Fantasy Football for Schmucks: Garnder Minshew is the Jaguars Franchise Quarterback
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Quarterback is the most important position in football. Every year we see teams searching, just trying to find that franchise quarterback they so badly need. This is why we see quarterbacks taken so early every draft season. It doesn't happen that often, but sometimes teams strike gold in the later rounds of drafts. Notable QBs chosen in the 4th round or later include Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, and Tony Romo (UDFA) just to name a few.
Enter 6th round pick Gardner Minshew. He was overlooked throughout the draft and slid all the way down to the Jaguars. He put up an incredible rookie season and this convinced the Jags to move on from the 88 million dollar man Nick Foles! So why are we acting like Gardner is a one year rental? Let's discuss why he is the next franchise QB to come out of nowhere!
Gardner performed well at the combine. The moustached gunslinger measured in at 6' 1" and 225lbs. His hand size was really good at 10 1/8 in which puts him in the 87th percentile. He was fast enough with a 4.97 forty. He also had a burst score in the 77th percentile. This shows up when you watch him on film as he is great at escaping pressure and seems pretty mobile. What was really impressive though was his wonderlic score. The ECU/ Wazzu product scored a 42 out of a possible 50. In comparison Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Peyton Manning all scored a 28. Minshew showed to be an athletic quarterback with decent size and impressive mental capacity.
Minshew started his long and winding college career playing junior college football in the Magnolia state at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He absolutely balled out, passing the ball 367 times for 223 completions, 3288 yards, 28 TDs and 5 INTs leading his team to an NJCAA Championship!
Minshew would then spend his next two seasons at East Carolina University. He got the start in 7 games in his sophomore year. His stat line was not super impressive but he did play decently. He followed that up with 10 starts in 2017 passing the ball 304 times for 174 completions (57.2% completion percentage) 2140 yds, and 16 TDs to 7 INTs, giving him a soft breakout.
It wasn't until he decided to transfer out of ECU that he had a huge breakout season. Minshew chose to transfer to Washington State and play for Mike Leach's air raid offense. He put together a beautiful season passing the ball a whopping 662 times completing 468 (70.7 completion percentage) for 4779 yds, and 38 TDs to 9 INTs!
His play was outstanding enough to win him the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award as the nation's top senior, PAC-12 offensive player of the year, and have him finish 5th in Heisman voting!
Welcome to the NFL
Gardner Minshew was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL draft. His reason for sliding may have been due to him not producing great numbers until his Senior year of college and the fact that he was in an air raid offense.
Many scouts claimed he had below average arm strength as well. When testing arm strength he actually had a throw velocity of 54mph which tied fellow rookies Daniel Jones and Drew Lock according to Roto Underworld.
When the season started he had earned himself the backup job to Nick Foles.
In the first game Foles went down with a broken collarbone and Minshew Mania was thrust upon us! He went 22 of 25 (88% completion percentage) for 275 yards, 2TDs, and 1 INT. This is an impressive stat line for a guy we know got zero first team reps in practice throughout camp. And this makes this magical season even more impressive. Gardner passed the ball 470 times completing 285 of those attempts (60.1% completion percentage) for 3271 yards, 21 TDs, and only 6 INTs. He even added 344 yards on 67 rushing attempts but somehow didn't score a rushing TD. He did all of this while only appearing in 14 games and starting 12! His numbers rival 2019 offensive rookie of the year Kyler Murray. He threw more TDs 21 to Kyler's 20, less INTs 6 to Kyler's 12, and he won one more game than Kyler in 2019. Keep in mind he did all of this in less games and without an offseason to work as the team's number one QB!
Many will say he was able to accomplish this because he had a better supporting cast, but I guarantee you if you polled people before the season they would choose Kirk and Fitz over Chark, Westbrook, and Conley. PFF graded Minshew as the number 3 ranked QB on passes of 20 plus yards and he also led the NFL in passer rating on deep targets, while not having one turnover worthy throw according to them!
From the Film
Gardner is extremely fun to watch on film. You can see him progressing through his reads and see his leadership abilities. His teammates love playing with him. He has alot of swagger to his game and elevates the players around him. Chark earlier in the season was quoted as saying, "I love him. He gets out there. He puts in the work. He goes through his reads. I think that's the biggest thing; alot of quarterbacks don't go through their reads. They lock in on a guy, but he's very smart." It is always good to receive praise from your top receiving option. He doesn't have the cannon of a Josh Allen but he has good arm strength and is pretty accurate with his throws. His on target throw percentage was around 74 percent per pro football reference. This is not far off from the great Pat Mahomes 77 percent. The best part of his game which pops on film is his ability to extend plays. He has really solid pocket awareness and moves extremely well within the pocket, but if things get messy he can escape! You can see this in the clip posted below.
What to do in Fantasy
Minshew is being severely undervalued in redraft and DEFINITELY in dynasty. Per CBS his ADP at the moment is 175 which puts him in the late 14th round! Talk about late QB! Now for dynasty his ADP is 201 overall or the 28th QB. There is no way you can name 27 QBs you would rather have than the jorts clad Minshew. He is easy to acquire as well.
DLF has these three trades from this month showing how cheap he is: Jalen Hurd for Minshew, a 2021 3rd for Minshew, and Devonta Freeman for Minshew and the 3.09. I mean come on man! This is a guy that has his OC raving about him saying, "I love his competitive spirit." And also saying "He's accurate, he's tough, and obviously he's got the intangibles you want in a QB." I can also see the Jaguars deciding to build around Minshew a la the Rams and Jared Goff situation during his rookie contract. They have already added weapons with the drafting of Laviska Shenault and acquisition of Chris Thompson and Tyler Eifert. Minshew is set to be the 110th highest paid QB in 2020 making $677,721 per spotrac. This gives the Jags a ton of wiggle room with the rest of the roster. Next year if Minshew performs the same or better they may be better suited grabbing an OL in the first round. He could be the next great hidden gem that fell down draft boards. Let us as a community please give this man the respect he deserves!
Right now is the time to strike to get Minshew at a great value. In dynasty his risk of not being the starter in 2021 is baked into his startup price and even trade value. You can buy him very cheap and may wind up with a franchise QB. If he were a 1st round pick we would not even have to be having this conversation. Everyone is all in on Kyler being the next big thing when their rookie seasons were very comparable. Let's all put on our jorts, grow our damn moustaches, and board the Minshew hype train!