B/R's NFL 20 for '20: Projecting Top 20 Quarterbacks in 2020
My generation didn't want to think about an NFL without Joe Montana, but along came Brady. We didn't want the game without Dan Marino, but along came Peyton. No more John Elway? Here's Aaron Rodgers. The game moves on, and legends walk away. Looking ahead to the next generation, who will be the best quarterbacks in the year 2020?
That's what this signature series aims to answer—our "20 for '20" covers who the top 20 quarterbacks will be five seasons from now. And if you're looking for guys like Philip Rivers—who will be 38 years old in 2020—we have to project a few retirements. So even though Tom Brady said he wants to play until he's 45, assume for these purposes that Brady, Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have retired at this point.
Naturally, there were some ties, and in that case we picked the young quarterback we'd take to build a team around. It's very subjective, but it works.
Honorable Mention: Who Is Missing the Cut?
Others Receiving Strong Consideration
- Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams
- Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
- J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
- Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
- Cardale Jones, Ohio State
- DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
- Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
- Kirk Cousins, Washington
Excluded Because of Age and Expected Regression
- Peyton Manning
- Tom Brady
- Drew Brees
- Eli Manning
- Philip Rivers
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Tony Romo
- Jay Cutler
20. Matt Ryan (35 Years Old)
2020 Age: 35
Matt Ryan is one of the NFL's better quarterbacks, but he hasn't yet broken into that top-five or top-10 category. The addition of a new offense, a healthy Julio Jones and a dynamic running back depth chart will give him a great chance to get there in 2016. Ryan has a good arm, showing velocity when needed and deep arc up the seam. Will that decline by the time he's 35? Yes, but not to a large degree.
Ryan has the arm to be accurate, and he's shown good touch to every level with timing and placement. The key for Ryan is keeping his arm healthy so he still has the velocity to hit the outside and underneath targets. His target accuracy has always been good, not great, but he shouldn't see a major decline as he ages. In fact, it may go up.
Being a runner has never been Ryan's strength, but he's always shown solid pocket presence and a good ability to slide up when pressured. Looking ahead to when he's 35, Ryan will be on that Peyton Manning level of mobility.
Ryan is entering the prime of his career, but there is room for improvement now that he's working with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. A more creative offense—and one that gets the ball out of his hand earlier—could boost his value.
In the next five years, Matt Ryan could be a Super Bowl winner—he's that talented—or he could remain a middle manager at quarterback, never rising to that top tier.
19. Joe Flacco (35 Years Old)
2020 Age: 35
Joe Flacco has one of the biggest, best arms in the NFL when it comes to pure strength, velocity and deep touch. He's able to severely push the ball up the field and has shown the ability to throw with power to fit the ball into tight creases on underneath or crossing routes. And with a big, strong frame (6'6", 245 lbs), it's unlikely Flacco's arm will break down over time.
Flacco is a gambler with the ball, and that fearlessness can lead to missed passes. His accuracy is good, though, and shouldn't see a decrease over time. The biggest question mark will be how well Flacco develops with Breshad Perriman and a young wide receiver corps after Steve Smith Sr. has retired.
Pocket mobility isn't a big strength for Flacco, but he's protected by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. He's good at stepping up in the pocket and stepping out of pressure when rushed off the edge, and he has proved himself behind both good and bad offensive lines.
It's not fair to expect Flacco to get much better than he is—which is pretty good. Even if his career trajectory is flat over the next five years, he'll rank as a top-20 quarterback on the field at that time.
Flacco has won Super Bowls and has proved himself as a top-tier postseason quarterback. He's not yet mentioned as a top quarterback, but he's firmly in the second group—and that's likely where he'll be in five years.
18. Christian Hackenberg (25 Years Old)
2020 Age: 25
Christian Hackenberg was blessed with a golden right arm. Like a young Joe Flacco, Hackenberg can throw the ball underneath with incredible zip, or he can launch it down the field with ease. Another big plus here is that Hackenberg has an athletic arm, meaning he can adjust his arm angle and release point to make tough throws. His arm strength may actually be a weakness, as he tries to throw the ball through too many tight windows.
