How those other No. 1 overall picks fared in their first NFL starts

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) scrambles out of the pocket against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft) (Sam Craft, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There have been 26 quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Trevor Lawrence is one of those players.

With his regular season debut in the books following Sunday’s 37-21 loss to the Texans, how did Lawrence’s first start fare against other No. 1 overall QBs?

Well, Lawrence is in good company. Only four of those players won their first starts. Another, Kyler Murray, tied in his.

Lawrence finished 28 of 51 for 332 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in his debut.

Four players tossed three interceptions in their first starts, Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford. Alex Smith one-upped them and tossed four in his first start.

A look at the other 25 players and how they did in their first NFL regular season start. Stats pulled from ProFootballReference, ESPN and various media outlets.

Troy Aikman, Cowboys

When: Sept. 10, 1989.

What happened: lost to the Saints, 28-0.

Stats: 17 of 35, 180 yards, 2 INTs; sacked twice.

Steve Bartkowski, Falcons

When: Sept. 21, 1975.

What happened: lost to Cardinals, 23-20.

Stats: 8 of 16, 81 yards, INT; rushed for a TD.

Drew Bledsoe, Patriots

When: Sept. 5, 1993.

What happened: lost to Bills, 38-14.

Stats: 14 of 30, 148 yards, 2 TDs, INT; sacked 3 times.

Sam Bradford, Rams

When: Sept. 12, 2010.

What happened: lost to Cardinals, 17-13.

Stats: 32 of 55, 253 yards, TD, 3 INTs.

Terry Bradshaw, Steelers

When: Sept. 20, 1970.

What happened: lost to the Oilers, 19-7.

Stats: 11 of 25, 138 yards, 2 TDs; rushed for 20 yards.

Joe Burrow, Bengals

When: Sept. 13, 2020.

What happened: lost to Chargers, 16-13.

Stats: 23 of 36, 193 yards, INT; rushed for 46 yards, TD

David Carr, Texans

When: Sept. 8, 2002.

What happened: d. Cowboys, 19-10.

Stats: 10 of 22, 145 yards, 2 TDs, INT; sacked 6 times.

Tim Couch, Browns

When: Sept. 19, 1999

What happened: lost to Titans, 26-9.

Stats: 12 of 24, 134 yards, TD; sacked 7 times.

John Elway, Broncos

When: Sept. 5, 1983.

What happened: d. Steelers, 14-10.

Stats: 1 of 8, 14 yards, INT, lost fumble; sacked 4 times. Pulled for Steve DeBerg at halftime.

Jeff George, Colts

When: Sept. 9, 1990.

What happened: lost to Bills, 26-10.

Stats: 13 of 24, 160 yards, TD; sacked 3 times.

Jared Goff, Rams

When: Nov. 20, 2016.

What happened: lost to Dolphins, 14-10.

Stats: 17 of 31, 134 yards.

Andrew Luck, Colts

When: Sept. 9, 2012.

What happened: lost to Bears, 41-21.

Stats: 23 of 45, 309 yards, TD, 3 INT.

Eli Manning, Giants

When: Nov. 21, 2004.

What happened: lost to the Falcons, 14-10.

Stats: 17 of 37, 162 yards, TD, 2 INTs.

Peyton Manning, Colts

When: Sept. 6, 1998.

What happened: lost to Dolphins, 24-15.

Stats: 21 of 37, 302 yards, TD, 3 INTs; sacked 4 times.

Baker Mayfield, Browns

When: Sept. 30, 2018.

What happened: lost to Raiders, 45-42.

Stats: 21 of 41, 295 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT; sacked twice.

Kyler Murray, Cardinals

When: Sept. 8, 2019

What happened: Tied Lions, 27-27.

Stats: 29 of 54, 308 yards, 2 TDs, INT; sacked 5 times.

Cam Newton, Panthers

When: Sept. 11, 2011.

What happened: lost to Cardinals, 28-21.

Stats: 24 of 37, 422 yards, 2 TDs, INT; rushed for a TD; sacked 4 times.

Carson Palmer, Bengals

When: Sept. 12, 2004.

What happened: lost to Jets, 31-24.

Stats: 18 of 27, 248 yards, 2 TDs, INT.

Jim Plunkett, Patriots

When: Sept. 19, 1971.

What happened: d. Raiders, 20-6.

Stats: 6 of 15, 127 yards, 2 TDs, INT.

Alex Smith, Niners

When: Oct. 9, 2005.

What happened: lost to Colts, 28-3.

Stats: 9 of 23, 74 yards, 4 INTs; also lost a fumble.

Jamarcus Russell, Raiders

When: Dec. 30, 2007.

What happened: lost to Chargers, 30-17.

Stats: 23 of 32, 224 yards, TD, INT in the Week 17 game of his rookie season.

Matthew Stafford, Lions

When: Sept. 13, 2009.

What happened: lost to Saints, 45-27.

Stats: 16 of 37, 205 yards, 3 INTs; rushed for a TD.

Vinny Testaverde, Buccaneers

When: Dec. 6, 1987.

What happened: lost to Saints, 44-34.

Stats: 22 of 47, 369 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs; sacked 3 times; added a rushing TD.

Michael Vick, Falcons

When: Nov. 11, 2001.

What happened: d. Cowboys, 20-13.

Stats: 4 of 12, 32 yards, TD; sacked twice.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

When: Sept. 13, 2015

What happened: lost to Titans, 42-14.

Stats: 16 of 33, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs; sacked 6 times.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.