The 2022 NFL draft class didn't have near as much glitz and glam at the quarterback position as the class before it, but that 2021 group of passers have now entered the ever-important Year 2, so it's time to begin meticulously assessing them as they represent part of the new era at the game's most critical position.
A grand total of five quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL draft classes -- all from 2021 -- saw considerable playing time during a wild Week 1, and some of the performances weren't exactly as expected.
Let's dive deep into the individual efforts of each quarterback and assign a grade on a per-snap basis, taking every individual aspect of their performance into account. At least 10 attempts were needed to qualify for this debut piece, which will come out weekly on Tuesdays
- Lawrence's first throw of the season was a laser across the middle, and I love how he reset his feet while waiting for the in-breaking route to clear the underneath linebacker.
- Late in the second, Lawrence zinged a fastball with anticipation to Travis Etienne between the hashmark and the numbers through a closing window.
- Early in the third, Lawrence dropped one in the bucket deep over the middle on a gorgeous post-corner run by Christian Kirk.
- Midway through the third, he threw with major velocity and pinpoint ball placement on an out route to Evan Engram.
- Near the start of the fourth, Lawrence rolled right, couldn't find anyone, then rifled a pass into Marvin Jones as he was being hit near the sideline.
- Early in the first, Lawrence had Etienne on a vertical route from the backfield for an easy touchdown but overthrew his college teammate.
- After an outstanding ascension in the pocket with a shoulder dip to avoid an oncoming rusher, Lawrence threw one behind and at the feet of Kirk.
- Lawrence was unnecessarily frantic in the pocket on an over-the-middle throw to Kirk. He pumped and ultimately threw the ball way too fast and behind his receiver. There's a chance it was a miscommunication.
- Late in the third, he threw well behind Kirk on a slant.
- Lawrence spun away from pressure and tried to throw the ball as he was being hit, which amounted to his second intentional ground call of the afternoon.
- On third-and-4 in the fourth, near field goal range with a two-point lead, Lawrence took a very bad sack. It was strange, too, because he was staring directly at an open target underneath but didn't pull the trigger.
- On his last drop back of the game, Lawrence rolled left and lofted a wobbly duck that was intercepted well short of its intended target to seal the win for the Commanders.
Summary: Lawrence's arm talent really popped in the opener. Everything else about his effort on the road was blah to really bad. His accuracy was shoddy for most of the contest and he was frenetic in the pocket -- although his offensive line got demolished in most cases. Not the best season debut for Lawrence. However, altogether, Jacksonville's offense looks more organized and competent than it did a year ago.
Season Grade: D+
- Jones' first throw of the season was a good one, an anticipatory toss toward the sideline with perfect ball placement.
- He placed a high-arcing ball to Jakobi Meyers down the sideline for 27 yards in the second quarter.
- Late in the game, he sent a moon ball down the left sideline that landed perfectly in Kendrick Bourne's hands before the safety got there.
- The interception in the end zone was tipped and eventually caught by free safety Jevon Holland but was woefully underthrown down the sideline.
- Midway through the second, he was a tick late on a long, out-breaking throw toward the sideline that had minimal velocity on it and was nearly intercepted.
- In the fourth, he threw well short of a seam target, a pass that hit the underneath defender in the back.
- With about six minutes to go in the fourth, Jones overthrew Nelson Agholor, who had a step or two on the defender, down the right sideline. Would've likely been a touchdown had the throw been on target.
Summary: Jones didn't look much different than what he showed during the majority of 2021 -- significant attacking of the flats, quick checkdowns and arm strength that limits his ceiling. There were a few quality touch passes but also times when he looked out of sorts and physically incapable of doing what was necessary for a connection to be made.
Season Grade: D+
- With two minutes to go in the first half, Fields incredibly eluded a free rusher that stood directly in front of him after he whipped his head around off play action.
- After reversing his field to evade a rusher, Fields was able to identify a totally wide open Dante Pettis on the other side of the field, which resulted in a long touchdown.