Hackenberg reads the field well, but his placement can be off at times, which led to interceptions in 2014 and 2015. He also let pressure get to him and rushed too many throws. When he takes time to set his feet and deliver a strike, his accuracy is special. Projecting him forward, Hackenberg's accuracy should improve dramatically as he gets out from under the horizontal offense Penn State head coach James Franklin brought to town.
Turn on the film, and you'll see a good athlete but not a great runner. Hackenberg is more of a Flacco or a Carson Palmer type of athlete in the pocket. He's also been hit more than any of the quarterbacks listed here during his college career. The only worry is that Hackenberg may be shell-shocked when he gets to the NFL.
There is no limit to how good Hackenberg can be—if he hasn't been shell-shocked by the pressure he's seen at Penn State. He has a truly elite arm and is a very smart quarterback, but he has to eliminate mistakes in his decision-making and clean up some rushed throws. If he does that, being a top-20 quarterback in 2020 is a lock.
Boom or bust: That's Hackenberg. His true freshman season was one of the best I've seen, but he struggled as a sophomore in a new scheme. He has all the potential to be a longtime top-tier NFL starter, but he has to overcome the issues that held him back in his 2014 and 2015 seasons.
17. Ryan Tannehill (32 Years Old)
2020 Age: 32
Ryan Tannehill has enough arm strength to be a threat in any offensive system. He's able to push the ball with power outside the hashes, and he throws with good velocity on underneath routes. His deep passes do struggle at times—Mike Wallace will attest to that due to their missed connections during his time in Miami—but all in all he has enough power to throw deep or underneath with the needed zip.
The touch and placement Tannehill shows on underneath work is impressive but also inconsistent. That also shows when he's asked to throw up the seam, where he does a good job leading targets upfield. As mentioned above, his deep passes can suffer at times and lose the ideal placement. His accuracy can be very good on most levels but has to improve with time.
It is brought up way too often that Tannehill was a wide receiver for a time at Texas A&M, but it does play into his mobility score. Tannehill can be a dangerous runner in space and uses his legs well to slide in the pocket. The biggest concern about using him as a runner would be exposing his narrow, slender frame (6'4", 220 lbs) to hits.
Tannehill hasn't had much consistency around him in his NFL career, and that could ultimately hold him back if too many head coaches rotate in Miami. But he's a tremendous athlete, a bright student of the game and has the arm talent to emerge as a top-tier passer.
Tannehill has just started to scratch the surface of how good he can be, and if we're looking five years into the future, it's a good bet that he'll be mentioned as one of the best in the game at that stage.
16. Matthew Stafford (32 Years Old)
2020 Age: 32
In the year 2015, Matthew Stafford had one of the strongest arms in the NFL. By the year 2020, that shouldn't change. Stafford has a rifle of a right arm, and he throws with great velocity on underneath and crossing routes. He's also smart about putting air under the ball when throwing it up to wide receiver Calvin Johnson. All in all, he has a top-tier arm when it comes to power, velocity and touch down the field.
Stafford's accuracy can fluctuate between beautiful and scary, and some of his issues come from trusting his arm strength too much or from trusting Johnson to make a big play in double and triple coverage. As he matures as a passer—he's only 27 years old—Stafford's accuracy could improve.
Stafford is a capable runner and a very good athlete, which allows him to slide in the pocket or step up to avoid pressure off the edge. As a runner in space, he'll pick up yards, but he isn't the type of quarterback you want to design runs for.
Stafford came into the NFL as a 21-year-old and was asked to grow up on the job. He's done well with that, showing big potential while also struggling to take that next step as a passer. That's likely where he'll remain, but with the weapons around him, it's possible something will click and that he'll take off.
Five years from now, Stafford will rank about where he does currently: as a good but not great quarterback with some limitations due to his decision-making and accuracy.
