Ranking Every Rookie QB's Chance of Being Named Week 1 Starter

Jon DoveContributor IAugust 1, 2013

Ranking Every Rookie QB's Chance of Being Named Week 1 Starter

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    In recent years, we’ve seen a ton of rookie quarterbacks named Week 1 starters. Last year it was Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson. This year’s class doesn’t feature a quarterback with a clear path to the starting job.

    It’ll be interesting to see if one of these rookie quarterbacks steps up during the preseason and takes advantage of an opportunity.

    The order of this list goes from the quarterbacks with the worst to best chance of staring Week 1.

B.J. Daniels, San Francisco 49ers, 7th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Very Low

    B.J. Daniels has zero chance to break the starting lineup for the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, he faces an uphill battle to even make the roster. San Francisco’s quarterback depth chart is pretty set with Colin Kaepernick as the starter, Colt McCoy as the backup and Scott Tolzien as the No. 3 guy.

    The 49ers aren’t opposed to giving somebody a roster spot that earns it, but Daniels has a lot of work if he hopes to play quarterback in the NFL. There’s a better chance that he sees playing time at wide receiver, running back or tight end.

Sean Renfree, Atlanta Falcons, 7th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Very Low

    Matt Ryan has cemented his place as the Atlanta Falcons’ starting quarterback, but Sean Renfree will have a shot this preseason to earn a spot as Ryan’s backup. The Falcons will give Renfree, Dominique Davis and Seth Doege the opportunity to turn some heads.

    Out of that group, Renfree is the most natural passer and fit for the Falcons offense. He features good size, a strong throwing arm and experience working with David Cutcliffe, who’s known for his ability to coach up quarterbacks.

    Don’t look for Renfree to see playing time this year, but he could put himself in line to take snaps should Ryan go down with an injury.

Zac Dysert, Denver Broncos, 7th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Very Low

    Zac Dysert needs to focus more on just earning a roster spot rather than seeing time in the Denver Broncos’ first game of the season. As it stands, the Broncos have Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler at the top of the depth chart.

    Dysert is battling Ryan Katz for the No. 3 quarterback spot with little chance of moving up any further than that spot. Denver drafted Osweiler in the second round of last year’s draft to groom him as Manning’s eventual replacement.

    It’ll take an impressive performance during the preseason for Dysert to change those plans.

Brad Sorensen, San Diego Chargers, 7th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Very Low

    Philip Rivers is hoping to rebound from back-to-back down years. His status as the starting quarterback is still solid for at least this upcoming season. Brad Sorensen’s target for the preseason should be to find a way to unseat Charlie Whitehurst as the backup.

    Whitehurst has the edge because of his experience in the league, but with San Diego’s coaching changes, it’s a fresh start for everyone. Sorensen is a strong-armed quarterback who has solid technique and good athleticism. It’s possible we see him take some big steps in his development because of the better coaching he’ll receive in San Diego.

    San Diego may want to give the younger player a chance to prove himself, because most of the league already knows what Whitehurst brings to the table.

Ryan Nassib, New York Giants, 4th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Very Low

    The New York Giants’ decision to select Ryan Nassib in the fourth round was more about depth than anything else. Eli Manning has proven to be a durable and successful quarterback who still has several years left in the league.

    Nassib has plenty of potential, but he’ll have a hard time seeing the field as long as he’s on the Giants roster. However, he should be able to take the backup job away from David Carr. Nassib brings more upside and talent than Carr.

    I have a hard time seeing a scenario where the Giants would put Carr in a game over Nassib. This is why it’s important for Nassib to remain focused and work hard during the preseason.

Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers, 4th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Low

    Ben Roethlisberger has only played a full 16-game schedule once in his career. His style of play combined with a leaky offensive line has forced him to take some big hits. With that being said, the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t risk an injury to Roethlisberger during the preseason.

    Landry Jones may eventually see some action as a rookie, but it won’t be in the first game of the season. In fact, he needs to use the preseason to beat out Bruce Gradkowski for the backup job. This won’t be an easy task, because Gradkowski has proven himself to be a reliable backup.

    However, there’s been some talk that the Steelers see Jones as someone with a ton of potential. This may lead to some favoritism and a shot at playing time for Jones.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3rd Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Low

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are committed to giving Josh Freeman another chance to prove he’s the team’s quarterback of the future. However, his career has been a series of ups and downs, so it’s difficult to project where things will land.

    Tampa Bay is a team looking to win now and may be willing to give the starting job to whoever looks the best in the preseason. Mike Glennon is a naturally gifted quarterback with a big arm. However, he needs a lot of work before he’s ready to take the field.

    The money should still be on Freeman opening the season as the starter, but the door is open a crack for Glennon to surprise some people.

Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles, 4th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Medium

    The Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback situation is one of the more interesting ones in the NFL. They have veteran Michael Vick, second-year man Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley all competing for the starting job.

    Most feel that Vick has the inside track, but it doesn’t appear as though Chip Kelly is ready to name anyone as the starter. Projecting the potential starters is made more difficult because nobody really knows what type of offense Kelly will run.

    At this point, we need to sit back and see how the preseason plays out. It’s hard to say that Barkley doesn’t have as good a chance as any to win the starting job.

Geno Smith, New York Jets, 2nd Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Medium-High

    There’s a chance that Geno Smith could outperform Mark Sanchez during the preseason and still not open the year as the starter. He’s in a tough situation with the New York Jets, as the team tries to find a balance between remaining competitive and rebuilding.

    The Jets are paying Sanchez a lot of money and may allow that to factor into their decision. They also might look at the team’s lack of offensive weapons and not want to throw Smith into the fire. It might be better for everyone to let Sanchez open the year as the starter and give Smith more time to develop.

    However, New York is also a team that looks to sell tickets and keep its fanbase engaged. The fans are sick of Sanchez and would likely welcome the excitement of a new quarterback.

Tyler Wilson, Oakland Raiders, 4th Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: Medium-High

    The Oakland Raiders are in the beginning stages of a total rebuild that gives them plenty of flexibility with the depth chart. They can head into the preseason with an open competition at every position—especially quarterback.

    Oakland brought in Matt Flynn this offseason with the hopes he’d be the opening day starter. Head coach Dennis Allen has said that Flynn is the team’s No. 1 quarterback, but it’s tough to see him going in that direction if someone like Tyler Wilson clearly outperforms Flynn.

    While Flynn has been in the league for several years, he doesn’t have much experience in live game action. The door is open for Wilson to turn heads and steal away the starting job.

EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills, 1st Round

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    Chances of Starting Week 1: High

    The Buffalo Bills are heading into a new era with Doug Marrone as the new head coach, Doug Whaley now in the general manager position and EJ Manuel as the quarterback of the future. One question is when exactly Manuel will officially take over as the starting quarterback.

    He heads into the preseason battling Kevin Kolb for the starting job. Kolb has an edge in experience, but hasn’t found much success thus far in his career. It’s also important to factor in that Kolb has struggled staying healthy.

    The recent trend in the NFL is to throw young quarterbacks into the mix as rookies. Buffalo may only need to see that Manuel can handle the pressure to lean in his direction. It might decide it’s better for him to learn on the job.