From the Press Box: NFL is in good hands with young quarterbacks

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After watching Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, many pundits are lauding Bengals rookie  quarterback Joe Burrow as a bright spot for the NFL looking forward.

Despite the Bengals losing 35-30, Pick Six Podcast pundit Will Brinson even said he was the third-best young quarterback behind Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Brinson would even take Burrow over Russell Wilson over the next five years.

Hold your horses.

Burrow has had two starts where he had respectable performances. But to say Burrow is better than Wilson over the next several years, I can’t get behind that. 

Wilson is a Super Bowl MVP, is 87-41 as a starter and has 231 touchdowns to only 68 picks.

I also consider Wilson to be the future of the NFL. He came into the league, along with Cam Newton, in that awkward period between Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and DeShaun Watson.

So here is my Top 5 quarterbacks that are the future of the NFL.

1. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) — Not much to say here. Not only is he the best quarterback in the league, but he is probably the best player. In 32 games he has thrown for 9,623 passing yards, 79 touchdowns and has a 25-7 record as a starter. Oh, by the way, he already has an MVP and a Super Bowl MVP/Championship. At 25 years old, he is going to be the face of the league for the next 15 years.

2. Russell Wilson (Seattle) — I touched on this earlier in the article, but Wilson is 31 years old. He will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the next 10 years assuming he stays healthy. Which hasn’t been a problem for Wilson, even though he has 4,022 career rushing yards (including one year when he led his team in rushing.) He has never missed a start. Here is what the best coach in the NFL, Patriots Bill Belichick, told reporters about him earlier this week, “This guy’s a tremendous player. Honestly I think he’s, in a way, maybe underrated by the media or the fans, I don’t know. But I don’t really see anybody better than this player.”

3. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) — Lamar Jackson is one I am still kind of in wait-and-see mode. But I can’t deny that he is at least one of the best players over the next two or three years. He is 20-3 as a starter and poses the dual-threat as a running quarterback. He had 43 touchdowns last season, with 36 of them coming through the air despite the constant criticism on his passing abilities. If he takes the next step this year and wins the Super Bowl like I predicted, I can’t be skeptical anymore.

4. DeShaun Watson (Houston) — I commented last week that Watson’s coach, Bill O’Brien, was holding him back. Watson does have a few durability concerns as he missed some time in his rookie season and has spent the last two years running for his life. But he is 24-14 as a starter, almost 4,000 yards each of the last two years and a 72-30 touchdown-interception ratio. He is another quarterback that needs to take the next step to solidify himself as the future of the league.

5. Dak Prescott (Dallas) — Whether he ends up with the Cowboys in the long-term or not, Prescott is a legitimate quarterback. His record, 40-25, is more of an indication of his situation than his talent. Whether it’s the Cowboys’ coaching staffs or the talent around him, the Cowboys underwhelm. He has passed for around 15,800 yards in his first four years and has 98 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. He has eight career fourth-quarter comebacks and 14 game-winning drives.

Honorable mentions — Carson Wentz, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones.

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at pampanewseditor@gmail.com or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.

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