2019 Stat Predictions for Every Projected Starting NFL QB

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 23, 2019

2019 Stat Predictions for Every Projected Starting NFL QB

0 of 32

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Here's a revelation for you: The NFL is a quarterback-driven league.

    I know. It's a stunner. Take a minute to collect yourself.

    The defending Super Bowl champion just so happens to have the greatest player to ever man the position on its roster. The team he vanquished in Atlanta has one of the better young signal-callers in the game.

    It's long been said there are two types of teams in the league—the ones with a true franchise quarterback and the ones without.

    Of course, it isn't that simple. The league's 32 quarterback situations run the gamut from cloudy to crystal clear. From outstanding to…not outstanding. And then some.

    For better or worse, every NFL team will roll someone out there 16 times in 2019.

    Based on examination of their previous numbers, supporting casts, talent and schemes, here's a look at how those players might do.


Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray

1 of 32

    Matt York/Associated Press

    We're starting this off with the starting quarterback who's arguably the toughest to peg statistically in 2019.

    We know rookie Kyler Murray will all but certainly start in Week 1 after he went first overall in April's draft. But other than that, the Arizona Cardinals are a big red pile of questions.

    We don't know how head coach Kliff Kingsbury's "Air Raid" offense will translate to the NFL, how a re-tooled offensive line that allowed 52 sacks in 2018 will perform or how Arizona's young pass-catching corps will shake out around Murray.

    However, we at least know Murray has a highly talented tailback at his disposal in David Johnson. And with Hakeem Butler, Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson joining Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald, the pass-catchers have potential.

    Growing pains and bumps in the road are inevitable. But so are highlight-reel oohs and aahs that offer the Redbirds hope for the future.

    Projected Stats: 307 completions, 501 attempts, 3,471 yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 81 carries, 485 yards, 4 touchdowns

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan

2 of 32

    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    It happened with very little fanfare during a 2018 season in which the Atlanta Falcons missed the postseason, but veteran quarterback Matt Ryan quietly had one of the better seasons of his 11-year NFL career.

    Ryan's 69.4 completion percentage, 4,924 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and 108.1 passer rating were all the second-highest marks of his career. The 34-year-old's only season with better stats came in 2016 when he was named the league's most valuable player.

    In Julio Jones, Ryan has one of the best wide receivers in the game at his disposal. Calvin Ridley is a rising star in his own right. Mohamed Sanu is a capable veteran. Add in tight end Austin Hooper and tailback Devonta Freeman, and he's certainly not hurting for weapons.

    If the new-look O-line holds up, a 5,000-yard season isn't impossible.

    Projected Stats: 420 completions, 606 attempts, 4,898 yards, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 34 carries, 109 yards, 2 touchdowns

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson

3 of 32

    Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    Lamar Jackson peeled off six wins in seven starts last year to get the Ravens into the playoffs, electrifying fans with his ability to extend plays with his legs.

    That scrambling ability is going to remain a big part of Jackson's game in his second season, and the Ravens will likely remain one of the league's more run-heavy teams. But Baltimore's fortunes as a team will hinge on Jackson's development as a passer.

    The Ravens made a number of moves geared toward upping his chances of improving as a thrower in 2019, bolstering the receiving corps with the additions of rookies Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin.

    But dating back to his time at Louisville, Jackson has never been known as an especially accurate or consistent passer. That needs to change, or we're just going to see opponents key on the run game and limit Jackson's scrambling like the Los Angeles Chargers did in the postseason last year.

    Projected Stats: 256 completions, 439 attempts, 2883 yards, 17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 190 carries, 908 yards, 5 touchdowns

Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen

4 of 32

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    It was an...interesting rookie season for Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

    Many of the knocks against him coming out of college were plainly evident in Buffalo. He completed fewer than 53 percent of his passes and threw two more interceptions than touchdown passes.

    However, Allen's athleticism caught more than a few folks off-guard—he averaged more than seven yards per carry and trailed only Lamar Jackson in rushing among all quarterbacks. And in his defense, the receiving options around him were less than imposing. The team's leading receiver in 2018 (Zay Jones) failed to notch 60 catches or hit 700 receiving yards.

    The Bills hit the skill positions hard in free agency and the draft, adding two new wideouts in John Brown and Cole Beasley and three new tailbacks in Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary.

    That shifts the pressure to Allen to up his accuracy and take a step forward as a passer.

    Projected Stats: 260 completions, 470 attempts, 3,130 yards, 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 105 carries, 685 yards, 7 touchdowns

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton

5 of 32

    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Cam Newton's 929 career carries (and offseason shoulder surgery) have led to more than a little speculation that perhaps he should dial back the run game a bit.

    As Joseph Person wrote for The Athletic, Newton isn't about to do that, though.

    "I think I'm too old to change. But I can get better—that's one thing that I can do," he said. "And I like that word, better. At this particular point, the things that make me are still cemented in. It's just up to me to kind of take my game to the next level and kind of branch off and, like I said, get better."

    It's hard to imagine the ground game not being a substantial part of Newton's arsenal, as it has always been. It's equally difficult to imagine the Panthers doing anything in the NFC South if that scrambling lands Newton on the shelf.

    Projected Stats: 326 completions, 508 attempts, 3,616 yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 104 carries, 525 yards, 5 touchdowns

Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky

6 of 32

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears were champions of the NFC North last year, and while the defense got the lion's share of the credit, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky did his part, as well.

    In Trubisky's second NFL season, he came up just short of completing 67 percent of his passes while tossing over 3,200 yards with twice as many touchdowns as interceptions. He also won 11 of his 14 starts.

    The Bears weren't a team in need of major offensive upgrades, but the additions of rookie tailback David Montgomery and wide receiver Riley Ridley should provide a nice little boost.

    We aren't going to see the leap forward from Trubisky in 2019 that we did the season before. But a second straight career year should be coming, and 4,000 passing yards can't be ruled out.

    Projected Stats: 335 completions, 498 attempts, 3,654 yards, 25 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 71 carries, 391 yards, 3 touchdowns

Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton

7 of 32

    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The 2019 season is the definition of a make-or-break campaign for Andy Dalton. As Dan Graziano noted at ESPN.com, Cincinnati's financial commitment to the Red Rifle is very much a year-to-year venture:

    "All of the guarantees in Dalton's contract have long been paid, so his $16 million salary this year and his $17.5 million 2020 salary are NFL funny money. The contract was signed long enough ago that Cincinnati isn't even carrying dead signing bonus money. The Bengals could cut Dalton today and not owe him another penny."

    Dalton has the offensive weaponry around him to rebound. But he's coming off a less-than-impressive statistical season (his 2,566 passing yards in 2018 were a career low) and playing behind a suspect offensive line. While the team addressed that line in this year's draft, in 2018 it ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in both run blocking and pass protection at Football Outsiders.

    The only stats that are going to matter for Dalton in 2019 are wins and losses. Suffer through a fourth straight losing season, and it's likely the end of the line for him in the Queen City.

    Projected Stats: 339 completions, 523 attempts, 3,714 yards, 26 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 35 carries, 140 yards, 1 touchdown

Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield

8 of 32

    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Heading into the 2019 season, no team in the NFL has been hyped more than the Cleveland Browns. And coming off a season in which he set a new NFL record for touchdown passes by a rookie, Baker Mayfield is getting his share.

    As a matter of fact, Vinnie Iyer of SportingNews.com slotted Mayfield ninth among the league's signal-callers—ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff and Deshaun Watson:

    "This is not just more Cleveland hype for 2019. Mayfield put together a terrific rookie season, one that could have been even better had Hue Jackson allowed him to compete for the job in the preseason, or had Freddie Kitchens been coaching him all the way. Now Kitchens is doing just that, and Mayfield has an elite No. 1 wideout in Odell Beckham Jr."

    If Mayfield takes full advantage of the talent around him and the Browns come close to living up to the hype, we're going to see the birth of a new superstar in 2019.

    Projected Stats: 381 completions, 562 attempts, 4,402 yards, 33 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 45 carries, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott

9 of 32

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The 2019 season is a huge one for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Fresh off a career-high 3,885 passing yards and a second NFC East title in three years, he's on the verge of becoming a very rich man.

    He's also playing under a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore, and Prescott told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he expects the Dallas offense to be even better as a result.

