At some point this coming football season (oh and side note, training camps start next week so football season is basically here), the oldest starting quarterback in the AFC East will be Josh Allen, the No. 7 overall pick only three years ago. This division is far and away the youngest division of starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
Let’s look around the league. I had to make some assumptions in order to do this. I assumed that both Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson will be under center for their current teams, despite whether or not I think Watson should be allowed to suit up (spoiler, I absolutely fucking do not, in any way). I also assumed that Drew Lock will be the starting quarterback in Denver, that Jameis Winston will win the starting job in New Orleans, and I also slotted all five quarterbacks taken in the first round of this year’s draft in as the starters for their teams, because history shows that they’ll be taking over sooner rather than later.
After this year’s draft, the AFC East is shockingly young. Zack Wilson, the BYU product taken with the No. 2 overall pick by the New York Jets, is 21 years old. Michael McCorkle Jones, who went No. 15 overall from Nick Saban’s Alabama to Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, is 22. Miami is rolling with last year’s No. 5 overall selection, 23-year-old Tua Tagovailoa.
With an average age of 22.75 years old, the AFC East is not only the presumed youngest group of signal callers in the NFL, but they are almost a full decade younger than the average of the NFC South. Sure, I know former AFC East GOAT Tom Brady, at his ripe 43-years-young, pulls the division average up a few years, but the NFC South only has one quarterback under the age of 25, which is the age of the oldest quarterback in the AFC East. The NFC North is the only other division with only one quarterback 25 or younger.
“But Jon, what about Cam Newton? He’s not dead!”
No, he certainly isn’t. However, even if we put Cam Newton and his 32 years into the mix, the AFC East average still comes in at 25.25, still beating out the AFC West for youngest average age of starting quarterbacks.
Josh Allen, who has now rocketed up quarterback rankings after the addition of Stefon Diggs to the Bills offense last season, is now the daddy of the division. He has the target on his back. After two decades of being the underdogs and the little brother to Tom Brady and Co., the division now runs through Buffalo. He will be viewed as the veteran leader, as the one Wilson, Tagovailoa, and Jones are chasing. Without the elder statesman in the division to overtake, he now must sit on top of the mountain and fend off the challengers.
On the other side of things, it’s important to remember that Allen still only has three years and 44 games of experience under his belt. While it’s easy to look at him and say “alright, the division is yours,” he’s still young, still learning, and still gaining experience.
If all four of these young quarterbacks stick, we could be looking at a core group of young talent that will compete against each other for years to come, ushering in a new era of rivalries for their fan bases to embrace. What they do with the opportunities in front of them, however, is up to them.