As the offseason commences, I will be starting my top 5 under 25 lists. To qualify for this list, the player must be 25 OR below. Today we will start with the quarterback position.
1. Patrick Mahomes
The number one player on this list is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now and is well on his way to becoming one of the best and most talented quarterbacks ever. Mahomes was top five in every major statistical category: passing yards, touchdowns, passer ratings, and interceptions thrown. In his three years as a starter, Mahomes has thrown for 13868 yards, 114 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. If he stays healthy, Mahomes is on pace to blow Brees record of most passing yards of all time out of the water and potentially Bradys record for most passing touchdowns all time. Mahomes has been to two super bowls and was a Dee Ford offsides away from it being three straight super bowls. In this past super bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the world saw just how talented Mahomes was as he made some of the most insane throws I have ever seen. You can argue for Mahomes being the best quarterback in the NFL but you cannot argue about his placement in this list.
2. Deshaun Watson
I had trouble going with Watson or Allen at position two but went with Watson due to his consistency at playing at an elite level. Watson had his best statistical season without his best receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. He finished the season with 4823 yards (led the league), 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a passer rating of 112.4 (led the league). If not for the Texans’ record, he could’ve very well been this year’s MVP. Watson is also one of the more talented quarterbacks in the NFL but is in one of the worst situations in the league. He plays behind the 10th worst offensive line, a receiving core consisting of Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Chad Hansen, and KeKe Coutee, the 3rd worst defense in the league who just lost their best defensive player in JJ Watt and no draft capital or cap space to make significant improvements. No matter how well Watson played, this team wasn’t going to win more than 4 games and it was impressive the Watson kept the Texans in most of their games. I hope the Texans trade Watson to the Carolina Panthers, so we can see Watson with elite offensive talent and a young and upcoming defense.
3. Josh Allen
Josh Allen shut a lot of haters up this season, including me, with his season-long, MVP caliber performance. All Josh Allen needed was a number one receiver and he got one in Stefon Diggs. The rest is history. Josh Allen had 4544 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a 69.2 completion percentage and 107.2 passer rating. He improved upon his completion percentage by 10.4%, which is an insane jump for one offseason. He led the Bills to their first AFC Championship title game since 1993. Allen still has questions regarding his decision-making as he takes unnecessary sacks and deep throw accuracy. However, with Josh Allen’s insane improvements, it seems as if we are set to see the Bills and Chiefs battle it out for the AFC in the coming seasons.
4. Lamar Jackson
The 2019 MVP comes in at number four on this list. After finally securing his first playoff win against the Tennessee Titans, Lamar and the offense (JUSTIN TUCKER) faltered against the Bills in what was a very winnable game. The Ravens have failed to provide Lamar with playmakers outside of Mark Andrews. Hollywood Brown is inconsistent and Willie Snead and Myles Boykin are below average. The scheme that the offensive coordinator has implemented hinders this offense, however. There is a lot of film of Lamar and Dez torching ravens defensive backs in practice but in the games, these coaches don’t let Lamar throw freely. Their whole receiving score is speed guys yet they don’t run them off screens or short routes. Part of the blame is on the coaches for Lamar’s stats as a thrower. Lamar’s passing is very inconsistent but his ability to keep plays alive with his legs shows how talented of a player he is. The Ravens desperately need to acquire a receiver like Golladay or Allen Robinson to give Lamar a true number one receiver, but until that happens, I don’t see Lamar reaching his potential and the Ravens will be consistent playoff exits.
5. Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield and the Browns finally lived up to their hype securing their first playoff berth in 18 years. Baker showed how great he can be once Odell Beckham got hurt. When Odell was playing, Baker was constantly forcing the ball to him, which led to unforced errors and missed opportunities elsewhere. When Odell was not playing, Baker was spreading the ball around and making better reads. Baker decreased his interceptions from 21 in 2019 to just 8 in 2020. With consistent o line play, the play-action, which Baker flourishes in, is nearly unstoppable. The future is bright with the Browns who just went toe-toe with the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round.
Just missed the cut: Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert