We are just weeks away from the 2021 NFL season and training camps are underway. What better time to start throwing some theoretical darts at a board for some guys who might amaze or disappoint this season?
1.) Dak Prescott throws 5,500 yards and 55 TDs
Justification: I am putting all my chips on Dak on the roulette wheel. His offensive line is elite, his schedule is favorable, and his weapons are numerous. He put up 49 TDs and 4,900 yards in 2019 given most of these pieces, but altogether he climbs even higher in 2021. Given a full season with even most of the pieces staying healthy, I think he finishes with an unbelievable set of numbers.
2.) Jimmy Garoppolo starts all 17 games for San Francisco this year
Justification: Is it bad that it’s a bold prediction to assume a team that made the Super Bowl just two years ago will have the same quarterback start each game in a season? Sadly, injuries have limited Jimmy to just one full season played across his seven-year career. Granted, the first three years were as a backup to Tom Brady in New England, but Jimmy has suffered a myriad of injuries since joining San Francisco. The repeated injuries got so bad that that despite sending a second round pick to the Patriots for their backup QB in 2017, they turned around and spent their third overall pick in 2021 to grab Trey Lance. That said, the offensive line (very strong) is healthy and I think Jimmy can feel the heat on his back and understand the urgency to really fight to deliver this year.
3.) Trevor Lawrence breaks the rookie TD record (at least 32 TDs)
Justification: Baker set the new bar in 2018 at 27, then Justin Herbert usurped it with 31 last year. Well it’s about to be topped again. Trevor, with familiar weapon Travis Etienne, NCAA Champion coach Urban Meyer, star WR DJ Chark, and veteran Marvin Jones will allow him to have at least 32 TDs. I’m not optimistic on the Jaguars winning a lot, but I think their offense (3rd worst in NFL last season) will be SUBSTANTIALLY improved this year. Their defense (2nd worst in NFL last season) won’t be making similar strides forward.
4.) Aaron Rodgers gets traded midseason
Justification: I think this one is either extremely bold or maybe not at all, but I feel like I’m taking a big leap. I could see a situation where Rodgers gets traded to a team of choice (maybe Denver?) for maybe a second round pick given his contract would be up at year’s end—and the receiving team could turn around and sign him long-term. The big “if” here is that Green Bay needs to figure out how close Jordan Love is to being their full-time starter. Another big ‘if’ here is whether or not GB is playoff-bound and wants Rodgers for their postseason run.
5.) Jalen Hurts finishes outside the top 20 QBs
Justification: I’m not 100% on board with Hurts yet. I think the Eagles have some questions on their offensive line. Lane Johnson is amazing, but will Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks be in prime form after an entire year off, or will there be a learning curve? Their schedule is not conducive to QB success (two games against DeMarcus Lawrence, two games against Chase Young & Montez Sweat, one game against Cameron Jordan, one against Nick Bosa, one against Joey Bosa, one against Shaquil Barret, one against Von Miller, and one against Carl Lawson). I could see a sophomore slump kicking in, and his 52% completion rate last season already ranked 44th among quarterbacks with at least 100 passing attempts. This was the LOWEST completion percentage of any QB with 100 attempts in the league.