3 quarterbacks that could surprise in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season

NFL Analysis Network

Throughout the offseason, we’ve seen an endless number of headlines pertaining to the quarterback position around the NFL. Some quarterbacks changed teams via trade, in free agency, or there are rookie quarterbacks that want to leave a lasting impression to kick off the season. Getting off to a positive start to begin the season can create momentum for the rest of the season for each quarterback.

There are obvious names like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson that everyone expects to have an explosive showing in Week 1. But what about the quarterbacks that have question marks entering the 2021 NFL season?

Here are three quarterbacks that are going to surprise some people with impressive outings in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers, (vs. NYJ)

Early in the offseason, Sam Darnold had a change of scenery after spending the first three years of his career in the NFL with the New York Jets. Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers, giving him a fresh start with a new assortment of weapons. Besides having Joe Brady calling plays, Darnold has Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Terrace Marshall Jr. to target in the passing game.

To kick off the upcoming season, Darnold will get a chance to show the Jets they handled his development poorly. We have yet to see Darnold put everything together and show he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback in the NFL. However, I believe he comes out in Week 1 and proves that he has the tools to be a talented signal-caller with a much more talented supporting cast than he worked with in New York.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles, (at ATL)

Jalen Hurts is one of the toughest quarterbacks to predict the outcome for this season. Hurts is now the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles after they parted ways with Carson Wentz via trade this offseason. The second-year quarterback showed an ability to create plays with his legs, but he was inconsistent in the passing attack in his four starts in 2020. The good news for Hurts is that he has a favorable matchup in Week 1 versus the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta has an inexperienced defense that doesn’t have one area of the field where you can be confident in them to produce in 2021. For Hurts, he now has an arsenal that includes Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz. While the Eagles have Joe Flacco and Gardner Minshew sitting behind Hurts waiting for another opportunity, Hurts has an explosive performance in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season against the Falcons.

Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts, (vs. SEA)

Speaking of Wentz, his new team in the Indianapolis Colts have lofty expectations entering the 2021 NFL season. While Wentz deals with a foot injury, he’s expected to suit up in Week 1 versus the Seattle Seahawks. The arrival of Wentz has some people believing that the Colts can finally return to being one of the premier teams in the AFC again under Frank Reich.

There is reason for skepticism surrounding Wentz, especially with how he performed last season for the Eagles. However, Wentz returns to playing for Reich, who was his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when he was performing at his best. Even though T.Y. Hilton will be sidelined for the start of the season, Jonathan Taylor, Parris Campbell, and Michael Pittman Jr. is more than enough to take advantage of a mediocre Seattle defense in Week 1 of the upcoming season.