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This past 2021 NFL Draft was full of furiously talented quarterbacks, beginning with the number one pick Trevor Lawrence all the way to the Colts grab in the sixth round, Sam Ehlinger. During the most recent draft we witnessed ten quarterbacks take the next step to professional ballplayers, all of them made their professional premiere during the first week of the preseason, and it's safe to say that we saw way more success than defeat. Since I was younger I always loved reading those articles of ESPN or BleacherReport grading athletes on their performances, so I am going to do something similar and rank all ten quarterbacks from who I think was the most impressive to the least impressive.
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If you know me, you know that Justin Fields was my favorite College QB, so you may be thinking of course she is putting him first. BUT THERE IS NO BIAS IN THIS RANKING, I TRULY THINK HE DESERVED TO BE AT THE TOP OF THIS LIST. Bears fans were thrilled to have attained a QB with such skill earlier this year, they had such high expectations for him. And as you should know, that much pressure on a player can lead to two outcomes: 1) being a bust 2)living up to the expectations. Fields lived up to all of that outrageous hype during his debut as he proved why he deserved to be an early pick with his insanely sharp throws, smart moves, and effective runs. He played a leadership role at The Ohio State and brought exactly that to the Bears as he continued to fight for that QB1 position. Although head coach Matt Nagy has made it pretty clear that Field will begin his career as the backup, I believe that Fields offers some qualities that veteran Andy Dalton can not compete with. Coach Nagy needs to make the right move as his job will be in jeopardy with another poor season. So what do you think it will be? The dauntless choice with Fields or the safe (older) choice with Dalton?
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This rank could easily be argued with other QB’s but there is a reason I am putting Wilson among the top of the quarterback debuts. CHEMISTRY. Even though it is early days, and Wilson didn't get much time to prove why he belongs, he showed why it was a good move that the Jets took a risk on him by exhibiting how he meshes with the team. Corey Davis and Keelan Cole are among the team's new WR and Wilson showed how great he can read them. The Jets surrounding cast made it easy for Wilson to move well, get into rhythm, and most importantly have fun and not let the pressure get the best of him.
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3. Mac Jones
This was a toss-up, I had to think real good about who I wanted at this number three rank arguing between Trevor Lawrence and Trey Lance, I felt as if Jones had a better resume during his debut. Jones radiated intense confidence during his time at Alabama, and it's safe to say he hasn't let that go as the Patriots picked him up. During his debut, Jones went 13-of-19 passing, 87 yards, and 4.6 yards per attempt. We saw a lot of short lobs from Jones during his debut, but he also showed his strength as threw a deep ball to the left corner of the end zone which was a beautiful pass that his teammate couldn't connect with (100% should've been caught). The Patriots aren't expected to be extremely successful this upcoming season, but they will utilize Jones in situations where he displays his quick release.
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The number one pick overall clearly had a lot of pressure on him as the whole NFL world was waiting for his professional debut. Although his performance wasn't quite as stimulating as the players I previously named, Lawrence still displayed his maturity and reason on the field. Lawrence went 6-of-9 passing, finishing with 71 yards. He started the game with a tough sack which he quickly recovered from showing his strength and focus, he also displayed his range as he threw a bomb to the far-middle. The coaching of this Jaguars team wasn't as supportive to their QB rookie as the other rookies, but all he can hope for is that the Jags “conservative,” playbook doesn't limit him and his talent.
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With the number five rank in my QB debut list, I was going back and forth on whether I should put Ehlinger or Trey Lance, and the edge that made me put Ehlinger over Lance was his efficiency. It's clear that Carson Wentz will be starting as week one approaches for Frank Reich, but to know that you have a QB like Ehlinger to fall back on is must make them feel pretty good. During his debut, he went 10-of-15 passing, 155 yards, and 10.3 yards per attempt. He also led the Colts to an amazing comeback against the Panthers, not letting them being down instilled fear in him. He's tough, he can complement any offense you throw him in, especially the run-heavy Colts offense.
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Some may think, how is Lance at the sixth spot after having that best pass of any rookie QB, yes that 80-yard TD pass was absolutely beautiful, but if you are questioning why he is here that is probably all you saw of him. Lance missed tons of passes and looked really timid as it seemed his nerves were getting the best of him. Ignoring that, his game is there, he had a great run during camp and great sparks during his duvet which shows his potential. He is just grazing his potential with the 49ers, and everyone knows that. During his debut we witnessed Lance go 5-of-14 passing, 128 yards, why getting 9.1 yards each attempt.
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In the fourth round, the New Orlean Saints took a shocking chance on Book, a player who had a lot of development in front of him. Considering he was a surprise fourth0round pick, Book had a lot to prove, he needed to show that he was worth the risk. And I truly believe he did just that. Book during his debut went 9-of-16 passing, finished with 126 yards, and 7.9 yards per attempt. He had a really good start and showed he did look comfortable playing alongside the big dogs.
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Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond was a surprising player to witness during his debut. No one really expected him to play much after missing some of the camps because he acquired COVID-19. Mond looked a bit uncomfortable out there, which of course, I don't blame him for, it's a huge step in an athlete's career. It seemed as if the game was going too quickly for him and he just couldn't quite catch up, he was quickly falling out of focus and getting into his head. Mond went 6-of-6 passing during his debut and made it clear that Kirk Cousins had nothing to worry about considering his safety as QB1.
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Stanford product Davis Mills is known for his grit, his mental hardness. Mills' stats for his debut include 11-of-22 passing, 112 yards, and 5.1 yards per attempt. He gave us two great scoring drives that really helped his case, but other than those two needed plays he seemed to be out of sync and rushed. He made a couple of poor decisions which could've changed the pace of the game, but he has room for improvement and needs to donate a lot of time to develop. Sometimes the fact that a player needs that time can be what's best for the organization.
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It was surprising that I had to put Trask last on my rankings because he is a great player and I was expecting a lot more out of him than what he delivered. Trask finished his debut game with 4-of-15 passing, 35 total yards, and 2.3 yards per attempt. The second-round pick from Florida could read his teammates, the Bengal's defense tore him apart as he failed to connect with his receivers. He is on a team with Tom Brady so there is no pressure on him to step up right now, considering they even have a solid backup in Blaine Gabbert.
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This is a very early ranking, just covering their performance during their debut. A lot of young quarterbacks have proved themselves, as others still have a lot of proving to do. I am excited to watch how each organization utilizes their new quarterback, as well as how each player adjusts to their new life in the NFL. Which rookie quarterback do you think will have the most success?