What will we see in preseason when it comes to the latest group of quarterbacks? Will any of these rookies start in Week 1 of the Regular Season? And who has what it takes to emerge as a starting QB throughout the Regular Season? With at least one game each under their belts, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson, all have something to prove in this upcoming season. In this post, we will explore how each handled themselves this past week and what kind of career they may have this season.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield was 11-for-20 for 212 yards passing and two touchdowns in his preseason debut Thursday, a victory over the New York Giants. The Browns were happy with what they saw from the No. 1 overall pick, including his ability to keep plays alive with his feet while still looking downfield for a receiver. One area they have been impressed with is Mayfield’s transition to taking snaps from under center, which he didn’t do in college. Do we think he will start in Week 1 of the Regular Season? The likelihood is extremely low.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson completed 7 of 18 passes for 119 yards and a 62.0 passer rating. He ran for 21 yards on five attempts. The highlight was a 9-yard touchdown run in which he faked out two Rams defenders before reaching the end zone. In games as well as practice, Jackson’s biggest challenge is consistency in throwing the ball. His completion percentage in four quarters of work is 39.3 percent. That’s not going to cut it at the NFL level. John Harbaugh has a lot of faith in Jackson’s ability to grow into a really great quarterback, but the chances of him starting are rather low.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Darnold followed Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater in the game and completed 13 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in the Jets’ win over the Falcons. The highlight was a 10-play, 64-yard touchdown drive in a two-minute situation at the end of the first half. Darnold displayed the ability to throw accurately on the run. This quality, along with his pocket presence became apparent during practices with the Washington Redskins. Darnold has probably about a 50% chance of starting in Week 1 of the Regular Season.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen played the entire second half of the Bills’ preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, giving the crowd a show on two effortless passes where we saw the ball travel more than 50 yards but fell incomplete. In total, he went 9-for-19, with 116 yards and one touchdown. Allen’s best drive came late in the fourth quarter when he faced pressure and threw off his back foot to tight end Khari Lee for 27 yards, then squeezed a throw through defenders to rookie receiver Ray-Ray McCloud for a 14-yard touchdown. We give Allen a marginal shot at starting in Week 1.