How does the AFC South stack up against the other seven divisions in the NFL in terms of quarterbacks? NFL.com’s Adam Schein decided to rank each division by its quarterbacks, and the AFC South comes in at No. 5 heading into the 2021 season on Schein’s list.
With Trevor Lawrence now at the helm for the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is plenty of optimism for the future of Jacksonville, and for good reason, but he is also a rookie who still has plenty to learn about the NFL game. As good as Lawrence is expected to become (he is going to have an incredible career), he isn’t immune to rookie struggles.
Elsewhere in the division, although it is hard to admit for Jaguars fans, Ryan Tannehill has excelled in his role for the Tennessee Titans. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz looks to resurrect his career with the Indianapolis Colts, reuniting with his former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich. Then there is the mess that is the Houston Texans. Deshaun Watson may not play another down for Houston, and he asked to be traded before allegations of sexual assault against Watson were made public in the spring. For those reasons, Watson was not included in Schein’s exercise, and he instead went with Tyrod Taylor as the Texans’ starter.
With all of that in mind, here is Schein’s reasoning for listing the AFC South toward the middle of the pack in terms of quarterback play:
5) AFC South
Houston Texans: Tyrod Taylor
Indianapolis Colts: Carson Wentz
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence
Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill
For this exercise, I’m not including Deshaun Watson. Yes, he was a top-four quarterback in the NFL last season. But back in January, Watson was obviously unhappy with the Texans, asking to be traded. And then, of course, a series of sexual assault allegations against Watson became public in the spring. Consequently, his status is completely up in the air for 2021. Personally, I don’t think he’ll take another snap for Houston. Thus, I’m not including him in this drill. That brings the division down, obviously. Though I have always liked Tyrod more than most. He’s solid.
With all that said, there’s a lot to like across the rest of the AFC South. Lawrence is one of the greatest quarterback prospects in NFL history. The tools, the winning, the calm demeanor — it’s all there. I expect his talents to be on display immediately in Jacksonville under Urban Meyer. Of course, my expectations don’t always come to light. I was absolutely floored watching Wentz become the worst quarterback in the NFL last season, but I firmly believe he will be reborn with Frank Reich back in his corner. Indianapolis is the perfect change of scenery for the 28-year-old. Not only does Wentz get away from the pressure cooker of the Philly sports scene, but he gets an ultra-talented roster (especially up front) and spectacular coaching. I think Wentz bounces back with a brilliant effort, playing like the 2017 MVP favorite he was before tearing up his knee. On the Tannehill front, forget about the Miami days. He has become excellent in Tennessee. Two seasons, two passer ratings north of 105 and two playoff appearances. And now, with Julio Jones to go alongside A.J. Brown, Tannehill’s poised to enjoy his finest season yet.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Schein ranked the NFC West — which includes quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray and Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance — as the division with the best collective quarterbacks.
The AFC West comes in at second on the list, buoyed by arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes and a rising young star in Justin Herbert. Then there is Derek Carr, who has been inconsistent, but is coming off of a career season in passing yards (4,103) and passer rating (101.4). However, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation (Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater) knocks the AFC West down a peg, hence why it was ranked behind the NFC West.
The AFC North comes in at No. 3, followed by the NFC South at No. 4. Behind the AFC South is the NFC North at No. 6 (with Aaron Rodgers’ status with the Green Bay Packers up in the air), the AFC East at No. 7 and the NFC East comes in dead list on Schein’s list at No. 8.
What do you think? Is the AFC South the fifth-best division in terms of quarterback play? Did Schein get this full list right? Let us know in the comments section.