When NFL teams drafted five quarterbacks in the first round of the 2021 draft, the clock started ticking on when those prospects would become starters. Despite what teams say before, during and immediately after the draft, the vast majority of first-round quarterbacks become their team's full-time starter at some point during their rookie season.
Since the league went to its slotted draft system in 2011, 32 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round. Of those 32, 28 became their team's primary quarterback at some point during their rookie season by starting consecutive games. It usually didn't take long for those quarterbacks to get in the lineup, either; 12 of the 32 passers started in Week 1, while the average passer of the bunch came into the lineup before the end of Week 4.
For whatever lip service teams and players pay to the value of a redshirt season, the four players who didn't take over during their rookie campaigns can't tell us much about whether teams should give their young quarterbacks time to learn. The foursome includes two players who quickly flamed out of the league: Jake Locker and Paxton Lynch. It also includes the best quarterback in football in Patrick Mahomes, who started only a meaningless Week 17 game as a rookie in 2017. The other guy is Packers second-year passer Jordan Love, who is the only one of the 32 quarterbacks who didn't throw a single pass during his rookie campaign.
Let's run through the five quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round last month and try to use history and their respective schedules to figure out where and when they'll enter into the starting lineup. Along the way, I'll also discuss what their respective organizations have done in the past. Let's start in Jacksonville, where the first overall pick probably won't be waiting very long to get his start: