PFF Ranks Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew As the 20th Best QB in 2019
By all measures, Gardner Minshew II had a rookie season which surpassed everyone's expectations, other than maybe his own. The sixth-round rookie quarterback who entered the season as an afterthought was able to flip the narrative and establish himself as a rising talent.
Minshew, who started 12 games due to an injury to Nick Foles in Week 1 and Foles being benched in Week 13, was able to lead the Jaguars to all six of their 2019 wins despite questions around his arm strength and ability to read NFL defenses as he entered the league out of Washington State.
Minshew's season, which saw him throw for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only six interceptions, has been widely regarded as not only one of the most surprising storylines of the 2019 season, but as one of the most impressive rookie seasons in the NFL this past year.
Among those impressed by Minshew's performance are Pro Football Focus, who released their rankings of quarterbacks in 2019 this week. The group ranked Minshew as the 20th best quarterback, the third-highest ranking among AFC South quarterbacks (ranked higher than Jacoby Brissett), and the highest-ranked rookie passer.
Minshew ranked ahead of quarterbacks like Jameis Winston (21st), Joe Flacco (22nd), Andy Dalton (23rd), Daniel Jones (24th), Kyler Murray (25th), Josh Allen (26), and several others. He ranked just behind Jared Goff (19) and Baker Mayfield (18).
"Minshew was thrust into the lineup in the first half of Week 1, and he certainly exceeded expectations for a rookie sixth-round pick," PFF wrote. Despite his mediocre arm strength, Minshew was excellent throwing the ball down the field, generating the No. 3 PFF grade on 20-plus yard throws. He did a fine job of making the most out of Jacksonville’s offense, which came into the season with few household names in the passing game."
Of course, Minshew's rookie season was by no means perfect. He struggled in the first halves of several games and fumbled 13 times, losing seven. He cleaned up his ball security in his second stint as a starter, but his ill-timed turnovers cost the Jaguars a few wins throughout the year, specifically against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5.
"Overall, it was a mid-tier performance for Minshew, who did show starting ability, but there’s plenty to clean up if he’s going to be considered a long-term answer," PFF concluded.
It is hard to disagree with this. Minshew showed he has a definite place in the NFL and is much better than his sixth-round pedigree suggests, but he also wasn't quite good enough to make anyone feel absolutely confident the Jaguars have their new franchise quarterback.
Bur for a late-round passer, it is hard to expect more from a rookie than what Minshew displayed in 2019. At the very least, his play will create a lot of conversations inside of TIAA Bank Field about what direction to go at quarterback in the near future -- he has earned that much.