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2019 NFL season: Predicting when rookie quarterbacks will start

With NFL training camps getting into full swing this week, several rookie quarterbacks will encounter sky-high expectations as they embark on their NFL careers. How long will fans have to wait to see these highly touted signal-callers in regular-season action? Marc Sessler reveals his projections.

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Drafted: Round 1, Pick No. 1 overall.

Competition for the job: Veteran Brett Hundley.

Path to QB1: General manager Steve Keim's one-word response when asked in May if Murray would start in Week 1: "Yes." Nothing stands in Murray's way. Not after the Cardinals hit the ejector seat on 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen to go all in on Murray, the hand-picked commander of new coach Kliff Kingsbury's boundary-stretching Air Raid offense. Murray was praised early by All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald for his detailed grasp of a playbook that read like alien code to vast sections of the veteran locker room. The future is now.

When will he start? Murray's draft pedigree, dangerous mobility and supreme athletic gifts make him a lock to start right away, barring unmitigated disaster in the desert.

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Drafted: Round 1, Pick No. 6 overall.

Competition for the job: Starter Eli Manning and, if we must, veterans Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney.

Path to QB1: The competition for Jones extends beyond an aging Manning to include a team owner, front office and coaching staff seemingly set on clinging to Eli for as long as the passer's fading arm remains structurally attached to his body. I have to wonder what coach Pat Shurmur truly desires after stating in June that Jones has a shot to steal the role, saying: "I think we're going to play the very best player."

Sounds like someone got to Shurmur, though, with NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reporting Monday that "it's not really an open quarterback competition" in New York. Giants fans have every right to question what is happening inside the building. While forward-thinking teams move boldly toward tomorrow, the G-Men confusingly bask in the past, with Manning costing the club $23 million-plus this season after a $22 million price tag in 2018.

When will he start? Despite all that, I predict the Giants -- likely to flounder early -- will give in to enormous public pressure and kick off the Daniel Jones era with New York's Week 7 tilt at home against the Arizona Cardinals.

Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins

Drafted: Round 1, Pick No. 15 overall.

Competition for the job: Veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.

Path to QB1: Haskins is a big-bodied pocket passer who stirs Jay Gruden's drink. The Redskins coach fawned over the rookie at minicamp, telling scribes: "You see the 'wow' plays and you're like, 'Jesus.' When he's on, there's nobody you'd rather have than Dwayne. Really. It's pretty. He stands tall; he has a cannon, and he can quicken up his release. He's got great touch. Strong, powerful arm; strong, powerful body." Gruden also noted that "sometimes when [Haskins is] off, he's abnormally off. It's kind of weird." The 22-year-old might need time to develop, but Gruden's future with the club feels shaky at best. Tying himself to an intriguing rookie -- not the vanilla Case Keenum -- could be just what the doctor ordered.

When will he start? Why wait? Toss Haskins into the unforgiving fire against the Eaglesin the season opener and never look back.

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Drafted: Round 2, Pick No. 42 overall.

Competition for the job: Starter Joe Flacco.

Path to QB1:Broncos coach Vic Fangio minced no words when asked about Lock at the start of training camp, saying: "He's not a quarterback yet -- he's a hard-throwing pitcher that doesn't know how to pitch yet."


John Elway's second-round pick offers juicy arm strength but looms as a project, and there's a savvy veteran standing in his way. Joe Flacco spent last season losing his job to rookie Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, but the situation in Denver is entirely different. The no-nonsense Fangio isn't about to roll the dice on Lock unless Flacco is suddenly kidnapped by an irate band of Scandinavian poets.

When will he start? I'm projecting a late-season spot start for Lock once the Broncos are removed from postseason contention. Week 17 at home against the Raiders sounds about right.

BONUS: Josh Rosen, Rookie-year do-over with the Miami Dolphins

Drafted in 2018: Round 1, Pick No. 10 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.

Competition for the job: Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Path to QB1: He's no rookie, but nobody deserves a fresh start more than Rosen. Jettisoned by the Cardinals after an inglorious offseason full of whispers about the team's fascination with Kyler Murray, Rosen now finds himself locked into a South Beach-based quarterback tussle with Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins were smart to bring Rosen aboard. The roster is decidedly lacking, but Miami can use 2019 to fully evaluate an intriguing young signal-caller. It's Rosen's job to convince the front office that Miami doesn't need to spend high on a quarterback in next year's draft.

When will he start? Fitzpatrick might be the better player -- TBD -- but Rosen must see the field early and often for the Fins to assess what they have going forward. I see no value in delaying that process. I'd start Rosen in Week 1.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSessler.

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