Suddenly we have multiple rookie quarterbacks starting in the NFL. Kenny Pickett and Bailey Zappe made their NFL starting debuts in Week 5, and Skylar Thompson was called upon early in the Dolphins contest against the Jets after Teddy Bridgewater went down with injury.
A total of seven quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL draft classes saw considerable playing time during Week 5's action.
Let's dive deep into the individual efforts of each quarterback and assign a grade on a per-snap basis, taking every individual aspect of their performance into account. At least 10 attempts are needed to qualify for this piece, which is published each Tuesday during the NFL season.
- On a rollout to his left in the second, Lawrence set his shoulders square to the target and ripped a fastball to Marvin Jones for a big gain.
- Lawrence threw with good accuracy on a sea toss to Evan Engram.
- In the third, he made a similar connection with Engram, this time the ball needed more trajectory over the linebackers.
- Lawrence put all the velocity he has on a pass later in the third through a closing window to Marvin Jones for 20 yards.
- Lawrence misfired high on a longer throw down the numbers midway through the first. The pass was nearly intercepted.
- He was late on a deep comeback to an open receiver in the first half. The ball was nearly intercepted.
- In the red zone in the third, Lawrence rolled right and didn't see Derek Stingley Jr. waiting underneath his target in the back right corner of the end zone. Interception.
- Lawrence overthrew a deep shot by around five yards in the fourth quarter.
Summary: Lawrence struggled with the deceptively stingy defense of Houston at home. The Texans linebackers and secondary members got their hands on plenty of passes in this one, and most of the work Lawrence did was schemed up underneath. The big plays simply weren't there for the Jaguars offense. Not a brutal effort from the former No. 1 overall pick, yet hardly an encouraging one.
Season Grade: C
- In the second, Fields sent a perfectly thrown teardrop into the outstretched arm of Darnell Mooney, who made a spectacular grab.
- While a tick late, Fields sent a strike to Equanimeous St. Brown on a long throw from the far hash in the third quarter.
- His 52-yard touchdown run that was nullified by a block in the back penalty was a dazzling display of his elusiveness and speed.
- On the opening drive, Fields missed Mooney for a touchdown on what appeared to be a slot fade. May have been a miscommunication, yet the throw needed to be closer to the intended target.
Summary: Even with the missed touchdown early, this was one of Fields' finest games as a professional to date. His athleticism was on full display, got the ball out much quicker than he has in the past and flashed his live arm on a few throws at the intermediate level and deep down the field. Stock up.
Season Grade: C-
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- In the fourth, he squeezed a throw on a slant into Nico Collins, who was completely draped by coverage.
- Mills' last throw of the day came with pressure in his face, and he lofted a perfectly thrown ball to Jordan Akins for 11 yards as a defender was closing on the football.
- There legitimately were no low-caliber throws from Mills in this contest.
Summary: Extremely rare, I know -- but Mills did not have any egregiously bad throws in this contest. It felt like 95% of his attempts were check downs, swing passes, screens, or easy tosses underneath. A few of his longer passes weren't brutal but weren't pinpoint accurate, either. No major mistakes, no flashes of brilliance.
Season Grade: C-
- Pickett's second throw of the game was a long pass toward the sideline from the far hash with a defender bearing down on him. The ball was on-time and on-target to George Pickens.
- Midway through the first, Pickett fired a fastball to the right sideline that was nearly undercut by Kaiir Elam but fit through the tiniest window to Diontae Johnson. The wideout's second foot touched the boundary, so the pass was incomplete. The throw was outstanding.
- Late in the fourth, he threw low and away -- where the ball needed to be -- to Miles Boykin, who made a great grab for 11 yards.
- Midway through the second, he overthrew the super-tall Zach Gentry over the middle.
- Late in the second, Pickett misread coverage and threw a pass easily undercut by Elam down the sideline.
- On his second-to-last drop back of the game, Pickett unnecessarily ran into pressure and took a sack.
Summary: This game got ugly fast for Pittsburgh, yet Pickett, for the most part, handled himself well. The vast majority of his throws were underneath, quick passes, making it difficult to give him a high grade, and the interception before the half came on a common misread by inexperienced quarterbacks.
Season Grade: C
- His five-yard touchdown on a scramble was a fine display of his acceleration and athletic skills.
- In the fourth, Wilson threw with good anticipation on a deep out to Corey Davis.
- Off play action in the first, Wilson's pass fell incomplete down the field on a comeback because it was well short of its target. Bad underthrow to an open receiver.
Summary: Very game manager-y contest for Wilson in the convincing victory over the Dolphins. And that's OK! The Jets scheme was crisp and provided Wilson with many open tosses, and he assertively took those open looks and, for the most part, was accurate.
Season Grade: B-
- While not the most difficult throw of Week 5, Zappe's third-quarter touchdown to Jakobi Meyers was made with fine touch up and over the underneath defender.
- At the beginning of the second half, Zappe missed on an overthrow targeted for Meyers.
- He well overthrew a deep ball to Tyquan Thornton in the fourth.
Summary: This was what's become a classic Patriots quarterback game in the post-Tom Brady era. And that's impressive coming from a rookie quarterback in his first start. Zappe diced the Lions secondary with quick passes into voids in zone, and understood where he needed to go with the ball on basically every drop back
Season Grade: C
- Late in the first half, Thompson connected with Tyreek Hill on the classic "NFL throw," a deep out route from the far hash, and it came against tight coverage.
- Down 23 late in the fourth, Thompson threw with perfect placement and loft on a long seam throw to Mike Gesicki that went for 30 yards.
- In the third, Thompson missed Gesicki low on an out-breaking route that fell incomplete.
- His last throw of the game -- on fourth-and-7 in the red zone -- Thompson threw across his body into traffic and was nearly intercepted.
Summary: For a rookie seventh-round pick getting called into a relief appearance extremely early in a road contest, Thompson was not bad whatsoever. He mostly took what the defense provided for him in the quick, underneath passing game, although his accuracy even there was slightly off. But this was not an overwhelmed passer when it came to reading coverages. The pass rush did get the best of him on a few occasions.
Season Grade: C-