A total of five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While young quarterbacks historically take time to develop, all five of the rookies received significant playing time this season. Here is a review of how the 2018 rookie quarterbacks performed in their inaugural NFL season.
The top overall pick in the 2018 draft did not disappoint. After taking over the starting assignment in the Cleveland Brown’s fourth game, Mayfield displayed the skills and talent that marked his electric college career. Mayfield threw for more than 3,700 yards and his 27 touchdown passes were an all-time record for a rookie quarterback. Most important, his leadership helped turn around the hopeless franchise and took a winless team the season before and turned them into a serious playoff contender. Dan Marino, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton are the only quarterbacks to have as productive rookie seasons as Mayfield.
Sam Darnold did not have a lot of offensive weapons in New York, but he still managed to throw for 2,865 yards with 17 touchdown passes. His 15 interceptions were a little concerning but that can be contributed to a young player trying to do too much on a struggling team. With the hire of new Head Coach Adam Gase who is known as a quarterback coach guru, look for Darnold to make consider progress to becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL.
The Baltimore Ravens had no intention of starting Lamar Jackson when they entered the 2018 season but a serious hip injury to starter Joe Flacco forced the rookie quarterback into the starting lineup. Jackson proceeded to lead his team to the playoffs by winning six of his seven games as the starter. He completed 58.2% of his passes with a solid 6-3 touchdown pass to interception ratio. In addition, Jackson ran for 695 yards and five touchdowns. With continued improvement in his passing game, Jackson looks ahead to a very solid NFL career.
Josh Allen struggled at times during the 2018 season but he seemed to be figuring things out as the year progressed. With a cannon of an arm, Allen completed just 52.8% of his passes for over 2,000 yards. He will need to improve on his 10-12 touchdown passes to interception ratio but he surprised many with his superior running ability as he racked up 631 rushing yards.
Josh Rosen struggled the most of the rookie quarterbacks and never seemed truly comfortable during the 14 games he played in his rookie season. Despite playing with some outstanding offensive weapons, Rosen struggled with his accuracy and wound up with an unimpressive 11-14 touchdown passes to interception ratio. It is still to early to throw in the towel as Rosen has significant talent but he will need to see much improvement going into year two in the NFL.