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Which rookie QB has best shot to succeed in NFL?

Young quarterbacks travel many paths through the NFL.

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Aaron Rodgers spent years learning behind a legend, while too many of his peers were tossed into the fire and consumed beyond recognition. Last year's newbies did the opposite, torching the NFL and raising expectations for this year's class of rookie signal-callers.

Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib are on the hook to make an impact, but some first-year passers have a better shot to thrive based solely on the situations they've been dropped into.

With that in mind, here's my list of quarterbacks with the best chance to succeed in the NFL based on where they were drafted. This isn't about who's first to play -- often an ominous distinction -- but long-term growth at the quarterback position.

Here we go:

1. Ryan Nassib, New York Giants

I don't view any of the drafted quarterbacks as viable Day 1 starters, and I worry for any passer on this list shoved into action too early.

Nassib was a steal for the Giants in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and will begin his career learning behind Eli Manning with one of the most stable organizations in football.

We won't hear much from Nassib out of the gate, but there's no better mentor/team combo on this list than Eli and Big Blue.

2. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Coach Greg Schiano wanted competition for Josh Freeman, and found his guy in Glennon, a strong-armed, long-passer whom NFL Films tape-watcher Greg Cosell fell in love with during the pre-draft process. The pressure in Tampa falls on Freeman, not Glennon.

With proper teaching, this former N.C. State passer could find himself in a good position to eventually run the show.

3. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

I'm not as down on this pick as some, but you don't draft Manuel at No. 16 overall to sit and watch. Coach Doug Marrone might opt to feature Manuel in subpackages early with Kevin Kolb running the base offense.

At this time last year, however, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was projected as a redshirt rookie, only to start in Week 1.

Manuel has good teachers and a handful of weapons around him, but this is a boom/bust scenario.

4. Tyler Wilson, Oakland Raiders


Star-crossed Matt Flynn can't seem to shake rookie passers with the last name Wilson. Russell stole his job with the Seattle Seahawks and Tyler -- picked up in the fourth round -- will have a chance to do the same in Oakland.

NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris ranked this Walmart-shopper as the draft's top passer and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah called Wilson "one of the toughest quarterbacks I've ever evaluated."

He's an interesting fit with the Raiders.

5. Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers


Like Nassib, Jones will sit and learn behind an established veteran in Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers refuse to rush their rookies into action, and Jones will slow-cook under center. This is a top-shelf organization that understands how to groom its reserves.

6. Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles

You have to love Barkley's fire. He's agitated, he feels overlooked, he's itching to prove the NFL community wrong.

Landing in Philly was a stunner. On paper, Barkley doesn't mesh with coach Chip Kelly's fast-paced attack, but the Eagles coach has stressed that scheme alone won't dominate his thinking.

Still, Barkley is lost in a crowded quarterback room, where he'll be challenged to separate himself.

7. Geno Smith, New York Jets


The Jets are an easy target, but I don't drop Smith to No. 7 to dump on Gang Green or this player. I'm scared for Smith when I read hyperbole labeling him "the future of the franchise."

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The Jets' talent-poor offense places tremendous pressure on Geno -- if he wins the job -- to do it all from Day 1. Unlike the Giants, the Jets are in transition, with a coach on the hot seat, quarterback Mark Sanchez questioning his existence and an owner desperate for media attention in a city that spits out losers.

If Smith emerges victorious, he'll be a legend in Florham Park until the end of days.

Wild card: Matt Scott, Jacksonville Jaguars


Talk about an intriguing signing by the Jaguars. The undrafted Scott is a read-option-friendly passer who figures in as a dark-horse candidate to challenge for snaps in a town willing to embrace someone other than Blaine Gabbert. Keep an eye on this one.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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