The mix of passing volume and teams catering their systems to their quarterbacks have made breakouts more common. Last year, the top two picks of the 2016 draft established themselves in big ways. Carson Wentz was a MVP candidate before injury, and Jared Goff looked like a completely new player. Like Wentz and Goff, these two quarterbacks hope to take their game to the next level in their second season.
Mitch Trubisky, Bears: Like Goff after his rookie year, there are questions regarding Trubisky’s production. Another similarity is that with the Bears hiring Matt Nagy, they’ll implement a modern offense to go with improved weapons. In free agency, the team added a number one caliber wideout in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel who can be dangerous in space or vertically, and a pass catching tight end who can lineup all over in Trey Burton. On top of that, they added Anthony Miller in the draft who figures to be an immediate contributor at wideout.
On top of that, the Bears already had a “thunder and lightning” type running back duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and an intriguing tight end prospect in Adam Shaheen. The Bears will be better, but a playoff level leap is a lot to ask in a daunting NFC. How much the offense improves will be dependent on how Trubisky adapts to Nagy’s system.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: The Chiefs selected Mahomes last year with the intent of him learning under Alex Smith for a year. While Smith having a career season might not have been expected, Mahomes as planned is taking over the reigns in 2018. While Smith historically has been more risk averse, Mahomes brings the opposite mentality to the position.
Every Mahomes dropback leaves you holding your breath. There’s no telling if you’ll see a throw like the touchdown to Tyreek Hill that traveled nearly 70 yards in the air, or a head scratching interception. The good news is, Mahomes has the weapons to make his gun-slinging style work and he’ll gain valuable experience with every in game rep. Hill and Sammy Watkins give him two receivers that can win vertically, while Travis Kelce can be a matchup nightmare all over the field.
With all of the turnover on the defensive side of the ball, it appears the Chiefs will get into their fair share of shootouts. While that isn’t ideal, it could play into Mahomes’ strengths at this time.