Four quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and at least three of them could see the field this season.
What should fans expect to see? That’s what we’re digging into here.
Joe Burrow, being the first overall selection, obviously has the biggest expectations resting on his shoulders. He is already guaranteed the starting job with the Cincinnati Bengals, so there is no doubt he’ll be thrown to the wolves right out of the gate.
Tua Tagovailoa (No. 5 overall) may or may not start the season under center for the Miami Dolphins. The same goes for Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6 overall). Both young QBs have veterans in front of them who could open the season as starters.
Then there’s Jordan Love (No. 26 overall), who will not see the field outside of a circumstance where Aaron Rodgers is injured.
Here’s how we see these four first-round quarterbacks panning out in their rookie seasons.
The Bengals have a couple of interesting things going on with their roster.
First, the offensive line is a big problem. Arguably, the only player up front with any top-rate talent is tackle Jonah Williams, who missed all of last season as a rookie due to a shoulder injury. Everyone else on the line is mediocre, or worse.
This offensive line is going to lead to some rough times for Burrow as a rookie. That’s a fact.
On a positive note, the Bengals have an outstanding trio of receivers. A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are already established stars. Rookie Tee Higgins is a tremendous prospect. John Ross is as fast as they come, too. So there is the potential for Burrow to have some sensational games playing with this group.
Prediction: Burrow will pass for 3,500-plus yards with 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores seems a bit conservative and he already trusts veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to a certain extent. With that in mind, despite some rumors to the contrary, we predict Fitzpatrick will open up the season as the starter.
However, the one consistent thing about Fitzpatrick is that he always comes back down to earth. Even if he opens the season on fire, he’ll inevitably have a bad game or three, opening the door for Tagovailoa to come in and claim the job. Once that happens, there will be no turning back. Tagovaioloa is an exceptionally gifted young passer who anticipates well and has some of the best touch and accuracy you’ll ever see.
The Dolphins have some talent outside of Tua, too. They traded for running back Matt Breida, who is blazing fast and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Tight end Mike Gesicki is coming into his own as a solid option in the middle of the field and red zone. Receiver DeVante Parker has star potential and should benefit from Tagovailoa.
Miami’s offensive line isn’t all that great, so there’s no doubt Tagovailoa will have some rough outings. But in the end, he’s set up for success in South Beach.
Prediction: Tagovailoa will start 10 games, passing for 2,500 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
It seems like the Chargers are content to stash away Herbert for next season. They’ve already made it clear that veteran Tyrod Taylor is good enough to open the season as the starter. Since Herbert was selected, reports indicate the Chargers will stick with Taylor until they are no longer in playoff contention.
With that in mind, Herbert will have to come in and blow away the coaching staff to start games in 2020. Not only must he show he’s physically and mentally capable of running an NFL offense, but he needs to show he’s a leader, too. In fact, during the pre-draft process, the biggest knock against the Oregon product was he didn’t have the kind of “fire” many look for in a starting quarterback.
Prediction: Herbert will play two games at the end of the season, paving the way for a big 2021 campaign.
When the Green Bay Packers traded up to No. 26 and selected Utah State's Jordan Love, the move sent shock waves throughout the NFL. Aaron Rodgers was blindsided by the move, as were most in the industry.
But nobody expects Love to do anything more than hold a clipboard and watch from the sideline in 2020. Barring some trick plays, that is. Love is in Green Bay for the future. Period.
Right now, the Packers are still Aaron Rodgers’ team. That’s not changing this year.
Prediction: Love will not start a game in 2020.
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An asterisk (*) indicates the team was located in another city and/or went by a different name during the season listed.