What the rookie quarterbacks have (and haven’t) done this season

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It’s Week 17, and teams out of playoff contention with rookie quarterbacks waiting in the wings might as well get them game experience.

At least you’d think they would.

The Jets have been out of playoff contention since before the clocks changed. Christian Hackenberg says he’s ready, but Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this weekend’s season finale. Paxton Lynch has started three games as an injury replacement for the Broncos and figures to play in the season finale with the Broncos not going to the postseason, but he’s not slated to start.

Before teams officially can point to the future and until we have a whole new group of draftable quarterbacks to study and argue, an update on all the rookies seems appropriate. From 2016 top pick Jared Goff, to Dak Prescott of the NFC’s top-seeded Cowboys all the way to seventh-rounder Brandon Doughty of the Dolphins, here’s a glimpse at what the quarterback class of 2016 has (or hasn’t) been doing this season…

Goff (Round 1, Pick No. 1), Rams – Nothing has gone right for the Rams going all the way back to the way they seemed uncertain on how to handle Goff in September. Goff has started the last six games, all losses, and has completed 53.5 percent of his passes. He has five touchdown passes and seven interceptions and will be playing for a new head coach next season.

Carson Wentz (Round 1, Pick No. 2), Eagles – Wentz missed most of the preseason due to injury, but the Eagles traded Sam Bradford a week before the season opener and named Wentz the starter. He has a 14-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and understandably his numbers have dropped after a hot start. Wentz threw seven touchdowns vs. one interception in his first four games, three of them wins, and has found things tougher to come by in recent weeks. The Eagles upset the Giants last week to snap a five-game losing streak.

Lynch (1-26), Broncos – Lynch has completed 59 percent of his passes but isn’t quite at 500 total yards passing over those three starts. The Broncos knew he was going to be a project, and he’d have to come a long way before the team could trust him as its 2017 opening-day starter.

Hackenberg (2-51), Jets – See above. The Jets say he’s not ready, and playing Fitzpatrick over him is as puzzling as drafting him in the second round was.

Jacoby Brissett (3-91), Patriots – Brissett got two starts early in the season, then landed on the injured-reserve list desginated for return. He was recently activated, and if the Patriots feel good about his progress they might be more apt to trade Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason before he enters the final season of his rookie contract.

Cody Kessler (3-93), Browns – Kessler became the third Browns quarterback to start a game this year, and he showed marked progress after a disastrous preseason. Both of his stints as the starter have ended with Kessler suffering a concussion, though he’s been cleared and is currently No. 2 on the depth chart. He hasn’t shown much in the way of arm strength, which is why he was a surprise third-round pick.

Connor Cook (4-100), Raiders – Cook has been the No. 3 quarterback all season, and after Derek Carr’s broken leg last week he becomes the No. 2.

Prescott (4-135), Cowboys – That pick has worked out nicely. Prescott is completing 68 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions after being pressed into duty when Tony Romo was injured in the preseason.

Cardale Jones (4-139), Bills – Jones has been inactive for games as the team’s No. 3 quarterback, but with Tyrod Taylor not playing this week he’s as close as he’s been to his first game action. The Bills drafted Jones intending to basically redshirt him this season, and the only thing certain with the Bills’ quarterback position for 2017 is that Jones will be in the quarterback room.

Kevin Hogan (5-162), Chiefs – The Chiefs cut Hogan at the end of the preseason and he landed with the Browns, first on the practice squad and later on the active roster. Even as the Browns got two of their original three quarterbacks back from injury they kept Hogan on the roster, a sign that he’ll at least get a shot to stick around next season.

Nate Sudfeld (6-187), Washington – Sudfeld has served as the No. 3 quarterback all season.

Jake Rudock (6-191), Lions – The Lions cut Rudock at the end of the preseason and signed him to their practice squad, then promoted him to the active roster in late November to keep the Bears from signing him.

Brandon Allen (6-201), Jaguars – Allen has served as the Jaguars’ No. 3 quarterback all season.

Jeff Driskel (6-207), 49ers – Driskel was cut at the end of the preseason and claimed by the Bengals. In the unlikely event that the Bengals trade A.J. McCarron in the offseason, Driskel would get to compete for the backup job in 2017.

