It is time for the off-season hype and hoopla to end as the regular season is now upon us. For five first round rookie quarterbacks, it is time to live up to the narratives and all the expectations.
Hopes are sky high in Jacksonville, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New England as rookie signal callers Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones run out of the tunnels.
Will they all turn out the way the national narratives have influenced the masses, or will the historical data hold true – – that says 50% of first round picks do not make it?
For every Dan Marino there is a Joey Harrington and for every Kyler Murray there is a JaMarcus Russell…
Who could forgot all the names since 2000; names like Paxton Lynch, Brady Quinn, Jake Locker, Johnny Manziel, EJ Manuel, Brandon Weeden, Matt Leinart, Christian Ponder, J.P. Losman, Patrick Ramsey, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Boller, David Carr, Josh Freeman, Jason Campbell, Blake Bortles, Byron Leftwich, and Rex Grossman…
Hopes were all so high back then and the national narratives were in concert like a choir, as they all posed for that patented picture with the commish while holding up their new team jerseys and flashing those million dollar smiles.
Then something happened…
They all had to play the game, the same game Lawrence, Wilson, Lance, Fields and Jones are about to play. The same game where perhaps the hardest hitting opponent is not a 6-5, 300 pound defensive linemen who is built like he is made out of bricks, but rather it is something as simple as expectations.
Unmet expectations are the root of all human disappointment – – and NFL QB’s are not exempt, and trust me when I say it, the expectations for these five newest rookie signal callers is sky high. If you do not believe me, log onto social media where fans will fight to the Twitter death if anyone dares to say anything outside the gospel of the national narratives.
Nothing churns out busts faster than unmet expectations. Broken bones are not anywhere near as devastating for young QB’s than expectations, and not the hardest hitting of linebackers can hit anywhere near as hard as expectations can. These five men, Lawrence, Wilson, Lance, Fields and Jones are expected to turn around Jacksonville, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New England and if they can not do it – – they will not make it. At the very least, they will not stick around with the teams who drafted them.
The national narrative has set the stage and wrapped all five of them in as much protective padding as possible as it has also it has set the expectations for the masses. Now we get to see which ones live up to them – – and we all get to end up feeling either happy or disappointed.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.