Experience can be overrated.
Just because you give a rookie quarterback playing time, doesn’t mean they are automatically going to get better.
With the overall unreadiness of the 2017 NFL Draft’s quarterback crop, taking a year-long seat on the bench may be the best course of action for rookie passers in 2017.
Here’s why each team that drafted a top-four quarterback in 2017 should redshirt its new guy:
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
While the Bears felt comfortable enough with Trubisky’s 13-game starting experience to draft him second overall, he’s still very raw for an NFL passer and will need time to develop.
Chicago invested money in Mike Glennon with the expectation he would provide at least one year of starting play. He said the Bears still plan to do this, which might be ideal for Trubisky.
The Bears’ receiving corps is a mess of former top draft picks, budding sleepers, and injured veterans at the moment. Letting Glennon sort through the mess while Trubisky focuses on learning and developing would give the Bears their best chance at long-term success.
Patrick Mahomes II, Chiefs
The Chiefs have ripped off four straight winning campaigns, including their first division title in seven years last season. They didn’t make many major moves this offseason, quite simply because they didn’t need to; they’re already a winning team.
Mahomes went to the perfect team for him and all the technical incompetency he possesses. The Texas Tech product has loads of arm strength and athleticism with the ability to make highlight-reel throws, but he has a lot of work to do in the classroom and in perfecting his technique.
Alex Smith will remain the Chiefs starter for this year at least and could foreseeably take the team back to the playoffs. There should be no pressure for Mahomes to play as a rookie while Andy Reid attempts to mold him into a franchise cornerstone.
Deshaun Watson, Texans
In 2016, Houston jumped at the chance to make Brock Osweiler their starter. While the attempt failed miserably, the Texans proved they are a good playoff-caliber team everywhere else – but almost wasted a group of talent because they were rushed for success.
Watson’s intangibles are solid, leading his team to back-to-back national championship appearances in college, but his technique and defense-reading skills need work. While the team’s young talent corps is still intact, giving Watson extra time to learn away from the line of fire may be the safest bet.
If the Texans can get to the playoffs with Osweiler as their quarterback, they can manage with Tom Savage for a year, as well. Bill O’Brien has rushed to make quarterback decisions in the past without success, so taking the patient approach after finally drafting a hopeful franchise passer high might be the best approach.
DeShone Kizer, Browns
The Browns were lucky enough to have Kizer fall to them in the second round, but they clearly weren’t head over heels for the Notre Dame product, having passed on him three times in the first round. Drafting Kizer in the second was a great value pick that allows the Browns to essentially play with house money, taking away the pressure to make him start as a rookie.
Kizer didn’t get much experience in a pro system in college, nor did he get a chance to learn from an older passer, which was the source of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s criticism of his entry to the NFL.
Cody Kessler was a surprise bright spot on the Browns’ 1-15 team a year ago, and has earned the right to continue his development. Even if the Browns are sold on Kizer over Kessler already, giving the sophomore another year to start could build his trade value to be shipped elsewhere.
If the Browns experience surprise success, keeping Kizer on the bench to work on his passing game while Kessler pushes up his trade value makes sense. If the Browns experience struggles in 2017, saving Kizer from the brunt of the fire also makes sense – plus another year of high draft picks wouldn’t be the worst thing in Cleveland.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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