Doughty (7-207), Dolphins – Doughty was waived in September and signed to the practice squad.

30 responses to “What the rookie quarterbacks have (and haven’t) done this season

  1. Prescott dropped into the perfect position for a young QB. Good WR core, work horse RB, elite OL, legendary TE, not much more a rookie QB can ask for. That being said, he has been everything the Cowboys could ask for himself. He’s had as good of a rookie season as can be expected from anyone

    Goff hasn’t looked particularly good. Obviously he’s going to go through growing pains, but I feel like with half a season to prepare, he should of been a bit better from the start. Not going to say he’s a bust, less than a half a season on a sinking team is way too early for that. But he definitely has far to go

    Wentz I’ve liked, but it’s hard to tell. His best WR should be a #3, the rest, it’s arguable if they should be on a roster. His better TE is inconsistent, and goes down on 1st contact, and his OL fell apart after the Johnson suspension went into effect. Once defenses stopped trying to focus on attacking Wentz, and decided to just lock up his receivers, and see if the OL could hold up (they can’t), he fell apart with the rest of the offense. But I never thought he looked particularly bad, or in panic mode. All in all, a solid rookie season IMO, not Prescott obviously, but very promising

    The rest haven’t got enough snaps for me to make any kind of reasonable decision

  2. Lynch hasn’t started 3 games. He started 2 and came in at halftime against the Bucs when Siemian was injured.

    So he’s played 2.5 games, 2 starts.

  3. I agree with Dan Fouts that the Pats would be unwise to trade JimmyG because he’s now 3yrs into the system – i.e. a fully trained journeyman – and a proven cog in the Pats’ machine. Brady might play til he’s 44 but more likely 41, and the adage that you’re always 1 play away from a career ending injury becomes even more relevant with age, so the Pats need quality insurance. I think it’s more likely that both backups stay, unless Patricia or McDaniels takes up a HC post someplace needing a QB, and if so then Brisset is more likely to go with them than JimmyG.

  4. with the pats to get no worse than a 1st and a 4th
    for jimmyg, it will be sweet revenge for goodell’s framegate and cheating of the pats again.

    bb is an outright genius

  5. I think this could go down in history as the best QB crop ever. I think Conner Cook will end up being the best of the bunch, with Lynch, Wentz, and Prescott following close behind. I also think Goff will turn out to be real good. Brandon Allen and Brandon Doughty should turn out to be solid QBs. Cardale Jones wouldn’t shock me if he turned out to be good too. QBs are hard to judge until they get on the field, and some of these guys could end up slipping through the cracks, like Kurt Warner nearly did.

  6. I still have the old school mentality where you should sit a rookie QB for a year or two behind a veteran QB, but I’m excited to see what Hackenberg can do. He definitely needed to sit a year or even two after being beat up behind a very young and inexperienced OL at Penn State. If the Jets can upgrade the OL and the skill positions, I think Hackenberg has a shot to be really good.

  7. Hackenberg was, at best, an above average QB at Penn State, though there were times when he failed miserably. Not the best choice for the Jets though they have deep problems in several areas.

  8. From the eye test alone… I see Wentz as being the best QB out of this class and a top 5 QB in the league soon However…

    The Eagles MUST get actual NFL receivers around him. His receivers are not even NFL quality lol.

  9. I think a fair trade for Garopollo would be something like this with the Browns:
    1) swap pats 1st rounder with Browns 2nd 1st rounder in 2017
    2)swap pats 2nd rounder with Browns 2nd 2nd rounder in 2017
    3) pats get Browns 6th rounder in 2017
    4) pats get Browns 2nd 2nd rounder, 2nd 4th rounder,2nd 7th rounder in 2018
    This way: Browns still have 2 1st & 2 2nds in 2017 & the Pats get better 1st & 2nd round spots in 2017 as well as 6th rounder they are missing
    & Browns trade away their 3 ADDITIONAL 2nd slot picks in rounds 2,4,7 which still leaves them THIER own picks in those rounds in 2018
    ULTIMATELY , the Browns get their franchise QB for: 2017 6th
    :2018 2,4,7

  10. How did scouts miss on Prescott ? It has do with the intangibles. Dak put Mississippi St. on the map and everyone talked about how good a leader he was. I think the same things were said about Wentz. They were both winners in college, so they should go on to have successful careers. Not sure about the other guys. Conner Cook wasn’t even voted as a captain at Michigan St. In the next draft, Deshaun Watson will make a good pro.

