In the 2020 NFL season, just one rookie quarterback started Week 1: Cincinnati's Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that year. SportsLine oddsmakers expect that number to at least double this season with an Over/Under of 2.5 rookie QBs starting Week 1. The expectation is that both Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence and the New York Jets' Zach Wilson will be under center when their teams kick off the season.
Five quarterbacks were taken in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft last Thursday: Lawrence at No. 1 overall out of Clemson; Wilson at No. 2 out of BYU; Trey Lance out of North Dakota State at No. 3 by San Francisco; Justin Fields at No. 11 out of Ohio State by Chicago; and Mac Jones out of Alabama at No. 15 by New England.
The only way Lawrence, the +220 moneyline favorite at William Hill Sportsbook, and Wilson (+1000) aren't the Week 1 starters is if they get injured. Some books have posted season totals for both as that's how sure they are both will start from the get-go. Lawrence is given an Over/Under of 4150.5 passing yards and Wilson 3825.5.
The Bears presumably will start Andy Dalton to kick things off as they gave him $10 million in free agency and GM Ryan Pace already is on record as saying Dalton is their Week 1 guy. When Chicago traded up to take Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall in 2017, Mike Glennon opened that year as the starter but lost the job after four games to Trubisky.
Lance is probably the rawest quarterback of the five first-rounders and might sit the entire season as the Niners have a solid starting QB in Jimmy Garoppolo. That San Francisco chose Lance over the more pro-ready Jones perhaps signaled that Jimmy G will not be traded this year.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have Cam Newton penciled in as their Week 1 starter: "I think he'll be able to process the offense," Coach Belichick said of Jones. "It's obviously gonna take a lot of time, we'll see how it goes. Cam's our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett [Stidham] or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, we'll see how that goes. Right now, Mac, he's just got a lot of learning in front of him."
Quarterbacks taken after Round 1 almost never open that year as a team's starter, so we can safely rule out the likes of Tampa Bay's Kyle Trask (No. 64 overall pick), Minnesota's Kellen Mond (No. 66) and Houston's Davis Mills (No. 67). Obviously, injuries could change things.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: How many rookie QBs start Week 1 this season?
- Under 2.5 -300
- Over 2.5 +250
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