Believe it or not, we’re already just about a quarter of the way through the 2023 NFL season. The Week 4 slate is winding to a close and this is a good spot to check in on some of the rookie quarterbacks from this past draft class. Some are acclimating quickly to the league while others are going through the usual set of growing pains. Let’s take a look at how these first-year gunslingers are performing.
Way ahead of schedule
CJ Stroud - Houston Texans
Stroud has been excellent through the first month of his young career and looks every bit the part of being the cornerstone of the Texans franchise. Through four games, the No. 2 overall pick has completed 62.3% of his passes for 1,212 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions, and has already shattered the record for most pass attempts to start a career without a pick.
Most importantly, the Ohio State product has the Texans at 2-2 at the start of October and they have the chance to be one of the surprise teams in the AFC. History tells us that Stroud will eventually hit a wall and have his struggles at some point. But so far, he’s ahead of schedule and has been as good as advertised.
Coming along nicely
Anthony Richardson - Indianapolis Colts
Richardson came into the league as very raw and athletic prospect and so far, he’s held his own as the starter in Indianapolis. In three games, the No. 4 pick out of Florida has thrown for 479 passing yards, ran for 131 yards, and accounted for seven touchdowns. The Colts made it clear from the jump that they were going to throw him into the fire right out the gate and he’s been able to hang so far.
Richardson will need to work on his accuracy, however, as he’s completing just 56.9% of his passes. He’ll also need to keep himself healthy as he missed their Week 3 matchup against the Ravens with a concussion. If he does manage to stay healthy, then it will be fun to see how he continues to develop throughout the regular season.
Work in progress
Bryce Young - Carolina Panthers
Young is still trying to find his footing early and he’s had a mix of ups and downs through the first month of his career. The No. 1 overall pick has completed 65% of his passes for 479 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions through three games of the season and an ankle injury kept him out of their Week 3 matchup against the Seahawks.
Some have already been critical of the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama and have even suggested that Stroud should’ve been taken No. 1 overall instead. In his defense, Carolina is undergoing a rebuild and the team wasn’t expected to contend right out the gate with the way the roster is constructed. We’ll just have to sit back and watch as Young develops and takes his lumps as a rookie.
Smattering of playing time
Dorian Thompson-Robinson - Cleveland Browns
The fifth-round pick out of UCLA filled in for Deshaun Watson in their Week 4 loss to the Ravens and struggled mightily. He went 19-36 for 121 yards and threw three interceptions in. the 28-3 setback. Not a good showing for the training camp darling and it remains to be seen if or when he’ll get another shot at starting.
Aidan O’Connell - Las Vegas Raiders
O’Connell was called into action in Week 4 in place of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo and nearly took down the Chargers. The fourth-rounder out of Purdue went 24-38 for 238 yards through the air and added a rushing touchdown to his ledger. AOC nearly orchestrated a successful second-half comeback, but a late interception ended those dreams. He’s someone to keep tabs on as a backup, especially if Jimmy G gets injured again.
Clayton Tune - Arizona Cardinals
The fifth-round pick out of Houston has served as the backup to Joshua Dobbs this year and has not seen any action in the regular season. This dynamic will continue for at least another month with Kyler Murray being placed on the ‘PUP’ list once again. If Dobbs were to suffer an injury during that span, the rookie would get his shot to put his skills on display.