With the draft complete and five QB’s taken in the first round its worth looking at all of them and projecting when and how long they will start for. Lets begin.
Baker Mayfield- weeks projected to start: 12. The Browns open up with a tough two week stretch between the Steelers and Saints. If Tyrod Taylor loses against the Jets and the Browns open up 0-3 Mayfield will start week four against the Raiders. If Taylor finds a way to go 1-3 Mayfield will start week five, if Tyrod starts strong the start count could look more like 8 games. Update: The hype out of Browns camp on Mayfield is un real. I think he sees the field by Week 3 so I’m upping my prediction to 13 games.
Sam Darnold- weeks projected to start: 14. The word out of New York is that Darnold has impressed in early rookie mini camps and will have a real chance to compete for the starting job week one. I doubt that happens but if McCown gets off to a slow start as he has in past seasons I could see the Jets putting in Darnold as soon as week three against the Browns. Things just get sped up a lot in a large media market like New York. If the Jets start slow Darnold could be a job saver for Todd Bowles, even if he only wins six games Bowles could use that to argue for his job. Coaches care more about job security then player development and Darnold provides a lot of security for Bowles. Update: The Jet’s are to high on Darnold not to start him by at least week 2. I believe they are trying desperately to trade Teddy Bridgewater. I think Darnold for better or worse will start 15-16 games this way.
Josh Allen- weeks projected to start: 10. A.J. McCaaron isn’t anything special but he obviously has some kind of draw for NFL coaches. I would assume that McCaaron gets at least four weeks to prove himself and he will have one or two games that will give him a bit of a longer leash. At some point though the Bills will get jumpy and put Allen in. Week seven provides an awesome opportunity to throw Allen in against a bottom feeding defense in Indianapolis. I doubt McDermott would throw Allen into the fire for his first start in week eight against the Patriots. Week seven also provides a nice litmus test of where the Bills are as far as playoff contention.
Josh Rosen- weeks projected to start: 8. This assumes Sam Bradford is hurt by week eight. That isn’t crazy to assume seeing as Bradford has always struggled to stay healthy. If Bradford plays well and stays healthy I wouldn’t expect Rosen to see the field at all this year but I think either Bradford gets hurt or he falls apart mid-season. I think 3 bad Sam Bradford games would be enough for Wilkes to turn to Rosen. Update: After the injury to center A.Q Shipley I worry deeply about the health of Bradford. I believe he won’t make it through the first quarter of the Season. Rosen, get’s 12 starts.
Lamar Jackson- weeks projected to start: 11. Joe Flacco has steadily declined the past three years. 14 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 2015, 20 touchdowns to 15 interception in 2016, and 18 touchdowns to 14 interceptions in 2017. It is undeniable the level of play of Flacco even when he had weapons in 2015 has fallen off drastically. The Ravens have a very good wide receiving core this year adding Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown in the offseason. If Flacco starts slow or struggles through the first four to five games the Ravens, with a top 10 defense, great receiving core, decent running back and solid O line might be tempted to go to Jackson. Think about it the Ravens roster on offense is great and people have somehow swept aside the fact that the Ravens defense was dominant for most of last year. If Flacco is what is holing them back Harbaugh will look to save his job and make the switch to Jackson early. Update: Lamar Jackson looked awful throwing the ball in the hall of fame game. Yes he is a rookie, I don’t think he’s a bust by any means and I still believe in him long term. This year though I see him riding the bench for a bit longer than I had first projected. If the Ravens are passable with Joe Flacco he won’t start a single game. However, I believe he sees time this year, 6 games.
Mason Rudolph- projected starts: 1. This assumes Ben gets hurt this year as he does about every other year. It could be two to three weeks but I think it is a certainty Rudolph starts at least one week especially because Tomlin likes to rest his starters at the end of the year.