    "When you have a guy like that asking a player first how can I help, how can I make this situation better, this game better, you're going to have a lot of success," Prescott said. "And I'm so excited for this year and what we all can do."

    Prescott knocked on the door of a 4,000-yard season a year ago.

    He'll step through that door in 2019.

    Projected Stats: 360 completions, 534 attempts, 4,003 yards, 25 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 60 carries, 244 yards, 3 touchdowns

Denver Broncos: Joe Flacco/Drew Lock

10 of 32

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    And we've hit the first two-headed projection.

    If veteran free-agent acquisition Joe Flacco can keep the Broncos in contention for at least a wild-card spot into the month of December, the 34-year-old could hang on to the starting job all season.

    The Broncos aren't without skill-position and defensive talent, and the offensive line was upgraded in the offseason with the additions of veteran Ja'Wuan James and rookie Dalton Risner.

    But there's also a reason Flacco is no longer in Baltimore, and while he may well be an upgrade over Case Keenum under center, that upgrade isn't a drastic one. Stuck in a division with two Super Bowl contenders—the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers—the Broncos are going to fall off the pace at some point.

    And then John Elway and the Broncos will want to see what they have in Drew Lock and whether the strong-armed youngster from Missouri has what it takes to potentially be an NFL starter.

    That means starting some games late in the season.

    Projected Stats (Flacco): 271 completions, 441 attempts, 2,965 yards, 14 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 22 carries, 53 yards, 1 touchdown

    Projected Stats (Lock): 88 completions, 145 attempts, 985 yards, 5 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 6 carries, 25 yards

Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford

11 of 32

    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Once upon a time, Matthew Stafford was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the NFL. Over seven consecutive seasons from 2011 to 2017, Stafford topped 4,200 passing yards each and every year.

    The 31-year-old even topped 4,500 yards three times during that stretch—including a 5,000-yard season back in 2011.

    But in Matt Patricia's first year as head coach, Stafford's numbers plummeted. His 3,777 passing yards were his lowest output ever during a season in which he played 16 games. His 89.9 passer rating was his lowest since 2014. His 6.8 yards per attempt were his fewest since 2010.

    Partly, it was a matter of scheme. Partly, it was a matter of attrition in the receiving corps. And partly, Stafford may not be quite the player he once was.

    At this point, 4,000 passing yards is a more attainable goal than 5,000—or even 4,500.

    Projected Stats: 370 completions, 569 attempts, 4,123 yards, 26 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 28 carries, 85 yards

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

12 of 32

    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers would just as soon pretend last year's 6-9-1 faceplant of a season never happened. But while the team didn't have much success, Aaron Rodgers once again had a fine statistical showing...for the most part.

    Yes, Rodgers' 25 touchdown passes were the fewest he's ever thrown in a 16-game season. But he flirted with 4,500 passing yards and threw just two interceptions all year.

    The lack of proven receiving talent behind Davante Adams remains a concern. But the arrival of new head coach Matt LaFleur will hopefully offer a jolt to an offensive scheme that had grown stale and predictable under Mike McCarthy.

    It wasn't that long ago (2016) that Rodgers chucked a league-leading 40 touchdown passes in Green Bay. A repeat of that may be pushing the bounds of optimism, but that doesn't mean he isn't primed for a big year.

    Projected Stats: 380 completions, 613 attempts, 4,504 yards, 32 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 49 carries, 264 yards, 2 touchdowns

Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson

13 of 32

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    At this time a year ago, the question with Deshaun Watson wasn't one of ability so much as durability. He was a revelation as a rookie before an ACL tear ended his season after seven games.

    That question was answered last year, and emphatically. Despite absorbing an NFL-high 62 sacks, Watson made it through the entire season. And what a season it was—over 4,000 passing yards, a touchdown-to-interception ratio of almost 3-to-1 and a second straight year with a passer rating of at least 103 and no fewer than eight yards per attempt.

    Watson won't be hurting for firepower in 2019. DeAndre Hopkins is perhaps the best wideout in the game, and youngsters Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee have both shown flashes of game-breaking ability when healthy.

    When firing on all cylinders, the Houston offense is as explosive as any team in the NFL. But the Texans have to do a better job keeping Watson upright in 2019.

