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The old, conventional wisdom was that a NFL rookie QBs needed a season or two or three to learn the playbook and make the transition from the college to the professional game.
But pro teams have sped up the timetable for young signal callers. Eight rookies started at quarterback in the majority of their teams' game the past four seasons.
This year, the Cincinnati Bengals are leaning toward making Andy Dalton, their second-round draft pick from TCU, the starter. Cam Newton, last year's Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn, is a strong candidate to be the Carolina Panthers' starting QB on opening day.
Let's look at the eight rookie quarterbacks from 2007-10 and what we can learn from their performances:
Sam Bradford, 2010, St. Louis Rams
Bradford was the first overall pick in the 2010 draft despite missing most of the 2009 season at Oklahoma because of a shoulder injury.
But the 2008 Heisman winner proved to be worth the gamble as he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season after throwing for 3,512 yards and 18 touchdowns. He completed 60 percent of his passes, connecting on 354 of 590, was intercepted 15 times and had a 76.5 passer rating.
The Rams went 7-9 with Bradford behind center and missed the playoffs by one game when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks in a showdown for the NFC West title in the regular-season finale. The Rams went 10-6 against the spread (ATS), though. Ten of the 16 games went under the total.
Jimmy Clausen, 2010, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers' second-round draft selection from Notre Dame wound up starting nine games last season after Matt Moore faltered as the starter on a 2-14 team. Clausen had an ugly 3/9 touchdown/interception ratio while completing just 52.5 percent of his passes (157 of 299) for 1,558 yards. His passer rating was 58.4.
The Panthers were just 1-9 with Clausen starting and 3-7 ATS, which is why he is in danger of losing his starting job to Newton. Five of those 10games went under the total, three were over and two were pushes.
Mark Sanchez, 2009, New York Jets
The Jets were criticized for using the fifth overall pick on Sanchez because he started for only one season at USC. However, he led the Jets to the AFC Championship game, where they lost to the Colts at Indianapolis.
Sanchez didn't put up great numbers but the Jets were 8-7 when he started and 9-7 overall in the regular season then 2-1 in the playoffs. He was 196 of 364 (53.8) in the regular season for 2,444 yards and 12 touchdowns with 20 picks and a 63.0 passer rating.
Including the postseason, the Jets were 10-8 ATS with Sanchez in the starting lineup. The over was 9-8-1 on the total line.
Matthew Stafford, 2009, Detroit Lions
The Lions used the first overall pick to draft Stafford from Georgia in 2009 but he wasn't an immediate success during a season marred by a separated shoulder. He managed just a 61.0 passer rating while completing only 53.3 percent (201 of 377) of his passes for 2,267 yards while getting picked off 20 times as opposed to throwing for 13 scores.
Stafford did lead the Lions to their only two wins, going 2-8 in a season in which they finished 2-14. They were 2-7-1 against the spread in those games and the under was the winning play six of 10 times.
Josh Freeman, 2009, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first-round draft pick from Kansas State was given the starting job after the Buccaneers lost their first seven games with Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson under center and went 3-6 in his nine starts. Freeman connected on 158 of 290 passes for a 54.5 completion percentage, 1,855 yards and 10 touchdowns while throwing 18 interceptions. He had a 59.8 passer rating.
The Buccaneers did go 5-4 against the spread in the games Freeman started and seven of the nine games went under the total.
Joe Flacco, 2008, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens installed Flacco as their starter after selecting him in the first round from Delaware and he led them to the AFC Championship Game where they lost to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens were 11-5 in the regular season and 2-1 in the postseason as Flacco hit on 60 percent of his passes (257 of 428) for 2,971 yards and 14 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and an 80.3 passer rating.
The Ravens had a sparkling 14-5 ATS mark that season. The over was 10-8-1.
Matt Ryan, 2008, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth after being the third overall selection from Boston College, earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in the process. Ryan started 16 regular-season games and the postseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and he connected on 61.1 percent of his passes (265 of 434) for 3,440 yards and 16 touchdowns.
He was intercepted just 11 times and had a fine 87.7 passer rating. Both the Falcons and the under were 9-8 against the spread.
Trent Edwards, 2007, Buffalo Bills
Edwards started nine games and the Bills went 5-4, compared to 2-5 with J.P. Losman in the lineup. Edwards, a third-round pick from Stanford, was 151 of 269 (56.1 percent) for 1,630 yards and seven touchdowns with eight interceptions and a passer rating of 70.4.
The Bills were 7-2 ATS in Edwards' starts with six of the nine games going under.
If a quarterback is talented enough to start in the NFL, he is talented enough to be a potential moneymaker. These eight QBs combined to go 60-47-1 against the spread, which works out to +8.3 units.
Betting the under is a logical play in games involving inexperienced quarterbacks and that side provided a profit margin of +11.6 units with a record of 60-44-4.