NFL’s Fab Four Rookie QBs Are Coming Back Down To Earth

The quarterbacks have regressed a bit as they move into the long haul of the NFL season.

After much hoopla about the rookie  quarterback class — hype that was heightened after Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield assumed starting roles within the first five weeks of the season —  all of the quarterbacks have come down to earth a bit as they move into the meat of the NFL season. 

LaMar Jackson is still riding the pine, so we’ll reserve judgment on him at this time and I’ll refer to the ones starting as the “Fab Four.”

Week 6 proved that these young guns still have a long way to go as each one fell to defeat except Darnold. Gang Green’s Golden Boy rebounded from a few rough starts and led the Jets to a high-scoring win over a feisty Colts team and a battered QB named Andrew Luck who was once considered NFL’s “the future” too.  

NFL on Twitter

Sam Darnold finds Chris Herndon for the 32-yard #Jets TD! #INDvsNYJ ?: CBS

Darnold, the only rookie to start every game, is also the only rookie with more TDS (9) than picks (7), a completion percentage above 59 and a QB rating higher than 83. Darnold is also the only rookie with a winning record as the Jets are 3-3. 

So far, he’s clearly the most NFL-ready signal-caller. 

Jason McIntyre on Twitter

Rookie QB rating in Week 6 Sam Darnold 113.9 Josh Rosen 77.3 Josh Allen 71.7 Baker Mayfield 52.6 Rookie QB rating in Week 5 Sam Darnold 98.1 Baker Mayfield 81.7 Josh Rosen 77.1 Josh Allen 42.0

Baker Mayfield’s QB rating plummeted to a rookie low of 52.6 in a 38-14 thrashing at the hands of the LA Chargers. Mayfield was picked twice and sacked five times. His 238 passing yards was the lowest total of his three starts. 

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Desmond King and the Chargers defense made life difficult for Baker Mayfield and the Browns yesterday.

Josh Allen took control of the Bills starting job in the first game and never looked back. Since his fast start in which he threw for 245 yards Allen hasn’t thrown a TD pass in three games and has just two TDS and 5 picks on the season. Making matters worse, Allen had to come out of the game on Sunday after suffering a UCL injury that could end his rookie season before it truly gets going. Another lesson in the unpredictable, fragile nature of NFL QB’ing and how the future can change quickly on any play. 

David J. Chao, MD on Twitter

To be clear, UCL surgery is not off the table on #JoshAllen. I try to stay optimistic and hope for best case November return (and not be click bait or rile up a fan base). Over under is 6 weeks out. If surgery, would miss most/all or 2019 too.

Josh Rosen has started three games for a 1-5 Arizona Cardinals and is probably leading the worst compilation of talent among the rookie starters, but he’s finding a way to make plays against elite defenses. 

Kyle Odegard on Twitter

While the Cardinals’ offensive criticism is deserved, I continue to be impressed by Josh Rosen. He completed 68 percent of his passes and averaged 7.7 yards/attempt on the road against a tough Vikings defense. Very impressive for a 21-year-old QB.

After leading the Cardinals to their first win in Week 5, Rosen threw for a career-high 240 yards, completed 67.7 percent of his targets but failed to get the Cardinals in the end zone through the air in a 27-17 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.  HIs passer rating for the season is a mere 75.5. 

Cian on Twitter

It’s almost like Josh Rosen is assuming the lingering Carson Palmer elements from that jersey. He’s looked quite a lot like Palmer so far, which wasn’t a comp I had for his college tape.

Each of these quarterbacks are leading teams who are rebuilding and dying to move into the upper echelon of perennial playoff hopefuls. The journey won’t happen overnight and we won’t be able to determine which quarterback is truly franchise material until at least five years from now. 

The last time we had three legit franchise, future Hall of Famers in one Draft was 2004 with Eli ManningPhilip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger.

Before that, it was 1983 with Dan MarinoJohn Elway and Jim Kelly, along with a few other very serviceable starters. 

ESPN Films 30 for 30: “Elway to Marino” on ESPN America

WHAT IF I TOLD YOU…? that one Draft would change the NFL forever! This is the explosive inside story of one fateful day in the lives of two football legends. Much more than an eponymous episode in the careers of John Elway and Dan Marino, this documentary reveals a great deal of the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that takes place on 1983 Draft Day.

He’s not a rookie, but even second-year phenom Patrick Mahomes Jr. has cooled off a bit. After throwing an NFL-record 14 TDs and 0 picks in his first four games, Mahomes has thrown four picks and four TDs in the last two games. The 43-40 loss to the Patriots on Thursday was Kansas City’s first loss of the season. 

The party’s over for the young quarterbacks. The defenses are game planning and the coaches are adjusting and willing to throw everything in the book at the new meat behind center. The next move is on this crop of QBs to either start separating from the pack or falling back to reality. 

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