First and foremost, please consider actually reading this article and reviewing the grades for each player before you yell at me!

Pre-Season week 1 overall was a success for this year’s first round Quarterbacks. Every Quarterback played well, showing why they deserved to be drafted when they were. However, football ultimately is a meritocracy and we want to know who won and who lost. Lucky for us, we have a grading system to decide that. I have attached the full grade for each Quarterback so you can review play by play to see if you agree with me.

A quick explanation of the grade sheet column by column:

  • QB Name – Pretty simple, the Quarterback’s name.
  • Drive – What drive number it was for that QB, not to be confused with the team as a whole.
  • Play – The play number of that drive.
  • Type – Was it a run, screen, or pass play.
  • Notes – Explaining why they graded as “plus” or “minus” on any given category.
  • Decision – Did they make the right decision, primarily used in the passing game and based on the route concept and coverage presented.
  • Throw – Simply was it a good accurate throw.
  • Footwork – Did they take the correct footwork, we apply this to the run game, pass game, and screen game.
  • Check – Did they make a quality protection check, new mike ID, or run game check.
  • Fake – Did they carry out their fakes in the run game or did they present a great looking action in the run / play action game.

Now let’s jump into it. Also, real quick if you want to see the video breakdowns for each of these QB’s check out the All Things QB YouTube Channel here:

Zach Wilson

Overall Grade: 91 (51/56)

Pass / Screen Game: 88 (28/32)

Run Game: 96 (23/24)

Play By Play Grade

Zach won pre-season week 1 when it comes to this year’s first round draft class, barely edging out Justin Fields who graded out as a 90%. Zach did a great job with his decision making in the passing game and specifically on 3rd down. He also excelled at tying his feet to the route. This showed up big on his first 3rd down conversion of the game with a speed out to the field.

Zach has plenty to clean up, specifically in his location of the football. He missed a stick route because he had poor alignment with his feet. He was low on a slant that will be cleaned up as the Jets get better at their “rub” concepts. He also missed a TE in the flat where the TE stumbled out of his break. 

Overall Zach had a great debut. Video breakdown below!

Justin Fields

Overall Grade: 90 (80/89)

Pass / Screen Game: 89 (65/73)

Run Game: 94 (15/16)

Play By Play Grade

Justin was the surprise of the pre-season for me. Obviously he was talented coming out of Ohio State, but I had him graded lower than most. My thinking being the Ohio State offense would present him with much more of a learning curve than some of the other prospects. Justin did a great job with his decision making in the passing game.

He played a lot longer than Zach, which is why you could make the argument that he was actually the winner of pre-season week 1 as he sustained his excellence for a longer period. His best drive of the game came before halftime where he ran 6 consecutive passing plays. He graded out 17 of 18 during that stretch and the Bears walked away with 3 points.

Part of what makes Justin great is his ability to create big plays, however he also needs to apply a bit of restraint on certain looks. He tried to fit in a cricket 9 route while fading away, which almost cost him an interception. He followed that play by tucking it and running when he could have extended the play more as a passer.

Overall, a really great job by Justin in his first performance as a Bear. Video breakdown below!

Mac Jones

Overall Grade: 87 (74/85)

Pass / Screen Game: 88 (57/65)

Run Game: 85 (17/20)

Play By Play Grade

Mac Jones had a solid first outing in a Patriots uniform. He started off shaky with a low throw on the first deep over of the night, but that got better throughout the night. Mac was exactly who we thought he was in the pre-draft process. He navigated the New England process, and eliminated certain routes pre-snap to help speed up his play throughout the night.

Mac’s best drive of the night came on drive 3, where he led what looked like a throwback New England offense down the field. He was hitting his backs, getting the ball out of his hand quickly and getting in and out of the right protection.

The worry for New England fans should be the amount of “missed” throws comparatively to the other first round Quarterbacks. Mac missed low throughout the night, that needs to be corrected with the level of accuracy that is required to master the New England offense.

Overall, Mac had a solid showing for his first time in game action for the Patriots. Video breakdown below!

Trevor Lawrence

Overall Grade: 81 (30/37)

Pass / Screen Game: 83 (24/29)

Run Game: 75 (6/8)

Play By Play Grade

Before Trevor’s grade a quick story: The Year is 2013, the Saint Louis Rams sign then undrafted QB Tim Jenkins from Fort Lewis College, Harvard of the Rockies. He works out all OTA’s and Training Camp, then Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer delivers the news; after week 3 of camp he gets cut because he sucks. I say this all to say that it really is unfair to grade Trevor because for him more than the other QB’s. I have more of an educated guess on where the ball is supposed to go on certain concepts which leads to harder grading for him. I suppose it could work the other way around as well, by having more admiration for how he operated the offense as a rookie. The offense is highly complex, especially from a play call and length perspective.

Trevor had a quality start for his first game, especially with all the pressure that comes with being the number one overall pick. He made a couple plays that showed clearly just how talented he is. His first 3rd down conversion was a big time throw, of course when he bought time within the pocket and delivered a bomb was special.

Jags fans of course need to be worried about the sacks he took. The one off of play action is almost inexcusable, considering how much depth the linebackers got. He needs to get to his running back immediately. I want to forgive that, as someone holding it a split second longer trying to hit the double deep over is understandable.

All in all, Trevor had a solid start week 1 and needs to improve this week on getting the ball out of his hand while avoiding taking sacks. Video breakdown below.

Trey Lance

Overall Grade: 75 (52/69)

Pass / Screen Game: 71 (37/52)

Run Game: 88 (15/17)

Play By Play Grade

After totaling up Trey’s game grade I really considered leaving him out of this article because so many people will be mad about this. First, let me say please look at the play by play grade, watch a replay of the game, and follow along to tell me where you disagree. Second, the grading system grades a QB’s performance that day, not necessarily what they can turn into in the long term.

Anyways Trey had an “ok” start to his San Fran career. He had the most impressive check of all the rookie QB’s. He first alerted out of a run play, then rolled it back to the original call when the defense changed its look. This means he really understands this offense and can operate the run game efficiently.

Niner fans need to be worried about the sacks that he took. There were plenty of built in outlets to each play where the ball needs to go when you feel interior pressure. His TD pass obviously showed just how special he can be, the way he extended the play at times was equally impressive.

Overall Trey has a lot to clean up and should be able to by next week and keep building on his week 1 performance. Video breakdown below!

Each Quarterback had their ups and downs throughout their first NFL game action. Make sure to check back with us next week to find out who wins week 2.