It’s Week 18, and we’ve made it to the end of the season, and so have our rookie quarterbacks. Now let’s look at how the 2021 rookie class finished out the year and the final ranking.
Fields finished the season, taking it all in after suffering an ankle injury late in the year. He’ll have a new head coach in year two, and all Bears fans can hope for is a competent hire who will come in and develop Fields into the QB everyone thinks he can be. Field’s rookie season was up and down, though he showed promise in certain spots. Now it’s all about surrounding him with the right coaching staff and building a Fields-friendly offense.
After starting Week 17, Trey Lance watched Jimmy Garoppolo finish the regular season and help lead the 49ers back to the playoffs. Lance looked pretty good last week(23-for-32, 316 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), and the future seems bright for him when he eventually becomes the full-time starter. I want to say next year will be all about Lance, but after the way this season unfolded, Kyle Shanahan could decide to roll with Jimmy G for one more campaign.
Wilson’s year was kind of meh, but then the Jets are usually that way, so it all works out in the end. There was some improvement that could be seen toward the end of the season on Zach’s part, which is a good sign for the Jets. Now they need to build around him over these next couple of years to give him the best opportunity at winning. I’m not quite as confident in Wilson panning out as with some of the other rookies, but there is hope for him to become an average starting QB at the least. It feels like Wilson will be one of those QBs that needs everything around him to be just right if he’s ever going to win in this league.
Lawrence is the only rookie QB besides Mac Jones to start all 17 games this season. Lawrence’s year wasn’t as smooth as Jones’, but he also wasn’t playing for the New England Patriots. Urban Meyer is gone, and it’s time to get a real NFL head coach in Jacksonville. Hopefully, the team brings in the right staff for the sake of Lawrence and his development. It was an ugly year, but I still feel like Trevor has the potential to be the best QB of this draft class in the long run. The Jaguars were able to close out on a high note keeping the Colts out of the playoffs beating them 26-11. Lawrence played well passing for two TDs and no INTs.
Mills was the surprise rookie this year, playing in 13 games and starting 11 for Houston. He finished the year with 16 passing TDs and 10 INTs. That’s not a bad year for the third-round pick. You’d have to think Mills will at least have the opportunity to compete for the starting job next season since DeShaun Watson is all but officially done in Houston. Mills won just two games, but that isn’t all his fault. But Mills did finish strong in Week 18 with a three-TD performance and 301 passing yards in a close 28-25 loss to Tennessee.
Mac Jones was the best rookie QB of the 2021 class by a country mile this year. Jones (3,801 passing yardstick ) is the only one going to the playoffs, and you could see his growth as the season progressed. Whether you like their style or not, Bill Belichick made the right decision moving forward with Jones as the Week 1 starter, and because of that, the Patriots are back in the postseason. Well, that and the defense. But Jones did what was asked of him and did it well.