Quarterback is the most important position in football, which is why teams will do whatever it takes to obtain one.
This year’s rookie crop of signal callers includes five players who were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in April, including the first three picks. Clemson star Trevor Lawrence went No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, BYU’s Zach Wilson was selected by the Jets with the next pick and the San Francisco 49ers nabbed North Dakota State’s Trey Lance third. The Chicago Bears took Justin Fields out of Ohio State at No. 11 and Alabama product Mac Jones rounded out the rookie first-rounders at No. 15 to the New England Patriots.
The onus is on these organizations to provide a healthy environment for a rookie quarterback to succeed. Lawrence and Wilson are expected to start Week 1 and Lance has a good chance of playing early. It’s not as clear when Fields and Jones will play. The Patriots have Cam Newton and the Bears have Andy Dalton as their incumbent starters, but history suggests the rookies will see playing time. Over the past decade there have been 22 QBs drafted in the top 11 picks of an NFL draft. Ten of 22 have started in Week 1 and 17 of 22 have started by Week 4.
Which of the rookie quarterbacks has the best situation for immediate success? And how does Wilson fit in? To answer those questions the New York Daily News interviewed three NFL experts — Former Jets offensive linemen and ESPN analyst Damien Woody, ESPN draft guru Matt Miller and ex-NFL offensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger — to assess the rookies.