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Grading NFL's next generation of quarterbacks: Mac Jones earns an 'A,' Justin Herbert struggles


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Grading NFL's next generation of quarterbacks: Mac Jones earns an 'A,' Justin Herbert struggles

Just about all of the young quarterbacks shined in Week 10

Chris Trapasso

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Justin Herbert's hit a tiny little slump, believe it or not. The immensely talented passer threw two picks against the Patriots in Week 8, wasn't as individually impressive as his stat line against the Eagles in Week 9, and he had issues with the Vikings defense in Week 10. 

The offense feels a little too vanilla or too conservative for a quarterback with his supreme arm talent and improvisational skill, but I digress.

Mac Jones made a couple nice throws in the Patriots thrashing over the Browns, and Jalen Hurts is playing solid football of late. 

There were only four quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL Draft classes that saw considerable playing time -- more than 10 pass attempts -- in Week 10.

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.



Best Throws: 

  • In the third, Herbert ripped a rocket on an out route to Jared Cook for 10 yards. 
  • While it was a super-short throw, Herbert had to fire the football to Austin Ekeler between defenders for a two-yard touchdown in the third. 
  • As he was running up into the pocket, Herbert threw a laser to Keenan Allen against tight coverage for 26 yards.

Worst Throws: 

  • On Herbert's first throw of the game, Herbert rolled to his right and took a bad sack for a loss of 15 yards. 
  • Late in the first, he threw behind a short in-breaking route by Josh Palmer
  • While hurried in the second, Herbert overshot Austin Ekeler on a short throw that could've been a huge gain had the toss been accurate. 
  • Later in the second, he threw behind Allen on an over route that was intercepted by Eric Kendricks

Summary: Herbert struggled against the Vikings. The first half was completely devoid of tosses I'd normally place in the "best throws" column. Minnesota's pass rush gave the Chargers blocking unit problems all day, and Herbert was just a tick off on a few throws, although he was hurt by some drops too. 

Grade: C
Season Grade: B-



Best Throws: 

  • While rolling right early in the game, right before he ran out of bounds, he found Quez Watkins for 18 yards. 
  • With a defender draped on him as he was able to complete a four-yard pass to Dallas Goedert near the sideline.
  • Later in the first, Hurts stepped up and away from pressure, and found Goedert again, this time for 24 yards.
  • The 36-yard touchdown to Devonta Smith -- on a double move -- was well placed, although the receiver did make a tremendous catch with Patrick Surtain in tight coverage.
  • In the second, he quickly recognized an opening down the field and scrambled for 31 yards.
  • With under a minute to go in the half, Hurts, while being hit, threw with perfect placement on an out route to Jalen Reagor near the sideline.  
  • Right before the half, Hurts put it into Watkins hands for what should've been a touchdown deep down the field, but the ball was dropped.

Worst Throws: 

  • Hurts overthrew Smith down the left sideline with under a minute to go in the first half.
  • In the third, Hurts got his second read on the other side of the field but underthrew Smith on a deep corner. The ball was nearly picked by Surtain, but Smith made an amazing play to knock it down.
  • Hurts final throw of the game was an ill-advised toss into traffic down the field that resulted in an easy interception for Justin Simmons

Summary: Another strong, lower-volume outing for Hurts. The past two weeks, he's played more patiently as a pocket passer and has made a small collection of high-caliber tosses while either on the run or in the face of pressure.

Grade: A-
Season Grade: B-



Best Throws: 

  • Jones' three-yard touchdown to Hunter Henry was thrown with great touch near sideline in the end zone. 
  • In the second, he fired an accurate ball on an intermediate over route to Kendrick Bourne against tight coverage.
  • A few plays later, he dropped it in the bucket down the left sideline to Jakobi Meyers for 26 yards.
  • While his touchdown to Bourne featured a tremendous catch, Jones threw with perfect ball placement on the vertical route down the numbers. 
  • In the third, he fit the ball into Henry on a deep over route near the sideline. Gorgeous trajectory on the pass. 

Worst Throws: 

  • Midway through the second, Jones overthrew Nelson Agholor on a deep shot against double coverage.

Summary: Jones made more impressive throws at the intermediate level and down the field in this game than any other NFL outing to date. Really only had one misfire. He was well-protected, got it out in a hurry, and found open receivers repeatedly in the demolition of the Browns. 

Grade: A
Season Grade: B-



Best Throws: 

  • Midway through the first, Lawrence dropped it in the bucket to Jamal Agnew down the field but the offensive weapon wasn't able to hold onto the football.
  • In the second, Lawrence creatively navigated around the outside of the pocket to scramble for 12 yards. 
  • After fumbling the snap in the third, Lawrence fired a rocket on an out route to Marvin Jones down the field that should've been caught but was dropped. 
  • While getting smacked in the pocket, Lawrence placed a gorgeous back shoulder into Jones for 23 yards.

Worst Throws: 

  • While running near the sideline, Lawrence attempted a very dangerous pass down the field that was nearly intercepted.
  • In the second, Lawrence missed high and wide on an easy out route to Dan Arnold.
  • A few plays later, while improvising and without his feet being set, Lawrence missed Carlos Hyde in the flat. 
  • Lawrence stepped up into a muddy pocket and took a sack in which he fumbled on the last offensive play of the game for the Jaguars

Summary: Lawrence made a fair amount of impressive tosses in the battle with the Colts on the road. He leaned on his legs more than he had over the past few weeks -- something I'm completely fine with -- but there were a few misfires and times when he held the ball too long.  

Grade: C
Season Grade: C


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