NFL Rookie QB Roundup

Evan Woo ‘22

Even the first QB taken in any given draft enters the league with a shroud of mystery surrounding him and how he’ll make the transition from college to the NFL.  Now that the NFL season is nearing the halfway mark, many rookie QBs have seen at least some game action, giving us a chance to see how they fare against NFL defenses.  Without further ado, let’s check in on the most notable rookie QBs of 2019.


Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Round 1 Pick 1)

The bright lights of the NFL do not scare Kyler Murray, who dominated the headlines after he rejected a contract offer from the Oakland Athletics of the MLB in order to enter the NFL (The Oakland Athletics had taken him ninth overall).  The 2018 Heisman winner went on to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft and has put up solid numbers through his first 7 weeks in the NFL. Murray had some decent performances to open up the season, most memorably his Week 1, 18 point comeback in the final quarter against the Lions to force overtime.  However, he did not win a game until Week 5, and while he’s now won 3 in a row, all three wins have come against cellar-dwellers who have a combined three wins up to this point. Also worth noting, he is the first QB in the Super Bowl era to complete at least 20 passes in each of his first six NFL starts.


Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Round 1 Pick 6)

When Roger Goodell announced Daniel Jones as the Giant’s first round pick, Giants fans everywhere expressed their anger and disbelief that they had passed over Dwayne Haskins.  Following the pick, Steven A. Smith of ESPN tweeted, “Don’t even get me started on these damn @Giants. Passing on Haskins for Daniel Jones? Some kid out of Duke usurps a cat who threw 50 TDs primarily vs. Big Ten competition? Why? Because the Mannings love him? You have got to be kidding me.”  It may be too soon to say Jones has silenced his critics, but he has at least helped to drown them out by absolutely dominating in the preseason and taking the starting job in Week 3. Jones has shown flashes of excellence, (his Week 3 TD Pass to Sterling Shepard dropped perfectly into his hands despite tight double coverage) but turns the ball over constantly (7 INT and 6 FUM) and carries a dismal 65.4 passer rating in his last 4 starts.  Expect Jones to hold on to the starting job, but do not be surprised if he hits more than a couple of bumps in the road during the second half.


Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins (Round 1 Pick 15)

All those Giants fans who were clamoring for Haskins are now nowhere to be found. Haskins came in to relieve Case Keenum in their Week 4 tilt against the Giants after the Redskins offense had a frustrating start to the game. While Haskins is no Nathan Peterman, saying he underwhelmed in his debut would be an understatement of criminal proportions.  Metlife Stadium roared as the native of Highland Park quickly realized his childhood dream of throwing a TD to a Giant. However, Haskins, donning a Redskins uniform, wasn’t quite as thrilled. He finished the game with 3 interceptions, 107 yards passing and no touchdowns. Head Coach Jay Gruden was fired the following week, and Haskins has not appeared in an NFL game since, despite the near dumpster fire of a season the Redskins have had so far.


Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars (Round 6 Pick 5)

Only 7 weeks into the season and Minshew has already reached cult-hero status in the NFL.  Clearly, the memes, legends, and Uncle Rico comparisons don’t faze him as Minshew has been a pleasant surprise, playing like a bonafide NFL starting quarterback.  Granted, for a sixth-round pick who wasn’t supposed to start, the expectations were low; nevertheless, Minshew has been fairly impressive. He took over early in the first game of the season when Nick Foles went down with an injury, and since then has led a mediocre Jacksonville team to a 3-4 record and is currently carrying a respectable passer rating of 95.4.  His 10 touchdowns lead all rookie quarterbacks and he’s done a great job extending plays behind a mediocre offensive line. If he continues to play well, Jacksonville needs to consider starting Minshew over the 30-year-old Nick Foles, who is expected to return in the coming weeks.


In watching this year’s rookie QBs play, fans have been handed their yearly reminder that no young QB can be defined by the round they were drafted in.  Time and time again heralded youngsters go in the first round and flounder (see Rosen, Josh), while late-round picks come out of nowhere and establish themselves as stars (see Brady, Tom).  For this flock of exciting quarterbacks, only time will tell which camp they will ultimately fall into.