Why NFL Teams shouldn’t start a Rookie Quarterback

The NFL has become an incredibly lucrative business, in which more and more teams will do anything in order to contend for a coveted playoff spot, and who could blame them? Winning games put fans in the seats and jerseys on their backs. However, this trend is ruining the careers of College Quarterbacks who make the jump to the pros, most of whom fall off after 3 or 4 years. To prove that theory, look at the 2011 NFL Draft Class. 12 Quarterbacks were drafted, 11 after Cam Newton was taken first overall by the Carolina Panthers. After Newton, only 2 of the remaining 11 are still starting quarterbacks in the NFL. The compiled 2014 record of the 2 teams those Quarterbacks still play for today is 18-13-1. The remaining 9 Quarterbacks are either backups, or out of the NFL entirely.

At first glance, 18-13-1 isn’t a bad record. However, if we do a little math, you’ll find that it isn’t a good one either. 18-13-1 split in half is 9-7, and 9-6-1. Take 2014 as an example, as it is the most recent year we can judge. Not one team out of the 12 participating in the postseason had less than 10 wins.  Both of those players started within one season out of college. Even the best of the best don’t cut it anymore.

Now, you may be asking yourself “Why didn’t he account for Cam Newton in that stat?” It’s very simple. Every so often, there is a Quarterback taken that is a once-in-a-lifetime talent that is going to win games for whatever team he plays for. Additionally, there are occasionally teams who have bad years and get high draft picks even though they aren’t a bad team (see Andrew Luck below). In 2011, the Panthers fell into both categories. They already had a decent defense, a solid receiving corps, and a good coaching staff. Newton was the piece they needed to wipe away the nightmare that was Jimmy Clausen, and he did with multiple playoff berths. It would be wrong to factor in Newton-type talents with other decent college quarterbacks. There is always the chance that a team can draft that franchise player, but more often than not, they don’t.

Over the last four years, the top Quarterbacks taken (in ascending order) were Andrew Luck, EJ Manuel, Blake Bortles, and Jameis Winston. Andrew Luck is an isolated example, as a team who was playoff ready drafted him, and he is a once-in-a-generation talent (see above). However, look at Manuel, Bortles, and Winston. Manuel lost his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2014. Fitzpatrick was cut after the 2014 season. Manuel is still on the roster, but has again lost his starting job, this time to Tyrod Taylor. After one season, Bortles, who started 14 of 16 games, lead the Jaguars to a 3-13 record, and Winston has played in 3 preseason games, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns. Quarterbacks who jump right into the league don’t succeed because, contrary to popular belief, winning in college means next to nothing in the National Football League.

NFL teams need to start drafting Star QB’s to sit them. Nobody can teach somebody how to be an NFL quarterback more than an NFL quarterback. The only way teams will build Quarterbacks to win games is by doing what I like to call the Green Bay Packer effect. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre from 2005-2007. He waited his turn, learned from a talented, seasoned Quarterback, and now has a Super Bowl Ring, and two MVP awards sitting on his Wisconsin mantle. His team consistently makes the playoffs, and he is consistently in the running for league MVP. If you don’t agree with me, pick any other top Quarterback. Tom Brady? He sat behind Drew Bledsoe. Drew Brees? Started his first year in the NFL (2001), but was then replaced by veteran Doug Flutie.

The bottom line is Rookie quarterbacks can’t get it done anymore. I don’t hate Rookies; in fact, I have the utmost respect for any player that has enough talent to even get invited to an NFL training camp. However, the only time a Rookie should start in the NFL is during their 2nd season.

Written by: Max Mirkin, Everybodyhatesdallas.com

Max Mirkin covers the NFL and its teams for Everybodyhatesdallas.com; his opinions and content is not at the consent of the NFL or its teams

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8 Sleepers to target

Arian Foster: ADP 101

Arian Foster was the number 5 running back last year for standard fantasy football leagues, despite missing three games and being limited in several others. This year his draft stock plummeted from a first round pick to his current ADP of 101 after a preseason injury. The initial diagnosis for Foster suggested that he would be sidelined for most of the season, but there is growing optimism that the Texan could only be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. If this more recent diagnosis is correct, Foster could miss as little as two regular season games, which would put him in the RB1 pool for the rest of the year. If he can get healthy quickly, Foster is a steal at 101.

