Week 1 Rookie Quarterback Impressions

Story posted September 14, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Dylan Price

The 2021 NFL Draft featured five highly touted quarterback prospects looking to change the course of a franchise. All five made their pro debut this past Sunday with three making starts.

Let’s take a look at how the rookies fared in week one.

Trevor Lawrence

Many people were waiting for the day that Trevor Lawrence made his NFL debut as he was one of the most hyped college prospects we have seen in years. However, Lawrence’s debut did not live up to expectations.

Lawerence tossed three touchdowns, three interceptions and finished with a line of 28/51 for 332 yards and a 54.9 completion percentage.

Lawerence did not play badly, and the Jaguars’ talent let him down on more than a few throws, but the ineptitude of his coaching staff dragged him down.

Ultimately, the biggest fear coming into his rookie campaign was how he’d be used, and this game did nothing to calm those fears.

Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson’s debut was a tale of two halves. 

The first half had Jets fans rethinking if the team made the right move trading away Sam Darnold and selecting the BYU product. Wilson made bad reads and produced a costly turnover. However, the Jets offensive line gave him no time in the pocket.

In the second half, it was a whole new Wilson. He was confident and poised in the pocket, despite facing consistent pressure.

Wilson finished the day with 258 yards, two scores, and a pick. He also went 20/37 for a completion percentage of 54.1.

For Wilson, he demonstrated arm talent and the capability to do what his predecessor couldn’t and handle the terrible pass protection.

Moving forward, Wilson will only be as good as his offensive line allows him to be, and if they replicate their performance from Sunday, he’s in danger.

Mac Jones

The Alabama product was the star of the show when it came to the rookie quarterbacks on Sunday.

Jones put up 281 yards, his first career touchdown pass, and went 29/39 with a 74.1 completion percentage. Jones finished the game with no turnovers and had the best completion percentage of the three rookie starting quarterbacks.

His performance was not without flaws, and it seemed he relied a lot on making the safe check-downs rather than taking chances.

Despite the loss, Jones kept the team in the game, and in what will be a year predicated on showing progression, Jones managed the offense with veteran-level confidence.

Justin Fields

The Bears utilized Fields as the change of pace quarterback in Sunday night’s loss versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Fields went 2/2 for 10 yards and rushed for a score.

Fields didn’t show enough in this game to make a legitimate impression that he should be the starter outright, but rather, Andy Dalton showed that Fields would at least inject more life into the offense than he currently brings.

Trey Lance

Lance rounds out the five, as he only came in briefly in the red zone.

Lance was used more as a runner until it opened things up for him to throw a strike for his first career touchdown.

The issue for Lance is that Jimmy Garoppolo still maintained his hold on the position by playing quality football for the entirety of the game.

Whereas it makes sense for Fields to be the starter given the direction of the team, Lance is on a well-rounded team capable of making the playoffs.

So, for now, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Dylan Price is a first year majoring in Journalism and he can be reached at dvp5625@psu.edu