by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
In reality we all know that there’s only one rookie quarterback who has an opportunity to make a significant impact in 2016. That doesn’t mean we won’t see any others, but aside from Jared Goff the rest of the field will hold little appeal on draft day (at least for those in redraft formats). With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rookies currently rank:
1) Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams
Regardless if he’s currently listed as #1 or #2 on the depth chart, there’s little question that Goff is going to be the Rams’ starter for Week 1. Do we really think they’d use Case Keenum over the first overall pick in the NFL Draft? In this day and age, given the money spent, when you are selected atop the draft you are expected to immediately be installed as the team’s starter.
Goff certainly showed the potential to thrive while at Cal, including completing 64.5% of his passes in his final season (60+% in all three years he played) to go along with 43 TD (78 over the past two seasons) and 13 INT. He will have Todd Gurley helping to keep defenses honest, though his overall upside would look a lot better if he had more weapons to throw the football too. While he’s the “top” rookie, it’s far more likely he falls short of being anything more than a QB2 this season.
2) Paxton Lynch – Denver Broncos
John Elway traded up to get Lynch, making him the heir apparent to Peyton Manning thanks to the departure of Brock Osweiler. That’s not to say that Lynch will make a significant impact this season, but considering Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian are currently atop the depth chart there definitely should be an opportunity for him at some point. Weapons aren’t going to be an issue, so if he does get his shot he has the chance to emerge as the top rookie quarterback this season.
3) Jeff Driskel – San Francisco 49ers
He doesn’t have the pedigree of some other names on this list, but he’s going to play in Chip Kelly’s offense, and that could be a perfect fit. Driskel himself was quoted as saying such recently:
“As a competitor, you always want to be regarded highly, and you want to be the first one taken,” Driskel said on Thursday. “And you think you should go before this guy or that guy. But at the end of the end of the day, I’m happy that I landed here. I think it’s a great fit. Can’t wait to get to work with these guys. I think it’s the perfect fit.” (Click here for the full article)
Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick are both underwhelming and Kelly has often gone unconventional during his time in the NFL. If the veterans struggle would it really be a surprise to see Driskel installed as the starter before long? He rushed for 323 yards on 92 carries in his final college season, while also throwing for 4,033 yards, 27 TD and 8 INT. He’s not a big name, but an intriguing one to monitor.
4) Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
He was the second overall selection, but with Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel on the depth chart he is highly likely to “red shirt” this season and learn from the sidelines (especially after getting injured in the preseason opener). That’s not a bad thing, but for those focusing on 2016 it doesn’t help.
5) Cardale Jones – Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor just got a big contract so you know he’s going to be the starter. While Jones could be an intriguing name, it’s unlikely he gets much of an opportunity.