Welcome back to another edition of Who Will Be the Most Memorable! This time we will be taking a look at the QBs in another division in the NFC, the NFC East. Now, remember, the quarterback position is vital for the success of an NFL franchise. If a team and fanbase are lucky enough to land a QB that leads their crew for decades, they will surely be appreciative. But what about the others? Will we simply forget about them or do they have a chance to live on in our memories for years to come?
As we continue our division by division tour around the NFL, our journey lands in the Meadowlands, Dallas, Washington, and Philly. A surprising talent that went in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, a top draft pick that hasn’t had the best luck with injuries so far in their career, a journeyman, a 2x super bowl champion, and the 2019 rookies that might surpass them on their respective depth charts.
Wentz was not a high-profile college QB like most guys that make it in the NFL, instead, Wentz was playing for FCS school North Dakota State. However, Wentz made sure his name was known by displaying his duel-threat skills and leading NDSU to 2 FCS championships and winning MVP honors in both of those championship games. Wentz played each of his four years at the school but only started in his upperclassman seasons. He accrued over 5,000 yards passing and 45 touchdown passes in his college career. But, as previously stated, Wentz was a known dual-threat at this point. At NDSU, Wentz accumulated over 1,000 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns while also demonstrating soft hands with a receiving touchdown! His unique skill set allowed him to skyrocket up draft boards in 2016 where he was ultimately selected 2nd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles (well ahead of a draft classmate and rival Dak Prescott). Originally meant to sit and learn behind high-salaried QB Sam Bradford, the Eagles shook up the NFC by trading Bradford to Minnesota and handing the keys to the Philly offense to a young Carson Wentz. In his rookie season, Wentz and the Eagles threw the ball around the field like crazy resulting in Wentz breaking the rookie completion and pass attempt records respectively. Some say this has been the peak of his young career though because injuries have derailed Wentz sophomore and junior campaigns. Statistically, Wentz was on pace to break more records in 2017 but his season was ended after an MRI revealed he had torn his ACL in a Week 14 game. Even though he was unable to compete, Wentz was selected to his first and only pro bowl which he was forced to watch from the sidelines… just like the super bowl. Yes, Wentz has a super bowl ring but he did not compete in the championship because of the ACL injury. Instead, he watched as his backup Nick Foles led the Eagles to victory and won super bowl MVP honors. Still recovering from his ACL injury at the beginning of his 3rd year, Wentz sat and watched Nick Foles operated the Eagles offense until his season debut in Week 3 of the season. Wentz again played well until a back injury forced the Eagles to shut him down and have Foles lead the team into the playoffs once again. The 2019 season will see one change from the previous seasons of Wentz’s career and we can guarantee it! This being that Foles will not replace him because Nick Foles signed with the AFC team, the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason. Going into 2019, Wentz looks to prove that he can stay healthy and lead the Eagles to the playoffs himself. So far in his career, Wentz has thrown for over 10,000 yards (at least 3,000 in each season), good enough to place him at 192nd on the all-time list. Another 3,000 yards this season will see him jump into the 150s for all-time yards. Wentz also has thrown for 70 touchdowns in his young career, placing him at 169th all-time. We can also expect Wentz to jump into the 150s all-time on this list too after the 2019 season. Wentz’s rushing ability has decreased during his time in the NFL compared to his college days too. In 3 seasons, Wentz has only rushed for 542 yards and 2 touchdowns both of which are less than his numbers at NDSU during his junior year alone.
Prescott enjoyed a solid college career for the SEC team, Mississippi State. Playing 4 seasons against arguably the nation’s top defenses tested Prescott’s ability to handle high-pressure situations against top talent and he proved that he could hold his own. In his college career, Prescott was the prototypical dual-threat QB and defenses struggled to contain him. This allowed him to be a focal point of the Mississippi State offense even before he became the full-time starter at QB during his sophomore season. Including the 4 bowl games he played in, Prescott tallied over 9,000 passing yards and over 2,500 rushing yards during his college years. He also totaled 114 career touchdowns before being drafted 3 rounds later than draft classmate and division rival, Carson Wentz. In the 2016 NFL draft, Dak Prescott was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 4th round (135th overall). Prescott was an instant hit with the Cowboys having won the starting gig during the preseason of the 2016 season. The Cowboys would go on to win the division (13-3) behind the offensive rookie of the year, Dak Prescott. He earned pro bowl honors during his rookie season as well. After a relatively down sophomore year in the NFL, which saw Prescott throw 13 INTs, he bounced back his third year to once again earn pro bowl honors and lead the Cowboys into the playoffs. Consistency in terms of stats has never been an issue for Prescott during his NFL career. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards and had either 22 or 23 TD passes in every year while also rushing for ~300 yards a year and a record 6 rushing TDs for 3 years in a row. In his career, the young dual-threat QB has thrown for over 10,500 yards passing (177th overall) and 67 touchdown passes (175th overall, right behind Carson Wentz). Prescott will look to establish himself as the top QB in the division, especially for fantasy football purposes, with another impressive year under his belt this upcoming season.
Case Keenum / Dwayne Haskins
Keenum was a record-setter in college, Haskins played for a high profile school. Keenum went undrafted in 2015, Haskins was selected 15th overall in the 2019 draft. As of writing, Case Keenum is set to be the starting QB for the Washington Redskins for the 2019 season. How long will Keenum hold onto the starting job though? Keenum has been successful throughout the years, starting with his 19,000 passing yards, 155 passing touchdowns, nearly 900 rushing yards, and 23 rushing touchdowns in his years at the University of Houston. Having gone undrafted, Keenum signed on with his hometown Houston Texans but did not play a single snap his rookie season. Keenum would be thrust into the starting role in his second season with the Texans after both T.J Yates and Matt Schaub were forced out of the starting role. Keenum would go 0-8 as a starter before relinquishing the starting QB job back to Matt Schaub before the end of the season. After starting his third season on the Texans roster as the starting QB, Keenum was traded to St. Louis where he would not play a single snap for the rest of the season. In his second year on the Rams, Keenum would sit behind Nick Foles (man, he is all over the NFC East) before finishing the season as the starting QB. As the Rams moved to Los Angeles, so did Keenum. He would begin the 2016 season as the starting QB before being replaced by #1 overall pick, Rookie, Jared Goff. No longer needed in L.A, Keenum would take his talents to Minnesota where he would take the starting job away from the injured Sam Bradford (who had just arrived via a trade with the Eagles remember). Finally playing in what was essentially a full season as the starting QB, Keenum led the Vikings to the playoffs. Apparently not good enough for Minnesota, Keenum was dispatched to Denver during the 2018 offseason so that former Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins could sign with the Vikings (more NFC East QB shenanigans). While in Denver, Keenum finally started a full 16 game season. But, with a much worse Denver squad, Keenum suffered a losing a record once again enough though he had a career-high in passing yards. Once again, following a year in which he was productive, Keenum was shipped elsewhere. The destination this time? Washington. With both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy injured, Keenum is the only healthy QB on the roster and is guaranteed the starting role, right? Wrong. Washington decides to use their first-round draft pick (15th overall) on exciting Ohio State product: Dwayne Haskin0s. Keenum has lived through this story before but with Jared Goff in St. Louis. Even with his over 12,000 career passing yards (162nd all-time) and 64 career passing TDs (tied 181st all-time), Keenum looks likely to hand the keys to the 1st-round draft pick at some point during the 2019 season.
Much like Keenum, Haskins was breaking college passing records. The only difference, Haskins only had one season as the top guy at Ohio State. Splitting games with J.T Barrett in 2017, Haskins flashed but was never given the chance to truly shine. Then came the 2018 record-breaking season for Haskins. Throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season, Haskins is one of six QBs to ever hit that mark. For what it’s worth, Keenum nearly hit this mark 3 times(!) during his playing years. Falling 6 TDs short twice and 2 TDs shy in his final season at Houston. Haskins was clearly destined for the NFL, he won the BIG10 Championship game MVP as well as the Rose Bowl MVP before declaring for 2019 NFL draft after just one season as the Ohio State starting QB. Will Haskins do to Keenum what Jared Goff did? Only time will tell.
Eli Manning / Daniel Jones
The son of Archie and the little brother to Peyton, Eli Manning has been the New York Giants starting quarterback since 2004. But he nearly was never a Giant to begin with… or even an NFL QB for that matter! After 4 strong years at Ole Miss in which Manning threw for over 10,000 yards and 81 touchdowns, Eli Manning was drafted #1 overall in the 2004 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. So upset with the possibility that his career would possibly end up like his fathers, Manning reportedly would have gone to law school instead of play a single snap for the Chargers (Google Newspapers Article). Thankfully, that would never come to fruition as the Chargers would trade Manning not even a half-hour later to the Giants for their draft selection: Phillip Rivers. Side note, we often hear about Manning, Rivers, and Roethlisberger being the great QBs from the 2004 class; but, how about some respect for 3rd rounder Matt Schaub who is still playing and is currently the backup in Atlanta. Anyways, after the drama settled and Manning was in New York, he was tasked with learning under the tutelage of Kurt Warner. Once the Giants started losing and the season looked lost halfway through, Manning was given the starting job. He would go on to start 210 games in a row (benched Week 13 of 2017 season, has once again started every game since) and was the only player to even come close to Brett Favre and his 297 game streak. The 4-time pro bowler and 2-time super bowl champion has given it all for the team that traded for him 15 years ago. The starting streak, the super bowl rings, 37 game-winning drives (9th all-time, trailing 4 hall-of-famers and 4 future hall-of-famers), nearly 56,000 passing yards (7th all-time), and 360 passing touchdowns (8th all-time) are all factors that will land Eli Manning in the hall of fame one day. But will he get the chance to go out on his own terms?
Daniel Jones was the shock of the 2019 NFL draft when the New York Giants selected him at with the 6th overall pick instead of taking eventual Washington Redskins QB, Dwayne Haskins. In 3 years as the Duke University QB, Jones was underwhelming. He never passed for 3,000 yards in a season (8,201 total), only had 52 touchdown passes, and threw 29 INTs in his college career. Yet, during the senior bowl prior to the 2019 NFL draft, Jones was 8-11 with 115 passing yards and 2 total touchdowns and also earned MVP honors. This performance alone must have been enough for the Giants decision-makers because to every NFL fan, Jones was a reach with the 6th overall pick. But, if the 2019 preseason is any indicator, Jones has been impressive in a Giants uniform. This past preseason Jones was 29-34 with 416 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s pretty damn efficient if you ask me. Now it is only the preseason so we have to take it with a grain of salt. But should we be expecting Manning to take a backseat for the rookie this season?
Who will we remember and forget?
And there we have it! The NFC East is a division full of up and coming quarterbacks and a no-doubt future hall of famer. Do you think one of these QBs will become more memorable than Eli Manning in this division? Will Case Keenum be traded in the offseason to be a bridge QB for the third time? What do you think will happen with Haskins and Jones’s careers? Let me know in the comments and watch for more write-ups on the other divisions!
Statistics courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and sports-reference.com