15. Paxton Lynch (26 Years Old)
2020 Age: 26
A redshirt junior in 2015, Paxton Lynch is one of the youngest quarterbacks on the 20 for '20 list, but he's worth it. Lynch doesn't have the biggest arm in college football, but he throws the deep ball with confidence and is able to spin the pigskin underneath for tight spirals. And he's still growing as a passer. With improved footwork and release consistency, the Memphis Tigers QB could see a boost in arm strength.
A quarterback often develops accuracy in college as he learns to trust his receivers and learns about timing and anticipation, but Lynch already shows big flashes in terms of placement and making the right decision with the ball. Of course, there is still a lot of time for things to change, but the early word on Lynch is that he has that "it" factor when it comes to putting the ball in the right place at the right time.
Lynch (6'7", 245 lbs) is often compared to guys like Joe Flacco and Carson Palmer, but he's a much better athlete than that. The Memphis offense asks him to move around in the pocket and even pull the ball down and run at times. From a purely athletic standpoint, he's a thinner Ben Roethlisberger.
Lynch started as a redshirt freshman at Memphis, and that bodes well for his development, as he'll get a trial by fire. Looking at his tape, you see a live arm, very good legs and an uncanny maturity in his pocket awareness and how he sees the field.
The spread system at Memphis isn't great for evaluating NFL prospects, but Lynch has the tools to grade out as a starter coming out of college. We'll know for sure in five years, but betting on Lynch's stock is a smart play.
14. Brad Kaaya (25 Years Old)
2020 Age: 25
Brad Kaaya doesn't have the top-tier arm strength of a Cam Newton or a Russell Wilson, but he has enough velocity and enough power to push the ball up the field. And when given time in the pocket, he can air it out and give his receivers a chance at deep passes. Kaaya's arm strength could also be boosted by getting older and stronger as he hits his mid-20s.
Kaaya has shown in his college career that he has the touch accuracy to be deadly at setting his receivers up for yards after the catch. The big upside for him in this area is that as he gets comfortable in an offense—and hopefully has some consistency in his scheme and coaching—he could improve over the next five years.
Kaaya has proved himself as a runner in the Miami Hurricanes offense, and while he's not a sprinter, he moves around well in the pocket and can pick up yards when things break down. The only lasting concern would be that his lean body (6'4", 210 lbs) could take a beating in space.
In two seasons as a college starter, Kaaya has shown big potential. The upside in his scouting report comes from the idea that a stable environment with a consistent offensive coordinator could push him over the top of his ceiling.
Kaaya has the talent to be firmly on this list in five years, but much of this depends on how his final years at Miami go. He could be a Hurricane for one more season and opt out early or for two more years and leave as a senior. He'll be fascinating to watch develop.
13. Blake Bortles (28 Years Old)
2020 Age: 28
Pure arm strength is a big plus for Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller Blake Bortles. He already has a definite plus-level arm in the NFL as a passer right now. Bortles can throw the ball deep with ease and has shown a great understanding for timing and placement over the proper shoulder when pushing the ball upfield. On underneath routes he'll throw too many fastballs, but that's coachable. What isn't coachable is an arm like this.
The development of Bortles has been fun to watch, and in terms of accuracy he's taken a big step forward. Projecting ahead to 2020, expect more of the same. Bortles is a hard worker, and if he can keep his mechanics in check and remain consistent there, he has the timing and anticipation to get the job done with accuracy.
Bortles can pull the ball down and run around people, but he's also agile enough to scramble and move both in and out of the pocket. Don't sleep on him as a downhill runner and pocket magician.
Bortles doesn't lack for raw potential, but will he continue to develop? The key for him coming out of college—from my scouting report—was to learn about mechanics and develop his accuracy to all levels of the field. He had some time to sit and learn as a rookie but for the most part has been learning on the job. The upside is big here, but so is the risk.
Bortles has all the tools to be a top-15 starter at quarterback in five seasons. If he keeps improving his decision-making and aces his mechanics, he may even get into the top 10.
