The loaded 2021 quarterback draft class wasn’t featured much a season ago. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Davis Mills experienced learning pains during their rookie season. Now, they have a season under their belt and another offseason to continue growing with their teams. Unlike last season, all six quarterbacks are projected to be their team’s starter this season. Even so, only two are primed for a breakout.
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
No offense intended for Lawrence, Wilson, Mills or Jones, but Lance and Fields have the best chances of breaking out in the 2022 season. Lance was drafted with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and backed up Jimmy Garoppolo last season, playing in only six games. When given his chance, he completed 57.7% of his passes for 603 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. Lance showed off his dual-threat ability as he ran the ball 38 times for 168 yards and a touchdown.
As we headed into training camp, head coach Kyle Shanahan said that this was Lance’s team as San Francisco continued trying to find a trade partner for Garoppolo. With weapons like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and their many talented running backs, Lance has a great chance of breaking out this season and finishing as a QB1 this season.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Fields was highly touted coming out of Ohio State a year ago. Still, he slid in the draft until the Bears picked him with the 11th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields dealt with a nagging injury last season and ended up losing some starts to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. Fields played in 12 games and completed 58.9% of his passes for 1,870 yards and seven touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
As Chicago enters the Matt Eberflus era, Fields will be heralding the offense. This will be a great year to see if Fields has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. The Bears' offensive line isn’t going to be good, and the team lacks established pass-catchers. Fields will have Darnell Mooney and David Montgomery to rely on, but it gets grim afterward. Cole Kmet should be a good option at tight end, but Fields will likely need to develop rapport with another receiver to fully achieve the breakout he is primed for.