What NFL Rookie QB Performs Highest in 2011?


Let’s assume all the highly drafted rookies were to start from opening day and play the entire season. Who plays the best and is there a Sam Bradford in the group?

Listed below are three reasons each QB can succeed.

Cameron Newton, Carolina

1. Above average run-game

2. His running ability

3. His offensive mind is so astute that he simply needs the number and not the play

Jake Locker, Titans

1. Familiarity with pro offense

2. Elite run game

3. Proven wide receivers

Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars

1. Elite mind

2. Elite run game

3. Mobility in the pocket

Christian Ponder, Vikings

1. Familiarity with pro offense

2. Elite run game

3. if WR Sidney Rice is re-signed, great group of emerging WR’s

Andy Dalton, Bengals

1. Outstanding decision-making

2. AJ Green

3. Great accuracy

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers

1. Escapability

2. Vernon Davis

3. Michael Crabtree

Ryan Mallett, Ricky Stanzi, Taylor Yates, Nathan Enderle, Tyrod Taylor, and Greg McElroy have zero chance of starting in 2011 barring serious injury.

A few interesting things to note about how the teams are built:

Kaepernick, Dalton and Ponder each have young, solid receiving corps, especially when including the TE position. The Vikings above possibly all teams in the NFL solidified the TE position for years to come. TE’s and a good running game are a QB’s best friend and all 3 of these young QB’s approach teams well equipped with both of these.

Locker’s WR corps has potential and an emerging Kenny Britt. If Britt stays out of trouble, the Locker-Britt combo may become a stalwart on your favorite highlight reels. The problem remains that Britt does not stay out of trouble and Locker is just a rookie. As you know, the Titans have a fantastic running game lead by Chris Johnson and an above-average offensive line. Locker should be grateful for that.

Gabbert has an elite running game and a lowly WR corps. You may not be aware of this, but Jacksonville’s WR corps is loaded with potential. However, no stars have been confirmed. Maybe Gabbert helps their WR’s break out, or maybe Gabbert fails due to a lack of star presence in their WR corps. Time will tell.

Newton. He has the most worrisome position of all. Newton enters a team that earned the first overall pick. Newton gets the opportunity to play without their star WR (Steve Smith will be traded.) and Newton may have to only hear about how great RB DeAngelo Williams was. Not to mention his transition into a pro offense. He has a lot of work to do.

I foresee no Sam Bradford type of impact in year 1 from any of these QB’s. The best attempt would be if Newton could mimic Vince Young’s rookie season.

Best of luck to all these guys, but here is how I put their chances:

Ponder–50% (Above average line, elite run game, emergin WR’s and two elite TE’s.)

Locker–25% (Emerging WR’s and elite run game with great O-line. Does it get better?)

Dalton–15% (Great things can happen, transition to pro offense slows the great things down)

Gabbert–07% (Won’t need to pass much, not great WR corps, spread guy)

Kaepernick–03% (New type of offense for him, team will rely on run game)

Newton–00% (There are no WR’s to distract the defense enough for him to run)

What do you think?