With the Jets and 49ers on bye in Week 6 we only had three first-round rookie quarterbacks to watch on Sunday, and for the most part all three of those QBs took steps forward in their progression as NFL starters. Despite that, the rookies went 1-2, however that one win was a big win.
No. 5: Zach Wilson
Wilson didn’t play, so he didn’t get the opportunity to show any growth. Next week he’ll go head-to-head with another rookie: Mac Jones and the New England Patriots.
No. 4: Trey Lance
Lance had looked good in limited playing time early on this season. But when Jimmy Garoppolo went down, Lance struggled as the starter. But now Lance is hurt and Garoppolo appears ready to return, so it’s unclear when we’ll get to see Lance play again.
No. 3: Justin Fields
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 16-27, 59.3% YDS: 174 TD: 1 INT: 1 RUSH-YDS: 6-43
At times Fields showed the ability of a top-tier NFL quarterback. His pass to Allen Robinson into a small zone window for a 20-yard gain, and his quick decision to throw to Marquise Goodwin on a post alert (which drew a pass interference in the endzone) on the Bears' first drive were two of those moments. But other times Fields held the ball too long, and took sacks that hurt the offense’s chances of putting up points. On the whole, he appeared to take a step in his development. As he continues to develop chemistry with his pass catchers, the Bears offense should hit on even more big plays.
No. 2: Trevor Lawrence
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 25-41, 61% YDS: 319 TD: 1 INT: 0 RUSH-YDS: 2-11
No quarterback has shown more growth over the first third of the season than Lawrence. After throwing seven interceptions in his first three games, Lawrence has stopped trying to play hero ball and has only thrown one pick since. On Sunday he showed incredible finesse passing on the run and made decisive throws. His touchdown pass was a nice play, but no play was more impressive than a 3rd-and-4 laser he delivered to Marvin Jones. With the pass rush bearing down on him, Lawrence stepped into the throw knowing he was going to take a shot, but fearlessly made the play. For his efforts, Lawrence was rewarded with his first career win.
No. 1: Mac Jones
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 15-21, 71.4% YDS: 229 TD: 2 INT: 1
Jones has been the most efficient rookie quarterback all year from a completion percentage standpoint. He’s also worked well through his progressions and at no point has looked out of his element. The one thing missing from his game had been explosive throws, but against the Cowboys he finally hit on several big passes. One of those deep passes came one throw after throwing an interception, showing the ability to shake off a bad play immediately. His best play of the day however was his first touchdown to Hunter Henry. Jones threw the ball into a tight window and showed veteran-caliber anticipation by releasing the ball well before Henry actually made his break. Excellent stuff.