Should the Denver Broncos start a rookie QB in Week 1 of 2024 NFL Season?

Is there any reason to start a bridge QB in 2024 if the Broncos drafted a rookie passer?

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Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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With all of the quarterback talk that has happened within Broncos Country ever since Russell Wilson's benching, could the team simply start a rookie QB in Week 1 of the 2024 NFL Season? From Jimmy Garoppolo to Jarrett Stidham to Kirk Cousins, there has been a ton of quarterback debate within Broncos Country in recent weeks.

After the team's heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots, Sean Payton made the move to bench Russell Wilson, which to some, indicated that his tenure as the Broncos starting QB would be coming to an end. And that could certainly be the case. However, I guess there is still always a scenario where Wilson returns as the starter in 2024.

Anyway, it seems rather likely that the Denver Broncos will go in a different direction, and I think within the next two seasons, we should expect to see a rookie QB enter the mix, and that is something the team has needed for years. Well, what many teams do when they draft a rookie QB is essentially redshirt them until their second year.

The Kansas City Chiefs did that with Patrick Mahomes, as he sat most of his rookie season before being given the keys as the starter beginning in 2018. Other instances of that rookie QB playing immediately have also happened with more frequency in recent years. All of Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, among many others started immediately after being drafted.

So, that begs the question; should the Denver Broncos, if they take a rookie QB in 2024, especially if it is a first-round passer, just start them immediately? We have seen recent success of rookie QBs starting immediately. CJ Stroud is the most recent example. Justin Herbert also played immediately for the Los Angeles Chargers, but that was also due to Tyrod Taylor suffering a freak injury that forced Herbert in the lineup.

Anthony Richardson and Bryce Young each started immediately this year as well. For those rookie passers, sitting and being the backup for a year might benefit them as much as starting immediately would. Some think that the rookies getting game-action immediately would help them develop faster and perhaps develop more into a franchise QB than just sitting and watching.

So while Broncos Country continues to argue about which bridge QB the team should chase in 2024, why not just start the rookie passer? If the Denver Broncos were to invest a first-round pick in a rookie passer, they are clearly committing a ton of resources to that player, draft-wise and financially, so why wait to get them into the game?

Sometimes for QBs, learning as they go; learning from their mistakes as they make them is more beneficial for their development instead of watching a 32-year-old bridge QB make them. I do think the Broncos should look to upgrade from Jarrett Stidham as the potential bridge/backup QB, but that does not mean they need to start said QB in 2024.

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Perhaps the Broncos want to draft a rookie QB and see what he's got from the get-go. This would also likely allow the franchise to get a quicker read on whether or not the QB can actually play at the next level. So again, while all of us in Broncos Country go back and forth as to which bridge QB fits the team the best, the team's best path forward might just be to start the rookie from Day 1.

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