    Projected Stats: 340 completions, 514 attempts, 4,095 yards, 28 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 90 carries, 484 yards, 4 touchdowns

Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck

14 of 32

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    He's baaaack.

    After losing all of the 2017 season to a shoulder injury, Andrew Luck was back under center for the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. And while it may have taken him a little while to get rolling, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 had posted the second 4,500-yard season of his career and come up one shy of his career high (40) in touchdown passes by the end of the year.

    The stage could be set for even bigger things in 2019. Not only does the team get veteran tight end Jack Doyle back, but it added a big-bodied wideout in free-agent Devin Funchess and brought in another potential game-breaker at receiver in Parris Campbell.

    The Colts are a legitimate contender to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV. And Luck is a legitimate contender to lead the NFL in passing yards—and possibly win MVP honors in the process.

    Projected Stats: 412 completions, 644 attempts, 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 50 carries, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns

Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Foles

15 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are trying to buck history. Per ESPN's Michael DiRocco, "Since 2000, 13 other teams have signed a signal-caller to a multiyear deal with the intention of making them an immediate starter."

    Of that group, more than half never played in a postseason game with their new team.

    The Jags have gambled the largest contract guarantee in franchise history that Nick Foles will be different. He certainly looked the part of a franchise quarterback while winning MVP honors in Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    But while Foles got the Eagles a playoff win each of the last two seasons, he's also on the fourth team of his career. He threw eight interceptions in seven games with the Eagles in 2018. And his supporting cast in Jacksonville isn't what it was in Philly.

    Don't be surprised if things don't go according to plan.

    Projected Stats: 341 completions, 536 attempts, 3,692 yards, 18 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 42 carries, 115 yards, 1 touchdown

Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes

16 of 32

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    So this Mahomes guy is pretty good.

    All Patrick Mahomes did in his second NFL campaign was post the 11th 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history. He joined Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to throw 50 touchdown passes in NFL history. He matched Manning as just the second quarterback to do both in the same year. And he won the league's MVP award.

    Other than that, he was just OK.

    Here's the thing. Regardless of what eventually becomes of wide receiver Tyreek Hill, those numbers are all but certainly going to regress in 2019. Just one quarterback in league history has thrown for 5,000 yards more than once or in consecutive seasons—Drew Brees.

    Additionally, the 50-touchdown seasons from Manning and Brady were followed by a decrease of at least 16 touchdowns.

    This isn't to say Mahomes won't have a big year or lead the league in passing. But he isn't going to produce another season like last year's explosion.

    Projected Stats: 377 completions, 571 attempts, 4,717 yards, 38 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 64 carries, 296 yards, 3 touchdowns

Los Angeles Chargers: Philip Rivers

17 of 32

    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    For the last 13 seasons, Philip Rivers has been the starting quarterback for the Chargers—first in San Diego, then in Los Angeles.

    It's possible (albeit unlikely) that this will be Rivers' last year with the team, as his contract is up after the year. But he insisted to Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times that his contract situation isn't a concern: "I'm just fine right where we are, you know. I got this year left and under no immediate stress or urgency to get anything done. If it means playing it out, that will be just fine. It really will. We got a good group here and a good thing going. At this point, just focus on one year at a time and take it from there."

    An extension is going to get worked out because Rivers is going to have another good season. The weapons are there for the 37-year-old to challenge 4,500 passing yards, toss 30-plus touchdowns and get the Bolts back in the playoffs.

    Pay the man.

    Projected Stats: 351 completions, 535 attempts, 4,252 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 15 carries, 32 yards

Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff

18 of 32

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    A pretty good argument can be made that no NFL quarterback has a better array of passing-game weapons at his disposal than Jared Goff.

    Wideouts Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks both topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2018. Fellow receiver Cooper Kupp may well have joined them had he not torn his ACL. When healthy, Todd Gurley may be the best receiving back in the game. Plus, many consider head coach Sean McVay the preeminent offensive mind in the NFL.

    However, questions also exist. Kupp's ACL. Gurley's arthritic knee. Turnover on the offensive line. An offensive swoon late last year that saw the Rams manage just three points in their Super Bowl loss.

    Given those questions, Goff's 2018 numbers are going to be hard to match.

