Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took over starting duties early in their rookie seasons in 2014. Johnny Manziel — the only other first-round quarterback from the 2014 NFL Draft — made just two starts, while Derek Carr — an early second-round pick — started 16 games for the Oakland Raiders.
None of those quarterbacks set the world on fire with their play as rookies, although Bridgewater’s 85.2 passer rating was much higher than the average for a rookie. While Carr and Bortles showed flashes of potential, their respective 76.6 and 69.5 ratings were among the NFL’s worst for starters.
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Only a few outliers regressed after rookie year
The good news for the Raiders, Jaguars and even the Vikings is that quarterbacks improve on a relatively consistent basis in their second seasons. Only four of the quarterbacks taken in the first round over the last 10 seasons regressed in their second season after starting eight or more games as a rookie, while the majority took a step forward:
Spence, a 2016 second-round draft pick, originally downplayed the injury, stating that it was a “partial tear.” He was back playing the very next week in the Bucs’ 17-14 win over the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. The Bucs had only one healthy starting defensive lineman in the game. Spence wore a neoprene shoulder harness from then on, which was designed to keep the shoulder in place.
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On trying to reset the joint, Spence said, “It didn’t feel good … I knew it was the last game and I just wanted to give it all for my team. So I did. I wasn’t going out … I love these guys. I was going to put all I could into playing for these guys.”
He did not miss a game because the injury. He finished the season with 5.5 sacks, fifth among rookies and third on his team behind veterans Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers.