Which Rookie NFL Quarterback Will Start First?by Erik Lambert May 31, 2014; Los Angeles, CA Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater during a photoshoot at the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsRookie quarterbacks are a mixed bag when it comes to starting in the NFL right away. Which one of the 2014 crop has the best chance to go first?Blake Bortles – Jacksonville JaguarsHe was the first quarterback taken so that would have to make him the favorite, right? Not necessarily. Head coach Gus Bradley has said his primary goal is to get the entire Jacksonville Jaguars roster up to a winning level before focusing on quarterback. That can be translated to the idea he wants to wait until the offense is talented enough to handle a franchise player. Blake Bortles is a long-term investment. Bradley understands that. So he seems perfectly willing to hold the rookie in reserve for the time being while riding things out with veteran Chad Henne.Johnny Manziel – Cleveland BrownsDon’t ask him the question because Johnny Manziel will tell you he believes he will start opening day for the Cleveland Browns. While his confidence is a good sign, reality tells a different story. Head coach Mike Pettine, his staff and the front office seem to have great confidence in veteran Brian Hoyer who went 2-1 for the team last season before tearing his ACL. There has even been talk of a contract extension for him. If Manziel were anywhere close to starting that wouldn’t be in their plans. As it stands Pettine seems to have his mind made up.Teddy Bridgewater – Minnesota VikingsThere really is no clear-cut starter on the depth chart for the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Mike Zimmer has tasked new offensive coordinator Norv Turner with sorting out the situation between veterans Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel and Ponder both started games during the 2013 NFL season. Cassel probably played better and seems like the early favorite for the lead job. However, Bridgewater is very much in the mix. He’s reportedly responding well in practice and has the confidence of coaches. Whether that’s enough to put him over the top remains to be seen.Derek Carr – Oakland RaidersThe Oakland Raiders started their NFL off-season by going out to get a starting quarterback by trading for veteran Matt Schaub from Houston. The hope is that he could rebound from his tough year to lead a developing team back to relevance in the AFC West. Things seem on track for that plan to unfold, at least until Derek Carr began to foul them up. The rookie 2nd round pick was initially meant as insurance for the long-term, but his progress so far has exceeded expectations. Almost to the point where a few voices have offered the possibility that he may just unseat Schaub before the season begins.Tom Savage – Houston TexansIn terms of sheer physical potential, there might not have been a more intriguing name floating around draft boards than Tom Savage. The Pitt product has the complete reptoire from a rocket arm to a 6’5? frame, good mobility and understanding of a pro style offense. That is why the Houston Texans picked up, but not until the 4th round. Savage still has some issues to work through, which is why veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently favored to start in Houston. No changes seem imminent but preseason is still to come.Zach Mettenberger – Tennessee TitansJake Locker seems like the odds on favorite to start for the Tennessee Titans. He played well last year before injuries took a toll on him. At the same time, if you ask rookie Zach Mettenberger his opinion there is no question. He plans to start week one. That’s pretty boastful for a 6th round pick still recovering from a torn ACL. If it were almost any other team he would sound crazy, but Mettenberger knows his situation. Confidence in Locker isn’t exactly strong, which tells him that if there is even a slight opening he’s going for it. Obviously health and absorbing the offense will be critical, but it sounds like half the battle is already won.link
Savage, for various reasons.Starting bortles behind that jag OL would get him killed.Cleveland will start manziel this season, but it might be later on in the season.Minnesota will probably use a vet to get what they can out of AP's final few seasons.The raiders traded for schaub, so they'll do something with him first.And the titans will try to salvage locker while grooming ZM.Ryan fitz isn't that good. In fact, he might be the worst qb on this writeup. I don't think too highly of savage either, but he fills a need at that position, and can't possibly do any worse than RF.
Teddy will most likely start from opening day. He has the stiffest competition (except for maybe Carr) but he’s the one who’s most ready to step in now. From everything I’ve heard he looked great at OTAs.
I can see Carr starting at some point this year but with what they’ve invested in Shaub I think he starts the season barring a disastrous preseason. Manziel and Bortles will eventually find the field, by midseason at the latest. Mettenberger taking over in TN wouldn’t surprise me either, Locker is a bum.