There was a time in the not-so-distant past when a first-round NFL quarterback would sit on the bench and learn for a year.
Or maybe even for two or three.
That is no longer the case and we have now seen six rookie quarterbacks get starts so far in 2021.
Five of them are first-round picks and three went in order atop the draft.
Six rookies all starting at once means mistakes are going to happen often.
So how are the six doing so far?
Through five weeks of the season, Justin Fields is the only rookie quarterback with a winning record.
Trevor Lawrence (0-5)
Zach Wilson (1-4)
Trey Lance (0-1)
JUSTIN FIELDS (2-1)
Mac Jones (2-3)
Davis Mills (0-3)
— Brendan Sugrue (@BrendanSugrue) October 11, 2021
Three are winless and only Fields has a winning record.
Yet this should not come as a surprise.
All About Development
Contrary to what Urban Meyer may think, a rookie quarterback’s first season is all about development.
Wins and losses do not matter as long as the player is learning week to week.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh seems to understand that point.
Robert Saleh preaches patience with Zach Wilson ⌛ pic.twitter.com/NhQIuV7Rjk
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 13, 2021
If every rookie was judged after five games, very few would keep their jobs.
Patience has to be the key and fans and organizations alike have to realize these young players need time to learn.
Opposing defenses feast on the inexperience of rookie quarterbacks as they are still not only grasping the playbook, but also the speed of NFL defenses.
Even the great Patrick Mahomes was allowed to sit and learn for a year and that seemed to work out well.
Is Anyone Leading The Way?
Wins and losses are a bad route to judge rookie signal-callers.
Lawrence and Wilson were both drafted to awful teams, which is the whole point of the NFL Draft.
The goal with such teams should be to spend two to three years building around the quarterback, such as what the Cleveland Browns have done with Baker Mayfield.
Or what the Buffalo Bills did with Josh Allen en route to him looking like an MVP candidate.
So it is tough to say one rookie is better than the others.
Fields may have a winning record, however, it has come thanks to some stellar defensive performances by the Chicago Bears.
The best way to judge this group will be to do so following the conclusion of the Super Bowl.
That allows for a proper sample size and also lets fans see which coaches let their players down.