    Projected Stats: 332 completions, 538 attempts, 4,301 yards, 31 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 35 carries, 103 yards, 1 touchdown

Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen

19 of 32

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    A month ago, it appeared Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the team's starting quarterback in 2019—a placeholder to keep the seat warm for the rookie the team would inevitably draft in 2020.

    That was then. This is now.

    After they swung a trade during the 2019 draft that landed Cardinals 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen, the Dolphins have no reason not to let Rosen take the reins for a year. If he plays well and it turns out last year's struggles were more about situation than talent, Miami will have procured a franchise quarterback at a ludicrously low price.

    If he falls flat on his face, Miami's first-round pick in 2020 will be all the higher. If you're going to tank, you might as well do it right.

    Things will probably fall somewhere in between. Rosen is a better player than he showed in Arizona during his rookie campaign, but Miami's skill-position talent might be the worst in the NFL.

    Projected Stats: 312 completions, 538 attempts, 3,444 yards, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 28 carries, 108 yards, 1 touchdown

Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins

20 of 32

    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Can you feel that? That heaviness? Like a weight pressing down on your chest?

    That's the overflow from all the pressure on Kirk Cousins this season.

    From a statistical standpoint, Cousins wasn't bad in his first year with the Vikings. His 4,298 passing yards were the second-most of his career. His 30 touchdown passes were a career high. So was his 70.1 completion percentage.

    But in the only category that matters, Cousins scuffled to an 8-7-1 mark as the team's starter. That's not exactly what the Vikings were expecting in the first season of a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract.

    With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, the Vikings have one of the best one-two punches in the league at wideout. They have depth and talent at tight end. They feature a do-it-all tailback in Dalvin Cook.

    The ingredients are there for a big year. But if Cousins doesn't start cooking up wins in short order, that pressure will go from oppressive to absolutely crushing.

    Projected Stats: 388 completions, 566 attempts, 4,072 yards, 29 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 41 carries, 130 yards, 2 touchdowns

New England Patriots: Tom Brady

21 of 32

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. After nine Super Bowl trips (including each of the last three years) and six championships (including Super Bowl LIII), that's no longer up for debate.

    Statistically, though, Brady's 2018 season was—by his standards—average at best. His 11 interceptions last year were his most since 2013. His passer rating of 97.7 was the first time he failed to crack 100 in four years.

    With star tight end Rob Gronkowski having retired this offseason, that isn't likely to change.

    The Patriots will still have plenty of success as a team—they're the AFC favorite until someone knocks them out of the playoffs. But with an unsettled receiving corps and Brady set to turn 42 in August, his biggest numbers are in the rearview mirror.

    Projected Stats: 373 completions, 580 attempts, 4,119 yards, 29 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 17 carries, 33 yards

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees

22 of 32

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Only one quarterback in NFL history thrown for 5,000 yards more than once.

    Drew Brees has done it five times.

    Brees already passed Peyton Manning as the all-time leader in passing yards. If the 40-year-old throws 20 touchdowns in 2019, he'll break Manning's record of 539 there as well.

    For what it's worth, Brees has thrown 20 or more touchdowns in each of the past 15 seasons.

    Had Brees not sat out the final game of last season, he would have eclipsed 4,000 passing yards for a 13th consecutive season. His numbers have tailed off over the last two years only because the Saints now have offensive balance with Alvin Kamara in the backfield.

    Expect him to have another Brees-y season in 2019.

    Projected Stats: 395 completions, 596 attempts, 4,478 yards, 30 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 18 carries, 35 yards, 1 touchdown

New York Giants: Eli Manning/Daniel Jones

23 of 32

    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    If New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman had any sense, he'd let rookie Daniel Jones sit out his rookie season and learn behind Eli Manning.

    Of course, if Gettleman had any sense, he wouldn't have drafted Jones sixth overall.

    The Giants can repeatedly profess their boundless confidence in Manning, but he's a 38-year-old in decline playing for a bad team that just invested a top-10 pick at the position. To say that the Giants will rapidly fade from contention in the NFC East implies that they were in contention at some point.

    It isn't going to take long for the calls for Jones to start. And with a so-so (at best) receiving corps and a flawed offensive line surrounding them, whoever's under center for the Giants this season is bound to struggle.

