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Catching up with the 2018 rookie quarterback class - Who's on track to start?

Sam Darnold is being handed the reins in New York, while the others seem buried in the depth charts

August 29, 2018 - 6:52 pm

Derek Kramer 

The Buffalo Bills gave rookie quarterback Josh Allen the chance to start in the third preseason game, but it didn't go so well for the 22-year-old quarterback. Combined with Nathan Peterman's performance, doubts have begun to surround the chances that Allen is the Week 1 starter against the Baltimore Ravens on September 9.

However, Allen is not alone in that category in the 2018 rookie class of first round quarterbacks.

The preseason is about to wrap up around the National Football League, so where does the rookie quarterback class stand on their team's respective depth charts? How likely is it that we see each of them make their NFL debuts to open the regular season?

Here's where the other quarterbacks stand:

  • Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns 

It's no secret that Baker Mayfield has shown the talent that made him the first overall pick. However, with the presence of Tyrod Taylor, Mayfield has been playing mostly with the second-team offense in Cleveland this preseason. Browns coach Hue Jackson has made it adamantly clear that Taylor is the starter, and that would only likely change due to injury. However, if Taylor and the Browns struggle, Jackson could turn to Mayfield in an attempt to save his job. Then again, Hue would likely be out of a job if they stumble out of the gate anyway. 

Where is Mayfield on the depth chart?: Second string, behind Tyrod Taylor. 

When could we next see Mayfield?: 2019, barring injury. Sucks to say that, but nothing about Hue Jackson says, "Let's go with Mayfield." Taylor is safe as a passer, perfect for a guy who's seat is on fire with a 1-31 record.


  • Sam Darnold - New York Jets 

Any last doubts that the New York Jets could possibly keep Sam Darnold from the starting role were cast aside for a third round pick. It was already being telegraphed by the Jets staff that it would be Darnold's team out of the gate, as he has been with the first-team offense for most of the preseason. After the Teddy Bridgewater trade, all that's left is for Jets coach Todd Bowles to just announce what everyone already knows. 

Where is Darnold on the depth chart?: QB 1, ahead of Josh McCown

When could we next see Darnold?: Week 1. All we're waiting on is the team to say Darnold is the starter. This has been what the Jets planned on all along. 


  • Josh Rosen - Arizona Cardinals 

Josh Rosen has been up and down throughout the preseason, playing with a mix of backups and starters in two preseason games. The Arizona Cardinals have seen enough from Rosen that they are going to sit him in the fourth game. Rosen has easily blown by Mike Glennon (low bar, yes) for the backup job. However, Rosen is still looking up at Sam Bradford on the depth chart. 

Where is Rosen on the depth chart?: Second string, behind Sam Bradford. 

When could we next see Rosen?: Week 6? It's cruel to speculate this, but Bradford has a penchant of not being able to make it through an entire season. Furthermore, Arizona is in a tough division and has seen their roster take a step back in terms of talent. It's realistic to expect that football fans will see Rosen as the starter before the 2018 season ends. 


  • Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens 

Lamar Jackson has been rather inconsistent in the pocket, but has still dazzled, at times, to show why he was a first round pick. However, Jackson has also shown moments where it's clear he is not ready for the starting role for Baltimore in 2018. 

Where is Jackson on the depth chart?: Second string, behind Joe Flacco. 

When could we next see Jackson?: 2019, barring injury. The job remains Joe Flacco's this season unless Flacco just sputters out of the gate or gets hurt. However, the Ravens would like to get out of that albatross of a contract that Flacco possesses, which leaves 2019 as a real possibility. 


  • Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills 

The seventh overall pick has the hype machine ramped up to 11 after two preseason games, but then was dropped back to Earth (rather forcibly) by the Bengals' first-team defense. There are several ways to look at Allen's situation. One is that he is not quite as ready as everyone had hoped, while the other being that the offensive line has so many weaknesses that Allen would not be best suited to play right away. Add in that Nathan Peterman really has earned the right to start and the presence of A.J. McCarron, Allen may not play any time soon. 

Where is Allen on the depth chart?: Let me get back to you on that. Allen could be the starter, backup or on the third string. Take a guess, it's likely not a hot take. 

When could we next see Allen:? Week 7? Some still want Allen in right away, and that is where I'll draw the line. Give him time to learn in the film room, learn from the other passers and expect to see Allen check in at some point this season, especially if the Bills have a poor record early in the season. 

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