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The Highs And Lows Of The 2018 Rookie QB Class

Not all rookie QBs are created equal.

The 2018 Rookie QB class was hyped as an all-time great crop of franchise quarterbacks by most draft analysts who insisted that there were at least four franchise caliber quarterbacks out of the five chosen in the first round.

We know that the QBs don’t suck, as all of the Fab Five rookies have risen to starter status as we prepare for NFL Week 13. However, now as we enter the dog days of the season, it’s an appropriate time to analyze the success and failures of each QB and where they currently stand as potential franchise quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield (2,242 Yards Passing, 17 TD – 7 INT)

While every rookie has had his struggles, the NFL’s No.1 pick has distinguished himself as the best of the bunch. The same edgy swag that he had at Oklahoma is still there. Just look at the half-ass acknowledgment he gave former coach Hue Jackson after they smacked the Cincinnati Bengals 35-20 on Sunday. He’s earned his stripes and hasn’t stopped running and gunning with confidence since he took the helm against the Jets on Thursday Night Football in Week 4 and led Cleveland (4-6-1) to its first win since 2015.


Sunday’s win was the Browns’ first road win since 2015.


NFL on Twitter

He tossed four touchdowns and led the @Browns to their first road win since 2015. @BakerMayfield’s BEST plays from #CLEvsCIN! #Browns https://t.co/LJSBSo8C3v

With a new head coach at the helm, Mayfield is improving each week and quickly making the Browns — once doormats of the NFL — a formidable opponent. The young gunner is the only rookie QB with a passer rating in the 90s (93.2).

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Lamar Jackson (415 Passing Yards, 329 Rushing Yards)


The most analyzed, criticized and polarizing talent coming out of the NFL Draft is the only rookie QB who is still undefeated and has his Ravens team (6-5) in the playoff mix.

Despite proving to be a capable passer in college, questions about Jackson’s passing and whether or not he should switch positions tainted what should have been a great draft night for the Heisman winner. Jackson was the last quarterback chosen in the first round. He was also the last one to become the starter.


After an injury to Joe Flacco, Jackson was thrust into the starting roll in Week 11 and used his legs to rush for 127 yards and lead Baltimore to the win.

Baltimore Ravens on Twitter

@Lj_era8 scores the TD and finds a fan repping his @UofLFootball jersey! https://t.co/fRoZmwmKRW

On Sunday, Jackson used a combination of his incredible legs and underrated arm to lead Baltimore to another victory, 34-7 over the Oakland Raiders. The rookie who got no love from the skeptics on draft night, has led the lifeless Ravens back into playoff contention and continues to prove all of the haters wrong.

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Sam Darnold (1,934 Yards Passing, 11 TD -14 INT)

The future of the New York Jets (3-8) came out the shoot like gangbusters and had the entire city talking playoffs before he hit a slight rookie wall and then got hurt.



NFLTradeRumors.co on Twitter

Jets QB Sam Darnold More Likely To Return In Week 14 https://t.co/UltqVwfWlX


2019 should be a big season for Darnold who’s shown flashes of a bright future with Ganggreen.

Josh Rosen (1,521 Yards Passing, 10 TD – 11 INT)

The Arizona Cardinals are one of the NFL’s least talented teams, but since taking over the helm, Rosen has proved himself to be a young, raw but capable signal caller who will improve as the talent around him improves. He’s shown guts and confidence so far. Now he just needs reps and some front office help.

FanDuel on Twitter

Early score for Josh Rosen and Larry Fitzgerald #BeRedSeeRed https://t.co/EasV0iGemB


Josh Allen (992 Passing Yards, 3 TD – 5 INT)

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Allen is another quarterback that quickly ascended to the starting role but with a team that doesn’t have much talent to help the young rookie. He’s tough. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get into the end zone. On Sunday, his dual skills were on display in Buffalo’s 24-21 upset of Jacksonville. Allen passed for 160 yards and a TD and was the leading rusher in the game with 99 yards from the QB position.

Buffalo Bills on Twitter

Coach McDermott: “The leadership and energy that Josh Allen brings is huge. He’s a guy you want to play for and finds a way to provide us with a spark during games.” #GoBills

The future is bright for Allen and he could be the franchise piece the Bills need if his passing accuracy improves and he gets some help from the front office.


JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.