Update: Pro Football Focus released new grades for the 2021 first-round rookie quarterbacks so far this preseason later on Sunday afternoon. Mac Jones claimed the top spot over Zach Wilson with Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence and Trey Lance following, respectively.
PFF passing grades among first round rookie QBs this preseason:
🇺🇸 Mac Jones – 82.0
✈️ Zach Wilson – 78.8
🐻 Justin Fields – 64.2
🐆 Trevor Lawrence – 58.5
⛏ Trey Lance – 49.0 pic.twitter.com/CEvlHxx1LI
— PFF (@PFF) August 15, 2021
Over the last few days, each of the five rookie quarterbacks that were selected in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft took the field for their preseason debuts. The group turned in a mixed bag of performances, but all of them showed signs of potential in their first snaps as professionals.
Now that all five of the first-rounders have taken their first tests at the NFL level, Pro Football Focus has doled out grades for each one. Take a look, courtesy of Michael Nania:
Wilson claimed the top spot narrowly after playing in just two series for the New York Jets on Saturday night against the Giants. He completed 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards and led his team to a field goal in his first possession under center. Although it was a small sample size, Wilson looked comfortable in his debut and the PFF grades reflect that.
Jones came in second on the list just eight-tenths of a point behind Wilson. The New England Patriots rookie got plenty of run in his team’s preseason opener, as he threw 19 times against the Washington Football Team. He completed 13 of those passes for 87 yards and led the Pats to two field goals in his five series under center.
First-round rookie QB preseason debut PFF grades
Zach Wilson: 80.3
Mac Jones: 79.5
Justin Fields: 58.7
Trevor Lawrence: 58.7
Trey Lance: 48.8
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) August 15, 2021
After Jones, the drop-off in PFF grades for the rookie quarterback was significant. Fields and Lawrence came in next with rankings of 58.7.
The Chicago Bears rookie stole the show on Saturday, impressing the NFL world and even LeBron James with his play. However, PFF clearly thinks that Fields has plenty to improve upon. The former Ohio State star played the longest of any first-round rookie on Saturday against the Miami Dolphins and completed 14-of-20 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. He added 33 yards and a score on the ground to lead the Bears to a comeback victory.
Lawrence, who’s rookie debut might’ve been the most highly anticipated in years, was rather average on Saturday night against the Cleveland Browns. He went 6-for-9 for 71 yards, but took two sacks, including one on his team’s first offensive snap of the game. Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer thought his rookie might’ve been holding onto to ball too long and clearly PFF saw some things that lowered Lawrence’s preseason opener grade.
Lance ranked last among the first-rounders with a grade of just 48.8 for his performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. He had the lowest completion percentage of his peers, going 5-for-14 and taking four sacks in the San Fransisco 49ers loss. Although he showed sings of inexperience, Lance delivered one of the highlights of the weekend with an 80-yard touchdown strike to Trent Sherfield in the first quarter.
PFF only had a small sample size to go off of for all five first-round rookie quarterbacks, so it’s important to not put too much weight into these early grades. As the preseason progresses, fans will get a better understand of which young signal callers are starting to separate themselves.
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