NFL Futures Rankings: Quarterbacks

By DavidHirschhorn
Nov. 19, 2016

In today's sporting world, young talent is shaping the game. Acquiring and building around young talent and building for the future seems to be the way great teams are assembled now. Look at the Chicago Cubs for example. They acquired a boatload of talent over the last five years and just won a World Series. Today I'm not talking about baseball, I'm talking about football. There is a bevy of young talent in the NFL that will shape the league in five years. Today, I'm talking about what the NFL will look like in five years. So, I am predicting who will be the top five players at every position. To start off, I'm starting out with the signal callers.

A QB can make or break your franchise's hopes and dreams. A great one will lead you to a Super Bowl while a bad one can waste countless draft picks that you could've built your franchise around. In today's NFL, there are a ton of terrific QB's. What is so interesting about the QB position in the NFL is that there are many great QB's who are old and many who are young. I know I'm excited and I'm guessing you are too, so let's get into who will be the top five QB's in five years from now?

***FYI College players are fair game to be on futures lists because they are part of the future as well

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5. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 2016 Age: 23, 2021 Age: 28 -- In only his second season, Marcus Mariota is showing why he was a Heisman winner and was the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Coming out of college, Mariota was thought to be a future top QB in the league. Coming out of college, he looked like someone had went to a "Franchise QB Generator" and created Mariota. He has an elite combination of size (6'4", 222 lb.), speed (4.52 40-yd dash), and his combination of throw power, and accuracy. He had an injury-plagued rookie season only playing 12 games. This season, he has lit it up. He is playing on another level as he has thrown for 2,482 yards and 21 TDs. He also has ran for 235 yards on the ground plus two TDs. He has also lead the Titans to an impressive season so far as they are 5-5. In five years from now, Mariota will have matured even more, have more game experience and will be in the peak of his career. He'll be one of the highest paid players in the league because he is so good and is already so valuable to the Titans. I think he will be one of the most dynamic and fun players to watch as he is a freak athlete and a terrific football player. Mariota is already such a promising player, I can't wait to see how his career unfolds.

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4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, 2016 Age: 23, 2021 Age: 28 -- Only nine games into his career, I like many others think Dak Prescott already is a star in this league. He looks like a natural already. He has all the tools you want in a franchise QB. He is a great athlete, has great talent, and I think his most impressive trait so far is his maturity as a rookie. He is so calm. Nothing seems to faze Dak. He has many things going for him already like having a star lining up next to him every snap in Ezekiel Elliott. He also has the best offensive line in football to stand behind. When watching Dak at Mississippi State, I thought he'd be good, but not this good. He has lead the Cowboys so far to the best record in football at 8-1. He is the perfect QB to lead America's team. He along with Ezekiel Elliott will make up the best QB-RB tandem for a long time. For some of the other guys on the list, what gets them on the list is there pure physical ability. I think that there has nobody ever been quite like Dak in the league before. I think that he is a Tom Brady-Russell Wilson hybrid. That is what will guide him throughout his career and what I think will lead him to being the fourth best QB in 2021.

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3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Age: 27, 2021 Age: 32 -- Once dubbed the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck has only somewhat lived up to the incredibly high expectations. Luck hasn't been a bad QB by any means during his five years in the NFL, but the supporting cast around him, namely the offensive line, has been terrible. Luck still can prove himself because he is only 27 years old. The Colts need to acquire some better talent around Luck because he is a terrific QB. He has everything you want in a franchise QB. I think Luck will still improve as the supporting cast will. By 2021, I think he will have solidified himself as a top QB. However, once 2021 rolls around, Luck won't be the very best QB in the league because he will be 32 years old and there will be other younger guys who will have more physical tools than a 32 year old Luck. I will make a very bold prediction right now and say that Luck will win a Super Bowl in the next five years. He is a tremendous talent and with a little more talent, can win a Super Bowl. By 2021, I expect Andrew Luck to have cemented himself worthy of the hype he had coming out of Stanford. He will have won a Super Bowl and still will be a great QB, but not as good as a few younger guys.

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2. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, 2016 Age: 25, 2021 Age: 30 -- Derek Carr already is looking like a top-end QB as he is a candidate to win MVP this year. He has been playing amazing football this year and looks to have a supporting cast around him that can help Carr and the Raiders go very far in the playoffs in the near future. He already is a star and I expect his star status to keep on growing. Carr has two incredibly reliable weapons who will be around with him for the foreseeable future. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree make up perhaps the best 1-2 combo of receivers in the league. Cooper is only 22 years old while Crabtree is 29. Carr will gain new weapons in the next five years to throw to and I expect him to be a real star in this league for a long time. When we look back on the 2014 NFL Draft, 31 other teams will be kicking themselves for passing on Derek Carr. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns all took other QB's before the Raiders took Carr. Carr was a steal in the early second round of the draft and will be the face of the franchise in Oakland for a very long time.

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1. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2016 Age: 22, 2021 Age: 27 -- The guy who I think is a face of the NFL and possesses the most talent out of any young QB, is none other than Jameis Winston. You can say all you want about his character issues and his weight and all of that, but he has put that all behind him. This season, he has looked great. He hasn't gotten the love he deserves compared to Mariota, Prescott, Carr, Carson Wentz, etc. However, he is quietly having a very good season. He has all of the physical tools to be a mega-star in the NFL one day. I think that he and Mike Evans will form the best QB-WR connection in the league by 2021. The player Winston reminds me the most of is Cam Newton. People were concerned with Newton's off-the-field issues like critics were of Winston. Cam matured and became a force to be reckoned with and I think the same will happen with Jameis. He is already a budding star and will continue to improve and get better every game. In my view, Jameis Winston is on track to be the best QB in the league by 2021.

There you have it everybody, the top five QB's in 2021. To recap from #1-5: Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, Dak Prescott, and Marcus Mariota. These guys are all going to be stars in the NFL. They are all emerging stars in 2016 but by 2021, these guys will be some of the most recognizable names in the NFL. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I had fun writing this and I hope it was a fun and enjoyable article to read. Please give me feedback by either commenting on this post or contacting me via email. If you liked reading this, stay tuned because the RB edition will be out very soon. Thanks so much for reading!