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Rookie QBs

Mobility could lift Daniels, Williams to fantasy relevance

It’s always a little nerve-racking to select a rookie quarterback, but I like the look of Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels. Those guys can really run, and that gives them a much better chance of maybe being viable sooner rather than later.

Williams ran for 11 and 10 touchdowns in his two seasons at Southern Cal. His mindset is more to run to buy time for pass plays to develop, but he’ll probably be a top-10 runner at the position. And Daniels looks like a young Lamar Jackson – a possibility to lead all quarterbacks in rushing yards this year, I think. Daniels isn’t shy about that being part of his game – he says he wants to replace Jackson and Michael Vick as the game’s top runner.

While the track record for rookie quarterbacks is modest, there have been a few that have had instant success. C.J. Stroud last year was a top-10 quarterback for the bulk of the season. Anthony Richardson looked like he might have been right there with him if not for a shoulder injury.

In the last 15 years, 36 quarterbacks selected in the first round have started at least half the season in their first year. Six of those guys averaged top-10 numbers in their first season, and all of those players were helped along by above-average rushing starts. (I’ve got those guys in bold.)

Another seven (of those 36) ranked between 11th and 20th in per-game production. I have those players tagged with black dots.

Conversely, about two thirds of those quarterbacks finished outside the top 20 in per-game scoring. But in my opinion, both Daniels and Williams should be picked well before we get 20 players into a draft.

2008Matt Ryan162151.007.0615.921
2008Joe Flacco16186.8811.1314.826
2009• Matthew Stafford, Det.102271.3011.2019.014
2009Josh Freeman, T.B.92041.1117.0016.823
2009Mark Sanchez, NYJ15163.807.2013.528
2010Sam Bradford, St.L.162201.134.0616.224
2011Cam Newton, Car.162531.3144.8827.84
2011Christian Ponder, Min.101751.3021.0016.124
2011Blaine Gabbert, Jac.14154.867.0011.833
2012Robert Griffin, Was.152131.3354.4724.25
2012Andrew Luck, Ind.162731.4416.3122.910
2012Brandon Weeden, Cle.15226.937.0015.827
2012Ryan Tannehill, Mia.16206.7513.1315.628
2013EJ Manuel, Buff.101971.1019.2017.725
2014Teddy Bridgewater, Min.122311.1715.0818.621
2014Blake Bortles, Jac.13207.6930.0016.227
2015• Marcus Mariota, Ten.122351.5821.2522.216
2015• Jameis Winston, T.B.162531.3813.3821.817
2016Carson Wentz, Phil.162361.009.1317.827
2017Mitchell Trubisky, Chi.12183.5821.1714.729
2018• Baker Mayfield, Cle.132712.0810.0023.011
2018• Josh Allen, Buff.11182.9155.7322.813
2018Sam Darnold, NYJ132201.3111.0817.827
2018Josh Rosen, Ari.13172.8510.0013.132
2019Daniel Jones, NYG122512.0023.1724.28
2019• Kyler Murray, Ari.162331.2534.2521.913
2020Justin Herbert, LAC152892.0716.3326.57
2020• Joe Burrow, Cin.102691.3014.3021.915
2020Tua Tagovailoa, Mia.92011.2212.3318.429
2021Mac Jones, N.E.172241.298.0017.126
2021Justin Fields, Chi.10180.7039.1016.330
2021Trevor Lawrence, Jac.17214.7120.1216.229
2021Zach Wilson, NYJ13180.6914.3115.231
2022Kenny Pickett, Pitt.12190.5819.0814.530
2023C.J. Stroud, Hou.152741.5311.2022.37
2023Bryce Young, Car.16180.6916.0013.628

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index