NFL Rookie QBs and Finding the Next C.J. Stroud

It’s a bit of a fool’s errand to look at this current batch of NFL rookie quarterbacks and try to extrapolate which one is most likely to recreate last season’s incredible rookie campaign for Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. The No. 2 overall pick in 2023 had one of the best rookie seasons of all-time.

Stroud set a single-game rookie record of 470 passing yards, and his three 350-plus yard games is tied for the all-time rookie record. The 191 pass attempts before throwing his first interception is a record, and he became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game. When Houston beat the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card, Stroud was 22 years, 3 months, and 10 days old.

Thanks to Stroud’s historic season, the Texans became the first team since the 1981 New York Giants to win a playoff game with preseason Super Bowl odds longer than +20000.

Six quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2024 Draft, the first time that’s happened since the greatest QB class in NFL history in 1983, which included Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. Are any of these new six the next Marino? Probably not.

Are any of them the next Stroud? Also probably not. But maybe they can have an impactful enough season to turn around their team’s fortunes in the same way that Stroud has done for the Texans.

Rookie Quarterback Wins

Wins isn’t an official quarterback stat. But at the end of the day, it is what each of the rookies will be judged by. We know that Caleb Williams will start for the Chicago Bears in Week 1, which gives him the advantage. The over/under on Bears wins in 2024 is 8.5.

Jayden Daniels hasn’t yet been named the starter by new Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn. But the other QB in Washington is Marcus Mariota, who hasn’t been a good NFL starter since 2016. Daniels is expected to be the Week 1 starter in D.C., but wins will be at a premium. The over/under on the Commanders is 6.5 wins in 2024.

Odds that Bo Nix is the Week 1 starter in Denver are -425, good for him, but the over/under on wins is 5.5. That’s not so good.

J.J. McCarthy is +150 to be the Week 1 starter in Minnesota, and right now, Sam Darnold is the favorite at -200. But word is that Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell is impressed with how quickly McCarthy is picking up the offense.

Drake Maye of the New England Patriots is expected to sit the longest of the five rookie quarterbacks who will start in 2024. Michael Penix Jr. is going to get what amounts to a “redshirt” season with the Atlanta Falcons as he sits behind Kirk Cousins.

Rookie Quarterback Passing Yards

The over/under on passing yards for Williams is 3,500.5. If Williams goes over, he will have a top 5 season in the history of the Bears. If he can get to 3,839 years, he will set the Bears all-time passing yards record.

Williams is the favorite to lead all rookies in passing yards, paying even money to finish as the leader.

Daniels is +250 to be the rookie leader in passing yards, and his over/under on the season is 3,150.5. Robert Griffin III holds the rookie franchise record in Washington with 3,200 yards in his 2012 rookie season.

McCarthy is +350 to lead the rookies in passing yards, and his over/under is 2,825.5. Nix’s over/under is 25 yards more at 2,850.5. But in terms of leading all rookies in passing yards, he has longer odds at +800. Maye has the longest odds at +1600.

Rookie Quarterback Passing Touchdowns

Last year, Stroud had 23 touchdown passes as a rookie, and the over/under on passing touchdowns for Williams in Chicago is 23.5. For 2024, Stroud is at 28.5.

Daniels has an over/under of 18.5 passing touchdowns in his rookie season, which is less than the 21 that Sam Howell had for the Commanders in 2023. Howell is now the backup quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks.

The over/under on passing touchdowns for Nix in Denver is 17.5. As a team in 2023, the Broncos had 28 touchdown passes, including 26 by Russell Wilson.

Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

All of the above numbers, as well as a wide receiver room that has Keenan Allen, D.J. Moore, and rookie Rome Odunze, points to a good rookie season for Caleb Williams, and perhaps a Stroud-like season. He is the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+135), and the Bears are -120 to make the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Daniels is the second betting favorite to win OROY at +650, and the Commanders are +260 to make the playoffs. The Patriots and Maye have the longest odds in the NFL to make the playoffs at +900. He’s +2200 to win OROY.

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