After a successful rookie campaign in 2019, it looked like quarterback Gardner Minshew II was going to be a fixture of the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, it feels like that happened ages ago, as he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the start of the 2021 regular season and is the primary backup behind Jalen Hurts.
Although Minshew hasn’t taken a snap in Philly yet and he may not see the field soon, barring injury to Hurts, he made a pretty illustrious group. Ryan Spagnoli of Pats Pulpit recently posted a social media in which he listed the rookie quarterbacks since 2013 with the highest Pro Football Focus grades throughout their first five career games. Minshew was fifth, with a mark of 74.8.
Carson Wentz, who currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts, was the top passer on the list with a PFF grade of 90.5. Baker Mayfield’s 82.2 mark in 2018 got the second spot. Justin Herbert was third (75.4), Dak Prescot got the fourth spot (75.4), Mac Jones popped up at six (73.5) and Joe Burrow was seventh (73.1).
Wentz is arguably the best of the bunch. He was key in the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017. Although he missed the playoffs with an injury, he performed at an MVP level during the regular season. Prescott always gives the Dallas Cowboys a shot to compete, Herbert looks like one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, and Burrow is trending up after having his season cut short by an ACL injury last year. Here’s Spagnoli’s list.
It looked like Gardner Minshew could be the answer for the Jaguars.
In retrospect, Minshew started his NFL career with a bang and was pretty productive in his first five games as a pro, completing 110 of 165 passes for 1,279 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. Even though the Jags finished 6-10 that year, it looked like they had found a competent starting quarterback. With that in mind, they gave the former Washington Cougar the chance to show what he could do. Alas, he couldn’t recreate the success he had in his first NFL campaign.
Minshew suffered a thumb injury in the middle of the season and hardly saw the field afterward. The fact that the Jaguars drafted Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 draft sealed his fate in Jacksonville. This past offseason, teams called the Jags to inquire about Minshew’s availability. The 2019 sixth-round pick himself said he wanted a chance to compete for a job and he wasn’t going to get that chance in Jacksonville.
It was later reported that Philly expressed interest in him but couldn’t pull a trade for Minshew, so he spent training camp in Jacksonville, where he was given a chance to compete with Lawrence for the starting job. From the outset, it was clear the rookie was the better quarterback of the two, and Minshew was eventually traded to Philadelphia.
While he hasn’t been given the opportunity the third-year quarterback wants, it’s highly likely that he will eventually get it. In the meantime, it’s never a bad time to look back at the time when Minshewmania invaded Duval.