NFL ROokie QB Trends.

History Says Don't Bet On Rookie Quarterbacks

It's a big year for the rookie quarterbacks.

With Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, and CJ Stroud all winning Week 1 jobs, we'll have three first-year QBs suiting up for NFL teams next week. They've all got intriguing upside and could turn around some lowly franchises. But history says don't bet on those rookie QBs this season:

Do Teams With Rookie QBs Win?

Over the last five years, just one team that started a rookie QB in Week 1 went on to surpass its preseason win total. In the last five years, teams with Week 1 rookie starters were 1-4-1 against their win total. 

How Do Teams With Rookie QBs Do?
YearPlayerTeamPreseason Win TotalReal WinsResult
2021Trevor LawrenceJaguars6.53UNDER
2021Zach WilsonJets64UNDER
2021Mac JonesPatriots9.510OVER
2020Joe BurrowBengals5.54UNDER
2019Kyler MurrayCardinals55PUSH
2018Sam DarnoldJets64UNDER

Mac Jones is the only rookie QB in the last five years to have his team exceed expectations in the first year. And, frankly, not much of that was Jones' production.

Since Jones was drafted 15th overall, he joined a Patriots squad that already had plenty of talent around him. In his rookie season, he threw for just 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, with New England using him more as a game manager than anything else.

For the rest of the QBs, they were high draft picks joining trash teams in the midst of serious rebuilds. Sure, quarterback is the most important position, but it can't turn around an entire team. This year's three QBs (Stroud, Young, Richardson) were all top five picks in the NFL Draft, making them in the same boat as the non-Jones recent rookies. History shows it's gonna be a tough season for that trio.

How To Bet This Year's Rookie QBs

Here are this year's three Week 1 rookie starting QBs and their teams' preseason win totals:

2023 Rookie QB Team Markets
PlayerTeamPreseason Win Total
CJ StroudTexans5.5
Bryce YoungPanthers7.5
Anthony RichardsonColts6.5

If Young's Panthers win even eight games, that would make him the second-most winningest rookie QB since Andrew Luck in 2012. There hasn't been a single top-10 pick rookie QB in the last decade to post a winning record and I don't think Young and Carolina have what it takes to change that.

Sure they added some talent like Vonn Bell, Adam Thielen, and Miles Sanders in free agency. But this is also a team that lost D'Onta Foreman and Christian McCaffrey from last year's squad. The Panthers do play in the NFL's easiest division and have a lighter strength of schedule, but don't expect Young to buck this rookie QB trend.

Don't Bet Against Rookies In Week 1, Though

Now, it's not all doom and gloom in year one for the rookies. Over the course of the year, these teams are likely going to underperform preseason expectations. But, in Week 1, they might actually be worth a look.

As @Stuckey2 on X points out, rookie QBs have covered the spread at a 15-13 clip over the last 20 years in Week 1.

If I'm targeting one rookie QB's team to cover in the first week of the season, I'm looking at C.J. Stroud's and the Texans. Trust me, it hurts me to say this as a Ravens fan, but I actually think Houston has a shot to win this game. Sure Lamar Jackson and Baltimore's offense looks improved, but they have a bunch of early season injuries right now.

Tyus Bowser is hurt at the pass rush position and Baltimore's top two cornerbacks (Marlon Humphrey and Rock Ya Sin) are both going to be out. Stroud has a chance to huck the ball around and keep this one close for an early season cover.

Here are all three rookie QBs early Week 1 lines:

  • CJ Stroud: Houston +8 vs Baltimore
  • Bryce Young: Carolina +2 vs Atlanta
  • Anthony Richardson: Indianapolis +2.5 vs Jacksonville