The trend is for quarterbacks drafted early in Round 1 to start right away, and the early consensus is that the top QBs available this year -- Cal's Jared Goff, North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and Memphis' Paxton Lynch -- won't be waiting long before they're picked when the draft begins on April 28.
"I think it's a deep crop and I think it's a crop that's going to need some time," Whaley said, per The Buffalo News. "Now, it depends on their situation, who takes them and what they do. But I would say it's not as top-heavy as last year where those top two guys would still be the top two guys. How quickly these guys can matriculate into the league, I think it's going to take a little bit of time. Maybe a year, maybe a half of a year."
A full year of waiting to find out what your first-round QB is capable of in a game that counts would require tremendous patience the likes of which really isn't seen anymore in the NFL.
"The guys I've seen, I like them and there are guys that could be potential future starters," Whaley said. "I just think it's going to be a process."
It's probably true that Wentz, Goff and Lynch could each benefit from some seasoning at the next level before they're thrust into the fire. Wentz is the only senior of the three (Goff and Lynch are both juniors), and Wentz is already creating a buzz this week at the Reese's Senior Bowl. But is there a real chance that these QBs sit and wait before getting their turn?
As Whaley said, it rests largely on which team picks them. If the Dallas Cowboys decide to take the heir apparent to Tony Romo with the fourth overall pick, that's a scenario where the rookie wouldn't be expected to take the reins right away. It would be a very different situation for the Cleveland Browns if they take a QB at No. 2, and their head coach thinks they should.