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Although most pundits will be fervently captivated by how this years quarterback class pans out in terms of where each intriguing young passer goes in the 2018 NFL Draft, there are actually several second year athletes that could blossom this year to become legitimate franchise quarterbacks for their respective teams. While the current dearth of starting caliber quarterbacks in the NFL has been a serious concern for the last couple of years, the influx of young passers from last year and into this year should effectively bring about an incredibly impressive generation of capable signal callers.
However, as it pertains to the sophomore passers, the 2018 regular season will be the time during which these scrutinized playmakers will either take a vital step forward in their development or will regress back into the shadows to sadly be regarded as busts. Either way, each of the following quarterbacks has the potential to be an elite mainstay for their respective organizations assuming that they can remain healthy and accrue the necessary knowledge from their cerebral coaching staffs.
Before suffering a torn ACL during the final week of October against the Seattle Seahawks, Deshaun Watson effectively utilized his athleticism to move freely within and outside of the pocket, which bought him the valuable time that he needed to locate his speedy receivers downfield. Throwing 19 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, Watson proved that he was an exceptional playmaker that could help his team win without making careless mistakes in high pressure situations.
However, if the Houston Texans want amplify their young quarterbacks astounding abilities, they will need to surround him with the elite receiving talent to allow him to get the ball out his hands much quicker. Although the Texans were able to beef up their ailing offensive line in free agency, they failed to address the tight end position, an area that was constantly changing due to nagging injuries at the position last season. With the NFL Draft coming up at the end of April, the Texans would behoove themselves to draft a big bodied tight end that can make plays in the open field while making key blocks on the offensive line from time to time.
Even if the Texans did not add another potent receiver to their roster, Watson possesses both the glowing intangibles and natural talent to carry his team to a division title and a deep playoff run when all is said and done.
Unlike Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky's rookie season was a fairly turbulent one in terms of his production on the field. However, it's difficult to put all of the blame on the Chicago Bears leading man as his team was without two of their top receivers to start the season (Kevin White, Cameron Meredith), which resulted in several dropped passes by open targets throughout the season. When Trubisky was able to get into a comfortable rhythm throwing the football, he flashed moments of being pin point accurate while having the mobility to extend plays to keep scoring drives alive.
Knowing full well that their second year quarterback would need several more prolific pass catchers to succeed going forward, the Bears wisely added receivers Allen Robinson (formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Taylor Gabriel (formerly of the Atlanta Falcons). On top of that, the Bears added a budding tight end in Trey Burton (formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles), who was vital in helping Philadelphia win its first Super Bowl in the history of the franchise.
With the aforementioned additions, Trubisky should be able to have at least an above average season provided that he can be a bit better when it comes to making decisions on the fly as he had a propensity of forcing throws into tight windows on some occasions.
When you consider the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to acquire Patrick Mahomes as the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it becomes clear that those within the Chiefs organization believed that the gunslinging passer would be a budding star in the NFL. Passing for over 5,000 yards while throwing just 10 interceptions during his junior year at Texas Tech, Mahomes possessed both the confidence and impressive vision to throw ball downfield. Throwing for 8.5 yards per passing attempt, Mahomes' arm strength was well documented during his final year in college and was a prominent reason why the Chiefs moved up to select him early on in last years draft.
Although Mahomes started in just one regular season game for the Chiefs last season, it was an intriguing albeit decidedly brief debut of his developing skill set as he confidently threw 35 passes while completing 24 of those attempts. While Mahomes will need to be more disciplined when going through his progressions, his arm strength in conjunction with his exceptional athletic abilities should allow him to thrive on a team that is loaded with speedy playmakers.