Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Staff Writer 63d

NFL quarterback awards: Execs weigh in on 12 QBs' starts to the season, including most improved, most confusing, more

NFL, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

It's potentially never been more crucial to have a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Passing attempts are up, we're seeing more and more 300-yard games and offensive schemes are increasingly built around the strength of a gifted passer.

A month into the 2021 season, we wanted to survey the QB landscape. Four weeks is a small sample size, but it's enough game play to draw a few conclusions or confirm how the league feels about a certain player. So, we reached out to league execs, coaches and scouts to piece together quarterback progress reports.

The injection of youth under center around the league is exciting. Tom Brady's 25-year plan notwithstanding, players 25 or younger are flooding end zones. Since the 2019 draft, at least three first-round passers are tracking for superstardom, with a few more showing varying degrees of promise. Several passers in their mid-career arc are trending toward career years. And a few surprises have developed this season, starting in the NFC South.

Let's hand out 12 quarter-mark awards for some NFL quarterbacks catching the eyes of people around the league.

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