly showed he can elevate the abysmal talent around him. Sam’s career struggles up to this point can be mostly chalked up to a bad supporting cast and mono.
While throwing to DeAndre Hopkins for the past three years has helped him develop, Watson will no longer have that luxury in 2020. Hopkins was really the only standout offensive teammate Watson has had since joining Houston. Pass protection definitely improved in 2019 with the addition of Laremy Tunsil but the offensive line is still is below average and ranked near the bottom of the league in every other year of Watson’s career. Despite this, he has proven to be the franchise quarterback of the Texans, turning what had been an anemic offense led by Tom Savage and TJ Yates in 2017 into an elite unit in 2018. Watson improved the Texans from 4 wins to 11 despite being sacked a league high 62 times. The coaching and trades made by head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien have been extremely questionable to say the least. The fact that Watson has been able to prove himself to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player despite all these obstacles and the new ones he will face truly raises the question of how great he’d be if a team like the Bears didn’t pass up on him.
While the situation in Seattle isn’t close to as bad as the ones in Houston and New York, Seattle has not always made life easy for Wilson. For starters, he has dealt with terrible offensive lines his whole career. While he has had some decent wide receivers in Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, their overall receiving core since 2012 has been average at best and mediocre more often than not. While Pete Carroll is a solid coach, he has had controversy around him in Seattle, with questions of his in game decisions and player relations. Wilson has been arguably the 2nd-best quarterback in the league behind Patrick Mahomes who has one of the best situations of any quarterback in the league. It is truly amazing to think how close that gap is given the roster and coaching differences.