NFL rookie QB progress report: Sam Darnold trending up

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Stephen A.: 'Pump the brakes' on Mayfield hype (1:23)

Stephen A. Smith has confidence in Baker Mayfield's playing ability, but warns Browns fans not to get overly excited. (1:23)

How do the top six rookie quarterbacks look this preseason? Who's going to start in Week 1 of the regular season? There are a few changes from our most recent progress report.

With at least one game apiece in the books for Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph, we have updates from our NFL Nation reporters on the ground:


Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: Mayfield was 11-for-20 for 212 yards passing and two touchdowns in his preseason debut Thursday, a victory over the New York Giants. The Browns were happy with what they saw from the No. 1 overall pick, including his ability to keep plays alive with his feet while still looking downfield for a receiver. One area they have been impressed with is Mayfield's transition to taking snaps from under center, which he didn't do in college.

What has been said about him: "He did a great job. We're really excited to see what's next. It's always good to see what you have live. What I was excited about the most was just his continued progress." -- Browns quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: Zero percent

"Nothing's changed," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "Tyrod Taylor is our starter. Baker Mayfield is a young talented player that has a bright, bright future." -- Ryan Isley


Sam Darnold, New York Jets

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: Darnold followed Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater in the game, and completed 13 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' win over the Falcons. The highlight was a 10-play, 64-yard touchdown drive in a two-minute situation at the end of the first half. Darnold displayed terrific pocket presence and the ability to throw accurately on the run. Those qualities showed up in three days of joint practices with the Redskins. He received the majority of the first-team reps, an indication he could start Thursday night against the Redskins.

What has been said about him: "Someone asked me about him the other day, and I was like, yeah, whatever, he's just a guy. Then you go out here and see him making these throws and you're like, all right, that's not so much a college-level throw. He's putting them on the money. ... It's like, dang. You get rookies in here, and you try to mess them with a little bit and bait them a little bit into thinking they're throwing a route, and you can make a play and he's not having it. It's so crazy to see that at an early age. Dak [Prescott] has that; Carson [Wentz] has that." -- Redskins cornerback Josh Norman

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: 50 percent

Darnold doesn't have it locked up, but he's trending toward the opening-day start. His performance in the next game will have a big impact on his chances. Bridgewater and McCown also are legitimate candidates. For a change, the Jets have a good quarterback situation. Bridgewater could be trade bait if he doesn't land the No. 1 job. -- Rich Cimini


Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: Allen played the entire second half of the Bills' preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, tantalizing the crowd on two effortless passes that traveled more than 50 yards but fell incomplete. In total, he went 9-for-19, with 116 yards and one touchdown. Allen's best drive came late in the fourth quarter when he faced pressure and threw off his back foot to tight end Khari Lee for 27 yards, then squeezed a throw through defenders to rookie receiver Ray-Ray McCloud for a 14-yard touchdown.

What has been said about him: "We're not rushing this; we want to make sure he's ready to go. There will still be growing pains with that journey. You can see the arm talent. You can see the special type of player he can become, but there's a lot of room for growth between where we are now and where he needs to get to. We're just going to continue with the plan, continue with the schedule and, just like our entire team, continue to learn and grow." -- Bills coach Sean McDermott

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: 30 percent

The Bills' quarterback battle still seems wide-open as the distribution of practice reps continues to change daily. Allen receiving second-team reps in practice this week was a sign he could have a chance to start Week 1, but strong performances by both AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman in the preseason opener were a reminder the Bills have no reason to rush Allen into regular-season action. -- Mike Rodak


Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: After a Thursday practice featuring extended reps, Rosen came on for the Cardinals' second offensive series of the game and played until halftime against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday. Rosen was 6-for-13 for 41 yards. The numbers didn't say much, but Rosen looked poised and got the ball out of his hands quickly despite the struggles of the second-team offensive line to protect him, and a handful of errant or bounced snaps from center. He's poised for some action with the No. 1 offense this week, so we'll get a better read at that point.

What has been said about him: "I thought he tried to command the huddle. I thought he did a good job of really trying to go through his progression. There's a lot of things he's going to be able to learn and grow from off this first game, and we expect him to get better." -- Cardinals coach Steve Wilks

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: 10 percent

Sam Bradford engineered a touchdown drive on his only series. Rosen didn't move the Cardinals' second string much against the Chargers. But when Bradford got Monday off, Rosen took the snaps with the first unit and showed he can guide that group. It's Bradford's team now, but expect Rosen to keep seeing more action in preseason games and getting more work with the starters so that if needed, he'll be better prepared to step in. -- Jose Romero


Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: Jackson completed 7 of 18 passes for 119 yards and a 62.0 passer rating. He ran for 21 yards on five attempts. The highlight was a 9-yard touchdown run in which he faked out two Rams defenders before reaching the end zone. In games as well as practice, Jackson's biggest challenge is consistency in throwing the ball. His completion percentage in four quarters of work is 39.3 percent. That's not going to cut it at the NFL level.

What has been said about him: "He may not know everything. He took a sack in the fringe when we had a chance for a field goal -- twice now. He knows that, but he comes off the field and knows exactly what he did. And I think he's really going to continue to blossom for that reason." -- Ravens coach John Harbaugh

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: 5 percent

There is no competition for the starting job in Baltimore. Joe Flacco is having one of the best training camps of his career, and Jackson looks like a rookie trying to make the transition to the NFL. The better question is whether Jackson beats out Robert Griffin III to become the primary backup to Flacco. Griffin, who is still taking third-team reps in practice, has outplayed Jackson in the preseason. -- Jamison Hensley


Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

What he did in Week 1 of the preseason: Rudolph completed 7 of 12 passes for 101 yards at Philadelphia. Rudolph was accurate (one of his incompletions was a clear drop) and looked in command of the offense but also mishandled a snap and took a sack-fumble. Rudolph was generally pleased with his performance but said he wants to get in the end zone for the first time, with no more stalled drives. In practice, he has offset the occasional mistake with an impressive throw -- like the pinpoint, corner end zone touchdown to college teammate James Washington on Monday.

What has been said about him: "Threw some really good footballs. The moment wasn't too big for him. I think he had fun and enjoyed it." -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

Chances to start in Week 1 of the regular season: Zero percent

Rudolph is still competing with Josh Dobbs for the No. 3 quarterback job, but the Steelers will give him chances to create separation. The Steelers will likely limit backup Landry Jones' reps in preseason game action to showcase their two young quarterbacks. On Monday, Rudolph ran with the second-team offense at the goal line. After a slow start to camp, Rudolph has earned more trust with back-to-back-to-back solid practices last week. -- Jeremy Fowler