Cameron Armstead: Louisville's QB of the Future

Cameron Armstead: Louisville's QB of the Future

Coming into this season, it was clear that, at least for 2021, Jameill Davis would be the starter for the Lightning after the two sides agreed to a two year deal. Davis would act as a serviceable stopgap starter to allow their promising prospect to sit on the bench and learn in his first season. But then something crazy happened. Davis exploded onto the GSL scene with a marvelous deep ball and an athletic skillset that propelled him to a 37 passing touchdown season, while adding 6 more TDs on the ground. Now that Jameill has solidified himself as a top 10 QB in the GSL, many executives around the league believe he's due for a hefty extension next season, but the common assumption is that it will come from another team. Despite his All-Star caliber season, his flaws, which were particularly exposed during the Lightning's disastrous run during the month of May, have soured the Lightning on bringing him back for the long haul. And the Lightning's week 19 game against Jacksonville gave the team another reason to immediately explore trade scenarios for Jameill Davis.

Cameron Armstead was drafted by the Lightning in the second round of the inaugural GSL draft, a QB out of Washington with loads of potential. Not wanting to rush his development, the Lightning agreed to terms with Davis to act as a stopgap. He has sat on the bench for the entire season, although he took second team reps in the preseason which were nothing of note. As the season went on and Davis began to put up crazy numbers, fans and analysts began to wonder what Armstead's timeline looked like and if it matched up with the rest of the team. For a short while, there were rumors he could be traded. But once Jameill Davis began to have issues with turnovers and the Lightning started to lose games, those rumors took a backseat. Davis, along with the rest of the team, began to rebound at the beginning of June and managed to wrap up the division in week 18 in a win over Toronto, locking them into the 3 seed and a date with the Commanders on July 11. That ended Davis' regular season and gave Cameron Armstead the spotlight for just one game, against one of the league's best defenses down the stretch, the Jacksonville Captains. One game to prove himself and show Louisville what they can expect from their QB of the future. And he did not disappoint. At all.

Armstead welcomed the Jacksonville defense to The 'Ville and absolutely slaughtered them, going 27-39 with 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a whopping 412 yards to top off a 129.4 passer rating outing. His performance showed exactly what he does so well and why he's such a valuable piece moving forward, from his pocket presence, to his accuracy on tight throws, and his patience. Unlike Jameill Davis IV, who tends to play far too aggressively, Armstead was willing to take what the defense gave him, often checking down when he could not find the deep look. And despite pre-draft concerns and criticisms of a weak deep ball, his downfield throws were on point, connecting for multiple completions of over 30+ air yards. His most impressive moment in the game was his 43 yard bomb to Kevin White on their go-ahead drive in the 4th quarter that set Louisville up inside the Captains' 35. That was an amazing throw, placed perfectly into a spot where only White could haul in that pass. The Lightning would go on to win the game 34-28 and finish the season with a 10-8 record.

Now that we've seen this out of Armstead, what's next for Davis? Obviously, he will play out the rest of this season as the starter barring injury, but it looks like he will be playing elsewhere coming 2022. Rumored trade destinations for him include Washington, St. Louis, and potentially Portland, all teams in need of a franchise QB. Davis will most certainly provide that for a team, and if he can fix his turnover issues, I see MVP awards and All-Pro seasons ahead for him. And because of his crazy season this year, the Lightning are expected to demand a haul for him in return. Louisville is in a very good spot, as a fair return from a team could have them marked as Gridiron Bowl contenders next season, as long as they address their needs accordingly.

UPDATE: As of August 4th, according to verified GSL insider Adam Schefter, talks have ramped up between Louisville and St. Louis for a potential Davis IV trade. The Lightning are rumored to be interested in a draft pick as well as two starters. St. Louis reporters have indicated that the team is looking for picks and players of their own in return. Buckle up folks, this might be a big one.

UPDATE 2: As of August 8th, there has been no update on the potential Davis IV trade. St. Louis seemes like a top contender, but with ownership stepping down, and no prospective owner in place until at least September, the call may be up to the Brewers current GM. Talks are still on going, but may be stretched out given the situation at the top of the organization.

Damon Richmond II
August 8, 2021