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Tom Savage, Derek Carr might earn starting QB jobs as rookies


Everybody in the league is interested to see when Johnny Manziel takes over as quarterback in Cleveland, but the presence of Brian Hoyer -- and the Browns' willingness to bring Manziel along slowly -- could mean a delayed start in the NFL for the first-round pick.

So, if it's not Cleveland, where else could a rookie take over under center early in the season? The experts on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" discussed that very question on Thursday and NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks a quarterback picked on Day 3 of the 2014 NFL Draft could actually be the first to take over for his new team.

"Tom Savage," Jeremiah said. "With his size and arm strength, he fits into this Bill O'Brien offense. If you look at the depth chart, it's not very daunting. He's got a very good chance to compete for that starting position early in the season."

Savage was the darling of the pre-draft process and was lauded as being an early second-day pick by some people. He ended up slipping in the draft, but the Texans weren't complaining and took him in the fourth round with the 135th overall pick. The two sides have already agreed to a contract, so Savage hasn't wasted any time in becoming a part of the organization.

Given the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates (a combined 3-14 as starters last season) are the only quarterbacks standing in Savage's way on the Houston depth chart, one can certainly understand why Jeremiah thinks the Pitt product will be starting early for O'Brien.

Fellow NFL Media analyst Charles Davis agrees that Savage has a chance, but the situation in Oakland with former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub will actually allow second-round pick Derek Carr to assume the starting role even earlier with the Raiders.

"He was the No. 1 quarterback on their board but they were able to get him in the second-round," Davis said. "Remember, Matt Flynn was supposed to start as the high-priced free agent in Seattle but Russell Wilson beat him out from day one. I don't think teams will sit around and wait if the other guy can come in and move the team better. I think Derek Carr has that opportunity."

We're still months away from finding out who will end up starting first among the rookie quarterbacks (don't discount Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota either), but it seems abundantly clear from the 2014 NFL Draft that a number of teams will have options heading into the upcoming season.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.



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