3 reasons why Sam Darnold could be the best QB in the NFC South

The Panthers QB could be the top NFC South QB

The NFC South, also known as the division with the most divisional shootout matches, is home to four polarizing QB situations. There is the seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, former number one overall pick Jameis Winston and swiss army knife Taysom Hill competing for the starting gig in New Orleans, the consistent veteran Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and then there’s the USC golden armed signal-caller Sam Darnold in Carolina. 

The spotlight and offseason hype of the QB group belongs to reigning Super Bowl Tom Brady. The second glimpse of praise rests in the Big Easy, where it’s anticipated that a talented younger QB will have the keys to Sean Payton’s aerial attack. Attention and successful expectations are deserved to be handed to the shiny NFC South signal-callers. Nonetheless, the outlooks of Brady and Winston/Hill indirectly sway less belief in the young field general in the Carolinas. 

Not only is there plenty of reason to believe the former third overall pick can do wonders with an offense featuring Christian McCaffrey, but I believe he could be the utmost best QB in 2021. Here are three reasons why Darnold can be the best QB in the wild west of the NFC South.

*Best QB= highest passer rating

  1. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill turnover issues

Winston is an exciting Twitter follow, due to his humbled outlook and a glorious entourage of training videos. Even though there’s a train of football addicts putting their bets on Winston’s comeback season, the former Bucs QB is all too familiar with not meeting expectations. 

It’s important to note that as soon as Winston arrived in the Big Easy, he had friendship and trust in the locker room, despite the conspicuous case of on-field concerns. His infectious personality and reputable work ethic gave him team allies and media clout instantly. 

Winston’s arm talent on the field is evident, given his 5,109 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns thrown in 2019. However, the double-edged sword correlated with Winston’s passing prowess. Winston threw for an astronomical 30 interceptions, which clearly couldn’t be made up for outlandish passing marks. 

Vinny Testaverde was the last QB to throw 30+ interceptions, which was back in 1988. 

Winston also threw 14 interceptions, 15 ints, and 18 ints in a single season. His turnover habits have routinely been league leading throughout his career. 

Taysom Hill, the other QB duking it out for the starting job, carries high end potential through his blistering speed and arm accuracy. Hill was awarded the starting role after Drew Brees went down with a rib injury in 2020 and he filled in admirably with a 3-1 record. 

It’s clear Hill has a firm grasp on the playbook and he can oust highlight reels in each contest. Nonetheless, Hill has his own turnover slip ups.  

The former UDFA had an enormous, odd amount of fumbles in the 2020 campaign. His 10 fumbles in 13 starts was outrageous, largely due to the fact that he started a mere four games. Not only does Hill’s turnover issues neglect his running ability, but it significantly deteriorates his status as a true starting QB. 

Hill’s 10 fumbles in 2020 were close to breaking the dreadful single season franchise fumble record set by former Saints QB Aaron Brooks (14).  

  1. Tom Brady is the goat, but he will be 44 years old in August

Tom Brady has proven to not be the greatest QB, but the best player of all time. His most recent Super Bowl ring at age 43 in his first season as a Buccaneer can attest to not only his talent but his relentless drive. However, even Tom Brady won’t live in football paradise forever.  

Brady and the Bucs know the end for him is approaching, which was made clear with the early draft pick of Kyle Trask. The Bucs fully expect that 2021 or 2022 is most likely his last year in a Tampa uniform. 

When a QB plays on his last legs, the outcome is far from satisfying. The latest career version of Drew Brees and Brett Favre put up historically poor air yardage, while Peyton Manning was benched for Brock Osweiler. 

  1. Matt Ryan does not have Julio Jones

When Matt Ryan was once asked what the offense would look like without star WR Julio Jones, he response was “I don’t know what the offense would look like without Julio Jones”. 

Ryan’s answer was nothing short of the unexpected, as the longtime QB holds a career passer rating of 88.6 without the great wideout. Most recently, Ryan has been a speck of dust without Julio. Ryan recorded a mere 70.6 PFF grade in 2020 without the future HOF wideout. The 88.6 rating is just a slight margin over Darnold’s own passer rating in Adam Gase’s lackluster offense in 2019 (84.3). 

The Falcons QB without his longtime friend will have a hard time flexing his muscles as the top QB stud in the division next season. Whereas, Darnold will be gifted with a healthy Christian McCaffrey and the league’s most underrated WR duo (Robby Anderson, DJ Moore). 

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