Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson will start Week 1 of the regular season. The Panthers, Texans, and Colts have been searching for answers at quarterback since the start of the offseason and believe they have found it in these rookie signal callers. All three were picked in the top five of this year’s NFL Draft and have respectable backgrounds.
Young won a Heisman and a National Championship with the Alabama Crimson Tide, along with a plethora of other conference awards like SEC Offensive Player of the Year back in 2021. Stroud led Ohio State to the College Football Playoffs numerous times, finished second in the Heisman Trophy race to Young, and won numerous Big Ten Conference awards. Richardson does not quite have the resume that the other two players have, but the Colts are relying on their ability to develop him as he possesses the highest upside out of the three if coached properly.
Evaluations and Grades of Rookie Quarterbacks making their first NFL Start
Bryce Young: C-
To put it plainly, Young had a rough debut. He threw two interceptions to Falcons safety Jessie Bates on identical routes and seemed off with his receivers in the second half. Young did lead a nice drive downfield after they couldn’t convert on fourth down to start the game, where he threw a four-yard out route to tight-end Hayden Hurst.
The offensive line gave him plenty of time in the pocket and only let up two sacks in the later stages of the game, but he was hesitant to take any deep shots downfield. These are growing pains for the number one overall pick, but Carolina seemed to let Atlanta stay in the game and eventually win.
CJ Stroud: C
Stroud has a monstrous task in turning the Houston franchise around, and a Week 1 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens doesn’t make that job any easier. Houston was unable to score a touchdown at all during the game, leading to a bunch of short-yardage field goals. Stroud did not turn the ball over, which is a positive. He was also sacked five times, leading to some questioning about the protection up front, and the run game was relatively non-existent, forcing Stroud to throw more.
Fans should not be upset with Stroud’s performance; the Texans have a long way to go, which was apparent as they lost 9-25 to Baltimore.
Anthony Richardson: B
Richardson appears to be the lone bright spot among these three rookies. He was efficient on the ground and through the air, connecting with Michael Pittman Jr. on a 36-yard touchdown. He also had a two-yard rushing touchdown to start the game. Fans should be excited for Richardson as he showed the flashes of greatness the Colts saw in him during the draft process. The Colts seemed to stay in the mix against the Jaguars but couldn’t get in front as they fell 21-31 to Jacksonville.
No rookie quarterbacks were able to win their debut games this week, extending the streak of all rookie quarterbacks losing their first game since Tua Tagovailoa won in 2020. Young could not break the 20-year losing streak for all first-overall selected quarterbacks playing in their first NFL games. Stroud played well with what he had, and it was an overall ugly game between Houston and Baltimore. Richardson had the best statistical game out of the three and will look to build off of his solid Week 1 performance.
Tidbit of the Weekend: None of the new NFL Head Coaches (Panthers, Colts, Cardinals, Broncos, and Texans) won their first game with their respective teams.
Main Image: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports