Being a quarterback in the NFL is not easy. Many young quarterbacks are drafted in the first round and expected to immediately turn their team’s fortunes around.
When you just graduate college, many young people take entry-level jobs and make about $15.00 per hour as they get their feet wet in a new company. Not in the NFL, you’re 22-years-old and expected to be tasked with the burden of leading in a place where you’re likely the youngest player on the roster.
The list goes on; Mark Sanchez, EJ Manuel, Jake Locker, Josh Freeman, etc. All drafted out of college in the first round to be the face a franchise. There was no grace period of sitting a year or two behind a veteran and picking up the offense, it was either lead the team to the playoffs in the next two years or most likely get cut.
The trend of drafting quarterbacks in the first round and starting them right away is likely going to continue with Jard Goff and Paxton Lynch, but two starting quarterbacks in the NFL are making a case for teams to sit and let their quarterbacks develop.
Obviously, Tyrod Taylor wasn’t drafted in the first round but he sat for five years behind a Super Bowl winning quarterback before getting a shot at starting with the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
Taylor was a special college player at Virginia Tech, he made some of the most amazing highlight reel plays you’ll see, but out of college he clearly wasn’t ready to be starting at quarterback in the NFL.
He sat, learned and waited for an opportunity to present itself and took it.
We will never now what would have happened if Tyrod Taylor was forced to start during his rookie or second season. Maybe he would have been successful but history would have likely pointed to him struggling.
Very few first-year quarterbacks that get benched ever get the chance at starting for an NFL team again. Most wind up as career backups as they sit and watch another first round draft pick get thrown into the same situation that they were in as rookies.
And that’s where Blaine Gabbert comes in. In 2011, he was drafted 10th overall to be the savior of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He joined a team with Maurice Jones-Drew, a former top running that was about to get hit with injuries and never regain form, and a group of receivers that included Cecil Shorts, Mike Thomas, and Kassim Osgood.
On top of a lack of weapons, in 27 starts with the Jaguars Gabbert, was sacked 74 times. Was he good? No, but there was nothing in Jacksonville that was going to help him succeed.
In his rookie year, the only veteran quarterback on the roster was Luke McCown, not exactly someone that a young quarterback can learn a lot from. Nothing against Luke McCown, but he’s currently a 34-year-old quarterback with only 10 career starts.
After three horrible years on the 49ers, Gabbert found himself traded to the 49ers and forced to sit behind Colin Kaepernick. As we all know, Kaepernick was supposed to be the next big thing in the NFL, but after hitting a high point in 2013 with a Super Bowl loss, it’s been mostly downhill.
As for Gabbert, as we know by know, he’s taken the starting job over from a struggling Kaepernick and has completely shocked the NFL.
This is someone that many people considered one of the worst draft picks of all time and even one of the worst quarterbacks of all time.
In four starts, he’s led the 49ers to a 2-2 record and even played an extremely competitive game against the Cardinals. He’s completely redone himself after sitting on the bench for about two and a half years.
If anything, Tyrod Taylor and Blaine Gabber are examples of why the NFL needs to be more patient with quarterbacks.
I’ve heard it a number of times, people saying the NFL has a quarterback problem simply because there aren’t enough good ones out there.
Franchises need to realize that not every quarterback, most of them actually, aren’t ready to start as 22-year-old rookies. If the quarterback position is the most important position in football then team’s are going to have to be less reckless in developing the position.
Look at Carson Palmer, he sat for a year behind John Kitna and wound up developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This is just hindsight, but Palmer was probably ready to start as a rookie, but the Bengals did the right thing and didn’t give him the reigns right away.
Hopefully, the NFL takes notice and realizes not every rookie quarterback needs to be forced into action just to fill the seats or expedite the rebuilding process.