Rookie quarterbacks most likely to see the field in 2013

5/6/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

There was once a time when rookie quarterbacks were commonly considered projects, and spent their time on the sidelines learning the intricacies of the game while waiting for their chance to lead the team. However, times have changed, and quarterbacks are now more frequently asked to come in and make an immediate impact. Just last year, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson all started from Week 1 and led their struggling franchises to the postseason.

The 2013 draft class, however, is interesting when it comes to quarterbacks. Only one was drafted in the first round, and he wasn't selected until the 16th pick. Regardless, there are still several bad teams with poor starting quarterbacks - we are sure to see some of the rookies get a chance to play at some point this season. Here is a list of the rookie quarterbacks most likely to see the field in 2013:

1. EJ Manuel (BUF): He's considered a relatively longer-term prospect by a lot of people, but I've got him as the most likely rookie to start sort of by default. These days, when it comes to the first quarterback selected in the draft, he is very likely to see extended playing time as a rookie. The last top-drafted quarterback to start less than ten games in his first year was JaMarcus Russell in 2007. I know that some people feel Manuel was a reach at 16th overall, but I think that we can all agree he's better than Russell. The Bills did bring in Kevin Kolb, but he has never started more than nine games in a single season. Manuel may not be the Week 1 starter, but I expect him to start at some point this year, whether it be due to Kolb's individual struggles or the team struggling as a whole.

2. Geno Smith (NYJ): The Jets were able to snag the quarterback widely regarded as this year's top signal caller with their second-round pick. The fan-base is already calling for the head of incumbent Mark Sanchez, and there will be an uproar as soon as the Jets lose a couple games, which will probably happen sooner than later. Smith appears to be more talented than Sanchez, so if he's willing to put in the work (which is a relatively big "if"), he could end up starting the Jets' opener against the Buccaneers. However, the Jets have long been irrationally loyal to Sanchez, and they may want to keep Smith out of the New York spotlight until they feel he is fully ready.
Blog Photo - Rookie quarterbacks most likely to see the field in 2013
3. Tyler Wilson (OAK): The first two quarterbacks on this list were fairly obvious, but here is where it gets interesting. Wilson was the sixth quarterback taken in the draft, going in the fourth round (112th overall) to the Raiders. Oakland has penciled in Matt Flynn as their starter, but say he will face competition. The competition looks pretty weak, but keep in mind that Flynn's competition looked weak in Seattle last season before third-round pick Russell Wilson won the starting job and led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record. Tyler Wilson will have a chance to win the Raiders' starting job during the preseason, though I must say that I doubt he will.

However, the Raiders are probably going to be horrible this season, mostly as a result of their abysmal pass rush and question marks in the secondary. Flynn's 2014 salary is not guaranteed, so if the Raiders see promise in their rookie, they can dump Flynn with no repercussions. When a playoff berth appears to be all but impossible, the Raiders may want to see what they have in Wilson so that they can better evaluate how to move forward after 2013.

4. Matt Barkley (PHI): New head coach Chip Kelly has no allegiance to the Eagles' 2012 quarterbacks - Michael Vick and Nick Foles. However, after playing against Barkley four years in a row as the coach of Oregon, Kelly hand-picked Barkley in the fourth round of the draft. Kelly was reported as saying, "Repetitive accuracy is the No. 1 quality we're looking for in a quarterback." Accuracy on short to intermediate throws is one of Barkley's greatest strengths. I fully expect Vick to be the starter come Week 1, but keep in mind that he is very injury prone. In addition, backup Nick Foles is a former third-round pick who went 1-5 as the starter in 2012. Barkley could easily see the field if Vick gets hurt and Foles struggles to win ball games.

5. Mike Glennon (TB): This one is far, far less likely than the rest, but the quarterback situation in Tampa is much more uncertain than a lot of people think. Barring an injury, I think there is no chance that anyone but Josh Freeman is behind center for the Buccaneers' Week 1 tilt with the Jets, but Freeman's long-term future in Tampa is very much up in the air. Head coach Greg Schiano wants a fiery, intense leader at the quarterback position, and Freeman has not brought that desired intensity. Freeman's quarterback rating is an uninspiring 78.1 over the past two seasons, and his contract is up at the end of this year. If the team isn't happy with Freeman's performance and has a bad record late in the year, the Bucs may want to see what they have in Glennon. I'd say the rookie has an extremely slim chance of starting in 2013, but a chance nonetheless.


Barring some crazy circumstances, there is no chance that any of the other rookie quarterbacks start this year, but I'll run through them anyway:

6. Landry Jones (PIT): Ben Roethlisberger's style of play leaves him vulnerable to minor injuries - he hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2008 (though he only missed games in 2010 due to suspension). Jones would have to beat out journeyman Bruce Gradkowski to earn a start if Big Ben goes down.

7. Brad Sorensen (SD): Philip Rivers is 31-years-old, took a beating last year, and will likely play behind another porous offensive line in 2013. With all the shots he'll be taking, there is an increased chance he could suffer an injury. Sorensen would have to beat out Charlie Whitehurst and his 64.6 career quarterback rating to earn the backup job.
Blog Photo - Rookie quarterbacks most likely to see the field in 2013
8. Ryan Nassib (NYG): Although I see Nassib as the fifth best quarterback in his draft class, Eli Manning has made 146 consecutive starts - the third longest streak ever. The Giants traded up to grab Nassib, which shows that they are high on him and will give him a legitimate shot to beat out David Carr for the backup job.

9. Sean Renfree (ATL): Matt Ryan has started all but two games during his five years in the league. It's unlikely any quarterback will see the field other than Ryan, but Renfree is a long-shot possibility if Ryan gets hurt. Dominique Davis is penciled in as Ryan's backup, and the organization is reportedly pretty high on the 2012 undrafted free agent. However, NFL Network's Mike Mayock picked Renfree as his sleeper quarterback of the draft, and I've heard multiple people say he could be a starter down the road, so I'd give Renfree an incredibly slight chance to win backup duties.

10. Zac Dysert (DEN): Though I expect him to remain healthy all season, Peyton Manning is 37-years-old with a history of neck issues. Dysert would have to beat out last year's 57th overall pick Brock Osweiler for backup duties.

11. BJ Daniels (SF): Will Colin Kaepernick be able to stay healthy through a full season of running rampant and taking shots from opponents? If Kaepernick does get hurt, Daniels would need one or two more injuries before he'd get a chance to see the field.
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