Stevie Johnson: ADP 197

After his second disappointing fantasy season Stevie Johnson is essentially free in fantasy drafts. Johnson posted three 1,000 yard seasons in Buffalo before 2013, when Buffalo was one of the worst passing offenses in the league and Johnson’s numbers fell off. The 49er’s passing offense was not much of an improvement last year, and while Johnson did not rack up impressive stats, he posted the most efficient year he’s ever had. He caught 70% of passes thrown his way and had the 7th most fantasy points per snap for receivers who played at least 25% of team snaps. This year Johnson will be playing with the best quarterback of his career and reports are already coming from camp that he and Rivers have developed a great rapport. Stevie Johnson could be a huge steal this year, and going so late it’s hard to find a reason not to take him.

Davante Parker: ADP 155

Parker was a first round pick by a team that is seeing a lot of turnover in its receiving corps. Last year’s rookie receivers were exceptional, but this year’s class has a chance to make a huge impact too. Standing at 6’3” and having exceptional body control he has a chance to make a big contribution in Miami. With Jarvis Landry as the only returning receiver in a strong offense, Parker has an opportunity to put up big numbers. At his ADP there is no reason not to take a cheap flyer on him.

Ryan Mathews: ADP 104

Jason Peters wants the Eagles to have two 1,000 yard rushers this year, and Mathews certainly has the talent to achieve that. While Murray is undoubtedly talented, he is coming off a huge workload in 2014 and will likely split carries with Mathews to some extent. Murray’s workload also makes him somewhat of an injury risk. Even without a Demarco Murray injury, Mathews still is very likely to outperform his ADP. If Murray goes down though, Mathews should be a solid RB1.

Eli Manning: ADP 83

Last year was Manning’s first year with new OC Ben McAdoo’s west coast offense, which led to huge jump in the quarterback’s numbers. Manning posted his lowest interception total since 2009 and a career high 63.1% completion rate, the fourth best of all quarterbacks with 600 or more pass attempts. He accomplished all this with a whole host of injuries to his offensive line, receiver core, and running backs. Eli Manning ranked in the top 10 for both touchdowns and yards in 2014; this year with Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. starting off the year healthy and the addition of pass catching weapon Shane Vereen, Manning has a chance to be a solid fantasy starter at QB, which is a steal at 83.

John Brown: ADP 110

Last year John Brown was forced to play the majority of the season with Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, and Logan Thomas throwing to him and finished with 48 catches for 686 yards and 5 touchdowns. If Palmer had been healthy the entire season Brown could have posted a much better stat line. Larry Fitzgerald is declining and Floyd not only had a disappointing season last year but also has suffered from a preseason hand injury. The stage is set for Brown to make an impact in Arizona, possibly as Palmer’s number one target. While betting on Palmer’s health might not be something many people want to do, it’s worth it where Brown is going in most drafts.

Devin Funchess: ADP 109

Funchess has a chance to rack up a ton of targets as Carolina’s number 1 receiver this year. A second round pick out of Michigan, Funchess comes in at 6’4” and 232lbs, very similar to Kelvin Benjamin’s 6’5”, 245lb frame. With Benjamin sitting on the sidelines due to a torn ACL, Funchess has a chance to attain similar results to last year’s rookie. Benjamin racked up 146 TGTs, 1,008 YDs, and 9 TDs last year, which stood out as borderline WR1 stats. Funchess has a chance to see the same amount of production this year, much more than his ADP would suggest.

Virgil Green: ADP 262

Many fantasy owners are gravitating towards Owen Daniels as the Broncos tight end to own this year in fantasy. Green however is 6 years younger than Daniels, who is entering his age 33 season. Daniels hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2008, and this injury history makes Green a prime breakout candidate. Green’s prowess as both a receiver and a blocker shows up on tape, and in many scouts opinions he has been criminally underutilized in Denver below Julius Thomas and now Owen Daniels. Expect a shift in the Broncos pecking order at some point during the season due to injury, age, or purely skill.