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First round rookie QBs not backups long

6/6/2014

The three quarterbacks picked in the first round of the draft have already encountered obstacles that could threaten their playing time as rookies.

The Jaguars have repeatedly claimed that the plan is for Blake Bortles to sit in 2014. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has said that Johnny Manziel is currently the team’s backup QB. And Teddy Bridgewater is locked in perhaps the NFL’s only three-way quarterback competition in Minnesota.

But history tells us that not only will we see Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater on the field in 2014, we might not need to wait long.

A look at rookie first-round QBs since the merger by the numbers.

5 – Each of the last 5 quarterbacks drafted in the first round started in Week 1 of their rookie seasons, the longest streak since the merger.

78 – 78 percent of quarterbacks drafted in the first round started at least one game as rookies (71 of 91). That means there is only about a one percent chance that Bortles, Manziel nor Bridgewater starts this season.

49 – 49 percent of first-round quarterbacks started within their team’s first five games in their rookie seasons (45 of 91). That equates to an 87 percent chance that at least one of these three quarterbacks will start in their team’s first five games.

3 – Teams that draft a quarterback in the top five (like the Jaguars did with Bortles this year) are even more unlikely to sit him as a rookie. Only three of the 41 quarterbacks drafted in the top five did not start a game as a rookie (Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Art Schlichter).

First-Round Rookie QBs Since Merger

Starting with Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan in 2008, both of whom went 11-5 in 16 starts as rookies, first-round rookie QBs have averaged over 12 starts per season and won 46 percent of their starts. From the merger through 2007, 1st-round rookie QBs averaged just over 5 starts per season and won only 37 percent of their starts.