Surprisingly, most NFL QBs get their first start during their rookie season. Some do so because they are drafted really high and their team needs them to start right away. Some do so because the starter in front of them gets injured.
For whatever reason, the list of NFL QBs who make their first start at some point AFTER their rookie year and then stick as NFL starters is fairly short.
Let's look at how a sampling of these QBs did in their first start. We'll stick to QBs from the past 20 years in the NFL (this is not an exhaustive list):
|Name||game #||Date||Age||Team||Home or Away||Opp||Score||att||comp||comp%||passing yards||passing TDs||INT||Rating||Rushes||Rush YDS||Rush TD|
|Brian Griese||1||9/13/1999||24-179||DEN||MIA||L 21-38||24||40||60.0||270||3||0||105.2||2||4||0|
|Jay Fiedler||1||9/3/2000||28-249||MIA||SEA||W 23-0||15||24||62.5||134||1||0||91.3||3||9||0|
|Matt Hasselbeck||2||9/9/2001||25-349||SEA||@||CLE||W 9-6||20||34||58.8||178||0||2||48.4||6||1||0|
|Tom Brady||3||9/30/2001||24-058||NWE||IND||W 44-13||13||23||56.5||168||0||0||79.6||1||2||0|
|Drew Brees||1||9/8/2002||23-236||SDG||@||CIN||W 34-6||15||19||79.0||160||2||0||136.8||5||13||0|
|Chad Pennington||5||10/6/2002||26-102||NYJ||KAN||L 25-29||22||29||75.9||237||2||1||108||3||3||0|
|A.J. Feeley||12||12/1/2002||25-199||PHI||STL||W 10-3||14||30||46.7||181||0||0||66.1||2||3||0|
|Tony Romo||7||10/29/2006||26-191||DAL||@||CAR||W 35-14||24||36||66.7||270||1||1||86.6||4||18||0|
|Aaron Rodgers||1||9/8/2008||24-281||GNB||MIN||W 24-19||18||22||81.8||178||1||0||115.5||8||35||1|
|Matt Cassel||2||9/14/2008||26-120||NWE||@||NYJ||W 19-10||16||23||69.6||165||0||0||89.9||1||7||0|
|Kevin Kolb||2||9/20/2009||25-027||PHI||NOR||L 22-48||31||51||60.8||391||2||3||73.2||1||-6||0|
|Colin Kaepernick||10||11/19/2012||25-016||SFO||CHI||W 32-7||16||23||69.6||243||2||0||133.1||4||10||0|
|Ryan Mallett||10||11/16/2014||26-164||HOU||@||CLE||W 23-7||20||30||66.7||211||2||1||95.3||4||-3||0|
|Tyrod Taylor||2||9/20/2015||26-048||BUF||NWE||L 32-40||23||30||76.7||242||3||3||93.3||5||43||1|
The guy who had the worst performance in his first start was Matt Hasselbeck. He had been a backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay before he was traded to Seattle after sitting for two seasons with the Packers. Hasselbeck was given the reigns in Seattle and led that team to a 9-7 record and a second place finish in the AFC West that year. We finished that year 8-8 and in third place. Hasselbeck is the only guy on the list to throw 0 TDs and any interceptions in his first start.
In terms of QB rating, the guy who had the best game in his first veteran start was Drew Brees. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 160 yds and 2 TDs in a blowout win for the Chargers over CIN. Brees was drafted with the 32nd overall pick but sat behind Doug Flutie during his rookie year despite the Chargers limping to a 5-11 record that season. Brees was handed the reigns at the start of the 2002 season and had a very poor year throwing the ball by his career standards. He finished that season with 17 TDs and 16 INTs. His first start was his best start of 2002.
From the perspective of how far into the season we are, Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick and A.J. Feeler are good comparisons. All got their first NFL start well into the season with Mallett and Kaepernick getting his first starts in game 10 and Feeley getting his first start in game 12. Kaepernick and Mallett both played quite well. Feeley was largely ineffective throwing the ball, but his team did win that game on the strength of a solid defensive performance.
Brian Griese made his first NFL start in his second NFL season. That was in 1999 when he was made the starter during training camp for a team coming off of back-to-back Super Bowl victories. We started that season by getting blown out by the Dolphins in Denver. Griese threw for three TDs but a lot of that was due to the team being down by a huge margin which caused us to abandon the running game. While Griese didn't throw a pick that game, he did lose a fumble while being sacked which Jason Taylor picked up and ran in for a TD.
Kevin Kolb was asked to do a lot in his first start. He threw the ball 51 times in the Eagles blowout loss to the Saints in 2009. His three interceptions were a big part of the Eagle's loss.
Earlier this season Tyrod Taylor was given the reigns in Buffalo. He accounted for four touchdowns (three passing and one running) in his first NFL start. Taylor was a sixth-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2011. He sat as Joe Flacco's backup for four seasons. The Ravens did not want to offer he a contract after his rookie deal expired so he ended up with the Bills. He three a grand total of 35 passes for the Ravens in four years.
Another thing of note from the above list is that all five of the QBs who made their first start on the road led their team to victory.
In terms of age, Brock is comparable to most of the guys on this list. One thing that many of those guys have that Brock does not is a bunch of starts in college. With the exception of Cassel and Brady, the rest of the guys on the list were three- or four-year starters in college. Brady was only a two-year starter at Michigan. He had been Brian Griese's backup. Matt Cassel did not start a single game in college.
So whose stat line do you think Brock's most closely matches on Sunday?