Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Home Steered Straight Rookie QBs snap to the forefront of NFL Week 1 playbook

Rookie QBs snap to the forefront of NFL Week 1 playbook

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rookie qbs

There were four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 and five in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Here’s a breakdown of how the preseason went for each rookie QB.

  • Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns: The first pick of the draft out of Oklahoma, Mayfield had a solid outing this preseason. He was extremely poised in the pocket. For being just over 6 feet, you would expect someone his size to be bailing from the pocket, but he does an extremely good job of feeling the pressure and stepping up into lane and making the throw. I don’t believe Baker had one pass knocked down in the preseason. He looked solid in every outing other than the Eagles, where he seemed to struggle a little in the first half against the first-teamers. Part of the issue was Philadelphia’s defense was just too good. Not a lot of guys were able to get open, and the pressure was there every time. The accuracy was certainly on display for Baker in Week 4 against the Lions. Had his receivers been able to catch the ball, his stats would reflect. Against the Lions, Baker was able to lead the Browns to three scoring drives. While not getting it into the end zone himself, he still put them in great spots, moving the ball down the field. Before preseason, I wasn’t sure where I stood with Mayfield. After preseason, I know exactly where I stand. Could Mayfield go and start Week 1 — yes. Should Mayfield start Week 1 — no. The Browns have a solid QB in Tyrod Taylor and are in a win-now situation. Could Mayfield win games –- yes. But Tyrod will win more. While Baker will be a solid NFL QB, the question remains . . . when will he be a starting NFL QB?
  • Sam Darnold, New York Jets: The third pick out of Southern Cal certainly looked like a top-five pick this preseason, especially in Week 3 against the Giants. Darnold got the start against a very underrated defense and played extremely. While it was only preseason, Darnold did get the start, so he spent most of his time going against what will be the Giants’ starters. While going 8-for-16 passing, he didn’t miss on delivering any throws, threw one touchdown and led them to another. Darnold also has the ability to make plays with his feet, scrambling for a first down on a third-and-13. Darnold will likely be starting sooner than later for the Jets, and is ready to. He will make mistakes if he does get the start, but he will also show signs of greatness, which I believe he has. In Weeks 1 and 2 he went 13-for-18 and 8-for-11 passing, showing tremendous accuracy. One of the things I like most about Darnold is his ability to feel the pressure, and how he handles it. He doesn’t take a lot of sacks, finding his way out of the pocket for a scramble or simply throwing the ball away. For only being 21 years old, Darnold is ready for his NFL debut.
  • Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: With the seventh pick in the draft, the Bills selected Allen out of Wyoming. It seemed questionable to some since Josh Rosen was still on the board. Many thought Rosen was the most ready next to Darnold. After watching Allen this preseason, I’m excited to see what he can do. He was much faster than I remember from his college days, making plays with his feet. Outside of Lamar Jackson, his ability to scramble is the best out of this rookie class. Standing 6-foot-6, he isn’t the easiest guy to bring down. Allen might rely on his feet too much at times, scrambling from the pocket when he just needs to step up and find a gap to throw through. In Allen’s did not look like the same kid out of Wyoming in his first two preseason performances. His footwork was stellar, and he even seemed to deliver the ball with accuracy, which he struggled with in college and was the biggest knock against him. When Allen got the start in Week 3, he looked like a completely different guy, which might be why Nathan Peterman got the starting job in Week 1. This could be the best news for this rookie QB. If you throw Allen into the fire, and he struggles, you could end up ruining his career. But given a little time, even just a few games, he is going to be something special for years to come.
  • Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals: With the 10th pick in the draft the Cardinals selected Rosen, out of UCLA. Dropping lower in the draft than expected, Rosen didn’t see as much time in the preseason as the other QBs, only playing in the first two preseason games. Rosen struggled a little in Week 1, completing only 6 of 13 passes. I wasn’t sure how he even expected to get it to the guy throwing into coverage on some of the passes he was making. His footwork and pocket presence was solid, finding ways to escape the pressure and extend plays. One thing about Rosen is he throws a tight spiral just about every time he lets that ball loose. In Week 2 of preseason, it looked as though they had put Rosen’s jersey on someone else as he went 10-for-13 passing and threw for a touchdown. He seemed to build an early connection with rookie receiver Chirstian Kirk, targeting him five times and for a touchdown. Rosen possesses the talent to start right away, but with someone as talented as Sam Bradford ahead of him, it doesn’t seem likely, at least inWeek 1. Bradford is known for being injury prone, so we could end up seeing Rosen sooner than later. When given the nod, Rosen will find success as a starting QB.
  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: With the last pick in the first round, the Ravens selected Jackson, the Heisman winner from Louisville. Jackson wasn’t drafted to start right away, so my expectations for him weren’t as high. Jackson struggled with accuracy, just as he did in college, but he did show signs he could sling it, like in Week 3, the Ravens fourth game because they participated in the Hall of Fame game. In Week 3 against the Dolphins, he went 7 of 10 with a touchdown pass, and one on the ground as well. Week in and week out, Jackson showed what got him drafted in the first round, and that’s his ability to make plays with his feet. At times he seems to rely too much on his feet, scrambling when there is still time in the pocket to step up and make the throw. He will most likely spend the season behind Joe Flacco, maybe even two depending on how his season goes, but this could end up being the best situation for Jackson, as he doesn’t appear to be ready. While not the starter, look for the Ravens to give him some special packages to run. Given the time and the right coaching, Jackson could be a dangerous QB.
    1. My NFL Power RankingsThe NFL Network recently released its power rankings, and some of the positions of teams had me laughing. So, I thought why not make a list myself. Here’s a complete list of my early-season power rankings. The NFL’s rank of each team is listed in parenthesis.
      1. Los Angeles Rams (2)
      2. New Orleans Saints (3)
      3. Philadelphia Eagles (1)
      4. New England Patriots (5)
      5. Minnesota Vikings (4)
      6. Atlanta Falcons (8)
      7. Los Angeles Chargers (10)
      8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7)
      9. Green Bay Packers (9)
      10. Jacksonville Jaguars (6)
      11. Houston Texans (12)
      12. Baltimore Ravens (16)
      13. Carolina Panthers (11)
      14. Dallas Cowboys (22)
      15. New York Giants (14)
      16. Kansas City Chiefs (17)
      17. Tennessee Titans (12)
      18. Chicago Bears (15)
      19. Detroit Lions (18)
      20. Cleveland Browns (30)
      21. Cincinnati Bengals (21)
      22. Indianapolis Colts (32)
      23. San Francisco 49ers (19)
      24. Seattle Seahawks (27)
      25. Denver Broncos (20)
      26. Washington Redskins (26)
      27. Oakland Raiders (24)
      28. Washington Redskins (25)
      29. New York Jets (29)
      30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)
      31. Miami Dolphins (23)
      32. Buffalo Bills (31)

      Feel free to comment on your rankings below.

Seth Steere
Seth Steerehttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
A 2014 Taft High graduate, 22-year-old Homepage sports columnist Seth Steere resides in Gresham and is the son of local day care provider Kristina Good. An all-state and all-league baseball and football player and wrestler, Steere is the brother of current Taft athlete Francisco “Fco” Ramos.

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