Jameis Winston is really young. We tend to forget that, but he was just 22 last season. He’ll be 23 this year. He entered the NFL at 21. And he’s thrown more touchdowns before age 23 than any NFL quarterback, ever (via JoeBucsFan).
Four quarterbacks did manage to throw more touchdowns than Winston in their first two seasons, though: Dan Marino (68!), Derek Carr, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
It's still kind of jarring to realize that Jameis Winston has thrown 50 TDs in the NFL already and doesn't turn *23* until January. pic.twitter.com/miglk5pNNE— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) July 17, 2017
That’s kind of fascinating. Nah, actually: it’s very fascinating. Winston knows how to find the end zone, and that’s a really important skill. Many offenses know how to navigate down the field, but many stall once they get into the red zone, and that has never really been Winston’s problem.
The question, of course, is whether it matters that he did this before he’s 23, rather than in his first two years in the NFL. I can’t find any data on this right now, but I don’t think that being young is a more important predictor of future growth than just being new to the league. That is: a 24-year-old rookie may get better just as quickly and to just as high a ceiling as a 21-year-old rookie. I don’t know.
What I do know: having a franchise quarterback is important. The fact that Winston is young means not only that he likely has some room to grow, but also that he has many, many years ahead of him before his body will force him to retire (barring catastrophic injury). Vinny Testaverde still played when he was 44. Tom Brady is 39 and has shown no signs of slowing down.
So how long will Winston stay in the NFL and be the Bucs’ quarterback? If all goes well, could he be here into his 40s. Are we looking at twenty years or more of having a franchise quarterback? And how many Super Bowls will that mean?