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Days Away From Multiple Top Ten QBs Being Drafted, Looking Back at Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes & Two Other QBs That Sat Out

Ayush Juneja

Days Away From Multiple Top Ten QBs Being Drafted, Looking Back at Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes & Two Other QBs That Sat Out

As the NFL draft inches closer, teams are bracing to welcome the best collegiate-level signal callers into their ranks. The draft represents a critical time for the QB-hungry franchises as they seek to shore up their offensive fronts. However, not every team needs to make their rookie an immediate starter.

Many successful franchises have adopted a more patient approach, allowing their QBs time to learn and adapt to the rigors of the NFL by sitting behind a league veteran before taking over the mantle of the starter. For instance, Jordan Love sat behind Rodgers for 3 seasons, before finally getting his shot and exceeding expectations. He accumulated 32 passing touchdowns and 4 on the ground, while also tallying 4,159 yards.

CJ Stroud, on the other hand, who took over the helm in Houston in his first year, led the Texans to the Divisional Round, while also throwing for over 4000 yards. Moreover, he tallied 23 passing touchdowns and three more on the ground.

However, this is only a rare occurrence, as rookie quarterbacks barely leave a dent if they start in their first year. If there’s a veteran quarterback present, it always benefits a rookie, and Patrick Mahomes is a great example of that.

Patrick Mahomes

The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017 with the 10th overall pick, while they still had Alex Smith in their ranks as their starter. Smith was a league veteran, enjoying the best years of his career. While many expected Kansas City to thrust their highly prized QB into the role immediately, Reid made him sit out behind Alex, allowing him to learn and root out the deficiencies in his game.

This strategy certainly paid off, as Mahomes did the impossible and secured the league MVP nod in his first season as a starter. And in the following year, he took the Chiefs to their first-ever Super Bowl since 1969. The team has since played in 4 Super Bowls, winning three.

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers had to sit behind franchise QB Brett Favre for his first three years in the league, playing a grand total of seven games. In those three years, he attempted only 59 passes and completed 35, while accumulating 329 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. When Favre moved to the Big Apple, A-Rod got his fair shake, taking the Packers to the Super Bowl in 2011 and winning it. He also won four NFL MVPs in Green Bay.

Tom Brady

In the case of Brady, a 6th-round draft pick who became a starter in his second year for the Patriots would go on to etch his name in the history books in the next two decades. But before he got his shot and was deemed worthy, he sat behind Drew Bledsoe, who had just signed a $100 million contract with the franchise and was expected to be a start for the team for many years. But when Bledsoe got injured, Belichick threw the 7-time Super Bowl winner into the starting role, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As per CNBC, despite not playing a single snap in his first year in the league, Tom asserted that he honed his skills by mirroring everything Bledsoe was doing on the field and then some. In his first year as a starter, TB12 took the Patriots to the promised land, winning their first Lombardy Trophy, and in the later years, the AFC underdogs would rightfully call themselves a dynasty.

Steve Young

The San Francisco 49ers brought in Young to back up their then 2-time Super Bowl-winning QB, Joe Montana. However, unlike most of the QBs like Mahomes, Brady, and Rodgers, Steve Young wasn’t a rookie when he was brought in. He already had a lot of games under his belt and since he was taking the field when Montana suffered setbacks, he had gained enough experience to understand the system. With Joe’s advancing age and continuous injuries, San Francisco named their southpaw a starter midway through the 1991 season.

From 1991 to 1994, Young led the NFL in passing and won two MVPs. He finally got the monkey off his back in 1994 and won the 49ers their fifth Super Bowl. He retired in 1999 with 7 Pro Bowl selections and a career passer rating of 96.8.

While the NFL has successful stories of shot callers who sat behind and then went on to have successful careers, the league also had rookie QBs blowing up the league from the get-go. Football is a team sport, and while the quarterback position is the most important piece of the puzzle, their success and ability to lead the team are dependent upon many factors, including the players around them.

Could Stroud have been successful without great offensive weapons, a strong offensive line, and great play-calling? One could very well argue that they created a conducive environment for him to fit in and succeed. That’s exactly why the Bears are doing everything in their power to allow Caleb Williams to succeed from the get-go. So there is no single approach to success in this business. The teams have to analyze and see what approach might work for them.

Post Edited By:Samnur Reza

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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