Where the top three rookie quarterbacks stand in their competitions

The Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts selected QBs in the first round of April’s NFL Draft but when will Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson see the field in the regular season? 

While it might seem obvious to start them immediately, things aren’t that cut and dry, as all three having competition for starting jobs. Here’s a look at where each stands in the early days of organized team activities (OTAs).

Carolina Panthers

Contenders | Bryce Young, Andy Dalton

Dalton entered camp as the top QB on the team’s depth chart despite the Panthers selecting Young with the draft’s first-overall pick. Panthers head coach Frank Reich discussed the team’s plans for Young during rookie practices on May 13. “Bryce will get a lot of reps. As we said, when he’s ready, when it’s best for the team, that’s when we’ll look to make a transition,” while confirming that “Andy will be taking reps with the ones, Bryce will be with the twos.”

If the first couple of days of OTAs are any indication, the time to make a transition to Young as QB1 might happen sooner than Week 1. The Athletic’s Joe Person reported that Young took more snaps with the first-team offense than Dalton during the first day of practice. 

Reich praised Young afterward, telling reporters, “I mean, it was 10 out of 10. Just complete command, control and poise.” Dalton praised his competition as well, describing an instance during practice when Young corrected an error in the offense’s play script. “You can tell early on that he’s got it,” Dalton said. He may as well have been talking about the starting job.

Houston Texans

Contenders | C.J. Stroud, Davis Mills
Mills enters the competition with seniority over Stroud, the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but not much else. In two seasons as the Texans starter, Mills is 5-19-1 with 33 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. 

Still, he sounded confident at OTAs on Tuesday. “I’m still competing for that starting job,” he told reporters. Just as in Carolina, Stroud began practices working with the second-team offense while Mills led the first-team. Per ESPN’s DJ Bien-Aime, that continued on the second day of OTAs.

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