In a perfect world, rookie quarterbacks would have years to serve an apprenticeship before they’re asked to take over.
Of course, that never really happens any more, and this year’s crop of first-rounders are entering anything but a perfect world, and Hall of Famer Warren Moon knows that.
“I never think any rookie quarterback is ready to start right away, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t gonna be put on the field right away especially for a top-10 pick,” Moon said, via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are all going to be expected to play somewhere in that first year, if not Day 1.
“I think it’s always better for a young quarterback to sit back and look and learn. Learn the process before he’s just put out there. I think it makes the transition a little bit easier, just to see how the veteran quarterback who will be the starter.”
Joe Burrow’s obviously going to be the guy immediately, as the Bengals aren’t bothering pretending to let anyone else take the first snap.
The Dolphins could let Ryan Fitzpatrick start for the short term, as the Chargers could with Tyrod Taylor. A compressed offseason only enhances the chances that Tagovailoa and Herbert get some degree of chance to ease into the league.
“It’s going to be a transition as it always is for every young quarterback,” Moon said. “The guys we’ve seen have success early in their careers like a Ben Roethlisberger or maybe a Matt Ryan, all those guys had really good weapons around them. That made it a lot easier for them to make the transition. When Roethlisberger got to Pittsburgh he had a really good running game with Jerome Bettis and a lights-out defense. Ryan had a good running game and defense in Atlanta. Even Joe Flacco. When he went to Baltimore, Ray Lewis was on that team, they had a dominant defense (and) they had a good running game. So, he didn’t have to go in there and carry a football team as a first-round draft pick. All he had to do was manage the team.”
The Chargers would appear closest to that goal of having a solid supporting cast, and the Dolphins made progress last year. The Bengals have a decent set of offensive skill players for Burrow to work with, but they were in position to draft Burrow first overall for a reason.