If the NFL season started today, and if coaches and general managers stick to their words with the media (a huge if), none of these rookie quarterbacks will be named the Week 1 starter for their respective teams.
However, a whole lot can happen from now through organized team activities, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Not to mention once the season starts and if the losses start piling up, those same coaches and GMs who spun the “he’s not ready; sit, learn and be patient” plan earlier, fall under intense pressure to quickly move on to the, “throw ’em to the wolves; lets see what the kid can do” plan.
So even if they don’t start Week 1, these guys could become fantasy football relevant before long. Here are my post-NFL Draft Top 5 Rookie Quarterbacks.
Here comes Johnny Football. Johnny Manziel is an exciting fantasy prospect because he will be a true dual-threat on the field. In 2013, Manziel passed for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns while rushing for 759 yards and nine more touchdowns. Some scouts compare Manziel to Robert Griffin III because the Texas A&M star is agile and lightning fast (4.45 40-yard dash).
Manziel’s strength is his legs but he possesses decent arm strength and good accuracy. Manziel’s weakness is his size (6’0″, 210 lbs), and with his desire to run, the potential for injury will always be waiting around the corner in the NFL. To his credit, Manziel survived two seasons of SEC football, which is as close as you get to the NFL at the collegiate level. As of now Brian Hoyer is considered the starter for the Cleveland Browns, but it is only a matter of time before the owner steps in and demands to see Manziel under center.
Blake Bortles was the shock of the draft when he was selected third overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is the most prototypical quarterback in this class as far as size, but possesses some bad habits with his footwork that occasionally tends to cause inaccurate throws and diminishes his arm strength. Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is more than capable of fixing these issues to fully maximize Bortles’ potential in the NFL.
The team already clearly stated they don’t anticipate Bortles starting immediately, but he should get his opportunity sometime this season. As the draft went on, the Jags focused on adding talent with their premium picks to help make the transition as easy as possible for when that time comes.
After being touted as the potential first overall pick in the NFL Draft throughout the college season, questions about Teddy Bridgewater’s frame and leadership caused him to fall to the last pick in the first round where the Minnesota Vikings traded back in to get him. His short to intermediate accuracy and football I.Q. is already at an elite level. In a Norv Turner offense, and with the help of Adrian Peterson, Bridgewater should have the most quarterback success managing the Vikings offense since Brett Favre. He does not have elite arm strength, but when working with short to intermediate weapons such as Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, and Jarius Wright, he has more than enough to be successful with this team.
Derek Carr enters the NFL following in the footsteps of his older brother David Carr, former first overall pick and first ever pick of the Houston Texans franchise back in 2002. Derek, the Fresno State product, has a cannon for an arm to go along with decent size (6’2″, 215 lbs) and athleticism. Carr had an unbelievable senior season in 2013, passing for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns and completing 68.9 percent of his passes.
We likely won’t see Carr until the 2015 season. Oakland Raiders are locked in for Matt Schaub to start this year, and even Matt McGloin could start ahead of Carr if something happens to Schaub. Carr will be able to sit and learn the offense which should help his development. It’s difficult to forecast what this Raiders team will look like in another year, but we do know Carr is the most likely long-term answer at QB on the current roster moving forward.
Jimmy Garoppolo has a fatal flaw of not being able to handle pressure that is very reminiscent of former Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert, but the New England Patriots is a great landing spot to hide that flaw and allow him to maximize his better traits such as reading defenses fast and getting the ball out quick. The Patriots put a major focus on upgrading the interior of their line and their offensive weapons. Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen, and now Jeremy Gallon excel in getting open quick and presenting a big target for the quarterback. Nobody knows how long Tom Brady will continue to play, but with time to develop, Garoppolo would be a good fit for this offense.
Another Guy to Monitor:
Tom Savage, HOU
Tom Savage is the best option on the Houston Texans roster to become their quarterback of the future. He is a developmental project, but if anyone is up to the task of turning a project into a serviceable starter, new head coach Bill O’Brien is that guy. He has experience from coaching at Penn State and working with Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenburg. Both greatly exceeded expectations and he brought a lowly team, crippled by the Jerry Sandusky scandal, back to relevance in college football. If they deem Savage ready for the opportunity to start, he has a favorable situation with a good offensive line, an elite running game, a great WR duo in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, and a good defense to lean on, preventing the team from getting in a hole early and letting the opposition tee off on their young QB.