NFL Rookie Quarterbacks- Part 3

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The third installment in a three-part series looking at rookie quarterbacks in the NFL and where they stand on their current teams. In part three we look at:

The “We’re Hoping for the Midseason Shakeup” Category

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith is currently San Francisco’s starting quarterback, but with Kaepernick in the wings, it could only be a matter of time before Smith is replaced. Smith has played well this season, throwing for 504 yards and two touchdowns, so there’s no need for him to be replaced yet, but the Niners have a brutal three game stretch before their bye–at Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and at Detroit. If Smith struggles, Kaepernick will be called on, but neither one may be San Francisco’s starter for the future: don’t be surprised if Jim Harbaugh and the Niners try and swing a trade to grab Harbaugh’s old Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in next year’s draft.

Nostalgic college highlights:

 

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota acquired Donovan McNabb to be their starter after Brett Favre’s departure and picked up Ponder in the draft as their quarterback in development. Ponder is a much more intriguing option than Joe Webb, but an established starter like McNabb is a roadblock to starter. Minnesota is 0-3 this season, thanks to two late defensive collapses by the Vikings, but their poor record could push McNabb to the bench. He threw for just 39 yards against the Chargers in Week 1, unacceptable considering the Vikings have Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin as their top two receivers. It doesn’t help that the Redskins look like geniuses for dumping McNabb and making Rex Grossman the starter in Landover. You don’t think the Vikings are aware two teams have dropped him in consecutive offseasons? Think again. If McNabb has continues to play poorly, Ponder will get to play, and with Harvin, Berrian, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe leading the receivers and Adrian Peterson in the backfield, he has plenty to work with. The defense is suspect, but the offensive playmakers are there. They’ll benefit from playing the Cardinals, Panthers, and the AFC West. Minnesota can make the playoffs in this season or the next if the defense pulls it together, but it will likely come under Ponder’s watch, not McNabb’s.

Nostalgic college highlights:

 

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars

In Jacksonville it was more of an early season shakeup and now, the Gabbert era has officially started. Through two starts he’s modestly thrown the ball and come out with an 80.9 passer rating. He might also have the best chance to be the first rookie quarterback to make the playoffs. Although Houston is the favorite to win the AFC South this season, they’re still coming off a 6-10 season. The Indianapolis Colts are clearly in a much worse position than initially thought, and the Tennessee Titans are in their first season with a new head coach since they moved to Nashville. Gabbert has weapons around him in running back Maurice Jones-Drew, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and wide receiver Mike Thomas, and Jacksonville has a decent defense. If they can take advantage of the weaker teams on their schedule, like Cincinnati October 9, Gabbert and Jaguars could definitely give the Texans a run for their money.    

Nostalgic college highlights:

 
Check out part 2 here.

College Magazine Staff

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