    Projected Stats (Manning): 296 completions, 448 attempts, 3,297 yards, 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 14 carries, 27 yards

    Projected Stats (Jones): 90 completions, 159 attempts, 957 yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 carries, 16 yards

New York Jets: Sam Darnold

24 of 32

    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The offseason storylines regarding the quarterback class of 2018 have revolved around Odell Beckham Jr. joining Baker Mayfield in Cleveland and Josh Rosen getting traded. But as 247Sports' John Newby relayed, Good Morning Football host Kay Adams believes Jets QB Sam Darnold could be headed for a second-year leap.

    "This is the guy, as far as expectations, needs to take the biggest step and is expected to do that, of course, with all the additions that they made. Now he's got another offense, another offense to learn. Adam Gase is there, they gave him everything that he needs. Le'Veon Bell, he knows is quarterback-friendly, so he's got something to lean on now. I think he's expected to take that Jared Goff sort of leap in his second year. Different offensive situation, I think that's what's expected of him."

    Darnold came on a bit late last season, and the players around him are better this year than last.

    If he cuts down on the turnovers, he'll be the Big Apple's best quarterback.

    Projected Stats: 315 completions, 522 attempts, 3,773 yards, 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 45 carries, 188 yards, 2 touchdowns

Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr

25 of 32

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Less than year ago, Derek Carr looked to be finished in Oakland. The Raiders were languishing in the AFC West, and speculation was swirling that his time with the team was just about over.

    One offseason later, Carr has the best passing-game weapons of his career at his disposal. As a result, he could be on the verge of re-establishing his upward trajectory as a quarterback.

    The Raiders stole veteran receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers for a third and fifth-round pick. They also signed free-agent wideout Tyrell Williams, who might have been the best of a weak crop at the position.

    Throw in the addition of a young do-it-all tailback in rookie Josh Jacobs and a new right tackle in Trent Brown, and Carr's a good bet to top 4,000 passing yards for the second year in a row and set another career mark in that category.

    Projected Stats: 370 completions, 574 attempts, 4,244 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 24 carries, 55 yards

Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz

26 of 32

    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    No team in the league may be more nervous at quarterback than the Philadelphia Eagles.

    It has nothing to do with talent. Carson Wentz played at an MVP level in 2017, and the Eagles are inevitably going to give him a massive extension.

    But after losing Wentz to a torn ACL in 2017 and a back injury last year, you can't blame the Eagles for sweating after all-star backup Nick Foles signed with the Jaguars this offseason.

    All indications have been that Wentz's rehab is on schedule, and the Eagles added a bunch of skill-position talent in the offseason, including a reunion with wideout DeSean Jackson.

    If Wentz is on the field for 16 games this year, the Eagles will be a threat in the NFC. If he isn't, Philly will be in trouble.

    Projected Stats: 361 completions, 564 attempts, 4,253 yards, 31 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 43 carries, 160 yards, 1 touchdown

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger

27 of 32

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    It got lost in Mahomes mania last year, but Ben Roethliberger led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards.

    It was Big Ben's first 5,000-yard season. And probably his last, too.

    That isn't a swipe at the two-time Super Bowl winner. Yes, Roethlisberger occasionally struggles away from Heinz Field, but there's a reason the Steelers just handed him a two-year, $68 million extension.

    But only one player in league history has multiple 5,000-yard seasons. And while Roethlisberger still has some impressive skill-position talent at his disposal in tailback James Conner and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, the loss of Antonio Brown is going to sting.

    Roethlisberger's 2019 stats will look more like his 2017 season than last year, but that may not be such a bad thing.

    After all, the Steelers made the playoffs in 2017.

    Projected Stats: 371 completions, 533 attempts, 4,361 yards, 29 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 27 carries, 59 yards, 1 touchdown

San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo

28 of 32

    Josie Lepe/Associated Press

    A year ago at this time, Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers were the talk of the NFL. Garoppolo had just signed a lucrative extension, and general manager John Lynch had aggressively added players around him.

    Then the injuries started to pile up, including Garoppolo's ACL tear.

    But since Garoppolo injured his knee so early in the season, he had more time to rehab. And Lynch once again added skill-position talent in both free agency and the draft, whether it's veterans like tailback Tevin Coleman or youngsters such as receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd.