12. Andy Dalton (33 Years Old)
2020 Age: 33
Andy Dalton will never be known for his rocket of a passing arm, but he does have enough zip and velocity to get the job done. Dalton has improved his seam throwing and ability to launch the ball deep in his career, and there's reason to believe he can get a little stronger (and smarter about angles and timing) as he moves into the next five years of his career.
Dalton's accuracy is on point when attacking underneath crossers or midfield zone routes. In 2015, he's shown improved downfield accuracy thanks to better chemistry with tight end Tyler Eifert and receivers like Marvin Jones. Dalton's decision-making can be late at times, but his actual ball placement and ability to lead a receiver off either shoulder and either hip are impressive.
At TCU, Dalton showed he could be an effective runner, and that's carried over to the NFL, where he's shown the agility to scramble. More than ever before, Dalton became a designed runner in 2015, and that's something he does well.
It's a little odd to see a 28-year-old quarterback listed with this level of upside, but Dalton's coachable and has improved each season he's been in the NFL. And the longer Hue Jackson is around as offensive coordinator, the more upside Dalton has.
Dalton is among the hardest players at the position to project ahead five seasons. He has flashed greatness, but he's also struggled in big spots. Taking it all into consideration, Dalton looks like a top-15 quarterback for 2020.
11. Deshaun Watson (25 Years Old)
2020 Age: 25
There isn't much Deshaun Watson can't do with the football, and at 20 years old at the time of writing, he has a lot of time to mature and grow in terms of arm strength. As it stands now, Watson has a good but not great arm, and looking at his frame (6'2", 205 lbs) and mechanics, that's likely where it will stay. He can launch the ball deep and puts enough zip on it underneath so that his power or velocity isn't an issue, but he'll not rank near the top of the NFL in terms of arm strength once he's a pro.
The Clemson offense hasn't developed many NFL quarterbacks because it allows the passer to cut the field in half and not read the entire defense. Watson will have to face these criticisms as well, and one thing he has to improve is throwing receivers open on underneath and intermediate routes. His deep accuracy to wide receiver Mike Williams was amazing, though, and should open eyes. Given that this is a five-year projection, expect Watson to develop to a level where he's on par with NFL passers.
Whether he's pulling the ball down to run or scrambling to set up the pass, Watson is dangerous with his feet. He's agile, quick and instinctive—three areas that make his mobility some of the best on this entire list.
Watson is a great athlete, a very smart student of the game and is coached by some very bright minds at Clemson. He has as much upside as any quarterback in college or on this list. With his athleticism and ability to make plays with his arm and leg, Watson could make a Russell Wilson-like impact on the NFL.
Staying healthy is the key for Watson's continued development, but in the time he's been on the field, the Clemson sophomore has looked like a future stud NFL quarterback.
10. Marcus Mariota (27 Years Old)
2020 Age: 27
Marcus Mariota will never have an elite arm when it comes to pure power and how much spin he can put on throws underneath. But he does show good enough power to hit deep routes and stretch the field. Defenses must play Mariota honest thanks to his combination of arm strength and mobility, and as he travels through his first five years in the pros, it wouldn't be a surprise to see his arm strength improve as his body matures and grows.
Spot accuracy was the biggest strength on Mariota's predraft scouting report. The Oregon offense didn't ask him to always make the most difficult throw, but he does a great job of identifying the right read and getting the ball in a catchable position. Mariota gets it when you talk about timing and anticipation of the route.
Coming out of the Oregon Ducks offense, Mariota has been used as a runner but also as a passer on the move. That's where his value really comes into play, as he can execute at a high level moving to his left or right.
Mariota has top-tier skills that should push him into becoming one of the league's best quarterbacks five years from now. If his transition to the NFL is as easy as Tennessee Titans coaches would have you believe, Mariota could be even higher on the list in 2020.
Mariota was one of the cleanest draft prospects at quarterback in recent memory, but how well he performs in the NFL will be based on his acclimation time to a pro-style offense and also what kind of talent the Titans put around him. If Mariota can get protected up front, he has the passing tools to be a very good NFL quarterback.
