Ranking the Rookie Quarterback Class Halfway Through the Season

Ranking the Rookie Quarterback Class Halfway Through the Season

by November 11, 2021 0 comments

About seven months ago, the NFL draft world was ablaze with the five surefire first-round quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, nine weeks into the NFL season, these rookie quarterbacks have all gotten an opportunity to play in multiple games. It’s gone a bit differently than we originally expected but it’s still early in each quarterback’s young career. However, let’s break down their play so far.

1. Mac Jones– New England Patriots (Round 1, Pick 15)

2022 Stats: 9 GS, 2,135 yds, 10 TD, 7 INT, 48.9 QBR

If you’ve watched Jones so far you’d know he’s been the best quarterback, probably by a wide margin too. The last of the five quarterbacks selected has been mistake-free, uber-beneficent, and has shown tremendous flashes when the Patriots open up the playbook. Now, Jones does have the best situation out of the five guys here, but that doesn’t mean he’s still been really good for Bill Belichick’s squad. At the end of the day, New England very well could have found their next great signal-caller with what he’s shown us through nine weeks.

2. Trevor Lawrence– Jacksonville Jaguars (Round 1, Pick 1)

2022 Stats: 8 GS, 1,821 yds, 8 TD, 9 INT, 35.8 QBR

The golden-boy, generational talent has struggled so far in Jacksonville. He does have one of the worst supporting casts in the league, however, and has shown really good signs of a player who will improve. The big narrative with Lawrence is comparing him to Peyton Manning‘s rookie career. Manning was notoriously bad in his rookie career after the huge expectations he had but, obviously, he bounced back just fine and Lawrence should do the same as he adapts to the league.

3. Justin Fields– Chicago Bears (Round 1, Pick 11)

2022 Stats: 7 GS, 1,282 yds, 4 TD, 8 INT, 27.4 QBR

Fields probably have the most interesting situation of any of these guys. He was thrust into play early on because of injury and took over the starting job ever since. In that time, he’s been sacked and pressured the most, and as we saw in Monday night’s game hurt by the referees a whole lot. Fields’ numbers are not good but he’s consistently getting better. He went from 6-20 and 66 yards in his first start to 17-29 and 291 yards in his most recent start. The improvement is clearly there, the natural talent is clearly there, but it’s obvious Fields is still working on the mental side of the came, which was the biggest question mark for him when he came into the league.

4. Trey Lance– San Francisco 49ers (Round 1, Pick 3)

2022 Stats: 2 GS, 354 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT

These last two were very hard to debate between. Lance suffered an injury earlier in the year and has also had a rough loss in one of the two games he has started. However, he’s looked very good and very versatile in each of these two games. The arm strength clearly opens up the playbook for San Francisco and the running game is super effective with him at the helm. On top of that, he’s probably taken care of the ball better than any other rookie in his two starts, possibly besides Jones, who has had some interceptions that were clearly not his fault. We know Lance is pretty much healthy now and he should be the starter soon with the 49ers season headed down a dark path.

5. Zach Wilson– New York Jets (Round 1, Pick 2)

2022 Stats: 6 GS, 1,168 yds, 4 TD, 9 INT, 28.0 QBR

Wilson went down about two weeks ago in a game against the Patriots that he was actually showing some good signs in for once. Otherwise, he’s been pretty bad this year and legitimate concerns are starting to rise. Yes, the numbers are bad but so are pretty much every other quarterback here. The difference is the film and the decision-making. We’ve seen constant underthrows of receivers leading to interceptions, clear misreads of defenses, and questionable calls all over. What Wilson has done well is using his mobility to create plays for the Jets. He’s delivered some nice balls off-platform balls but still has a done of work to do when he returns from his injury.

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