1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Foles was the Eagles’ “safety option” during the last two seasons when Carson Wentz went down with injuries. Now that he’s gone, it’s up to Wentz to stay on the field.
It’s worth noting that when Wentz does stay on the field, he’s very good. In 40 career games, Wentz has gone 23-17 with 70 touchdowns, only 27 interceptions, and 10,152 yards passing. The question now is whether he can stay healthy. Have two consecutive season-ending injuries been bad luck or the sign of a problematic trend?
If Wentz plays, he’s the best QB in the NFC East. If he gets hurt again, the Eagles are in way more trouble than they were before Foles fled the coop for Jacksonville.
2. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has been the model of consistency since taking over for Tony Romo at the start of the 2016 season. He hasn’t been spectacular – his touchdown totals in his three years as a starter have been 23, 22, and 22 – but he’s led the team to two NFC East division titles.
He’s up for a big contract extension and will likely get it due to Jerry Jones’ penchant for making splashy signings. He doesn’t throw the best deep ball in the league, but as long as Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ outstanding offensive line are in place, he doesn’t really need to.
Combine all that with the fact that Prescott is only in his third year and is constantly improving and he has nowhere to go but up. Given his success, a case could be made for having him atop this list.
3. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Listening to some NFL pundits may have anyone believing Eli Manning’s NFL career is dead and buried. And from a certain point of view, they’re correct. The Giants drafted Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick, so it’s just a matter of time until he deposes Manning as the starter. There’s also no question that Manning’s game has degraded in recent years.
But to get a better look at what Manning is still capable of, look at the second half of last season. The play of the Giants’ offensive line improved and so did Manning. If the Giants can give Manning time in the pocket, he can still reliably make the mid-range throws they’ll need to move the chains. The Giants are also looking to rely heavily on superstar running back Saquon Barkley.
The bottom line? Manning is no longer great, but he also doesn’t have to be. The Giants are asking him to be a game manager while Barkley shoulders the brunt of the load. He’s certainly capable of that. If they suffer injuries to the offensive line and Barkley, that’s a different story.
4. Case Keenum, Washington Redskins
This presupposes that Keenum will be the opening day starter in Washington. While this is likely, there’s a chance it could be Dwayne Haskins. That slight bit of doubt coupled with Keenum being in a new system makes it enough to put him at the bottom of this list.
That said, Keenum is not a bad quarterback and is a sizable upgrade over the Redskins’ 2018 post-Alex Smith injury combo of Mark Sanchez, Colt McCoy, and Josh Johnson. Keenum struggled in Denver, but he’s a better fit for Jay Gruden’s offense. While Washington isn’t looking like a threat to contend for the title this year, Keenum will likely do a fine job while he keeps the seat warm for Haskins.