(Carson Wentz photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)
(Dak Prescott photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
Talk of Fame Network
The last rookie quarterback to lead his NFL team to the playoffs was Russell Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.
Rookie quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have all served as primary starters for NFL teams since then, and they have a combined 21-49 record. It’s not easy playing quarterback as a rookie — much less winning at quarterback as a rookie.
So the subject of this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll is which rookie quarterback will have the best season in 2016. We list three first-round picks, a second-rounder and a fourth as your options – but only two will start on opening day:
Jared Goff, Rams. If you’re going to play in Los Angeles, you’re going to need a name with glitz and glamor for the marquee. Coach Jeff Fisher traded a king’s ransom to the Tennessee Titans for the first overall pick of the 2016 draft and the right to select Goff. The Titans received two first-round picks, two seconds and two thirds. Goff is Cal’s all-time leading passer, a two-time All-Pac 12 pick and a two-time team captain. He threw for 12,855 yards and 111 touchdowns in his three years as a starter. Yet he left his senior season on the table to turn pro. But he’ll open the season on the bench behind journeyman Case Keenum.
(Jared Goff photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Christian Hackenberg, Jets. Hackenberg looked like a pretty good insurance policy this offseason when incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick was holding out for a new contract. But when Fitzpatrick signed in late July, that freed Hackenberg to learn the offense and the speed of the NFL game at his own pace – from the bench. He is Penn State’s all-time leading passer, even though, like Goff, he left his senior season on the table to turn pro. He also was a two-year captain and looms as the franchise’s quarterback of the future. The only question: When does that future begin?
(Christian Hackenberg photo courtesy of Al Pereira/NY Jets)
Paxton Lynch, Broncos. All three of the quarterbacks selected in the first round were trade ups – and the Broncos were not going to be outbid for Lynch at the back end of the first round. The Super Bowl champions lost their top two quarterbacks in the offseason with the retirement of Peyton Manning and the free-agent departure of Brock Osweiler to the Texans. Lynch also elected to skip his senior season after leading Memphis to its first 10-win season in 2015 since the 1930s. He passed for 3,776 yards and 28 touchdowns, with only four interceptions last season. But he also will open the season on the bench behind Trevor Siemian.
(Paxton Lynch photo courtesy of Eric Bakke/Denver Broncos)
Dak Prescott, Cowboys. Prescott was the seventh quarterback to go in the 2015 draft, chosen in the fourth round, but was the first to claim a starting position. Actually, he inherited the starting spot when Tony Romo suffered yet another back injury in the preseason, which figures to sideline him 6-8 weeks. Prescott was spectacular in the preseason, completing 78 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and no interceptions for a 137.8 passer efficiency rating. He averaged 9.1 yards per pass attempt and rushed for two touchdowns. He represents the future at the position for the Cowboys and, until Romo returns, the present, as well.
Carson Wentz, Eagles. Wentz has the largest jump to make of all the elite quarterbacks in this draft. It’s a huge jump from North Dakota State to the NFL. The last quarterback to make this kind of jump was Joe Flacco – but at least Flacco spent two seasons at Pitt before transferring to Delaware. He saw what top-flight competition looks like. The step grew longer for Wentz when he suffered a hairline fracture of his ribs in the preseason opener and did not play the final three exhibition games. Nonetheless, Wentz has been given the nod as the opening-day starter by new coach Doug Pederson.