Now that training camp has begun, many will try to predict which players will breakout this upcoming NFL season. There are plenty of highly talented players who have not been voted to the Pro Bowl yet in their careers. Last season 43 players made their first Pro Bowl appearance. That was 41.7% of both combined Pro Bowl rosters. Here are the quarterbacks who could make their first Pro Bowl at the end of the 2022-23 NFL Season.
*Players are ranked by likelihood to make it to the Pro Bowl*
1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
It feels like a layup to put Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow as the quarterback to most likely be voted to his first Pro Bowl next season. After a rocky start to last season, Burrow played outstanding football down the stretch that fueled Cincinnati’s unlikely run to the Super Bowl. Burrow threw for 4,611 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions a season ago.
Behind an improved offensive line, he is expected to be more efficient as a passer. Even though Cincinnati’s offense was extremely balanced between their passing game and their rushing attack led by Joe Mixon, there were plenty of examples last season of Burrow taking over a game for the Bengals. He had six games last season where he passed for over 300 yards. In three of those games, Burrow threw for 400 yards and in one of them, he passed the 500 passing yard mark.
Adding Ja’Marr Chase to this offense was the key to unlocking this team’s potential to make a Super Bowl run. Now the addition of multiple upgrades along the offensive line could potentially get this team to the next step. It should give Burrow the pieces he needs to be voted to his first Pro Bowl in his third year.
2. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
After Burrow, there is no obvious candidate quarterback that could make his first Pro Bowl next season. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts could be in line for a breakout season in his third year. Even after leading this team to the playoffs last season, there is still some uncertainty about Hurts’ long-term future as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. In his first full season as a starter Hurts threw for 3,144 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Hurts’ stats didn’t look the best because the Eagles have an extremely run-heavy offense. However, that could change this upcoming season because Philadelphia traded a first-round pick for Titans Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown. The addition of Brown to this passing attack that already features 2021 first-round pick DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, could take this offense to the next level.
It appears that the Eagles finally have the number one receiver they have lacked for the past few seasons. That is no disrespect towards DeVonta Smith who had a solid rookie season. But Brown is a proven commodity that has proven to be one of the best receivers in football. His addition to this team could allow Hurts to develop into the quarterback many thought he could be coming out of the 2020 NFL Draft. He could be voted to his first Pro Bowl following this upcoming season.
3. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is in a very similar situation as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Similar to Hurts, Tagovailoa is a third-year quarterback who is not cemented as the long-term answer as his team’s starting quarterback. He also has a new number one receiver who is team traded for this offseason in Tyreek Hill.
Last season Tagovailoa was limited to 13 games due to injuries. In the games Tagovailoa played last season, he threw for 2,653 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and ten interceptions. The Dolphins’ offense lacked consistency in the running game and a stable offensive line. That is a major part of the reason why Tagovailoa struggled so far in his career.
Besides the addition of Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins have also made some other major additions on offense. They have signed Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead, offensive lineman Connor Williams, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, and three running backs in Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds, and Sony Michel. On top of that, the Dolphins hired former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to be their head coach. These additions to go along with 2021 first-round pick Jaylen Waddle and franchise-tagged tight end Mike Gesicki are the pieces Tagovailoa may need to start showing why the Dolphins drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2020.
4. Trevor Lawerence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Many seem to have forgotten how great of a quarterback prospect Trevor Lawerence was when he entered the league a year ago. After an awful season under head coach Urban Meyer, Lawerence is seemingly an afterthought as one of the potential breakout stars this upcoming season. Last year Lawerence was without a fellow 2021 first-round pick and former Clemson teammate Travis Etienne. He also lacked a true number one receiver for a majority of the season once former Pro Bowl wide receiver D.J. Chark fractured his ankle early in the year. Jacksonville also did not run the ball with any consistency and had a below-average offensive line protecting him.
Lawerence threw for 3,641 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, and 17 interceptions a season ago. There was an eight-week stretch last season where Lawerence threw only one touchdown and five interceptions. A lot of his struggles could be attributed to all the controversy surrounding his team and head coach Urban Meyer in his rookie season.
Jacksonville started their offseason by hiring Super Bowl-winning former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson to lead this team. Then they made some major investments on offense signing notable players like Brandon Scherff, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones. The Jaguars also resigned left tackle Cam Robinson to a long-term extension. This offense may not be extremely flashy, but it is in a much better place than it was a season ago. If Lawerence could take a massive year two leap, then he could find himself at the Pro Bowl if he reaches anywhere near the potential many thought he could have when he entered the league.
5. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are officially Trey Lance’s team. That is according to Kyle Shanahan’s comments at the beginning of training camp. After rolling with Jimmy Garropolo last season, the 49ers appear to be ready to move on to their 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance. During the limited time that Lance saw the field last season, he showed why the 49ers were comfortable trading three first-round picks to select him third overall.
In six games (two starts), Trey Lance threw for 603 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also rushed for 168 yards and a rushing touchdown as well. In his two starts, Lance completed 59.6% of his passes and averaged 220.5 passing yards per game. He also averaged 12 rushing attempts and 60 rushing yards a game during his starts as well.
For the second season in a row, Lance finds himself on a team loaded with offensive and defensive talent. The 49ers offense features Pro Bowl/All-Pro caliber players like Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Kyle Juszczyk. On top of that, they have solid starters like Mike McGlinchey, Brandon Aiyuk, and Elijah Mitchell on their offense as well. The pieces are there for Lance to succeed. If he can break his bad habits in camp, he could emerge as a star in this league in his first full season as a starter.
6. Zach Wilson, New York Jets
As many expected New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had growing pains early in his career. New York should have had a veteran in the building to start for them while Wilson acclimated to the NFL game. The transition from BYU to being the starting quarterback for the New York Jets was a massive jump for Wilson to take. In 13 games, Wilson threw for 2,334 passing yards, nine passing touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. It is worth noting that Wilson did not throw a single interception during the final five weeks of the regular season.
New York has tried to make Wilson’s life easier by surrounding him with more talent. They signed Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson and two tight ends in C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Then they drafted wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall, and tight end Jeremy Ruckert in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. The Jets also added talent to their last-ranked defense that should help Wilson and the offense in the battle for field position.
If Wilson can improve on how he played late last season with the talent around him, he could show why the Jets took him with the second overall pick and why many had him as the second-best quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft behind Trevor Lawerence.
7. Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers
This season is all about redemption for Baker Mayfield. After being kicked out the door by the Cleveland Browns he is out to prove them wrong and show the league that he is an extremely capable starting NFL quarterback. He is only on a one-year deal in Carolina. So he has to prove to the Panthers and the rest of the league that he is worth starting quarterback money this offseason.
Last year in Cleveland, Mayfield dealt with multiple injuries that caused him to have the worst stats of his young career. In 14 games Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He was not healthy for the majority of the time he was on the field last year.
A motivated Baker Mayfield could be what gets the Panthers back to relevancy. His new offense might not be as flashy as the one he had in Cleveland last season. However, Mayfield is getting some solid weapons in D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., Tommy Tremble, and former All-Pro Christian McCaffrey. He also is getting a growing offensive line with bookend tackles in 2022 first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton. He may be able to prove the Browns and his doubters wrong by being voted to the Pro Bowl in the do-or-die situation he finds himself in this season.
8. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
There was only one quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. Many expected Kenny Pickett to be the first quarterback selected in this past draft. However, no one could have predicted that he would be the only quarterback selected in the first and second rounds of the draft. During the pre-draft process, many compared Pickett to Derek Carr and Joe Burrow.
Before Pickett could get voted to any Pro Bowls he has to become the starting quarterback for the Steelers. Prior to drafting Pickett, the Steelers signed former Bears and Bills quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year $14.3 million deal to give them an upgrade over Mason Rudolph. Pickett is competing with Trubisky and Rudolph for the team’s starting job.
If Pickett could win the starting job in training camp, the preseason, or early in the regular season he could find himself receiving Pro Bowl votes if the Steelers return to the playoffs with him under center.
9. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is so low on this list for reasons outside his control. There is no team in the league equipped worse to help a young quarterback succeed than the Chicago Bears. The new regime let Allen Robinson and James Daniels walk out the door and failed to replace them with high-quality talent. Last season Fields entered a situation that wasn’t ideal because of a below-average offensive line. Now he will have a bottom-five offensive line and a bottom-five group of pass catchers going into his sophomore season.
Last year Fields played in 12 games (started 10 games). During those games, he threw for 1,870 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 420 yards and two rushing touchdowns. His stats are brutal because they were. The Bears’ offense was a mess under Matt Nagy because he struggled to build it around the skillset of his new young quarterback and instead built it for veteran Andy Dalton.
Despite the lack of offensive star talent around him, Fields showed at times last year that he could be a star. His star potential is the reason why he is considered to potentially be a Pro Bowler next season. If the Bears are a middle-of-the-pack team then Fields must be having an outstanding season that will result in a Pro Bowl nod.