September 22, 2021

Grading the 5 First-Round Rookie Quarterbacks' Week 2 Performances

We saw a lot more of the rookie quarterbacks in Week 2. For some teams (the Jets), we may have seen too much.

Some quarterbacks improved, some took a big step back, and some may have gotten their first "real shot" at playing.

Either way, let's rank the performances of the first-round rookie quarterbacks in Week 2. 

Check out our grades from Week 1 here

5. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Stats: N/A

After throwing a touchdown in Week 1 against the Lions, Lance did not play a single snap against the Eagles.

In his post-game press conference, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said he didn't even consider putting in Lance, so obviously, there's nothing to report. He gets another incomplete grade. 

Grade: Incomplete

4. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Stats: 19/33 passing, 210 yards, four interceptions

Oh boy.

The home opener for Wilson and the Jets went as poorly as you could imagine. He threw an interception in his first two throws of the game and added two more before the final whistle.

It's one thing if the ball is tipped, dropped, or the receiver doesn't make an effort, but every interception was on him. He just made some shocking mistakes. 

The Jets did not score a touchdown and fell to the Patriots 25-6. A tough game against a Bill Belichick-led Patriots team was not a great matchup for a team that went 2-14 last season and is led by a rookie quarterback, but this was unbelievably bad.

Wilson was sacked four times against the Patriots and has already been sacked 10 times to start his career. He is not going to have much success with a poor offensive line. 

His week 1 performance was OK at best while his Week 2 performance should have Jets fans worried.

Grade: F-

3. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

Stats: 6/13 passing, 60 yards, one interception

We got our first real look at NFL action from Fields after Andy Dalton went down with an injury in the 20-17 victory over the Bengals.

For the most part, Fields looked fine but is far from a finished product. His atrocious late-game interception to put the Bengals right back in the game was very uncharacteristic of him. At Ohio State, Fields threw just nine career interceptions in 22 starts.

Fields ended up playing the entire second half and made an impact that won't show in the box score. Fields would've unfurled his first touchdown pass in his career if All-Pro receiver Allen Robinson didn't drop it. 

In the fourth quarter and the game still in question, Fields showcased his best ability, extending plays with his feet.

With Andy Dalton dealing with a knee injury, Fields' will get his first NFL start Sunday, and we'll see if he has made any tangible progress so far. 

Grade: C

2. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats: 14/33 passing, 118 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

Trevor Lawrence should emerge as the best quarterback in the class, but he's been pretty mediocre in his first two starts for the  Jaguars. 

Lawrence started strong in Week 2, leading the Jags on an 11-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that finished with a beautiful 25-yard strike to Marvin Jones Jr.

Everything after that was a nightmare.

The Jaguars finished the game with 189 yards of total offense and the run game could muster just 75 total rushing yards. 

This will be a game that Lawrence will soon like to forget. He finished with a QBR of 37.2 and the Jaguars had no answers for the Broncos' stifling defense. He did continue to showcase his incredible arm talent, even if the box score does not show it.

The problem is Lawrence is a little too overconfident in his ability. He'll throw a gorgeous pass in a tight window and then an awful interception in back-to-back plays. Once he learns the limits of his powers, he'll be dangerous. 

Grade: C+

1. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Stats: 23/30 passing, 186 yards

This was almost a repeat performance of his first NFL start. Mac Jones certainly won't "wow" you, but he also won't pull a Wilson and lose the game for his team. 

That's exactly what happened Sunday. While Wilson was imploding for the Jets, Jones was steady as a rock, managing the game and making sure he didn't have the same rookie mistakes. 

Jones looked poised under pressure but didn't even really try to make tight-window throws and took the layups from the defense. 

Every week is another lesson for rookie quarterbacks and Jones is doing a great job at taking his time learning how to play in the NFL. Now, at some point, you cannot be this dink-and-dunk quarterback. 

Grade: B-

Photo: Getty Images