The 2021 NFL season is an important one for a few quarterbacks this season. Younger players at the position are looking to cement themselves among the elite in the NFL, while some are trying to prove that they should be the team’s franchise signal-caller. Among the most intriguing names this season to watch will be Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield.
Two players from the 2019 draft class, No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray and No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones, would fall into those categories. Murray is looking to help the Arizona Cardinal ascend into the upper echelon of the league, while Jones is looking to prove he can be the long-term starter for the New York Giants.
Another player looking to cement his status in the NFL is Baker Mayfield. The No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, ended 2020 on a high note and wants to show that it wasn’t a fluke.
What can we expect from this crop of quarterbacks this season? Here are some predictions for their 2021 seasons.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
2021 is a make-or-break season for Daniel Jones with the New York Giants. Will he step up and convince them that he is their answer at the quarterback position post-Eli Manning? Or will they begin the process of finding a new quarterback next offseason?
The front office has done a great job upgrading the weapons for Jones this offseason. Kenny Golladay, John Ross, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Rudolph were all added, joining Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Dante Pettis and Evan Engram. Saquon Barkley is also making a return after injuring his knee in Week 2 last year.
The offensive line still has some question marks, which is not encouraging. But, Jones has the weaponry to get the job done. The question is, will he do it?
Jones regressed in a major way in Year 2 from Year 1, which wasn’t encouraging. He will play better in Year 3, but it won’t be enough to keep the Giants from bringing in some competition. Jones will throw for 3,400 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He will add 600 yards on the ground with another four scores.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray is coming into the 2021 NFL season with some relatively high expectations. He was having an excellent 2020 season, helping lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 6-3 record before injuries began nagging him.
A big reason for Murray’s success at the beginning of the season was his running ability. He kept opponents off-balance, hurting them through the air and with his legs. Hampered by an injury, Murray didn’t run as much in the second half of the season and it was reflected by the team’s record, as they finished the season 8-8.
Murray was in the MVP discussion before his performance tailed off, and he will be right in the thick of the MVP race again this season. Arizona has a deep wide receiver group led by DeAndre Hopkins and a strong running back duo with Chase Edmonds and James Conner.
Murray will throw for a career-high 4,200 yards and 30 touchdowns as the air raid offense will be clicking on all cylinders. He will also break the 1,000-yard rushing mark, adding seven more scores on the ground.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield came on strong as the 2020 season rolled on. Many were unsure how the offense would look following Odell Beckham Jr.’s knee injury. It ended up not hurting them, as Mayfield took his game to another level.
Mayfield led the Browns to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final week of the season and then defeated them again in the Wild Card round. That has caused the team to have some major expectations for 2021.
Cleveland has one of the best rosters in the NFL on paper. But, will Mayfield be able to do enough to make them legitimate Super Bowl contenders?
He will put together another strong season, throwing for 3,900 yards and 24 touchdowns. Cleveland will rely on their run game to wear teams down, but Mayfield will be able to make enough plays to get the Browns back into the playoffs for a second consecutive year, the first time that will have happened since the franchise made the postseason five straight times in 1985-1989.