NFL rookie QB tracker: How Young, Stroud, Richardson did in Week 1

ByBrianna Williams ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

A few NFL teams had a youthful look under center as three rookie quarterbacks made their debuts.

Top overall pick Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers, C.J. Stroud (second) of the Houston Texans andAnthony Richardson(fourth) of the Indianapolis Colts make up the trio of fresh-faced signal-callers.

After they went 0-3 in their first week of action, Sam Darnold's 2018 victory in his New York Jets debut remains the last time a rookie QB won his season opener.

Here's how each star fared in Week 1:

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 1

Game result: 24-10 loss at Atlanta Falcons

Stat line: 20-for-38, 146 passing yards, one passing TD, two INT, 14.5 QBR

Carolina posted its fewest points in a season opener since 2013 in Young's debut. The Heisman winner tossed two interceptions -- something he did only twice in 27 games with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Read more: Panthers' Young on 2-INT debut: 'Unacceptable'

Despite the outcome, he showed promise, namely on Carolina's game-tying drive in the second quarter. He went 6-for-6 for 58 yards and capped it with his first NFL touchdown, a 4-yard completion to Hayden Hurst.

Read more: Bryce Young's first NFL touchdown ball tossed to fans

With the loss, David Carr is still the last quarterback drafted first overall to win his first career start, in 2002 for the Houston Texans.

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 2

Game result: 25-9 loss at Baltimore Ravens

Stat line: 28-for-44, 242 passing yards, 0 passing TDs, 0 INT, 21.2 QBR

Houston struggled to protect Stroud, who was sacked five times, more than in any single game in his 25 starts with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Since 2011, he is the fourth QB selected as a top-five pick without a touchdown in his first career start, joining Joe Burrow, Jared Goff and Trey Lance.

Although he failed to produce a touchdown, his performance impressed teammates and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans. Stroud's 28 completions are tied for the fifth most in the NFL through Week 1.

Read more: Stroud impresses Texans teammates despite loss in NFL debut

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 4

Game result: 31-21 loss vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Stat line: 24-for-37, 223 passing yards, one passing TD, one rushing TD, one INT, 23.4 QBR

Richardson's debut made him the Colts' seventh different quarterback to start Week 1 in as many seasons.

He displayed plenty of upside, including having the highest completion rate by a Colts rookie QB in his debut (64.8%).

Richardson's vision and athletic ability were displayed on his first career rush attempt, a 12-yard zone-read keeper. He's also just the fifth QB in NFL history to have a rushing and passing TD in his debut.

However, his 24 completions were thrown an average of only 3.5 yards downfield. He also made nine off-target throws (overthrown or underthrown), including an interception in the fourth quarter with the Colts trailing 24-21 that led to the Jaguars' final score.

Up next, Richardson and the Colts will visit Stroud and the Texans on Sunday as both rookie signal-callers look for their first win.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.

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