    Those wide receivers shored up San Fran's biggest area of weakness offensively, while the 49ers now boast impressive backfield depth with Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida.

    Garoppolo has all of the tools in place to have a dominant 2019 season, provided he stays healthy.

    Projected Stats: 318 completions, 501 attempts, 3,896 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 40 carries, 131 yards, 1 touchdown

Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson

29 of 32

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    If there was any doubt before, it's gone. The Seattle Seahawks are Russell Wilson's team now.

    The era of the power-running, "Legion of Boom" Seahawks is dead. Seattle made Wilson the NFL's highest-paid player this offseason, and while the Seahawks remain a run-heavy team, they'll only go as far as Wilson takes them in 2019.

    However, the players around him are in flux. After the release of longtime wideout Doug Baldwin, the remaining Seattle receiving corps has zero 1,000-yard seasons.

    The cupboard isn't bare, as Tyler Lockett is coming off his best season and Seattle drafted both D.K. Metcalf and Gary Jennings. Part of being an elite quarterback—with the salary to match—is elevating the talent around you.

    But while Wilson might reverse a downward trend in passing yardage that started in 2017, he isn't likely to do so by a considerable amount.

    Projected Stats: 295 completions, 461 attempts, 3,636 yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 75 carries, 375 yards, 2 touchdowns

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston

30 of 32

    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    This could be it for Jameis Winston.

    The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft enters his option year without a new deal in place, which speaks to how the first four seasons of his career have gone.

    After topping 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons, Winston's passing yards fell off considerably in 2017. Last season even worse, as he spent almost half of the season either injured or riding the bench behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Even at his high points, turnovers have been a constant problem. Over 56 career NFL games, Winston has thrown 58 interceptions and lost 18 fumbles. For every great throw, there's been a bone-headed giveaway.

    New Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians uses an aggressive, vertical passing scheme that appears to fit Winston's skill set, and there's talent around him in Tampa. But nothing in Winston's career so far indicates his Jekyll-and-Hyde act won't continue this year.

    Projected Stats: 344 completions, 559 attempts, 4,299 yards, 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions,  51 carries, 211 yards, 2 touchdowns

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota/Ryan Tannehill

31 of 32

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston have been linked from the day they entered the NFL. Both find themselves in a similar boat entering the 2019 season—playing out their option year without a new contract.

    But whereas Winston's struggles have been about turnovers, Mariota has had problems staying on the field. And while Winston doesn't have to worry about another quarterback breathing down his neck, Mariota has no such luxury since the Titans traded for Ryan Tannehill in the offseason.

    The Titans have maintained from day one that Mariota is their starter, but he has yet to play a full 16-game season. Tannehill hasn't been a world-beater as a starter, but he's had his moments. If Mariota falters and Tannehill gets a chance to play, it's easy to imagine a full-blown quarterback controversy developing in Nashville.

    And given his 27-28 career record as the starter in Tennessee, there's no guarantee Mariota will win it.

    Projected Stats (Mariota): 218 completions, 348 attempts, 2,513 yards, 14 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 56 carries, 286 yards, 2 touchdowns

    Projected Stats (Tannehill): 71 completions, 117 attempts, 822 yards, 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 18 carries, 40 yards, 2 touchdowns

Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins/Case Keenum

32 of 32

    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The Washington Redskins weren't supposed to be in this position. Their trade for veteran quarterback Alex Smith last offseason was supposed to solidify the position, at least for a few years.

    Instead, Smith suffered a devastating leg injury in mid-November, sending Washington into quarterback chaos.

    The Redskins have given themselves options in 2019. They traded for veteran Case Keenum in mid-March, and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins fell to them at No. 15 overall in this year's draft.

    According to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, Haskins has stood out in early workouts, but he has ground to make up to become the full-time starter in D.C.

    The Redskins' skill-position talent is also weak, so whoever wins their QB carousel faces an uphill battle.

    Projected Stats (Haskins): 189 completions, 301 attempts, 2,006 yards, 15 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 15 carries, 40 yards

    Projected Stats (Keenum): 134 completions, 227 attempts, 1,424 yards, 8 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 15 carries, 62 yards, 1 touchdown


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.