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Grading Rookie Quarterbacks Preseason Debuts: 2023 Edition

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Preseason Football is Back. This means we see a lot of fringe players and rookies. During the 2023 NFL Draft, 14 QBs were drafted (which ties the second-highest amount of QBs taken in the draft). This preseason 13 quarterbacks play in their team’s first preseason game. Here’s the return of Grading Rookie Quarterbacks based on how they did during their first preseason games.

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans: D

The second overall pick in the NFL Draft, C.J. Stroud only played the first series against the New England Patriots. Stroud’s stat line from this preseason game was 2-for-4 for 13 yards and one interception. After the first series, Case Keenum and Davis Mills took over for the rest of the game, and each threw a touchdown in a win over the Pats.

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts: C-

Richardson was taken third overall in the 2023 NFL draft. He was the most boom-or-bust prospect in this draft. Overall an okay performance for Richardson. Richardson threw 7-for-12, 67 yards, and one interception. It will be interesting to see how Richardson is going forward because no one knows what to expect from the former Florida Gators QB.

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Will Levis, Tennessee Titans: C-

Levis was the only quarterback taken in the second round (pick 33). He and Richardson had very similar performances. However, Levis threw for more yards. Levis’ stats were 9-of-14 for 85 yards and one interception. A meh performance from Levis; it will be interesting to see how he does in Week 2 of the preseason.

Sean Clifford, Green Bay Packers: C

Sean Clifford was selected in the 5th round (pick 149). The Packers played the Cincinnati Bengals in their first preseason game. Clifford threw 20-of-26 for 208 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Overall not too bad. However, those two picks are not great for a Rookie. Clifford does have the potential to be QB2 in Green Bay.

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Max Duggan: Los Angeles Chargers: C

Max Duggan was the last QB taken in the draft. He was selected in round 7, pick 239. Duggan played in the Chargers’ preseason game. His stat line was 2-for-3 for 19 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions. Overall a meh performance, but hopefully, we can see more of what Max Duggan is capable of.

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers: C

Bryce Young was drafted first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. His preseason debut performance was similar to Duggan’s performance. When Bryce wasn’t getting killed because his offensive line could not block for him. Young threw 4-for-6 for 21 yards. Even though Young’s performance was not that impressive, he looked calm in the pocket and was not rushing through his progressions.

Jaren Hall, Minnesota Vikings: C

Jaren Hall was drafted in round five (pick 164). Hall’s performance was okay, nothing impressive but, like Young and Duggan, he didn’t throw an interception. Hall went 6-of-14 for 37 yards. We have to see how he does in the next Vikings preseason game.

Tanner McKee, Philadelphia Eagles: B-

Tanner McKee was taken in the sixth round (pick 188). McKee threw 10-of-20 with no touchdowns or interceptions, plus he was one of six rookies to throw for over 100 yards. That was a solid performance from McKee. However, as mentioned previously, he did not throw a touchdown or an interception either.m

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Cleveland Browns: B

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was taken in the fourth round (pick 104) of the NFL Draft. He was electric to watch during the Hall of Fame game. However, Thomspon-Robinson played two games we are going to go off of the Hall of Fame game. In the Hall of Fame game, He went 8-of-11 for 82 yards and one touchdown. Dorian was blocking for his teammates as a quarterback.

Jake Haener, New Orleans Saints: B

Haener was taking in the fourth round (pick 127). Haener’s Stats versus the Kanas City Chiefs was 10-of-17 for 105 with one touchdown and one interception. A solid performance, minus the interception. Haener performed the best yard-wise out of the other QBs on his team. Those players are Jameis Winston and Derek Carr.

Clayton Tune, Arizona Cardinals: B

Clayton Tune was selected in the fifth round (pick 139). Tune’s stats were 13-for-23 with 135 yards plus a touchdown and an interception. Clayton performed the best out of the Qbs for Arizona. As a Rookie. He may see some serious playing time during the season with Kyler Murray being out.

Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders: B+

Aidan O’Connell was drafted in the fourth round (pick 135). O’Connell was wearing number four, Derek Carr’s number, when he was their quarterback. O’Connell went 15-of-18 for 141 yards and one touchdown. O’Connell may start during the season if something happens to Jimmy Garoppolo or he does not play well for a stretch of the season.

Stetson Bennett, Las Angeles Ram: A+

Stetson Bennet was taken in the fourth round (pick 128). Bennett had the best rookie QB performance. Bennett threw 17-of-29 for 191 yards and one touchdown. He was second in yards overall. However, he threw the most yards and didn’t have an interception. He was nearly perfect in his performance compared to the other quarterbacks in his draft class.

You may notice one quarterback was missing from this list. Detroit Lions Rookie Hendon Hooker, who was drafted in the third round (pick 68…so close to the fun number). Hooker is not expected to get game (preseason and regular season) snaps until 2024. That is why he is not on this list.


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