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Who will start first? Ranking a dozen rookie QBs

Now that the draft is in the books, NFL franchises have already begun shifting into the process of lowering unreasonable expectations for their greenhorns.

Michael Jordan is the sports world's most iconic figure because he always exceeded the hype. The opposite is true for the majority of NFL rookies.

By October and November, the post-draft hoopla will be long forgotten as coaches turn to trusted veterans for key roles in crucial games.

As teams trot out the "competition" mantra for rookies, though, it's instructive to understand that today's early-round quarterbacks rarely sit and learn for a season -- as Steve McNair and Carson Palmer did in previous decades.

With a dozen marquee quarterbacks joining the league, let's rate how quickly they figure to ascend to the starting lineup.

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1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: I've never bought into the Brian Hoyerhype. This was a career backup written off by the rest of the league when the Browns signed him off the street after last year's draft. If ultra-talented quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Carson Palmer and Robert Griffin III have struggled returning from ACL surgery, why should we believe Hoyer is a better option than Manziel this season?

Manziel won't need to be handed the job. He will earn it by severely outplaying his competition in August. A success-starved fan base already clamoring for Johnny Football will be at a fever pitch by the time Kickoff Weekend rolls around.

Prediction: Starts Week 1

2. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: In declaring an open competition at quarterback, coach Mike Zimmer added that the organization hopes Bridgewater will be "the best guy." The former Louisville star was the most advanced of this year's prospects in terms of reading defenses, beating blitzes and keeping his poise in the pocket.

It helps his cause that "bridge" quarterback Matt Cassel doesn't have much of a headstart in picking up Norv Turner's offense. As defensive coordinator, Zimmer watched 2011 second-round pick Andy Dalton lead the Bengals to the playoffs as a rookie. He won't be afraid to give Bridgewater the reins coming out of training camp.

Prediction: Starts Week 1

3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: Over the past two years, all six quarterbacks drafted in the first or early second round have gone on to start their team's season opener. The Raiders' propaganda machine cranked out endlesspost-trade hype on Matt Schaub, franchise savior.

The game film shows a quarterback broken beyond repair, which is why the organization wrote up a contract that can be ripped up after one season. Don't look now, Schaub. Carr is coming like a freight train.

Prediction: Starts before Halloween

4. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: Here is the team that will buck that rookie quarterback trend. We don't have to believe the Jaguars when they tell us the goal is to start Chad Henne all season because Bortles still has "some development to do."

But when Bortles concedes he's a work in progress and would have "no problem" waiting in the wings for a season, it doesn't bode well for his chances of pulling an upset. The Jaguars will throw the fan base a bone, turning to Bortles once they are eliminated from playoff contention.

Prediction: Starts by Thanksgiving

5. David Fales, Chicago Bears: We have reached the long-shot portion of the rookie quarterbacks. Since entering the league in 2007, nominal Bears backup Jordan Palmer has generated a 34.4 passer rating on 15 career passes. No NFL team has ever trusted him in the backup role.

General manager Phil Emery doesn't believe in drafting late-round developmental quarterbacks, which suggests he views Fales as more than just a project. He's not alone. Jim Harbaugh rated Fales one of the top five quarterbacks in this year's draft class. Relevant fact: Jay Cutler has played only one 16-game season since joining the Bears in 2009.

Prediction: Starts as an injury fill-in before the end of the season

6. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans: Coming off ACL surgery, Mettenberger is unlikely to leapfrog Charlie Whitehurst for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

If the sixth-rounder sees the field, it will be because Jake Locker is unsigned beyond this season and has been one of the NFL's most injury-prone quarterbacks. Why not give the fans a taste of the future in a meaningless season finale?

Prediction: Starts the season finale

7. Tom Savage, Houston Texans: Bill O'Brien's first draft in Houston is a blueprint for a defense/ball-control philosophy in which the quarterback is merely a caretaker in 2014.

The Texans' depth chart essentially features four backups, of which Savage is the one least ready to manage an offense after a nondescript college career that included a hiatus of nearly three years from game action. If the Texans are out of the playoff hunt come late December, Savage could get an audition for 2015.

Prediction: Starts the season finale

If McCarron takes over at some point, he will be at the helm of an offense with a true No. 1 receiver, quality secondary weapons and a strong running game. There is a roadblock in Year 1, though, with Jason Campbell entrenched as Dalton's insurance policy.

Prediction: Won't start until 2015 at the earliest

9. Aaron Murray, Kansas City Chiefs: As is the case with Mettenberger, Murray is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Much like McCarron, his path to playing time is blocked by a capable veteran clipboard holder -- in this case, Chase Daniel.

If Murray's career goes the way of others stuck with the "poor man's Drew Brees" label, he will wash out of the league before he gets a chance to take over an offense.

Prediction: Won't start until 2015 in a best-case scenario

10. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots: Since Tom Brady ousted Drew Bledsoe in 2001, the Patriots have used top-120 draft picks on Rohan Davey, Kevin O'Connell, Ryan Mallett and now Garoppolo. The first three have combined to throw 33 passes in New England.

Brady holds the NFL's most bizarre contract. He's severely underpaid on an annual basis, but his deal is essentially guaranteed through the life of it -- which ends at age 40 after the 2017 season. Unless Brady suffers a serious injury, enters protracted slump of epic proportions or pulls a surprise retirement, Garoppolo is stuck modeling visors for a few years.

Prediction: Won't start barring a Brady injury

11. Logan Thomas, Arizona Cardinals: NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock opined that Thomas has 25 or 30 game tapes, and "23 of them are bad." General manager Steve Keim's explanation for pulling the trigger on an experimental quarterback in Round 4: "When you are convinced you have the franchise quarterback, you take him in the first round. If you think a guy can be a franchise quarterback, you take a chance later in the draft."

Coach Bruce Arians believes Thomas' issues are "easily correctable," which seems counterintuitive. If that was the case, they would have already been corrected. If the Cardinals end up considering a position switch, the top two tight-end comparables for Thomas' combine measurables are Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.

Prediction: Eventually converted to tight end

12. Tajh Boyd, New York Jets: Boyd was a hot prospect at this time a year ago, but NFL scouts reached the conclusion that his success was largely a byproduct of a Clemson wide receiving corps that churned out NFL-ready prospects such as DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.

The hit rate for sixth-round quarterbacks is below the Mendoza Line since Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck joined Tom Brady in the Pro Bowl last decade.

Prediction: Never starts a game for Jets

*The "Around The League Podcast" wrapped up the draft by picking our winners and losers. *

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