LOCALS IN THE NFL

How Rookie NFL QBs Perform: Projecting Zach Wilson’s Rookie Year

May 18, 2021, 5:12 PM
Zach Wilson - BYU Cougars...
Quarterback Zach Wilson looks to pass during Brigham Young University football practice in Provo on Friday, March 6, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – How well will former BYU quarterback and current New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson perform during his rookie season in the NFL?

Wilson was selected by the Jets with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29.

To understand how rookie quarterbacks, like Wilson, typically perform during their first season in the league, I took a peak at each quarterback that has been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2016.

In addition to Wilson’s fellow first rounders, Bleacher Report published stat projections for the 2021 rookie quarterbacks.

Each recent rookie landed with a different variables that factored into their first season of play. Some of those variables included veteran quarterbacks ahead of them on the depth chart and season-ending injuries.

Assuming a clean bill of health, Wilson is in line for a top tier rookie campaign with the Jets, a season that could propel a long tenure with Gang Green.

Quarterbacks picked in the first round of the NFL Draft (2016-Present)

2016 NFL Draft

Jared Goff

College: California

Pick: 1

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Rookie Year Statistics: 1,089 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a 54.6 percent completion rate in seven games played

Transactions: Signed four-year extension with Rams in 2019, traded to Detroit Lions in 2021

Current Team: Detroit Lions

Carson Wentz

College: North Dakota State

Pick: 2

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Rookie Year Statistics: 3,782 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and 14 interceptions with a 62.4 percent completion rate in 16 games played

Transactions: Signed four-year extension with Eagles in 2019, traded to Indianapolis Colts in 2021

Current Team: Indianapolis Colts

Paxton Lynch

College: Memphis

Pick: 26

Team: Denver Broncos

Rookie Year Statistics: 497 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception with 59.0 percent completion rate in three games played

Transactions: Waived by Broncos in 2018

Current Team: n/a

2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky

College: North Carolina

Pick: 2

Team: Chicago Bears

Rookie Year Statistics: 2,193 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a 59.4 percent completion rate in 12 games played

Transactions: Chicago declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option in 2020, signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills in 2021

Current Team: Buffalo Bills

Patrick Mahomes

College: Texas Tech

Pick: 10

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Rookie Year Statistics: 284 passing yards, zero passing touchdowns, and one interception with a 62.9 percent completion rate in one game played

Transactions: Signed 10-year contract extension with Kansas City in 2020

Current Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Deshaun Watson

College: Clemson

Pick: 12

Team: Houston Texans

Rookie Year Statistics: 1,699 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a 61.8 percent completion rate in seven games played

Transactions: Signed four-year extension with Houston in 2020

Current Team: Houston Texans

2018 NFL Draft

Baker Mayfield

College: Oklahoma

Pick: 1

Team: Cleveland Browns

Rookie Year Statistics: 3,725 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 14 interceptions with a 63.8 completion rate in 14 games played

Transactions: Cleveland exercised Mayfield’s fifth-year option in 2021

Current Team: Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold

College: USC

Pick: 3

Team: New York Jets

Rookie Year Statistics: 2,865 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions with a 57.7 percent completion rate in 13 games played

Transactions: Traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021, Panthers exercised Darnold’s fifth-year option in 2021

Current Team: Carolina Panthers

Josh Allen

College: Wyoming

Pick: 7

Team: Buffalo Bills

Rookie Year Statistics: 2.074 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 52.9 percent completion rate in 12 games played

Transactions: Buffalo exercised Allen’s fifth-year option in 2021

Current Team: Buffalo Bills

Josh Rosen

College: UCLA

Pick: 10

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Rookie Year Statistics: 2,278 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, and 14 interceptions with a 55.2 percent completion rate in 14 games played

Transactions: Arizona traded Rosen to the Miami Dolphins in 2019, Miami waived Rosen in 2020, San Francisco signed Rosen in 2020, San Francisco signed Rosen to a one-year extension in 2021

Current Team: San Francisco 49ers

Lamar Jackson

College: Louisville

Pick: 32

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Rookie Year Statistics: 1,201 passing yards, six passing touchdowns, and three interceptions with a 58.2 percent completion rate in 16 games played

Transactions: Baltimore exercised Jackson’s fifth-year option in 2021

Current Team: Baltimore Ravens

2019 NFL Draft

Kyler Murray

College: Oklahoma

Pick: 1

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Rookie Year Statistics: 3,722 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 64.4 percent completion rate in 16 games played

Transactions: Still on rookie contract

Current Team: Arizona Cardinals

Daniel Jones

College: Duke

Pick: 6

Team: New York Giants

Rookie Year Statistics: 3.027 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 61.9 percent completion rate in 13 games played

Transactions: Still on rookie contract

Current Team: New York Giants

Dwayne Haskins Jr.

College: Ohio State

Pick: 15

Team: Washington Football Team

Rookie Year Statistics: 1,365 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a 58.6 percent completion rate in nine games played

Transactions: Released by Washington during the 2020 season, signed a futures contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021

Current Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 NFL Draft

Joe Burrow

College: LSU

Pick: 1

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Rookie Year Statistics: 2,688 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions with a 65.3 percent completion rate in 10 games played

Transactions: Still on rookie contract, suffered season-ending knee injury during 2020 season

Current Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Tua Tagovailoa

College: Alabama

Pick: 5

Team: Miami Dolphins

Rookie Year Statistics: 1,814 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions with a 64.1 completion rate in 10 games played

Transactions: Still on rookie contract, on/off starter during 2020 season

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Justin Herbert

College: Oregon

Pick: 6

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Rookie Year Statistics: 4,336 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a 66.6 completion rate in 15 games played

Transactions: Still on rookie contract, won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award for 2020 season

Current Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Jordan Love

College: Utah State

Pick: 26

Team: Green Bay Packers

Rookie Year Statistics: Did Not Play

Transactions: Still on rookie contract, did not play and served as backup to NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers during 2020 season

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

2021 NFL Draft

Trevor Lawrence

College: Clemson

Pick: 1

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Bleacher Report’s Projected Rookie Year Statistics: 4,320 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, eight interceptions, 171 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns

Transactions: Rookie season in 2021

Current Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Zach Wilson

College: BYU

Pick: 2

Team: New York Jets

Bleacher Report’s Projected Rookie Year Statistics: 3,801 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 102 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns

Transactions: Rookie season in 2021

Current Team: New York Jets

Trey Lance

College: North Dakota State

Pick: 3

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Bleacher Report’s Projected Rookie Year Statistics: 668 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, one interception, 207 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown

Transactions: Rookie season in 2021

Current Team: San Francisco 49ers

Justin Fields

College: Ohio State

Pick: 11

Team: Chicago Bears

Bleacher Report’s Projected Rookie Year Statistics: 1,046 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, two interceptions, 182 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns

Transactions: Rookie season in 2021

Current Team: Chicago Bears

Mac Jones

College: Alabama

Pick: 15

Team: New England Patriots

Bleacher Report’s Projected Rookie Year Statistics: 278 passing yards, and two passing touchdowns

Transactions: Rookie season in 2021

Current Team: New England Patriots

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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