Rookie QB Watch: Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson To Debut

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
rookie qbs

The 2023 Draft saw a return to quarterbacks being drafted in the top 10, with three QBs taken in the first four picks – Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson. Each is prominently featured in the top half of rookie of the year odds across the best NFL betting sites. With Week 1 odds available, NFL get their first glimpse of what the betting markets think of these rookie QBs and their teams.

Be it Young in Carolina, Stroud in Houston, or Richardson in Indianapolis, the first-round rookie QBs all have interesting tests in front of them in Week 1. As they get set to make their NFL debuts, now’s the right time to dig into their situations, and see how they’re likely to do this Sunday and beyond.


Pathers QB Bryce Young

On paper, Young has the easiest matchup and the best team scenario around him. The Panthers won seven games last year and had a top-half defense, which means Young won’t need to do everything. The fact that he’s getting to face the 30th-ranked defense by EPA last year in the Falcons doesn’t hurt, either; although, Atlanta spent a lot of money to improve its defense.

If any of the Class of 2023 QBs are going to win in Week 1, the fact Young’s the smallest underdog matters.

That said, the Falcons spent heavily to fortify their defense this past summer, giving Jessie Bates III and David Oneymata big deals to come to Atlanta. Vegas clearly thinks it’ll hurt the Panthers – a 17.5 team total for the Panthers doesn’t suggest there’s lots of optimism about the prospects for Young. The loss of Robbie Anderson in the trade with Chicago for Young does deprive them of a true Number 1 option. Adam Thielan and DJ Chark could prove to be serviceable, especially Thielan if Young goes for shorter passes in his first game.

Young scrambled for 21 yards in his last preseason game on 3 rushes in 2 drives. If he can continue to use his legs to extend drives, the chances he’ll exceed market expectations both in Week 1 and throughout the season as he adjusts to NFL secondaries.

Texans QB CJ Stroud

The QB with the least expectations going into Week 1, Stroud is benefitting from the shambles that Houston has been in recent times. Going into a matchup with the Ravens, who are perpetually talented and posted a top-half defense in 2022 by EPA, Stroud has the toughest matchup of the three rookies. That said, it’s also the case that his debut if it goes badly, will be held against him the least accordingly.

If Stroud comes out and exceeds the low expectations for him, he’s a winner. With a team total of only 16.5, and as the biggest underdogs of the week, the Texans are expected to get destroyed. If Stroud shows anything, it’s a victory. That said, him showing nothing is eminently possible. The Texans don’t have a Wide Receiver who caught 600 yards last year, and while Dalton Schultz will soak up targets, a Tight End can only do so much.

Week 1 is likely going to be a bad week for Stroud. That said, Baltimore projects to be one of the highest-owned Survivor teams this week. Maybe Stroud can impress by making people sweat out the Ravens down the stretch.

Colts QB Anthony Richardson

Richardson was drafted for his boom or bust potential in Indianapolis. Going against market expectations, Jim Irsay decided to swing for the fences with the ex-Gator QB, instead of picking Will Levis. Knowing that Richardson will take some time adjusting to the NFL, the Colts are starting him in Week 1 knowing his potential.

His limitations are immense, namely that he only completed 54% of his passes last year at Florida. His decision making can be atrocious, as his career 3.8% interception rate shows. But, he’s also a college quarterback who can make incredible plays. The comparisons to Patrick Mahomes are obviously trite, but Richardson and Mahomes did share a certain ceiling coming into the league.

Not having Jonathan Taylor hurts, but Richardson has the best chance to make meaningful contributions. If this year is about finding out if Richardson is more Mahomes or Jay Cutler, then forcing Richardson to make plays will matter. Against a Jags defense that was right around league average in 2022, Richardson will have his chances, especially as Indy are likely to be playing from behind.

Indianapolis is the likeliest of the three teams to score, given their 19.5 team total, and Richardson’s willingness to be aggressive. It might include a pick six, but Richardson’s raw talent and aggression should see Indianapolis score the ball this week, even in a losing effort.

Compare ROOKIE QBS To Other PLAYERs’ Odds

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