Rookie Quarterbacks
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Quarterbacks 2021: When Will They Start, Get Their First Win

For months after the college football season ended, we knew there were going to be five rookie quarterbacks in the first round. Other than Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, their destinations were very much ambiguous up until draft night. Now that the draft has concluded and the 2021 schedule has been released, we can paint a clearer picture of when these guys might get on the field and more importantly, their first win. For this list we just looked at the first round rookie quarterbacks.

Trevor Lawrence

First Start: Week 1 vs Houston. I don’t have to explain this one, Lawrence became the first #1 overall pick in Jacksonville franchise history. Additionally, Jacksonville does not have a QB remotely close to the talent of Lawrence, sorry Minshew fans but you know it’s the truth. Lawrence starts right away, as he should.

First Win: Week 1 vs Houston. The Houston Texans will have the #1 overall pick in the 2022 draft barring what happens to Deshaun Watson. But let’s not forget that Houston won only 4 games with Watson last year. First-year head coach David Culley is going to be over his skies, and I’d expect Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence to beat the worst team in the league, especially if Davis Mills or Tyrod Taylor is under center. I like this Jacksonville offense with Lawrence under center. They have two solid backs in James Robinson and Travis Etienne and two competent receivers in DJ Chark and Leviska Shenault.

Zach Wilson

First Start: Week 1 vs Panthers. Similar to Lawrence, Wilson should be the only rookie QB that is expected to start week one. The Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Panthers in the offseason, resetting the quarterback timeline in New York. Also, like Lawrence, what quarterback on the Jets roster is even going to compete with Wilson for the starting job, James Morgan? Mike White? Give me a break, Wilson starts from day one.

First Win: Week 5 vs Falcons. This is going to be another rough season for Jets fans and especially tough for Zach Wilson. Going from small town Provo to the Big Apple is a huge jump and I’m looking forward to how the kid handles the New York media. Wilson isn’t playing in the AFC East the Patriots dominated for 20 years, this division is one of the better defensive divisions in football. Not only does he play the greatest coach ever in Bill Belichick twice a year, who eats rookie QBs alive. He also has to play the Bills and Dolphins twice as well. Sean McDermott and Bryan Flores are two of the top defensive coaches in the league. I think Wilson gets mauled his first couple of weeks but in Week 5 the Jets play the falcons in London. The Falcons can have all the offensive firepower they want but their defense is still suspect. It will be a close game, but Wilson gets his first win in London.

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Trey Lance

First Start: Week 18 vs Rams. I do not doubt that Trey Lance will get snaps in week one, they gave up too much to not see this kid on the field. As long as Jimmy Garoppolo does not get hurt, which seems to happen every season, I don’t see Lance starting many games. Let’s not forget when this team was fully healthy, including Garoppolo, they got to a Super Bowl and were leading the Chiefs in the fourth quarter. If Jimmy can stay healthy and play game manager, the starting position is his to lose. However, if Jimmy starts to regress, Kyle Shanahan needs to win games and will play the best quarterback to do so.

First Win: Week 18 vs Rams. Shanahan has owned McVay and the Rams with every QB in books. He has beaten him with Jimmy and more impressively with CJ Beathard and Nick Mullens. I think we can collectively agree that Lance is more talented than all three of those guys and if this game does not have any playoff implications, Lance will secure his first win as a starter.

Justin Fields

First Start: Week 1 vs Rams. Bears fans, I know this is what you want. I also know that making your NFL debut on Sunday Night football against Sean McVay and the best defense in football isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but Justin Fields has played in big games all his life. Let’s be honest, does anyone want to see Andy Dalton taking meaningful snaps in Bear uniform? Of the rookie quarterbacks, I like Fields the most. From what I’ve heard from Bears rookie minicamp the kid exudes confidence and is a natural-born leader. The Bears can post as many QB1 Instagram posts win Andy Dalton as they want but they aren’t fooling anyone. The last time they signed a veteran and named him the starter was Mike Glennon, what did they do in that draft, traded up for Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears can tell themselves that Dalton is the starter but I’m not buying it.

First Win: Week 2 vs Bengals. I don’t know how good of a coach Matt Nagy truly is but I do know that his teams win in September, they jumped out to a 5-0 start last season before things started to crumble. I love Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase but let’s not forget they play for the Cincinnati Bengals. Until the Bengals can prove they are not a complete joke of a franchise, I will start to trust them, until then I’m going to keep doubting them. I just don’t see the Bengals marching into Soldier Field and getting a win versus Fields and the Bears.

Mac Jones

First Start: Week 5 vs Houston. Similar to Trey Lance, I don’t see Mac starting until week 18 or if Cam Newton goes down with an injury. I have a theory. Week 4, the prodigal son returns to New England as Brady and the Bucs travel to Gillette Stadium. Bill has had this game circled ever since we knew the opponent for the 2021 season. If Brady comes back to New England and he is slinging it to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Gronk, and Cam struggles to push the ball down the field there could be a QB change in Foxborough. They play the awful Texans the next week which could be an easy starting spot for Mac Jones. I am rooting for Jones, out of the rookie quarterbacks I feel like he’s gotten the most unnecessary hate because someone mentioned him going #3 to the 49ers.

First Win: Week 5 vs Houston. If New England beats the Bucs or even lose in a close game and Cam plays fine, throw everything I said out the window. However, if Jones starts week 5, how can you not pick him to beat the Texans. This game reminds of the Chargers and Patriots game last year, a game where the Patriots won 45-0. I could have told you that the Patriots would win solely based off the coaching matchup of Bill Belichick vs Anthony Lynn. Similarly for this game, just look at the coaching matchup, first time head coach David Culley vs the greatest coach of all time in Bill Belichick. Mac gets his first W in week 5.

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