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NFL rookie QB grades: Mac Jones outperforms Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence; Trey Lance makes a cameo


Welcome to the NFL, rooks.

The 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class goes to be one which shall be talked about for years to come back: Just two different instances in NFL historical past have 5 quarterbacks been taken within the first spherical, and this subsequent crop might be the very best. “Could” is the operative time period right here.

In Week 1, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, New York’s Zach Wilson and New England’s Mac Jones all made their first profession begins with various levels of success, and San Francisco’s Trey Lance and Chicago’s Justin Fields obtained into the combo with a little motion, as properly.

While the three starters could not earn their first win simply but, there’s sufficient there to say the Ws might be coming in future weeks, months and years. With all 5 first-rounders getting motion after Sunday’s Week 1 video games, here is how they graded out of their debuts:

MORE: Worst overreactions from NFL Week 1 games

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Trey Lance: Incomplete

Stats: 1/1 passing (one hundred pc), 5 yards, one landing, no interceptions

It’s fairly becoming that Trey Lance’s San Francisco debut was simply a cup of espresso. 

Drafted third behind Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, Lance has a little bit tougher path to NFL starter-dom, sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo because the 49ers look to bounce again from an injury-riddled 2020 season and turn into a drive within the NFC once more.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan doubtless will not give the keys to Lance until one thing goes very unsuitable with Garoppolo this yr, however he’ll work in with the staff creatively, as wanted. 

If Sunday’s sport was any indicator, Lance can have totally different situational packages in 2021, utilizing each his legs and his arm to caffeinate the offense and add the dual-threat capacity he is recognized for to San Fran’s assault: That was indicative with Lance’s red-zone rating at this time, a landing to receiver Trent Sherfield.

Expect to see extra Lance because the season goes on, however for now, he will get an “incomplete” for a small, small little bit of motion on Sunday. 

MORE: A history of rookie QBs starting in Week 1

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Justin Fields: Incomplete

States: 2/2 (one hundred pc), 10 yards, one dashing landing

Like Lance, Fields made a cameo look in his first sport with the Bears. Expect extra of the identical because the weeks progress.

Also like Lance, Fields provides one thing that hte QB above him on the depth chart would not: The capacity to run, and run properly. His landing run, although quick, showcased that capacity, and because the weeks put on on, it will get tougher and tougher to maintain him glued to the bench.

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Zach Wilson: C

Stats: 20/37 (54.1 %), 258 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Zach Wilson went by two preseason video games taking part in towards backups and impressed. The downside with that evaluation: Wilson performed in two preseason video games and he was taking part in towards backups. That’s value about as a lot as an arcade token in a merchandising machine.

Wilson’s first NFL actual motion was largely OK-to-good, and the tape will inform you it was a story of two halves: Wilson’s first half was all kinds of nightmares, dangerous throws and simply rookie errors that made the Week 1 overreactions appear like cheap assertions.

The second half was a lot, rather more consultant of the type of participant he might be long-term: He completed 14/21 passing within the second half for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He additionally showcased a few of his signature escape-ability and improvisation that made him the No. 2 total decide within the 2021 draft:

The tape may even inform you that the Jets, the youngest staff within the NFL, have a lengthy strategy to go. The offensive line was putrid and his skill-position group, nonetheless a lot improved it was from the Sam Darnold period, will want a while to jell because the season goes on.

Still, it was Game 1 of Week 1 of Year 1 of the Robert Saleh-Zach Wilson period in New York. There’s sufficient there to make you cheerful heading into Week 2 and past.

MORE: Why isn’t Justin Fields starting for the Bears?

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Trevor Lawrence: C+

Stats: 28/51 passing (54.9 %), 332 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions

Training wheels? What coaching wheels?

It’s going to be a actual baptism by hearth for Trevor Lawrence, however hopefully it would not get too sizzling for him in 2021. That did not look to be the case in Week 1, as he misplaced his first common season soccer sport in his life. Really.

While the rookie obtained fooled into some typical rookie mistake stuff, the Jaguars franchise passer goes to should wade tough waters as Jacksonville goes by Year 2 of a complete rebuild.

Expect extra of the identical that you just noticed in Week 1 all season because the Jags’ protection is gashed and Lawrence and the offense must play from behind a lot, placing Lawrence and the offense in key passing conditions.

Sunday’s sport vs. the Texans confirmed a lot of the pro-readiness that scouts and analysts love about Lawrence’s sport: He was decisive, he was correct, he moved within the pocket properly and he wasn’t afraid to drag the set off. He’s going to should proceed to construct on that because the Jaguars attempt to determine the Urban Meyer approach of issues in Jacksonville.

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Mac Jones: B+

Stats: 29/39 (74.3 %), 281 yards, 1 landing, no interceptions

After a complicated first go try…

…Jones settled down and showcased the very best begin of any of the rookies who made their debuts on Sunday.

The Alabama product let it unfastened in his debut vs. Miami, faring higher than his former Crimson Tide teammate within the Patriots loss on Sunday. Jones confirmed fearlessness within the pocket and made a big selection of throws. He was the Patriots’ first rookie QB starter since Drew Bledsoe in 1993.

A key trait that Jones showcased: Take what the protection offers you. While there have been instances when Jones seemed checkdown-heavy, Jones saved the Pats within the sport. It’s going to be a studying yr for him, however the early returns are pretty constructive.



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