Who is the best quarterback in the AFC East?
With Tom Brady fully entrenched with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC East features an open field of new quarterbacks. Former NFL lineman and current FOX Sports analyst Mark Schlereth was asked to rank the current starters in the NFL, and he didn’t NOT say New York Jets quarterback was the best in the division, but he didn’t say it either.
“I think Sam can play,” Schlereth said in an exclusive interview with ‘Jets Country’ contributor Seth Everett.
“Sam might be in the discussion of best quarterback but does he have the best supporting cast? Because when you’re young, you don’t elevate everybody else’s game (early in his career).”
Schlereth points out that it is not as simple as who has the most ability because Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen doesn’t have the raw skills that Darnold possesses. But in that Bills offense, Allen is asked to do less so it is not an apples to apples comparison.
Darnold has been a starter longer than Allen, as the Bills’ signal-caller. Allen is in the center of a run-centric offense.
“It’s not like Josh Allen has to hang 30 on you,” said Schlereth.
Initially, the conversation about the quarterbacks in the AFC East gravitated towards Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. While his jersey sales have been consistently at the top of the NFL’s sales charts, he isn’t expected to start Week 1. He could be the great unknown when this question gets asked after the 2020 season.
The quarterback that wasn’t mentioned in the interview was New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham. With Brady off the roster, Stidham is the incumbent at quarterback for New England. The Patriots chose not to draft depth at that position or trade up for one of the potential starters. The Patriots have not chosen to sign a Jamies Winston or Cam Newton, and Schlereth hasn’t considered Stidham in the conversation.
Darnold has the most talent in the AFC East. As he enters his third pro season, the Jets starting quarterback wants to stay healthy and elevate his game to the proverbial next level. He recently was in Florida working out with new receivers Breshad Perriman and rookie Denzel Mims. Darnold told reporters last month he wants to assume more of a leadership role in the upcoming season.