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Odds Say More Than 1 Rookie QB Starts Week 1 of 2019 NFL Season

Will Grier was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft
With Cam Newton coming off a second shoulder surgery. could Will Grier start the season off at QB for the Carolina Panthers? Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • The Arizona Cardinals will almost certainly start a rookie QB Week 1 after taking Kyler Murray number one overall and trading Josh Rosen
  • Since 2008, 22 rookie quarterbacks have started in Week 1
  • Will another rookie join Murray under center when the NFL kicks off September 5-9?

Even though every team in the NFL is racing to contend with a quarterback on a rookie salary, starting kids fresh out of college still isn’t in vogue for the league. Last season, of five first round QBs, only Sam Darnold started Week 1. And this year, oddsmakers are anticipating a similar opening to the NFL season.

Over/Under Rookie QBs to Start Week 1

How Many Rookie QBs will Start Week 1? Odds
OVER 1.5 -140
UNDER 1.5 +100

*Odds taken on 04/30/19

Typically, the move is to stick a rookie behind an unqualified veteran, so that they “earn the job,” (which usually only takes until Week 3). Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield watched their teams’ offense move nowhere for two and a half painful weeks, Mitch Trubisky rode the pine for an ineffective Mike Glennon for a quarter of the season, and Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen watched another man under center for all of one half of football.

So while it’s not unlikely a few rookies could see action in Week 1, it is a  little murkier whether these newbies will get credited with the start. But a few of thembeyond the obvious number one overall pickhave a chance at getting the nod in the season opener.

The Washington Haskins

For once, draft analysts had to give Washington credit: they made the right call. They didn’t overreact and trade up and the second best QB prospect fell in their lap at 15. Now, will they continue to make the right call?

Dwayne Haskins isn’t perfect; he has pretty limited mobility. But as long as Washington’s battered offensive line is healed up from last season, he should be walking into a situation where he can succeed from day one and beat out journeyman Case Keenum in training camp.

Lock it in?

For the second straight year, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco will be looking over his shoulder at a plucky rookie who will definitely take his job at some point.

But considering the money he’s getting paid and the fact that Denver enters every season with Mile High expectations, it’ll take an injury or a really awful performance in camp to get Drew Lock the job so quickly.

What About that Other Guy?

There’s no way Eli Manning won’t start Week 1 (and probably every game this season) unless he does the noble thing and retires so the Giants can finally move on. If Dave Gettleman has his way, the world will have to save all their Daniel Jones jokes until 2022.

A Sleeper Starter

Though the fifth quarterback off the board this year was projected to be a career backup, Will Grier could be a sneaky option to start Week 1 considering the questionable health of Cam Newton’s shoulder. Coming off two straight shoulder surgeries, it’s quite possible Newton could be sidelined for longer than expected, a la Andrew Luck.

If Newton can’t go Week 1, Grier just has to beat out Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen to be another rookie in the Week 1 ranks.

What’s the Play?

Ultimately, it doesn’t feel like you’re going to clear this total by a mile. But between the odds of Haskins, Lock, Grier, or another rookie starting because of an injury to a veteran, paired with Murray, I would say the OVER 1.5 is the play right now.

Pick: Over 1.5 (-140)

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