NFL rookie QB rankings: Justin Fields struggles vs. Bucs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
We’re over a third of the way through the NFL season, and more than half of the rookie quarterbacks we’ve been tracking are continuing to struggle, including the Bears' Justin Fields. Unfortunately, another rookie QB went down with an injury as well, so growth could slow down even further for this draft class. Here’s how it all shook out in Week 7.
No. 5: Zach Wilson (last week: 5)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 6-10, 60%YDS: 51TD: 0INT: 0
Wilson was looking pretty good in the first half of his head-to-head matchup against Mac Jones and the Patriots. He generally made better decisions with his throws and continued to show great escapability and ability to make accurate throws on the run. Wilson did make one dangerous pass that was picked off, but he was bailed out by a pass interference. Unfortunately, Wilson also hurt his knee on that play so he didn’t get a chance to correct the mistake, or capitalize on the goal-to-go scenario set up by that penalty. Thankfully, his knee injury is reportedly a minor one, and is only expected to keep him out two to four weeks.
No. 4: Trey Lance (last week: 4)
Lance was out with a knee injury of his own, so there’s nothing to assess this week. Kyle Shanahan did say there is a chance Lance could return to action this week against the Bears, however.
No. 3: Justin Fields (last week: 3)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 22-32, 68.8YDS: 184TD: 0INT: 3RUSH-YDS: 8-38FUMBLES LOST: 2
The five turnovers are ugly, but it’s debatable whether all of them are his fault. On his first interception, Fields said he had a coach telling him in the headset that the Bucs had 12 men on the field, so he thought he had a free play (although he still didn’t make a great throw). On his second pick, the ball bounced off of Darnell Mooney’s hands and into the waiting arms of a defender. On his two fumbles, he was lit up by Bucs pass rushers. Really the only turnover that looked like his mistake from start to finish was his third interception. Still, Fields didn’t make enough plays on his end to raise the play of those around him. He’s clearly working through rookie growing pains and needs more time to build chemistry with his playmakers.
No. 2: Trevor Lawrence (last week: 2)
Lawrence and the Jaguars were on bye this week. He’ll try to lead Jacksonville to a second consecutive win against the Seahawks next week.
No. 1: Mac Jones (last week: 1)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 24-36, 66.7%YDS: 307TD: 2INT: 0RUSH-YDS: 3-19
Jones remains the best-performing rookie QB this season, and has also improved week after week. Jones continued to work through his progressions quickly, and threw the ball decisively once he found an open man. There were a few moments where he made an inaccurate throw, and at one point stared down his first read, allowing a linebacker to undercut the route and nearly pick off the pass. But for the most part he was very good and looked like a veteran picking apart the Jets defense. In the end he was rewarded with his first 300-yard game of his career, despite being pulled in the fourth quarter due to the Patriots’ huge lead.