Ranking preseason rookie QBs: Jets’ Zach Wilson, Patriots’ Mac Jones lead the pack as AFC East steals the show

Preseason football takes on another level of importance when your favorite team is sporting a shiny new quarterback, even if said signal-caller isn’t guaranteed to start come Week 1 of the regular season. A handful of teams had rookie gunslingers to show off — not to mention evaluate — during the second weekend of preseason action. So which No. 1 picks fared best in their latest appearances? Which ones could use another long look before the real games begin?

Here’s how we’d rank the five* first-round quarterbacks following their Week 2 preseason performances:

Note: * = Trevor Lawrence will play Monday night (Saints vs. Jaguars) to close Week 2 of the preseason. This ranking will be updated after his performance.

Week 2 stats: 9-19, 80 yards, 59.1 rating, 46 rushing yards

He wasn’t bad, but this outing wasn’t nearly as electric as his preseason debut. It didn’t help that Andy Dalton and Co. left him a major deficit. Some throws were dicey, and he took one too many hard hits, but all in all, this was another step forward for a guy who clearly brings more juice than his counterpart. At the very least, he’s always a threat to extend or change a play with his legs.

Week 2 stats: 8-14, 102 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 89.9 rating

This was a much-improved performance for Lance, who struggled quite a bit in his debut despite a highlight-reel bomb. After a shaky start, in which he put too much heat on short throws, looked a little hesitant in the pocket and deserved at least half the blame for a pick, the North Dakota State product headlined two strong scoring drives with a couple of precision bullets. He’s still missing too many easy throws, but you can see the physical talent, and that’s not even including the ground game in which he’s yet to be featured.

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Week 2 stats: 13-19, 146 yards, 91.1 rating

Tom Brady, is that you? Just kidding. But if we’re gonna give Cam Newton praise for coasting through the Eagles’ backups, we’d better crown Jones for doing the same, if not more. What’s not to like about what this kid did after replacing Newton? He made quick decisions. He successfully moved around the pocket. He delivered another beauty of a deep shot. And he showed off a surprising amount of zip on his passes. If he isn’t in consideration to be the Pats’ Week 1 starter, he should be.

Week 2 stats: 9-11, 128 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 154.7 rating

Preseason stats are pretty darn meaningless. But the eye test is not. And Wilson is passing it with flying colors. Not only did the BYU product produce an efficient stat line in New York’s win, but he once again showcased the fluid, flick-of-the-wrist arm talent that convinced the Jets to draft him No. 2 overall. Maybe, in real games, he’ll throw himself into trouble, but he sure as heck seems capable of throwing himself out of it, too. This guy made some magic in limited Week 2 action, and he’s got the stuff to make more.


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