  11. Prescott wouldn’t be putting the same numbers with the Rams. Not to take anything away from him, but part of being successful in the NFL is largely due to the team around you. Dak should be very happy. He also has done his part. Goff on the other hand has entered QB hell. Horrible support cast and will spend another offseason learning an offense. The Rams screwed up the developmental process with Bradford (3 OCs in his first 3 years and crap support cast) and they seem well on their way of doing the same for Goff.

  12. ramfanmatt says:
    Dec 30, 2016 12:07 AM
    Prescott wouldn’t be putting the same numbers with the Rams. Not to take anything away from him, but part of being successful in the NFL is largely due to the team around you. Dak should be very happy. He also has done his part. Goff on the other hand has entered QB hell. Horrible support cast and will spend another offseason learning an offense. The Rams screwed up the developmental process with Bradford (3 OCs in his first 3 years and crap support cast) and they seem well on their way of doing the same for Goff.

    The way Goff looks, he could be be playing with the Steel Curtain and throwing to Lynn Swan and he’d be bad.

    And let’s not act like he plays for the browns. The Rams have a top 10 defense, the offensive rookie of the year from last year in some eyes (Gurley), Tavon Austin, and some players. “Doesn’t have the supporting cast…” only goes so far with Goff. He doesn’t look at all. Joey Harrington 2.0.

  13. Just from watching them play I got Wentz looking through best long term and Prescott being more of a guy like Wilson who you can with but he isn’t really the reason your winning. He won’t lose it. Everyone else is garbage and at best could develop into serviceable back ups. I’m not sure if Goff doesn’t go down as the greatest bust ever considering the guy picked at 2

  14. Can’t wait to see Jerry Jones slam his cowboy hat to the ground yelling, “dak nabbit!” when Prescott Romos the playoffs.

  15. o0omorriso0o says:

    From the eye test alone… I see Wentz as being the best QB out of this class
    ==============================

    You need glasses.

  16. o0omorriso0o says:
    Dec 29, 2016 11:05 PM

    From the eye test alone… I see Wentz as being the best QB out of this class and a top 5 QB in the league soon However…

    The Eagles MUST get actual NFL receivers around him. His receivers are not even NFL quality lol.
    _____________________________

    Wentz would likely benefit from a better running game. Imagine if the Eagles had a guy like Demarco Murray to hand the ball to.

  17. Dallas had the same o-line and Bryant, Beasley and Witten in 2014 and went 4-12.

    Dak somehow doesn’t get his due respect in a league that habitually goes out of their way to overpraise QB’s?

  18. jkulha86 says:
    Dec 29, 2016 10:13 PM
    I still have the old school mentality where you should sit a rookie QB for a year or two behind a veteran QB, but I’m excited to see what Hackenberg can do. He definitely needed to sit a year or even two after being beat up behind a very young and inexperienced OL at Penn State. If the Jets can upgrade the OL and the skill positions, I think Hackenberg has a shot to be really good.
    ——————————–
    I agree 100% with your first thought. As for Hackenberg, I wouldn’t share the optimism, but we’ll see what happens.

  19. factschecker says:
    Dec 30, 2016 9:09 AM
    Dallas had the same o-line and Bryant, Beasley and Witten in 2014 and went 4-12.
    Dak somehow doesn’t get his due respect in a league that habitually goes out of their way to overpraise QB’s?
    ***********************************
    Dak Prescott is playing better than just about every QB in the league. He’s 100% the reason they’re winning this year. The fact that he was a 4th round pick means that all of the other scouts and GMs around the league missed terribly on him. Many of those same scouts and GMs have media connections, so they’re putting out all this bull about Elliott and the O-Line. When was the last time you heard this was an O-Line driven league? When was the last time you heard someone say this is a RB driven league? It’s a QB driven league, and Dak Prescott is driving the Cowboys to the playoffs. I guess if you haven’t watched any Cowboys games this year, you might fall for that line, but if you’ve seen Dak play, it’s been very impressive.

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