- To take the lead in the fourth, Fields found Equanimeous St. Brown over the top of the defense for a score. The throw had to be made with quality touch and placement and was.
- In the first quarter, Fields was late and did not see a roaming safety over the middle for his first interception of the season. Bad all around.
- Late in the second, he misfired on a quick screen to Cole Kmet.
- Midway through the third, Fields threw way too far to the inside on an out-breaking route near the sideline that could've been intercepted.
Summary: This game needs to be graded with a curve, because Fields dealt with significant rain for the majority of it. Naturally, the Bears weren't too keen on throwing the ball, and there were some clearly wayward misfires likely due to the soaked conditions. However, after a rough start, Fields slowly battled back by first leaning on his athleticism and then made some critical throws late in the upset victory.
Season Grade: C-
- Lance fired a gorgeous deep over to Ray-Ray McCloud in the second quarter, just over the underneath linebacker and between two Bears defensive backs.
- Not a ridiculous throw through a tiny window, but Lance did find Jauan Jennings deep downfield for 44 yards in the third quarter. The receiver had a few steps on the defensive back. The throw was made in stride.
- On a third-and-10 in the fourth quarter, Lance sent a rocket into the arms of Ross Dwelley with two Bears defenders essentially on his back. Major arm strength and accuracy were needed.
- His interception to Eddie Jackson wasn't brutal actually, as the savvy veteran safety sunk down into a freelancing robber role at the snap. Lance just never saw him.
- In a driving rain, Lance threw a laser on a slant to a tightly covered Brandon Aiyuk.
- Late in the game, Lance flashed his improvisational brilliance, bouncing around pressure in the pocket to move the chains on third-and-2 when the play initially looked dead.
- On his first drive of the game, Lance narrowly overthrew his tight end Tyler Kroft, who was wide open deep down the left sideline. A good throw, and it's a touchdown.
- Near the end of the first, he threw behind an in-breaking Jennings for an incompletion.
- Probably an instance when the ball slipped out of his hand, but Lance severely missed on a quick screen to his left in the first half.
- His last three throws were all well off target in a torrential downpour.
Summary: Lance was not outstanding in this game. Far from. But it looked like he got the worst of the heaviest rain in this monsoon contest, particularly in the fourth quarter. He clearly doesn't look comfortable reading through his progressions in the pocket, and accuracy issues will arise at times. But the second-year passer also did some nice things as a passer, too, especially considering the conditions.
Season Grade: C-
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- While being hit in the second quarter, Mills threw with accuracy and anticipation on a deep comeback to Brandin Cooks.
- His first touchdown to O.J. Howard was ripped through traffic with quality accuracy, purposely a touch behind the tight end so he wouldn't be led into a huge hit.
- Late in the second, Mills flashed his big arm on another deep comeback down the numbers. There was anticipation, too.
- He threw a pinpoint accurate pass to Chris Moore on an out route at the intermediate level against exceptionally tight coverage.
- After resetting inside the pocket late in the first, Mills threw low and behind a wide open crosser that would've been a huge gain.
- A few plays later, he had a running back totally wide open in the flat, and Mills' throw carried him out of bounds after making the catch.
- From a clean pocket in the second quarter, Mills missed high on a deep comeback from the far hash. The throw was high.
- In overtime, with his checkdown right in front of him, Mills held the ball and took a sack inside the pocket.
- After a wayward toss toward the sideline following the sack, Mills had another chance to complete an easy pass for positive yardage but again held the ball and was sacked again.
- His last throw of the day, in overtime, was a strange toss into the flat on second-and-1, near a receiver but clearly not catchable.
Summary: Much like the Texans afternoon against the Colts, it was a rollercoaster of a day for Mills. He had high-caliber, hey-he-might-be-a-franchise-quarterback tosses followed by the throws that will make it easy for the Texans to draft a quarterback high in next year's draft and move on from Mills next year.
Season Grade: C-