Last week, predictions for the first regular season starts for three NFL rookie quarterbacks were made. You can check those educated guesses out here. Now, it is time for the two remaining first-round quarterbacks to get a closer look.
Josh Allen: Allen was not a first-round draft pick because he put up great numbers or led his team to a bunch of wins in college at Wyoming. Mostly, he was a first-round draft pick because teams are desperate for quarterbacks, he comes from a pro-style offense and he had a few 80 yard throws in the pre-draft process. Allen is more of a project than a prospect at this point. His first preseason outing was fairly pedestrian. He tallied nine completions in 19 attempts for a little over 100 yards. His second outing will come Friday night.
The Bills have been starving for a franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly retired in the mid-90s. Their long playoff drought ended last year, but the decision-makers could not ship Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland fast enough. Taylor has limitations, but he also has 22 wins as an NFL starting quarterback. All three main players in Buffalo’s current quarterbacks scene have a combined total of three wins.
The plan is clearly for Allen to be the future in Buffalo. Still, he has a long way to go. Generally speaking, the odds are against a guy who completed just 56% of his throws while playing college football in the Mountain West conference ever becoming a big-time NFL quarterback. If it is going to happen, it is certainly a few years away.
The problem is nothing we have seen in the past from Nathan Peterman or A.J. McCarron suggests that either can play well enough to keep the Bills competitive over the long haul in 2018. Even though this team made the playoffs last year, they needed a lot of help in the last week of the regular season to do it. This roster isn’t exactly littered with talent on either side of the ball. The Bills are going to take their lumps this year. They will likely be underdogs in at least five of their first six games. Once the losses start piling up, it gets harder and harder for a coaching staff to justify keeping a highly drafted young quarterback on the bench, even to themselves. Whether he is ready or not, Allen will see the field this year.
First start prediction: Week 9 at Chicago
Josh Rosen: This is a tough one. Rosen is far more ready to start than most of his draft classmates, he posted a career 140.1 quarterback rating and dabbled in NFL-like offensive concepts at UCLA. However, the Cardinals are caught somewhere in between being ready to compete again this year and building towards the future. Despite having a new head coach this year, Arizona has not lost more than eight games in a season since 2012.
Rosen is the long-term replacement for the now-retired Carson Palmer. Sam Bradford being brought in as a stopgap makes sense. However, the 30-year-old has only started all 16 games in a season once. It is impossible to truly predict injuries, but Bradford will likely get hurt at some point. If he does, that leaves only Rosen and career journeyman Mike Glennon. Glennon was surpassed by then-rookie Mitchell Trubisky in Chicago last year. So, there is no reason that Rosen can’t do the same.
The Cardinals can stay in the mix for a while thanks to David Johnson and a decent defense, but their schedule is brutal thanks in part to playing in a loaded NFC West. By the time the Week 9 bye rolls around, Arizona will likely have nothing to lose by getting a glimpse of the future, even if Bradford manages to stay healthy.
First start prediction: Week 10 at Kansas City