NFL: The 5 rookie quarterbacks (thru week 12)

Week 12 is in the books so it's once again time to check-in with the five rookie quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

There's something intricately fun in watching the progress of a rookie quarterback in the NFL. The thrills, spills, and sometimes inexplicably bad play are all what make watching these quarterbacks can be great.

It's even more exciting in 2018 considering all five quarterbacks taken in the first round of last spring's draft have now started an NFL game. Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens was the last to complete this feat two weeks ago, starting and earning a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

With Patrick Mahomes lighting up scoreboards in his 2nd year and with young quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky -- with a sprinkle of Carson Wentz mixed in -- also playing well, it's easy to overlook the five rookie quarterbacks.

These five have battled through injuries, head coaching changes, and difficult schedules to find bright spots in 2018. Some have played better than others and all are still in the midst of a learning curve. Through 12 weeks, however, it's easy to see that all may have a nice career in the NFL ahead of them.

Lamar Jackson

Jackson had been seeing action throughout the season, running specially designed plays as a change-of-pace from starting quarterback Joe Flacco.

When Flacco got injured, the Ravens handed over the reins to Jackson. The results so far? Two wins for the rookie quarterback.

In his debut as a starter, Jackson ran for 119 yards in a victory over the Bengals. In his two starts, Jackson has carried 37 times for 190 yards and one touchdown. His passing stats aren't eye-popping (yet) but are more than serviceable. Jackson is 27-44 in his starts, with 328 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.

On the season, Jackson is completing 60.7 percent of his passes with 415 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He's carried the ball 65 times for 329 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns has taken his game up a notch since the firing of head coach Hue Jackson.

Mayfield and the Browns have won two straight, in which Mayfield has only ten incomplete passes while throwing for 474 yards and 7 touchdowns. 

In the three games since Jackson was let go, Mayfield has 771 passing yards, 9 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Overall, in games he's played, the Browns have picked up four wins against five losses. Mayfield has thrown for 2242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions while completing 62.7% of his passes. He had a few hiccups in the middle part of the season but if he continues down the path he's on now, Mayfield will be a starter for a long time to come.

Sam Darnold

The New York Jets have struggled on offense for much of 2018. When a team has a rookie quarterback and his top two receivers are battling injuries, struggles can be expected.

It also doesn't help that has soon these receivers returned to the lineup, Darnold went out with an injury of his own. He's missed the last two games with a foot injury. While his status for week 13 is still unknown, Darnold did get back on the practice field this last week. 

Before the injury, Darnold had lost his last three starts. In his last outing, a loss to the Miami Dolphins, Darnold was 21-39 for 229 yards and four interceptions. Darnold has thrown 7 interceptions in his last three games and leads the NFL with 14.

Darnold is 3-6 as a starter. He's throwing for 1934 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 55 percent of his passes.

Josh Allen

Josh Allen had spent a long six weeks waiting to get back on the field for the Buffalo Bills.

When he did, Allen did so with his running game, his inaccurate passes, and his flair for the long bomb. And he picked up the victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in doing so.

Despite only going 8-19 in this victory, Allen averaged 20 yards per completion in throwing for 160 yards. He also had 13 carries for 99 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown run.

Lower completion percentage aside, the Bills are 3-2 in games Allen has played significant snaps. He's thrown for 992 yards with 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions (along with 5 fumbles). Allen has added 254 yards on the ground with 4 touchdowns.

Josh Rosen

The Arizona Cardinals are taking their lumps in 2018 as is their rookie quarterback Josh Rosen

Rosen has been given the least focus of the rookie quarterbacks, which might be a good thing for the young signal caller. Much of the attention has been given to the other four and Rosen's numbers are quite similar to Darnold's in some regards.

Rosen is 2-6 in games in which he's started/played in more than just mop-up duty. He had a three-touchdown performance in a 23-21 loss to the Raiders, though he was only 9-20 throwing the ball in that game. 

Interceptions have been a problem for Rosen, at least as of late. He's thrown at least one in six straight games, bringing his total to 11 on the season. 

Overall, Rosen has thrown for 1521 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Five games are left  before the rookie season of all these quarterbacks wraps up. Only one -- Jackson -- has a shot left at the playoffs. And it's possible he's not the starter when that time rolls around, if indeed it does.

Given the production of all five in 2018, it's possible there is not a complete dud in the bunch. And if that's the case, we could be looking at one of the greatest quarterback classes of all time.

photo credit: