Five quarterbacks — Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson — were selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, but each signal-caller will have different outlooks for his rookie campaign. Team status, the presence of other options under center, and each quarterback’s own development will play a role in when exactly he starts his first game.
So which rookie passer will start the most contests in 2018? Let’s take a look at each individually:
Baker Mayfield, Browns
None of the first-round quarterbacks are guaranteed to open as a Week 1 starter, and Mayfield especially may face an uphill battle to overtake his club’s presumptive starter. Cleveland management has been adamant that Tyrod Taylor will be under center to begin the season, and there’s no reason (at present) to think that will change. However, Mayfield could certainly change minds during training camp and the preseason, and if the Browns get off to a slow start, Taylor could conceivably be benched in favor of the No. 1 overall pick.
Sam Darnold, Jets
Mayfield only needs to overtake Taylor in order to become the Browns’ starter, but Darnold might need to beat out two veterans: Josh McCown, who started 13 games for the Jets in 2017, and Teddy Bridgewater, who reportedly impressed during organized team activities. Darnold is the future of the New York franchise, of course, but that doesn’t mean the Jets are interested in throwing him on the field behind a porous offensive line and with limited offensive weapons.
Josh Allen, Bills
Like Darnold, Allen may also be competing against two other quaterbacks, as Buffalo signed former Bengal A.J. McCarron this offseason while 2017 draft pick Nathan Peterman is also still in the fold. Additionally, Allen was viewed as a raw prospect coming out of Wyoming, and the Bills will field one of the league’s worst offensive lines during the upcoming season. Buffalo’s wide receiver depth chart is a terrifying sight, while the club’s best offensive player — running back LeSean McCoy — could face discipline if domestic violence accusations prove true. The Bills may want to hold Allen on the bench for awhile, allowing either McCarron or Peterman more reps.
Josh Rosen, Cardinals
Another rookie quarterback facing a battle with two other options? Sounds familiar. Although in Rosen’s case, it’s unclear if Mike Glennon is a serious obstacle. Sam Bradford is the favorite to act as the Cardinals’ starter in Week 1, but Rosen is viewed as the most pro-ready signal-caller of the rookie bunch, so he could get on the field sooner rather than later. Arizona faces a stiff schedule to open the 2018 campaign, and if the club struggles, the Cards’ staff may choose to turn to Rosen.
Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Jackson might be the first-round quarterback who sees the field first in 2018, but it may not be under center. The Ravens are reportedly interested in deploying Jackson as an “offensive weapon,” and could line him up on the field with starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco has produced poor performances in recent seasons, so Jackson is a reasonable candidate to see starts later in the year, especially if Baltimore falls out of the playoff picture.
So what do you think? Which first-round quarterback will make the most starts in 2018? Vote below!