The Rookie Quarterbacks’ Tracker

The spotlight is something all quarterbacks have to deal with even as rookies in the NFL. Performing well could land them the starting gig.

On the flip side, a lackluster outing could result in being stuck behind someone. It’s a gift and a curse being a quarterback.

Were the young passers’ performances something or nothing?

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Versus NYG: 11-for-20 with 212 passing yards, 2 touchdowns

The performance was…Something.

Yes, Tyrod Taylor completed all his passes and threw a touchdown, but Mayfield showed up in a big way. He is an absolute gamer as he showed shiftiness in picking up yardage on the ground. The former Heisman trophy winner looked comfortable taking what was available. His patience led to him finding Antonio Callaway and David Njoku for a pair of touchdowns. It’s time to see him play with the starters.

Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Versus ATL: 13-for-18 with 96 passing yards, 1 touchdown

The performance was…Something.

It was great to see Darnold take care of the ball and complete a good chunk of his throws. He struggled to do both as a Trojan. Might we be looking at a more refined Darnold? The true answer lies with him starting with the big kahunas. The Jets seem impressed so why not?

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Versus CAR: 9-for-19 with 116 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 29 rushing yards

The performance was…So-so.

Well, we knew the Bills were not anywhere near ready to name a starter for the season opener. We are far from the outcome of the quarterback race between Allen, Nathan Peterman, and A.J. McCarron.

With Allen, there was a lot to like, but there are some concerns. His completion percentage and inaccuracy was a concern for scouts in college. Those flaws showed against the Carolina Panthers. But, on the Bills’ game-winning drive he was a magician. He kept the drive alive with an 11-yard scamper. Finally, he found Ray-Ray McCloud III for the game-winning throw.

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals

Versus LAC: 6-for-13 with 41 passing yards

The performance was…Nothing.

Rosen is the most pro-ready quarterback out of the entire bunch, but he can’t do anything under pressure. I give credit to Gus Bradley for not letting him get comfortable with exotic blitzes. When it looked like Rosen was in rhythm, the wind was taken from his sails. The former Bruin made a great back shoulder throw only for the receiver to fail to get his feet down. There’s always next year for Rosen.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Versus LAR: 7-for-18 with 119 passing yards, 1 rushing touchdown

The performance was…Nothing.

Wade Phillips is another one of those wily defensive coordinators sprinkled with sage and rosemary. He called the right blitzes to take Jackson off his spot and panic when his first read was gone. The Rams snookered him into getting sacked twice. If Baltimore stinks, it’s believed that Jackson could start late in the year. Yet, another low-end game could put him behind a revitalized Robert Griffin III.

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

Versus PHI: 7-for-12 with 101 passing yards

The performance was…So-so.

The forgotten man. Rudolph will always fly under-the-radar in this 2018 class as he went in the third round. However, he has a bit of an advantage. The former Poke has a chance to grow under a future Hall of Famer in Ben Roethlisberger.

Rudolph is a Big Ben prototype except he prefers to stay still in the pocket like a tree-stump. He showed off his big arm like he did at Oklahoma State. Speaking of which, he found his college teammate James Washington on a 35-yard connection. Rudolph needs to refine his intermediate game a bit more as right now he is an all-or-nothing thrower.

I know. I know. It’s just the preseason, but the performances of these young quarterbacks mean a lot. Good habits coupled with smart risks will make these guys starters sooner or later.