The NFL preseason is an avalanche of new information. We have been in our caves of slumber since the NFL Draft for major player value movement. Now, we get breadcrumbs of data from NFL teams - hints of players, depth charts, and playing time to start the season:
Heading into Week 1, here is the landscape of rookie quarterbacks:
Kenny Pickett fell until the later first round after having top-10 promise. The bad news is Pickett is not the Week 1 starter. The good news is Mitchell Trubisky is on one of the shortest leashes in the NFL. Pickett performed well enough in the preseason to inspire confidence he is not on the overt bust path. That said, all of the Steelers' quarterbacks were solid in August as well.
Historical odds of a top-12 season as a rookie for a back-half Round 1 pick: 5%
Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral. All three fell to Round 3 after having Round 1 promise in the NFL Draft. Willis and Ridder showed arm talent and mobility in the preseason, while Corral is shelved until 2023 due to injury. Ridder has the edge over Willis for starting in 2022 without an injury in front of him. Marcus Mariota likely starts until Atlanta falls out of the playoff race, but the Falcons are one of the strongest bets for a top-five pick in next year's draft and being out of the race by Thanksgiving. In addition to a few highlight throws, Willis' rushing upside was on display in August. However, Ryan Tannehill is good enough to keep Tennessee pushing for the playoffs deep into the season at a minimum.
Historical odds of a top-12 season as a rookie for a Day 2 pick: 4%
Going Deep: Sam Howell. Howell was a box score stuffer at his best in the preseason but showed the rough-around-the-edges play which caused him to fall to mid-Day 3. Howell is behind Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke with only a complete disaster season pointing to Howell starting without an injury and before December. Without much pedigree, Howell is also a long shot to have a clear run at the starting role in 2023.
Historical odds of a top-12 season as a rookie for a Day 3 pick: 3%
ROOKIE RUNNING BACKS
1A or 1B options
Hall is expected to be the starter, but Michael Carter II is a quality talent and Hall will not dominate snaps from the outset. The typical arrival date for impact production from Round 2 backs is mid- to late-season in Year 1. September or October fantasy lineup predictability and reliability from Hall would be a historical bonus. Pierce's momentum in August was swift, from playing late in a preseason game to being rested to close the preseason and Marlon Mack was released (and brought back to the practice squad). Pierce's lack of passing down work in the preseason points to Rex Burkhead and even Dare Ogunbowale limiting Pierce's PPR appeal. This is troubling on a likely poor Houston team with the formula for Pierce being touchdown-or-bust. Pierce may already be worth a 2023 1st+ in some dynasty leagues as a quick exit.
Historical odds of a top-24 season as a rookie for a Round 2 pick: 20%
Historical odds of a top-24 season as a rookie for a Round 4 pick: 2%
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