Friends, family, people on Twitter who told us they unfollowed us but didn’t actually have the guts to do it, we have made it to the 2018 NFL regular season.
All of the fantasy drafts have been drafted, the real rosters have been trimmed down to 53 players, you’ve already called out national media members for hating on your team’s outlook; it’s time to play some football.
But, it’s not time for everyone to play yet, and that is the topic of today’s article.
When you select a position as important as quarterback in the first round of the draft, the idea is that they’re going to take over at some point. That soon they will be the face of your franchise, leading your team to victory in glorious fashion. However, that doesn’t always mean that’s going to happen right away.
In 2018, there was a record five quarterbacks drafted in the first round: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson. Each of these men showcased plays thoughout the preseason that got us excited, but some have better situations to start more than others. With that, let’s take a look and predict how many games each of these guys will start in their first year.
Baker Mayfield: 9 Games
I think the time is ticking fast for Mayfield to be the starter, but the big wildcard here isn’t even with Mayfield, it’s with his head coach. I’m not really one to trust Hue Jackson’s logic at all, so even though Tyrod Taylor may be good or bad, I don’t know if Jackson is going to be quick or stubborn. I’m leaning towards stubborn, and that’s why I’ll say nine games for Mayfield.
Even though they’re on the road, I could see the following week after the Tampa Bay game where Cleveland travels to Pittsburgh to be the switching point. I think the Browns will need a spark with such an important division game, and Mayfield being announced as the starter could be that spark.
Sam Darnold: 16 Games
By trading Teddy Bridgewater, the Jets flipped their cards and showed their hand for the 2018 season. Shortly after the move, they officially announced Darnold would be their guy from Week 1 on.
I don’t see Darnold going back on the bench. During the preseason, Darnold showed good poise to pressure, and the mistakes he made were ones that you could see be remedied with experience rather than sitting and learning. I expect a full season of Darnold as the Jets starter. There will be lumps to take, but it will also be big for him to get a full year under his belt.
Josh Allen: 12 Games
The Bills named Nathan Peterman their starting quarterback, which was dumb, but that is the choice they have to live with. After personally watching Peterman in his brief outings last season, I can’t imagine their games against the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings and Packers to open up the year going well. And, at the end of the day, if you’re going to suck, wouldn’t you want to suck giving your franchise quarterback all the experience he can get?
Although I wouldn’t say Allen will be ready in the first half of the season, either, I think he plays the second most games out of any first-round rookie quarertback just because of the nature of the situation he’s in. It will be a wild ride in Buffalo no matter what, and I could even see Allen being pulled for a game or two in the middle of the year before being put back in again, but will start a good chunk of games this year.
Josh Rosen: 10 Games
Rosen has a solidified quarterback in front of him in Sam Bradford, but if the race for the starting spot really did come down to the wire just for Week 1, I can’t help but think the Cardinals, who are going to struggle behind that offensive line, will be making the switch pretty soon.
I have the number of games Rosen will start at 10 just because the Broncos game at home in Week 7 seems like a good spot to make a switch — if Bradford isn’t already banged up by then. Once Rosen goes in, however, I don’t expect a switch to be made from him for the remainder of the year. I think it’s his ship to sail, at that point.
Lamar Jackson: 2 Games
I was tempted to say zero games for Lamar Jackson, especially with how they’ve been parading Robert Griffin III around, and how bad the AFC is, but I don’t really think the Ravens will be that good this year, and if they go on a bit of a losing streak, I could see them packing it in and giving Jackson some starts at the tail end of the season just for experience.
Jackson is not ready right now, so I don’t expect for him to threaten a starting spot anytime soon, but “garbage time”, if you will, could serve him well at the end of the year.