Welcome to the NFL, rooks.
The quarterback class of the 2021 NFL Draft will be the one we talk about for years to come: Just two more times in NFL history, five quarterbacks have been taken in the first round, and this next harvest could be the best. “Might” is the term used here.
In week 1, Trevor Lawrence of Jacksonville, Zach Wilson of New York, and Mac Jones of New England all started their careers with varying degrees of success, and Trey Lance of San Francisco also entered the mix with a little action.
Although the three starters have yet to secure their first victory, there is enough to say that the Ws will arrive in the weeks to come. With four of five first-round players in action following Sunday’s Week 1 games, here’s how they ranked on their debut:
MORE: The Worst Overreactions From NFL Games Week 1
Trey Lance: Incomplete
Statistics: 1/1 passes (100%), five yards, one touchdown, no interception
It’s pretty fitting that Trey Lance’s San Francisco debut was just a cup of coffee.
Drafted third behind Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, Lance has a slightly tougher path to the NFL starter-dom, sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers look to bounce back from an injury-ridden 2020 season and become a force in the NFC again. .
Head Coach Khanahan is unlikely to hand Lance the keys unless something seriously goes wrong with Jimmy Garoppolo this year, but he will work with the team creatively as needed.
If Sunday’s game was any indicator, Lance will have different situational packages in 2021, using both his legs and arm to caffeinate the attack and add the double threat ability he’s known for to the attack on San Fran. : It was indicative with Lance’s red zone scoring today, a touchdown for wide receiver Trent Sherfield.
Expect to see more of Lance as the season goes on, but for now he’s getting an “incomplete” for a tiny bit of action on Sunday.
MORE: A Rookie QB Story From Week 1
Zach Wilson: C
Statistics: 20/37 (54.1%), 258 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Zach Wilson played two preseason games against substitutes and impressed. The problem with this analysis: Wilson played in two preseason games and he was playing against saves. It’s worth about as much as an arcade token in a vending machine.
Wilson’s first live action in the NFL was largely correct, and the tape will tell you it was a two-half story: Wilson’s first half was all kinds of nightmares, bad throws, and just rookie mistakes that made Week 1’s overreactions look reasonable assertions.
The second half was much more representative of the type of player he could be in the long term: he finished 14/21 passing in the second half for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He also showcased some of his escape and improvisation skills that made him the second pick in the 2021 Draft:
The tape will also tell you that the Jets, the youngest team in the NFL, have a long way to go, and the Jets still have a long, long way to go as a team to back it up well. The offensive line was putrid, and his skill pool, although it had improved a lot since the Darnold era, will need time to solidify as the season progresses.
Still, it was Game 1 of Week 1 of Year 1 of the Robert Saleh-Zach Wilson era in New York City. There is enough of it to make you happy before week 2 and beyond.
MORE: Why doesn’t Justin Fields start for the Bears?
Trevor Lawrence: C +
Statistics: 28/51 passes (54.9%), 332 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions
Training wheels? What training wheels?
It will be a real baptism of fire for Trevor Lawrence, but I hope it won’t be too hot for him in 2021. It didn’t appear to be the case in week 1 as he lost his first match. of regular season football in his life. Truly.
While the rookie has been deceived in typical rookie mistakes, the Jaguars franchise passer is going to have to wade through rough waters as Jacksonville goes through the second year of a total rebuild.
Expect more of the same you’ve seen in Week 1 all season long as the Jags’ defense is slashed and Lawrence and offense will have to play a lot from behind, putting Lawrence and offense in. key passing situations.
Peyton had 3 picks when he started out.
Andrew Luck had 3 picks when he started.
And now Trevor Lawrence has 3 picks in his debut.
– Justin Barney (@JustinBarneyTV) September 12, 2021
Sunday’s game against the Texans showed a lot of the professional preparation that scouts and analysts love in Lawrence’s game: he was decisive, he was precise, he moved well in the pocket, and he wasn’t afraid of pull the trigger. He’s going to have to keep building on that as the Jaguars try to figure out how Urban Meyer is in Jacksonville.
Mac Jones: B +
Statistics: 29/39 (74.3%), 281 yards, 1 touchdown, no interceptions
After a confusing first attempt …
… Jones settled in and put on the best start of any rookie who made their debut on Sunday.
The Alabama product went wild on his debut against Miami, faring better than his former Crimson Tide teammate with the Patriots (win / loss) on Sunday. Jones was fearless in the pocket and made a wide range of throws that made him the Patriots first rookie QB starter since Drew Bledsoe in 1993.
One key trait Jones showcased: take what the defense gives you. While there were times when Jones looked heavy, Jones kept the Pats in the game and did what he could to keep New England there. It will be a learning year for him, but the first feedback is rather positive.