9. Josh Rosen (23 Years Old)
2020 Age: 23
A true freshman in 2015, Josh Rosen showed all the tools of a future No. 1 overall draft pick. Rosen has an arm that would immediately translate to NFL success if he were draft-eligible today. He spins the ball all over the field without effort and has the touch and understanding of ball placement that some seniors don't understand. Rosen's arm could be special five years from now.
Here is where Rosen can be too inconsistent. Rosen looks to have a great natural ability to put the ball into place, but has to learn which windows he can fit the ball through and which he has to stay away from. He has a good feel for the placement and space, but we'll have to wait and see if that skill can indeed become elite.
Rosen can move in the pocket well enough to avoid the blitz, but he's also agile enough to make defenders miss both in and out of the pocket. He's not a top-level runner but has better running skills than a Matt Ryan or a Joe Flacco. He's more Teddy Bridgewater-like in his mobility.
The tools are there for Rosen to be a star, and he's getting good coaching at UCLA. Three years from now we could be talking about No. 1 overall pick talent from Rosen, especially if he can build on his early successes in college.
Will Josh Rosen live up to the hype when so many other top prep quarterbacks haven't? The traits and work ethic are there. Time will be the only deciding factor, but if you could buy stock in Rosen, I'd pick some up now.
8. Jared Goff (26 Years Old)
2020 Age: 27
Jared Goff makes the list based on potential and the belief in his tools plus his ability to continue developing into something special. He has legitimate star power. With an above-average arm, Goff can hit every target on the field. He throws with underrated velocity and has a smooth, polished motion that lets the ball fly out of his hand.
The Cal product has an amazing knack for anticipation and ball placement as a college passer, but he is doing so in a system that isn't very much like what he'll see in the NFL. But the talent remains, and it's fair to expect Goff's accuracy to improve once he's working with NFL talent.
Goff isn't a typical runner, but he's a good athlete. My big question is, with a leaner frame (6'4", 215 lbs), will he want to take shots in the open field? Goff is agile enough to move around in and out of the pocket, but this may be a mind-over-matter situation.
The Bear Raid offense does prepare Goff well for the NFL in asking him to make big throws down the field and on the outs. He's not just out there chucking tunnel screens or Y-sticks, after all. The biggest thing will be adapting to NFL-level reads and protections. But Goff looks bright enough to make the transition just fine.
Goff has all the tools to be a potential No. 1 pick in the draft and a franchise quarterback. He may need some work in acclimating to the NFL—same as Marcus Mariota before him—but the California Golden Bears quarterback has all the traits scouts look for in the makeup of a starter.
7. Jameis Winston (26 Years Old)
2020 Age: 26
Jameis Winston has enough arm strength to make every throw, but the timing of his motion can lead to defenders jumping routes. We saw that start to go away down the stretch of his rookie season, and his arm strength became a big positive in his game, so the future outlook is good for Winston. He trusts his arm strength and has proven to be a passer that uses the entire field. There's no fear in his game.
Looking back at Winston's predraft report, there were times when his placement suffered and he struggled to see underneath coverage. From a total accuracy standpoint, Winston was solid to every level of the field and throws a very catchable ball that allows receivers big run-after-catch potential. He does need to work on bringing the ball down on some throws, as his throwing motion still leads to some over-throws.
Winston can be a good runner, but he's not Johnny Manziel out of the pocket. The mobility score here is mostly because of his ability to move within the pocket to elude defenders and set himself up to make the throw.
Winston has top-tier potential in arm strength, route anticipation and athleticism. If the elements all come together for him, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense is loaded with weapons for Winston to become a special player.
Winston's two years starting at Florida State prepared him well for the NFL, and on the field he has the traits to be a top-tier starter at quarterback. In fact, we saw that in his rookie season. The biggest question regarding his future will be how he handles decision-making against pressure defenses, as they caused him trouble at Florida State and in his rookie season.
