Rookie QB's in the NFL


The narrative that quarterbacks shouldn't start in their rookie season in the NFL seems to be almost non-existent these days, or at least I think it should be.  For many years there seemed to be a philosophy that a young quarterback would come in and sit behind a more experienced guy and learn how to be a professional quarterback as a backup.  The pendulum seems to have shifted more towards throwing a guy to the wolves from the beginning these days.  I think this says two things about the quarterbacks in the NFL.

  1. There aren't as many elite quarterbacks these days - Sure there are still big name guys who have won super bowls, MVP's, led the league in stats, etc. (Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Wilson, Ryan, Roethlisberger, Manning) but the league also has a handful of guys who probably shouldn't be starting.  Quarterbacks who come to mind are Trevor Siemian, Brian Hoyer, Blake Bortles, Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon, and Josh McCown.  And the list is endless of guys who were starters but shouldn't have been over the last several years.  Seeing guys like the ones mentioned above almost forces the hand of a team anytime a new, exciting QB prospect enters in the draft, whether the prospect is seen as ready for the NFL or not.  This also plays into the narrative of making a rookie a starter from Week 1.
  2. The second thing that i think plays into this is that some rookies who come in the league are ready from game 1.  They have the talent to be really good quarterbacks and rewards are greater than the risk.  And if a guy isn't good enough to be an NFL QB then it wouldn't matter when he starts, whether it be Week 1 or Week 13.  If he's not good enough he will be found out fairly quickly.  So if you think he is going to be good, he should start from the get go.
After just 2 weeks of the season I think the Browns and Texans have made really good decisions on who their starting QB's are.  Deshone Kizer was named the Browns QB in week 1 and DeShaun Watson the Texans QB before their week 2 game last night.  Kizer wasn't great, but I think he has a chance to be a good QB.  Watson didn't look great early in the game last night, but eventually brought some excitement back to the Texans offense.  I think Watson has the ability to be a top 10 QB down the road.  Other examples of recent QB's who have had early success and have seemed to be ready are Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck.  Most of these guys are very good quarterbacks and have at the very least had quite a bit of success.  There is a handful of super bowl trips, a super bowl victory, MVP's, Pro Bowls, and playoff wins among them.  All guys who started from week 1 of their respective seasons.  I'm not saying all rookie quarterbacks are going to be good enough to start week 1, but if you draft a quarterback early, and unless you already have a guy like Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Wilson, Ryan etc., then you should throw him to the wolves from the beginning.  If he's good enough then you might have yourself a franchise quarterback, if not then you'll have just another mediocre quarterback, but at least you'll know early on.