The 2021 NFL Draft had five quarterbacks drafted in the first round, with three of them going in the first three picks. Dreams of a rookie quarterback bringing a franchise out of the gutter has fluttered in the minds of fans for months since the draft, but these dreams have quickly turned into nightmares; especially when you compare the current landscape to what Justin Herbert accomplished in 2020.
The five first-round rookie quarterbacks started last week and they combined for 2 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and 718 yards passing on 55% completion rate.
No rookie had it worse than Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who was sacked nine times and had a net one yard passing. Fields was set up to fail from the first snap. He was thrown in the starting role too soon and was told to throw behind a offensive line that consisted of turnstiles. Now amidst a three-way position battle, the situation for Fields looks dire.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawerence was seen in the draft as a generational talent at the position and was on the top of everyone's draft boards since his championship season at Clemson. The numbers through three games show Lawerence struggling with just five touchdowns and seven interceptions to go along with his 669 yards and 54.2% completion rate.
At least this looks like struggling compared to Justin Herbert's rookie season.
Through three games in 2020, Justin Herbert had 931 yards passing, six total touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 73.3% completion rate. Any rookie quarterback would look bad next to Justin Herbert's monster rookie campaign.
Of the past few years the only rookie who competes with Herbert is Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who was having his own amazing season before going down with an ACL injury.
Herbert's rookie season is still fresh in all of our minds and it was impossible to miss for everyone watching football last year, and because of this, we have looked at this year's rookies and compared them to Herbert. Instead of passing Herbert off as an outlier, he has become the standard and his type of season should not be expected from any rookie QB.
Herbert did all this with an incompetent head coach and an offensive line ranked 32nd (according to PFF) and still managed to have the best rookie season by a quarterback ever.
Justin Herbert should not be the standard when it comes to judging rookie quarterbacks and fans with a team starting a rookie need to be patient and remember that most of the time a rookie will not light up the league.
Justin Herbert is simply special.