6. Teddy Bridgewater (28 Years Old)
2020 Age: 28
The big knock on Teddy Bridgewater (6'2", 215 lbs) coming out of Louisville was his lack of arm strength, and there is some truth there. The key for Bridgewater's development will be continuing to add weight, add strength and work on his deep-ball strength. Underneath, his velocity is just fine, but he's lagging behind some others in the arm-strength department. If anything can hold back his potential and development, this is it.
The big positives in Bridgewater's game right now are his accuracy, touch, timing and ability to anticipate coverage and route breaks. As that skill develops—as he sees more defenses and gains chemistry with his receivers—this will only improve. We've already seen Bridgewater dominate with touch during his first two seasons, and it's reasonable to expect better accuracy as he develops chemistry with his receivers.
Bridgewater isn't a great runner, but he's somewhere on the Alex Smith-Aaron Rodgers spectrum in terms of being able to escape the pocket and pick up yards. Where he scores best is in his poise, patience and vision in the pocket. What he lacks in true open-field running ability, he makes up for in pocket awareness and pocket mobility.
Bridgewater has excelled when on the field, and the wrinkles in his game are those that can be ironed out with patience and coaching. As of the end of the 2015 season, Bridgewater's strengths (poise, accuracy, reading the field) are balanced against his weaknesses (arm strength, vertical passing), but a happy medium has to be reached in the Vikings' scheme.
In five years, can Teddy Bridgewater be a top-five NFL quarterback? Without a doubt. The only thing holding him back, potentially, is a lack of elite athletic skills, but the on-field traits are all there.
5. Derek Carr (29 Years Old)
2020 Age: 29
Derek Carr has a rocket of a right arm, but he needed to use it more heading into 2015 as he failed to stretch the field vertically as often as he could have. That changed in his second season, though, and Carr showed the potential to become a top-10 quarterback, and the pure arm power is there for it to happen soon. Carr is able to spin the ball with the best quarterbacks in the game; now he just needs to loosen up and let it fly.
Carr lived on the underneath route in his first two seasons, and he showed impressive timing and touch on those routes. As mentioned above, his deep accuracy continues to improve. Looking at his potential over the next five years, Carr can become a very accurate quarterback, but he won't ever be on that Aaron Rodgers level.
An underrated athlete too often compared to his older brother, David, the younger Carr can scoot when pressured. He has the legs to pick up yards as a runner—on a scramble or as a designed ball-carrier—and is a tough passer to bring down in the pocket.
Unlike other quarterbacks, Carr has no physical limitations in terms of size or arm strength. With good coaching and a young talent like Amari Cooper at receiver, Carr (6'3", 215 lbs) has the tools to become a top-tier passer by the time he's 30.
Carr is just two years into his career, but he is already one of the more promising young passers in the game. Assuming he stays healthy, the Raiders have their franchise quarterback in the strong right arm of the Fresno State product.
4. Cam Newton (31 Years Old)
2020 Age: 31
Put Cam Newton next to any quarterback in college football or the NFL, and his arm is going to be right there alongside the best of the best. He is able to throw the ball a mile on deep routes and can throttle it down to make touch passes on crossing routes. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to throw with power on the move without stopping his feet to reset or power through his core.
The biggest gripe with Newton's game right now is a lack of consistency in his accuracy. The Panthers wisely surrounded him with big targets like Kelvin Benjamin (6'5"), Greg Olsen (6'5") and Devin Funchess (6'4") for this reason. But accuracy can be improved through mechanics, and Newton has the tools to get better here.
Newton is an electric runner with the power of a fullback, and that's not going to change barring injury. Part of what makes Newton a top-10 quarterback in 2020 is that he will still be able to beat defenses with his legs, and in short-yardage situations you do not want to get in front of him.
There is still a lot of room for Newton to improve his game—getting to secondary reads, holding safeties with his eyes, improving accuracy in the red zone—to believe he can be a better quarterback in five years than he is now. The key is Cam's wanting to be more than a one-read running quarterback.
It's always tough to project players who seem to break the mold as prospects, and that's definitely what Cam is. He could become the next Steve Young over the next five years if his decision-making and accuracy improve, or he could be a Randall Cunningham-like player with seasons of greatness but an overall above-average career.
