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Realistic Expectations For Rookie QBs

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Training camps are in session and all of the rookie quarterbacks are getting into the swing of the NFL. Ever since the NFL Draft, there has been a whirlwind of what people think the ceiling is for these guys. Eleven quarterbacks were selected during the draft, from every round but the seventh. There are leaders, starters, steals, busts, eventual starters and even those who will be a forever bench-sitter.

This list is composed of the last quarterback selected at the top of the list and so forth.

Trace McSorley- Drafted 6th round 197th overall, Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson will be the starter going into the new season. Robert Griffin is a valuable backup when healthy. Still, the team went into the draft and selected Trace McSorley from Penn State. He is the all-time leading passer from Happy Valley but the roster had other holes to fill. His pure athleticism is the reason he avoided going undrafted and instead went in the sixth round. The coaches have already spoken on their plan for McSorley. He is going to play across the field, meaning he could likely see snaps on special teams as a returner or blocker. It is likely the offense will have designated packages for him to keep defenses on their toes.

Realistic Expectations- He isn’t going to see a ton of snaps and when he does, everyone is going to have to be a success. Otherwise, he will be riding the bench as solely a special team player. He shouldn’t expect any real snaps under center barring an injury to both Jackson and Griffin. McSorley can become the next backup for Jackson but isn’t a realistic starter at this point,

Gardner Minshew- Drafted 6th round 178th overall, Jacksonville Jaguars

The role of No.2 for the Jaguars looks like a tight race to the finish line. Minshew, finishing fifth for the Heisman last year, is seeing an increase of snaps with the starters. Nick Foles is the cemented starter but has stepped away to deal with a family matter. Minshew and Alex McGough are both have an inconsistent start to training camp. The Jaguars will likely keep both of them on the roster regardless. Minshew is more of the pocket-passer and not very dangerous mobility. He is a born leader as well. There isn’t tons of arm talent there but his quick release and accuracy are good enough for him to beat out McGough.

Realistic Expectations- It seems unlikely that the Jaguars don’t carry Foles, Minshew, and McGough all into the regular season. McGough and himself are evenly balanced and similar players. Minshew could end up entering the season as QB3, which isn’t a bad thing for him. It isn’t realistic that Minshew lands a starting role anywhere and will bounce around the league as a decent backup.

Clayton Thorson- Drafted 5th round, 167th overall, Philadelphia Eagles

The QB situation for Philly is still an interesting one. Wentz seems to be back on track and healthy but will it last this time? Nate Sudfield is the current backup, mainly with his seniority over the others. Thorson is listed as QB3 and Cody Kessler was brought in to battle him for the spot. The decorated leader from Northwestern isn’t talented enough to be surefire QB2 and Sudfield is more seasoned and has better skills.

Realistic Expectations- While he isn’t the type of prospect to have any hope of being a franchise starter, he has a good setup for it. Wentz could easily go down again. Sudfield may not be able to step into the limelight and that opens the door for Thorson. But we are being realistic here. He will have a job this year and will likely do more to help push Sudfield into being better. A journeyman backup is in his near future.

Easton Stick-Drafted 5th round, 166th overall, LA Chargers

Sitting behind Phillip Rivers for the next few years is Stick’s best situation. He was drafted in the fifth round due to his much-needed development, but he is able to develop. Stick fits into the team’s gameplan and can help make it an easy transition between quarterbacks. Rivers is still playing at a high level and for at least for a few more years. Easton is similar to Rivers but more mobile. Ahead of Stick on the depth chart is Tyrod Taylor and Cardale Jones. Taylor is more of a valuable veteran backup to Rivers if he gets knocked out by injury. Jones will likely lose his job to Stick.

Realistic Expectations- Learn. Stick doesn’t have to play to have a successful rookie season. He just needs to lie low and soak in everything that he can. Within the next three years though there need to be improvements made. Stick is currently the heir to Rivers. He can develop into a solid starter who will continue to improve over his career.

Jarrett Stidham- Drafted 4th round, 133rd overall, New England Patriots

Stidham won the quarterback lottery and was the lucky soul to get selected by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have had a pattern of bringing in possible successors for Tom Brady to only ship them off when they develop. However, Belichick has proven that he is a borderline quarterback whisper. None of Brady’s second-in-commands have gone on to be real successes in the NFL. The story is still currently out on Jimmy G for the moment. Stidham mirrors the way that Brady plays and how the team thrives on offense. He is a pocket passer who has a strong game on the short and intermediate routes.

Realistic Expectations- Stidham has the ability to be the next starter for the Patriots. He has the best coach and quarterback to get him there. The main issue is polishing his skills to be able to compete at the next level. He was good in college but needs to be great in the NFL. It won’t be easy but he is capable of being the one to finally take over for Brady when the future Hall of Famer finally steps away. The Patriots will struggle in the transition between the two but it won’t last. Stidham’s style is similar to what the Patriots run currently. He won’t be Tom Brady but can at least be a productive starter for awhile until they bring in the next franchise player.

Ryan Finley- Drafted 4th round, 104th overall, Cincinnati Bengals

Ryan Finley is being put into a tough situation. OTAs have just begun and Finley is already struggling. He is running with the third-string receivers mostly and has low ranked talent trying to make plays for him. He comes off more like a game manager who can extend plays. The Bengals are on the brink of needing to bench starter Andy Dalton and Finley could be thrown into the role unprepared.

