Quarterback Padawans Revisited After Preseason Week One

Previously I wrote about the AFC and NFC Quarterback rookies and second year players competing for roster spots. There are 42 so-called quarterback padawans. Today I revisit these players to see who are the top twelve of these quarterback padawans following preseason week one. In addition which players did not make the top twelve for which there were high expectations. (Twelve was picked due to that number being above an average measure for the 42 quarterbacks)

The Top Twelve

1) Baker Mayfield of Cleveland had the highest quarterback passer rating among rookie and second year quarterbacks in week one of the preseason. His rating of 125.4 was twelfth best among all quarterbacks. Mayfield went 11 of 20 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He rushed three times for thirteen yards and got a first down on each rush. Mayfield had five passing plays for 20+ yards, the best across the league. He showed poise, accuracy and the ability to scramble to throw or run. Mayfield is considered to be  the Browns future franchise quarterback.

2) Green Bay’s Tim Boyle went 7 of 15 for 130 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had two passes of 20+ yards including a 54 yard touchdown pass. His quarterback passer rating of 116.7 was fourth best among rookies and second year quarterbacks. Boyle showed off his arm strength, poise under pressure and zip on the ball.  He stood in there and delivered the ball with pressure coming. Boyle had only a 47% completion percentage but was the victim of at least three dropped passes. Boyle will have a battle to make the team as he is currently the 4th string quarterback behind Hundley and Kizer. He could make the practice squad.

3) Panther Garrett Gilbert was selected in round 6 of the 2014 NFL draft. However he spent 2014 thru 2016 either on only an offseason roster or on a practice squad. The upcoming 2018 season is considered his second active season. In preseason week one Gilbert went 7 of 12 for 93 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He had a passer rating of 110.8 which is third best among rookies and second year quarterbacks.  Coach Rivera says Gilbert’s strengths are “His arm strength. He makes good decisions and delivers a good ball,”.  Gilbert is the front-runner to backup Cam Newton.

4) Denver’s Chad Kelly went 14 of 21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Forty three percent of his passing attempts went for a first down and he had two 20+ yard passes including a 36 yard touchdown. Mr. Irrelevant was anything but that in his NFL debut following a redshirt 2016 season due to injury. Kelly showed toughness, mobility, zip on the ball and ability to throw into tight windows. He is a competitor. See every play on Youtube. If Kelly continues to play like that he could easily move from third string to Case Keenum’s backup.

5) Cowboy’s Cooper Rush completed 15 of 23 (65.2%) for 145 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He showed poise and accuracy. One snap was over his head but he maintained composure, caught the snap and made a pass downfield for a gain. Cooper had a nice touchdown pass on the run to Lance Lenoir with good placement into the corner of the end zone. Rush is the front-runner to backup Dak Prescott.

6) Viking Kyle Sloter was a 2017 undrafted free agent that only started nine games as quarterback in college. He also played receiver in college. Sloter completed 9 of 11 for 69 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Sloter showed his speed in a 14 yard touchdown run. Only Sloter and Lamar Jackson had both a passing and rushing touchdown among the padawans. Sloter’s 123 quarterback passer rating was third best among the padawans. Last preseason he had the second highest rookie passer rating.

7) Buffalo’s Nathan Peterman completed 9 of 10 attempts (90%) for 119 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His 11.9 passing yards average was seventh best in the league. Sixty percent of his passing attempts went for a 1st down which was fourth best in the league. Peterman had a 110 quarterback passer rating. He went 7-for-7 for 75 yards and a 28-yard touchdown on the opening drive. His one interception was off a ball that went off the receiver’s hands. Peterman is in competition with A.J. McCarron for the starting quarterback role.

8) Saint’s Taysom Hill completed 8 of 9 passing attempts for 72 yards. Forty-four percent of his pass attempts went for a first down. In addition Hill rushed seven times for 52 yards and four first downs. No quarterback rushed for more first downs. “The guy is a freak athlete. I’ve never seen anyone like him at this position,” said Joe Lombardi (the Saint’s quarterback coach), who said Hill “might be the strongest guy on the team — at least pound for pound.” Hill is competing with Tom Savage  to be Drew Brees’ backup. He is currently behind Savage on the unofficial depth chart.

9) Jet Sam Darnold completed 13 of 18 for 96 yards and one touchdown. Darnold looked poised and in control in the game. He was 9 of 11 for 74 yards and a touchdown in the first half. However in the second half he was only 4 of 7 and 22 yards. He completed 72% of his passes but averaged only 5.3 yards per attempt. His longest pass play was 18 yards. He ran twice for eight yards and zero rushing first downs. Darnold is expected to be the franchise quarterback the Jets have long searched for.

10) Steeler Joshua Dobbs led two scoring drives in the preseason opener.  At the end of the first half Dobbs ran the two minute offense . Dobbs started at their 25 yard line with 1:58 remaining in the half. He led the team 75 yards completing 6 of 9 including the 29 yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds remaining. Prior to that drive Dobbs led another scoring drive that included Dobbs running an option around end for 18 yards. All together Dobbs was 9  of 13 for 91 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran twice for 19 yards.

11) Bill’s Josh Allen was 9 of 19 for 116 yards and one touchdown. He also ran three times for 29 yards and two 1st downs. He showed his big arm with three passes of 20+ yards. Allen is a big physical player and showed the ability to escape tackles. See every Allen play on YouTube.

 12) Steeler Mason Rudolph went 7 of 12 for 101 yards averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He played the entire second half and led three drives resulting in field goals. Rudolph is fourth on the Steelers depth chart but he was a third round draft pick.

Honorable Mention

Arizona Chad Kanoff only had five pass attempts but he made the most of them. He was 3 of 5 for 66 yards, a 14 yard touchdown pass, two first downs and a 48 yard pass. Kanoff has a strong arm, athleticism, velocity and accuracy. He is fourth on the depth chart.

Colts Brad Kaaya only had four pass attempts and he was 3 of 4 for 24 yards and two first downs. Kaaya is known for a quick release and a high football IQ.

Conspicuously Absent

Houston’s Deshaun Watson returned from his season ending ACL injury of last November. He was in on only the first drive and completed 1 of 1 attempts for four yards. “I think it was important for him to go through the whole warmup process and preparation for the game and get out there and operate the offense,” Coach O’Brien said. “Without having watched the film, I thought he did what we asked him to do.”

Chief’s Patrick Mahomes completed 5 of 7 for 33 yards. He was in on two drives both of which ended in punts. Here is a nice view of a  Mahomes’ pass for a first down completion to the tight end. More to come next week.

Bear’s Mitchell Trubisky was 2 of 4 for four yards. “This is so early right now, it really is,” Coach Matt Nagy said. “… It will be fun as we go here to get them some more snaps, let them get into a rhythm and, really, for all the guys to get into a rhythm offensively. He’s going to have eight snaps to take a look at and see what was right and what was wrong, but it’s hard to judge off of eight plays.” 

Raven’s Lamar Jackson has now played in two preseason games which included the Hall of Fame Game. Over two games Jackson is 11 of 28 (39%) for 152 passing yards (5.4 yards per attempt). Jackson has had three passes for 20+ yards. He has had 13 run attempts for 46 yards, one rushing touchdown and a long rush of 10 yards.  Jackson’s 1st down conversion percentage on rushes is 15%. Jackson is third on the four man quarterback depth chart.

Cardinal’s Josh Rosen is 6 of 13 for 41 yards and has one pass of 20+ yards. He played behind a second team offensive line and had a number of bad snaps. Rosen is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart.

Giants’ Davis Webb was 9 of 22 for 70 yards. Webb is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart.

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