3. Aaron Rodgers (37 Years Old)
2020 Age: 37
Aaron Rodgers has one of the best arms in the game currently. He's able to throw to every level of the field with velocity, shows great touch and is amazing on the move as he showcases his raw power throwing on the go. That could decline some as he ages, but it's fair to think Rodgers will have an elite arm as long as he's in the NFL.
A huge area of development for Rodgers thus far in his pro career has been hitting timing routes and learning to play with anticipation. He's in rare company in this regard, and as his career progresses, there is no reason to think he'll lose any touch, accuracy or anticipation skills. If anything, he'll continue to slow the game down with the ball in his hands.
A mobile runner in and out of the pocket, Rodgers will always be a very good athlete, but his ability (and desire) to run around should decrease as he ages.
Have we seen the best of Rodgers yet? Maybe, but there is room for upside here. We've seen his mechanics change in the NFL, and we've seen him improve in the pocket. But there is still some room for his placement to get better and for him to become even better in and out of the pocket.
Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now, but projecting him five years out, he'll likely be in that Tom Brady-Peyton Manning area at 37 years old. That means still good enough to win a Super Bowl but starting to be passed up by elite young players.
2. Russell Wilson (32 Years Old)
2020 Age: 32
At age 27, Russell Wilson has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. At age 32, it's a safe assumption that his arm will still be at a high level. Wilson has a clean, easy delivery and puts a ton of velocity on the ball thanks to ideal passing mechanics and a strong core. That ability to throw with power underneath or loft the ball deep down the sideline makes his arm one of the best in the NFL.
Wilson is an accurate quarterback, and this was an area where he needed to improve heading into 2015—and then he did with a masterful season. It would be natural to expect Wilson's accuracy to improve over the course of his career, and if he can keep up the passing on display in 2015, Wilson's score will shoot up over time.
Wilson is a dangerous runner—perhaps the most dangerous running quarterback in the game. Whether it's mobility in the pocket or outside the pocket, Wilson is great. The only concern projecting forward would be that his smaller stature (5'11", 206 lbs) causes his body to wear down.
Wilson has been a starter every week of his NFL career, but there is still room for improvement and development in his game. What Wilson showed in 2015 was an elite-level quarterback—a complete quarterback—and the type of player worthy of MVP consideration in the future.
Wilson has led his team to a Super Bowl win and a narrow Super Bowl loss, and he's clearly emerged as a top young talent. As we look to his future, it's easy to see Wilson's becoming one of the league's premier talents.
1. Andrew Luck (31 Years Old)
2020 Age: 31
Andrew Luck doesn't have the NFL's strongest arm, but he has more than enough arm to make every throw you'd ever want—and he can make them on the run to his left or right while adjusting his arm angle to make the pass. Luck also understands touch in ways few quarterbacks ever have. Put that all together, and you have an elite NFL arm.
Anticipation and ball placement make Luck great, but he has room to improve in terms of decision-making and timing as a passer. In this way, Luck is more John Elway than Peyton Manning, but as he heads into the next phase of his career, this will make or break his potential stardom. Luck has the tools to be great, but he must be better than his 2015 film showed.
A talented runner, Luck has the body type (6'4", 240 lbs) and athleticism to make plays in space. Moving ahead and looking long-term, the biggest concern is Luck protecting his body over picking up a few yards on runs.
At just 26 years old in 2015, Luck is still learning how to be an NFL quarterback, and his upside is unrivaled. Even looking ahead to 2020, Luck will just be entering his peak quarterback years. The fact that he missed half the 2015 season with injury does creep in as a concern, but unless he comes back in 2016 looking far less talented, Luck's upside is still a huge positive.
Luck is already the best young quarterback in the game, and five years from now he'll be the untested best in the business. The heady franchise quarterback is the perfect combination of brains and brawn, and he's only improving in terms of mechanics, anticipation and ball protection. In five years, we will be talking about Luck as an all-time great.
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