Joe Webb & The Other 7 Rookie Starters


Per the good people at the Wall Street Journal, Joe Webb was the 8th rookie signal caller to start an NFL game in the 2010 season making this the most to start in over 30 years. What’s funny is going into the season this was not seen as a particularly strong rookie QB class. Only 3 QBs were drafted in the first two rounds and looking ahead to the 2011 NFL Draft as many as 7 QBs are anticipated to be taken in the first two rounds for whatever draft speculation is worth in December. Of this year’s rookies only Sam Bradford was anticipated to receive a significant amount of snaps and as of right now only Bradford has me sold over his body of work that he’ll be long-term starter in the NFL. Looking back, here’s a snapshot as to how the rookies have performed this year.

Sam Bradford, Rams. 1st Round, 1st Overall. 15 starts. 335-554, 18 TDs, 14 Interceptions. 7-8 record.

Bradford has looked extraordinary in his rookie year taking a team that only won a single game last year. He has shown tremendous accuracy and arm strength working with a below average receivers. Bradford also has his team within one win of the playoffs in the crummy NFC West.

Tim Tebow, Broncos. 1st Round, 25th Overall. 1 start. 25-46, 3 TDs, 1 Interception. 1-0 Record.

Many in the NFL had doubts going into this season on Tebow’s ability to read defenses and if his delivery was NFL ready. However in his start this past weekend he not only completed passes all over the field but also continued to show nice scrambling skills out of the pocket. Granted that was against a putrid Houston Texans defense, however Tebow will receive another start this weekend versus the San Diego Chargers. With a new coach coming into the picture for the Broncos in 2011, Tebow is likely to have first dibs on starting.

Jimmy Clausen, Panthers. 2nd Round, 48th Overall. 7 starts. 115-181, 5 TDs, 6 Interceptions. 2-5 Record.

Numerous Vikings fans were upset when we passed on the former Notre Dame star not once but twice. Still Clausen has been downright abysmal in his rookie year. He’s struggled to hit big time throws, has been openly criticized by star WR Steve Smith and possesses both the leagues worst starting passer rating at 56.8 and yards per attempt at 5.2. It’s fair to wonder if Clausen will even be back with the Panthers next year if John Fox leaves and Stanford phenom Andrew Luck declares for the 2011 NFL Draft.

Colt McCoy, Browns. 3rd Round, 85th Overall. 7 starts. 115-181, 5 TDs, 6 Interceptions. 2-5 Record.

McCoy has a good head on his shoulders, tends to always make good throwing decisions and can make plays with his legs. However, his arm strength and physical stature do not bode well with the physical AFC North. Many of his passes this past weekend in Cleveland’s heavy winds were batted down.

John Skelton, Cardinals. 5th Round, 155th Overall. 3 starts. 46-101, 1 TDs, 1 Interception. 2-1 Record.

All things considered, the former Fordham product has been one of the more serviceable rookie QBs. He is talented with a cannon arm, good physical stature and has shown improvement each start at reading defenses in spite of playing in the Patriot League last year. Skelton’s biggest flaw is struggling with accuracy.

Rusty Smith, Titans. 6th Round, 176th Overall. 1 starts. 20-40, 0 TDs, 4 Interceptions. 0-1 Record.

Smith has the fallout between Vince Young and Jeff Fisher to thank for getting snaps with the first team; however he struggled to move the chains in his sole start against Houston’s miserable pass defense and was demoted to third string. Let me know if you hear about Rusty Smith anytime soon. Want to read more about him? Good.

Max Hall, Cardinals. Undrafted. 3 starts. 39-78, 1 TDs, 6 Interceptions. 0-1 Record.

Another Coach-QB fallout, this time Ken Whisenhunt and Matt Leinart, gave the undrafted BYU standout a chance to run the show with Beanie Wells and Larry Fitzgerald. Still, Hall did little to inspire. He doesn’t have the size, arm strength or football savvy to be a long-term starter in the NFL. At best Hall projects to be a quality backup.

And last but definitely not least…

Joe Webb, Vikings. 6th Round, 199th Overall. 1 start. 34-57, 0 TDs, 2 Interceptions. 1-0 Record.

As we all witnessed, Webb stole the show last night on national TV on a night when Michael Vick was suppose to seal the MVP over Tom Brady and the Philadelphia Eagles were to lock up a first round bye. He showed maturity and poise well beyond his years, has a quality arm and impressive physical stature as well as dynamic running ability.

I’m now in the camp that would prefer to see Webb start the season finale versus Detroit. While many Vikings fans are still giddy from last night, this was really one quality half. It’d be nice to see more of what we have in Webb over a Brett Favre swan song.

Much will be written about on TVA once the season is over on where to go from here with the QB position, but moving Webb back to WR will not be in the cards.

Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig

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