Last year’s NFL draft featured a wealth of talent at the quarterback position. In total, 5 of the top 6 QBs were selected in the 1st round, including 4 of the top 10 picks. Now there is a year of experience (both as a backup and starter) under these players’ belts, it’s time for most of them to start to sink or swim. Whether they were the designated starter or thrown into a QB controversy, these young guns might just have what it takes to be the next generation of competitors. Let’s see how they’re doing so far.
This former running back (that’s the last time, we swear) has shone this season, posting a perfect passer rating in his week 1 start. Launching 7 TDs for 0 INTs through 3 games this year, he’s already demolished his stat lines from last year, where he posted a 6:3 ratio through 7 starts. Leading all NFL QBs in rushing yards with 172, old habits seem to die hard for Jackson, and it’s doing the Ravens some good. An early MVP contender, it remains to be seen if Jackson can maintain his Mahomes-Esque streak but, with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined, the Bengals underwhelming performance and the Browns failing to meet their lofty expectations, the AFC North looks to be the Ravens to lose.
When the Buffalo Bills traded up to nab Allen 7th overall in the 2018 NFL draft, they didn’t plan on starting him right away. After the whole Nathan Peterman debacle, they had no choice. The 11 games he started in his rookie season did him some good, it seems, as he looked to improve throughout the campaign. Currently, his Bills sit at 3-0 and he’s been solid. Though the stats may not show it, only 1 of his 3 INTs on the year so far came from poor decision making, and he’s come through in the clutch. Growing pains persist but, if he can maintain his current upward turn, the Bills may be in a position to succeed in the near future.
A fan-favourite going into this season, Mayfield has not impressed his newfound supporters. Despite “feeling dangerous” last year, the Cleveland Browns are struggling out of the gate, winning only 1 of their 3 games so far; against the 3rd-string QB-led Jets. With a 3:5 TD:INT ratio, Baker has had difficulty reading defenses this season. The pre-draft praise of his accuracy and quick reads, which he proved valid last season, seems to be absent this year. It may just be the “sophomore slump”, or chemistry issues in a new-look offense, but Mayfield needs to slow down his game and learn from these mistakes if he wants to progress as a passer. Getting back to last years mid-season form is critical for Baker if he wants to prove himself as a franchise QB.
Consider this section blank, because Darnold has only been seen once this season. After getting “Mononucleosis”, known as the kissing disease, after week 1 this season, the Jets have been sub-par. His limited display and unfortunate predicament make him difficult to summarize, but Jets fans should look forward to his return. Darnold showed flashes of brilliance and bullheadedness last season and the offseason’s growth might put him in the middle echelon of QBs, once healthy.
New to Miami, Josh Rosen is not in a place to succeed: the Dolphins undisputedly hold the title of worst NFL team this season. Directly in the first phase of a rebuild, where they sell every inch of talent on the roster, Rosen got the start during week 3. It seems to be that everything about the QB’s career so far has been about as unfortunate as it could be, and this year is no different. With no TDs and no INTs in his only start (and 0 TDs and 2 INTs in his relief efforts during weeks 1 and 2), Rosen has been as much of a non-factor as the bye-week dolphins have been. It feels unfair to call Rosen a bad QB, but we haven’t seen anything that proves otherwise. Yet.
This one is interesting. With Big Ben out for the year, his potential replacement finally has an opportunity to show his stuff. The only non-1st-round pick on this list, Rudolph looks to keep the Steelers in playoff contention after a rocky 0-3 start. His individual stats aren’t terrible, averaging 2 TDs, 1 INT, and 143 yards over almost 2 games. In a confusing AFC North and a seemingly deflated Steelers team, this year may be more about proving he has what it takes to lead this team in Roethlisberger’s absence than actually winning games. If Big Ben does retire, fans could be looking at the new franchise guy already.