To say Sam Acho is bullish on rookie quarterbacks Trey Lance and Justin Fields would be an understatement. “Justin Fields and Trey Lance could be the next Peyton Manning and Tom Brady,” Acho, a former NFL linebacker for the Cardinals, Bears and Buccaneers, argued Friday during his appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “These two young quarterbacks are the future of the NFL.”
That’s high praise for players, who, outside of a handful of preseason reps, have never played an NFL down. Fields and Lance will be holding clipboards as backups in Week 1, though it shouldn’t be long until either of them see the field. What Fields and Lance have going for them, among other selling points, is that both are incredible athletes capable of making plays with their feet. With pocket passers in the mold of Brady and Manning largely being phased out in favor of dual threats like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and, to a lesser extent, Josh Allen, Acho sees Fields and Lance as torchbearers for the NFL’s new tuck-and-run aesthetic.
“We’ve seen how the NFL’s gone. Look at MVPs. Aaron Rodgers can move. Patrick Mahomes can move. Daniel Jones, even though people are asking questions about [him], can move. Lamar Jackson as well,” said Acho, whose brother Emmanuel (his teammate at the University of Texas) has cohosted Speak for Yourself on FS1 alongside fellow NFL alum Marcellus Wiley since 2020. “So the future of the NFL when it comes to quarterbacking is changing. You need athletic quarterbacks who can also throw the ball, who can make every throw but can also move in the pocket. That’s what I see with these two young quarterbacks.”
Can Lance, selected with the third pick in April’s NFL Draft, and Fields (11th overall) build a rivalry as compelling as the one forged by Manning and Brady, two relentless competitors and masters of their craft? Acho seems to think so and perhaps we’ll get a taste of what’s to come when the Bears host Lance’s Niners in Week 8.