After months of speculation, the Buffalo Bills did what many fans hoped they'd do in the 2013 NFL Draft: picked their franchise quarterback. The next question, of course, becomes whether or not EJ Manuel will start any games as a rookie.
For years, a long-held NFL ideal was to pick a quarterback and let him sit for a year (or more) behind an established starter to learn the proverbial ropes and ease into the starting job. Within the past decade, however, that ideal has evaporated; of the 31 quarterbacks drafted in the first round between 2003-2012, just seven sat on the bench for their entire rookie season. That's compared to 17 quarterbacks that started at least 10 games as a rookie.
J.P. Losman, the last Bills quarterback picked in Round 1 prior to Manuel this past weekend, was one of those seven quarterbacks to sit for a full rookie season. He rode the pine as Drew Bledsoe led the Bills to a 9-7 record, just missing out on a playoff berth. Losman was handed the starting job the following season after Bledsoe's release.
In that same 2004 draft class, Philip Rivers sat for two full years behind future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. San Diego went 12-4 and 9-7 back-to-back (with one playoff berth), and Rivers took over the starting job after Brees was allowed to bolt to New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent.
The following year, Green Bay snagged a sliding Aaron Rodgers in the first round, and he sat behind future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre for three full seasons. Favre led Green Bay to 4-12, 8-8 and 13-3 records before departing, with Rodgers taking over the full-time starting job in 2008.
Picked right after Rodgers, Jason Campbell sat for a season in Washington as Mark Brunell led that team to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. Campbell started seven games in his second season in 2006.
In 2007, Cleveland picked a sliding Brady Quinn in the first round, and were it not for the blip season from Derek Anderson (who made the Pro Bowl and led Cleveland to a 10-6 record that year), Quinn very well may have seen playing time as a rookie. He started three games the following season in 2008.
Most recently, Jake Locker sat for a season in Tennessee as veteran acquisition Matt Hasselbeck led the Titans to a 9-7 record and nearly into the playoffs in 2011. Locker took over as the full-time starter in 2012, making 11 total starts.
Here's the list of every first-round quarterback picked within the past decade (including Manuel), along with the number of starts each made in their rookie season. Bottom line: whatever the plan is for Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett as far as bringing their rookie quarterback into the fold, there's still a better chance than not of seeing Manuel starting for the Bills at some point in 2013.
|2012||2||Robert Griffin III||Redskins||15|