Realistic Expectations- The Bengals have a veteran quarterback who is on his last leg. Dalton has been mediocre for too long in important games and the team likely has him on a very short leash. Finley and Jeff Driskel would be forced to take over in the case of Dalton being benched. Neither man is ready for such a task but Driskel is in a better spot than Finley is. This is why Finley is doomed in the NFL. He could be thrown into the starting role too quickly and burn out quickly. The other option is that he becomes a backup that is only decent and bounces around to several teams. Either way, this seems like a bust selection.

Will Grier- Drafted 3rd round, 100th overall, Carolina Panthers

No one is high on being a backup in the NFL. It could be a good thing for Will Grier though. The issue with the Panther is Cam Newton’s durability. Newton is a solid starter and excellent play-maker. His play-making ability though is also his downfall. As a mobile quarterback, his body is constantly on the verge of getting greatly injured. When Newton does go down, the backup situation has never been up to the standards. Grier might not be a star player but he can fill in and get the job done.

Realistic Expectations- Grier will remain with Carolina and will learn no much under Newton. The realistic fact is that Newton will end up injuring himself again and will need rest. Grier doesn’t have the greatest arm in this class but can get the ball to his play-makers. Late in his career, a team will take a chance on a veteran backup who was taught under Cam Newton. He could have a decent run leading a team but his lack of necessary skills will lead to him being a long-term backup.

Drew Lock- Drafted 2nd round, 42nd overall, Denver Broncos

Drew Lock seemed destined to be drafted in the first round and to become the starter over Joe Flacco for Denver. instead, the Broncos played the field and Lock became a second-round talent who will take over for Flacco. The front office shifted picks around and got their two top players on their board. Lock was predicted to go in the first round but he still is a developing talent. He is the quarterback for the future while Flacco is the present day starter.

Realistic Expectations- WIth a cannon of an arm and tons of charisma, Lock will eventually lead the Broncos. He won’t see any time as a starter this year but there is a chance he sees a few snaps in special schemes. If Flacco gets injured or there is major backlash from the fans if he bombs, Elway will likely cave and toss in the rookie. Whether it happens or not, Lock isn’t ready this year. Give him a minimum of two years with the clipboard and he will come in a better game manager.

Dwayne Haskins-Drafted 1st round, 15th overall, Washington Redskins

Haskins is on a path to make all of the teams that overlooked him regret their decision. There were a handful of teams that were in dire need of a new quarterback but he fell down to the middle of the first round. Even though he was a sought-after talent, Case Keenum has the edge over Haskins. Keenum is more of a journeyman who is just biding time until Haskins masters the playbook.

Realistic Expectations- Haskins has to play. Yes, Keenum has more experience but the aftermath of the draft is going to be pushing Haskins to see the field. Daniel Jones is likely to start early this season and that is only going to fuel the fire more. In camp, Haskins is having the occasional rookie mistake, but his pure athleticism and desire to play makes him dangerous. Keenum is bound to fall on his face early on and when that happens the Redskins need to put Haskins in. The offense around him isn’t as talented as it was at Ohio State, but he can still make plays and should be able to show Washington fans that the future is promising. They likely will miss the playoffs this year though as they start to build up the offense.

Daniel Jones- Drafted 1st round, 6th overall, New York Giants

Speaking of Daniel Jones, he is quickly quieting the haters that have him labeled as the worst N0.6 pick in NFL history. When the season begins, the Giants should not have Manning as the starter. It is still early but Jones is already the better quarterback on the roster. Jones’s early success proves that his red flags stemmed from the lack of talent around him at Duke. With professionals all around him and an all-star running back behind him, Jones actually looks like a first-round talent.

Realistic Expectations- Again, the Giants are blind if they put Manning in as the starter. Jones is building a connection with the offensive starters and it needs to continue to build over the season. The way the schedule looks for the Giants, a realistic record would be around .500. Jones is still going to run into hiccups as a rookie but he is a good quarterback when he has good weapons. As a side note, his newly formed rivalry with Redskins will end with each quarterback picking up a win this season over the other.

Kyler Murray- Drafted 1st round, 1st overall, Arizona Cardinals

The first overall pick from the draft already has veteran players and coaches praising his talent and knowledge. Larry Fitzgerald seems excited and coaches hope it leads to a few more years of Fitz. Murray is stated to have caught onto the playbook quickly and he is making every aspect of the offense better with his presence. The real test is going to be if he can continue such success into the regular season.

Realistic Expectations- At this point, if Murray isn’t the best rookie quarterback at the end of the season, everyone is going to call him a bust. There is some truth behind that. The Cardinals went all in on Murray and traded away their first-round quarterback from literally one year earlier. Luckily all signs point to a ROY-worthy season. With the current receivers and David Johnson healthy, the NFC West could become one of the toughest divisions in all of football. Sadly, because of such a strong group of rivals, the playoffs will be out of reach of Arizona. Still, they can give the Rams and Seahawks run for their money next year and possibly knock one of them out of the playoffs as earlier as next year.

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